The call for memories and photos of the day the ‘Fab Four’ visited Chiswick House and Gardens has been answered by West London fans of the legendary rock band.
In a trip down memory lane to celebrate 50 years since The Beatles set foot on its grounds, dozens of people have shared their stories of when John Lennon, Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr, came to Chiswick.
On May 20, 1966, the four most famous people in the world strolled into the park to record two ground-breaking promotional films for singles; Paperback Writer and Rain.
"From that moment on I was in a dream world"
Annie Welburn (nee Evans) had scaled the wall at Chiswick House to see the Fab Four when she was spotted and called over by John.
She said: “From that moment on I was in a dream world. John and George were really lovely. John did the talking. George put his arm round me and grinned. “Paul and Ringo came over. Paul said “Hiya” I was amazed how normal they were. Whilst we were talking ...well they were, I just enjoyed walking with them and not being asked to leave.”
The band took the star-shocked fan under their wing making sure she was okay, offered her some fish and chips and asked if she needed a lift home, and to this day she can’t believe she didn’t ask for any autographs.
Her photo with the band have been featured in the Beatles fan club magazine and News of the World.
Paperback Writer opens with close ups of the band sporting their iconic mop hair, sitting on a bench in front of the conservatory.
The film moves inside, to what is now a Grade 1 listed glass house, before switching to them performing in the gardens surrounded by antique stone figures.
In April, getwestlondon also unveiled some unseen photographs of Sir Paul McCartney found in the loft of a Chiswick snapper.
Shirley Bascran and son Jim who lived in Chiswick in the 60s were taking their daily walk on the grounds, with friend Judy and her daughter Lisa, following the school run when they noticed a film crew.
Mrs Bascran surprised at seeing the band, said: “It was very exciting. I was struck by how tall John and Paul were. A member of the crew asked if they should tell the children to get down from the tree but one of the band, I think it was John Lennon, said ‘No, leave them’.
“We were surprised when we found out that Jim and Lisa could be seen in the background of the video. We often talk about that day, it was very special.”
Despite the name, Rain was shot in good weather conditions in the Wilderness, a series of serpentine paths in the grounds’ woodland.
Ringo appears in the opening scene walking away from schoolchildren pressed up against the gates desperate for a glimpse of their idols, while others can be seen climbing a cedar tree behind the band.
Friends Sandy Loewenthal, now a Calypso player, and Nigel Fox, a scientist and jazz pianist, were both pupils at Chiswick Grammar school in 1966.
Mr Loewenthal was stumped when he saw George Harrison sitting on one of the empty plinths, cross-legged and holding his guitar, before discovering the rest of The Beatles boys and ran back to school to tell everyone.
He said: “I was overwhelmed by John, who I thought was a great singer and song-writer and could think of nothing intelligent to say. I came up with “You write some pretty good books” to which John replied crushingly “I’ve only written two.”
“That effectively shut me up but according to my friend Nigel, I then asked John if we could “nick some of your gear” (meaning the amps and guitars). John replied “fine, if you think you can get away with it”. It was a red letter day for us Beatles fans.”
Mr Fox, added: “I was gobsmacked and we walked through the gardens with just them towards John’s mini.
“We were only wanting to be with John and that’s when I got his autograph! It was actually on the back of my school calendar and I cut out the page and taped it to the autograph book years ago along with Chiswickian (Tommy Cooper!).”
Meanwhile,18-year-old gardener at Chiswick House, John Kenton, was given the job of ferrying the band’s equipment round all day.
“My fondest memory is of John Lennon asking if he could ride my bike – it was a Moulton – then a modern bicycle and he had never ridden on one before. The other three stood watching and ribbing him as he cycled around the walled garden.”
Beatles fans still make the pilgrimage to Chiswick House, which has been restored to its former glory thanks to a £12m renovation in 2010, and is used for weddings, films and events such as its summer festival which this year will be headlined by All Saints.
To mark the occasion Chiswick House and Gardens Trust is inviting people far and wide to retrace the steps in the gardens and conservatory where John, Paul, George and Ringo once stood.