23 October 2010

English Heritage Blue Plaque for John Lennon

The musician and songwriter John Lennon (1940-80) will be commemorated with an English Heritage blue plaque on Saturday 23 October, in celebration of his life and contribution to music.  The plaque will be unveiled at 11am at 34 Montagu Square, Marylebone, by Yoko Ono.

Blue Plaque for John Lennon 1940-1980 Musician and Songwriter lived here in 1968

English Heritage blue plaque to John Lennon

The basement and ground-floor flat at 34 Montagu Square was the first home that Lennon shared with Yoko Ono. They lived there in the latter half of 1968, during which time John was creatively very active, working on The Beatles' White Album as well as on early collaborations with Yoko.  It was at 34 Montagu Square that the famous nude photograph of John and Yoko was taken for the Two Virgins album cover.

John Lennon lived at a number of addresses in London and the surrounding area between 1963 and 1971, but 34 Montagu Square is his longest residential connection with a surviving building in the capital. The flat forms part of a grade II listed terraced house, built c. 1810-11 as part of the Montagu and Bryanston Square development on the Portman Estate. The apartment has multiple Beatles associations: it was bought in 1965 by Ringo Starr, who lived there in October of that year, and it was later briefly tenanted by Paul McCartney and Jimi Hendrix in turn before Lennon and Yoko Ono moved in.

The unveiling in Montagu Square comes almost exactly ten years after an English Heritage blue plaque was unveiled at Lennon's childhood home in Liverpool, as part of a plaques pilot project in that city.

Yoko Ono said: "I am very honoured to unveil this blue plaque and thank English Heritage for honouring John in this way. This particular flat has many memories for me and is a very interesting part of our history. In what would have been John's 70th year, I am grateful to you all for commemorating John and this particular part of his London life, one which spawned so much of his great music and great art." 

Mark Lewisohn, Beatles historian, said: "The period in 1968 when John and Yoko lived at 34 Montagu Square was full of incident and interest, and it's fitting that John's occupancy should be marked in the month he would have turned seventy. With two other Beatles and Jimi Hendrix also living here in the space of three eventful years, it's hard to think of any other London flat that better embodies the enduring fascination with that period."

English Heritage Blue Plaques Historian, Howard Spencer, said: "It is a privilege to have worked on this.  John Lennon contributed so much to post-war popular music and culture - he was a key figure in the London music and arts scene in the 1960s, and is a most worthy recipient of an English Heritage blue plaque in the capital."

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