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A Blue Plaque for the ‘Quiet Beatle’

On the 24th May 2024, Olivia Harrison, wife of George unveiled a Historic England Blue Plaque at his former childhood home, 12 Arnold Grove, Wavertree, Liverpool.

George was born in this house and spent his early years here. He described it in his autobiography ‘I Me Mine’ (He was the first Beatle to write an autobiography) as very ‘Coronation Street’ No back garden and a front door straight out on the street. Often overlooked George composed some absolute classic Beatle songs such as, Something, Here Comes The Sun and I Me Mine.

George died of cancer on the 29th November 2001 on Los Angeles. He was 58 years of age.

To qualify for an official English Heritage/Historic England Blue Plaque a person must be dead for over twenty years. It is very unusual for a person to be granted two official plaques. This honour falls on such notable dignitaries as Mahatma Gandi, William Gladstone and Lord Palmerston. I always thought that a person was only allowed to be honoured with one Blue Plaque.  However, on a recent Beatles tour in Liverpool I noticed behind the scaffolding of Mendips, what appeared to be another Blue Plaque for John.

John lived here with his aunt Mimi from the age of five to the age 18. He taught himself guitar here. His first band the Quarrymen were formed in 1956, relaunched four years later as the Beatles from 1960. John and Paul were not allowed to practice inside the house and would instead play inside the porch.

The plaque at Mendips was unveiled by John’s cousin Stanley Parkes (For Everton Fans that is his real name) It was unveiled on the 8th December 2000 on the 20th anniversary of his death. He became the first British Rock Musician to receive one.

John’s second Blue Plaque was unveiled by Yoko Ono at 34 Montagu Square in 2010. Yoko describes John’s time at 34 Montagu Square as spawning so much of his creative art. The photo of Unfinished Music No 1.  Two Virgins, album cover, where Yoko and John were naked with their backs to the camera was taken here.

On the 18th October 1968, John and Yoko had a very unwelcome knock on the door when a police carried out a drugs bust which led to the arrest of both for possession of a tiny piece of cannabis found in a binocular case. John took the ‘wrap’ for the drugs at court. The stress is said to have caused Yoko to have had a miscarriage. The drug raid was led by Detective Sergeant Pilcher who had a reputation for leading drug busts on rock stars. John’s conviction and his and Yoko’s peace campaigning against the Vietnam War led to the US government blocking their application to become US citizens for many years.

I mentioned earlier about John Lennon being the first British rock star to have an official Blue Plaque in his honour, but he was not the first rock star. This honour fell to Jimi Hendrix who had a Blue Plaque unveiled at his former home in Brook Street, Mayfair in 1997. Now part of the Handel and Hendrix Museum. Interestingly the tenant who lived at 34 Montagu Square before John and Yoko was a Mr Jimi Hendrix. John always thought the drugs were planted. He said if you move into a house after Jimi Hendrix lived there the first thing you do is get it swept for drugs!

Jimi Hendrix on the steps of 34 Montagu Square

For more on this story and many other fascinating stories of the Beatles, Jim Hendrix, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones and many more, join me on one of my tours. Book via my website   

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1 Comment

David McConnell
David McConnell
May 27

These are great tours. Grant does a great job. We have been on a few now and every time we love it. Great work!

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