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3 Saville Row: The Beatles Roof Gig Story

The Beatles Town House: 3 Saville Row, Mayfair

Number 3 Saville Row is a 4 story 1733 townhouse, located in the City of Westminster with a basement that became the Beatles recording studio during the ‘Let it Be’ recording sessions in 1968. The roof of no. 3 Saville Row would become the most famous roof in music history, becoming the stage for the last live performance of the Beatles.

£500,000

Purchase price: Apple Corps (Beatles) 3 Saville Row, late 1960’s

The Burlington Estate

Saville Row is part of the Burlington Estate, an area of London known as Mayfair, north of Piccadilly. The estate was developed by the Anglo-Irish Boyle dynasty. When you consider how impressive the houses are on the estate, wait until you look at the main estate house, Burlington House; the current home of the Royal Academy, Geological Society of London, the Linnean Society of London, the Royal Astronomical Society, the Society of Antiquaries of London and the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The History of 3 Saville Row – famous people who lived there

Admiral John Forbes (1714-1796), started his naval career at the grand old age of 13 and would go on to become admiral of the fleet. Admiral John Forbes was quite a formidable personality, refusing to sign the death warrant of his naval captains who was charged with not doing enough to save his ship. Through incapacity, the Admiral controlled the British navy from his house, 3 Saville Row.

General Robert Toss (1766-1844), a military general with some distinctive service record, Battle of Alexandria (1801), Battle of Corruna (1809), Battle of Orthes (1714). Most famous for leading an attack on Washington DC, destroying public buildings including the White House. Killed in action, buried Nova Scotia, but home was 3 Saville Row

The Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) stayed at Saville Row for one month before returning to Paris. On his visits to London, he was staying with friends in Blackheath.

William Wellesley-Pole (1763-1845) was master at the Royal Mint directing the introduction of new silver coinage that would remain in product from the early 1700s to 1971 when decimalisation arrived. William Wellesley-Pole owned 3 Saville Row.

Lady Hamilton, the love interest of Admiral Nelson is also recorded at staying at 3 Saville Row

The Tom Bowler Hat Saville Row is formally known as the street of the finest tailors. 3 Saville Row also contributed to the street’s reputation by being the place where the soldier and politician Edward Coke lived who designed the Bowler Hat. It is however more credited with being originated by William and Mr. Thomas Bowler.

Roof Top performance 30th January 1969

30th January 1969 started off as a typical chilly Thursday in London, Nixon was US president, Harold Wilson was the Prime Minister

I’d like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we’ve passed the audition.

John Lennon, The last spoken word, on the last Beatles live gig

The meaning of Bagism: Bag Productions: John Lennon & Yoko Ono

John and Yoko ran their public relations company ‘Bag productions’ from 3 Saville Row, their peace campaigning efforts. The heart of the project was the term developed joining by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, ‘Bagism’. The phrase was an attempt to deride and criticise by way of satire the prejudice and stereotyping in the world. The Act involved wearing a bag that covered the whole person, thereby eliminating prejudice based on one’s skin color, culture, gender, hairstyle, attire, age, or any other such personal attributes. The idea with bagism was that the message and not the messenger become the focus.

It is an interesting concept, you do have to remember this was the beginning of the 1970s where the messaging on equality was not perhaps resonating from many sources as it is today. Ahead of their time perhaps in picking something ahead of the popular curve. Also to note bagism did not really enter the popular lexicon, but something you could well see in the Tate Modern perhaps..

Return of John Lennon’s MBE to the Queen

As a protest to Britain’s involvement in Africa, and the ongoing Vietnam War John Lennon sent back his MBE to the Queen, typing his reason for doing so on Bag Production headed paper.

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