Abbey Road, NW8

Road in/near St John's Wood, existing between 1829 and now

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Road · St John's Wood · NW8 ·
MAY
2
2018

Abbey Road, after which the Beatles album was named, runs from St John's Wood to West Hampstead.

Picture of Abbey Road in London. Abbey Road Studios can be seen in the background. Picture taken in summer of 2004. It is common for tourists to cross the road barefoot.
Credit: WillMcC
Abbey Road was laid out in 1829, replacing a track called Abbey Lane when St John's Wood was developmed. The name derives from nearby Kilburn Priory. In the 1840s, large villas where built along the road in a number of different styles. After 1851 slightly less exclusive properties were built on the western side.

St Mary’s church and St John’s Wood synagogue were built on Abbey Road to serve the area’s two main religious communities.

EMI's Abbey Road Studios are located at the southern end - the Beatles and many other famous popular music performers have recorded there. The Beatles named their last studio LP Abbey Road. The album's cover photograph shows the four group members walking across the zebra crossing located just outside the studio entrance. As a result of its association with The Beatles, since 1970 this section of Abbey Road has been featured on the London tourism circuit. In December 2010 the crossing was given Grade II Listed Building status by English Heritage despite its age not being contemporary to that era.

The crossing featured on the Beatles cover, as well as the crossing directly north of it, have become popular photo-opportunity areas, despite the road still being a busy thoroughfare for traffic. The iconic Beatles album cover has been parodied many times over the years on the crossing. The tin street sign on the corner of Grove End Road and Abbey Road is now mounted high on the building on the corner, to save the local council the expense of cleaning and replacing the sign, which was frequently defaced and stolen. The council repaints the wall next to the crossing every three months to cover fans' graffiti.

The Abbey National Building Society (later the Abbey) was founded in 1874 as The Abbey Road & St John's Wood Permanent Benefit Building Society in a Baptist church on Abbey Road.


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Picture of Abbey Road in London. Abbey Road Studios can be seen in the background. Picture taken in summer of 2004. It is common for tourists to cross the road barefoot.
WillMcC


 

St John's Wood

St John’s Wood is an affluent district, north west of Regent’s Park.

St John’s Wood was once part of the Great Forest of Middlesex with the name deriving from its mediaeval owners, the Knights of the Order of St John of Jerusalem (Knights Hospitallers), an Augustinian order. The order took over the land from the Knights Templar in 1323.

After the Reformation and the Dissolution of monastic orders, St John’s Wood became Crown land, and Henry VIII established Royal Hunting Grounds in what became known as Marylebone Park.

Until the end of the eighteenth century, the area was agricultural.

St John’s Wood was developed from the early 19th century onwards. It was one of the first London suburbs to be developed with a large amount of low density ’villa’ housing, as opposed to the terraced housing which was the norm in London up to the 19th century. Parts of St John’s Wood have been rebuilt at a higher density but it remains one of the most expensive areas of London.

St John’s Wood is the location of Lord’s Cricket Ground and for Abbey Road Studios where The Beatles recorded.

The Rolling Stones referenced St John’s Wood in their song Play With Fire. Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones lived on Carlton Hill, at the northern edge of St John’s Wood, in the 1960s.

St John’s Wood station was opened on 20 November 1939 on a new section of deep-level tunnel constructed between Baker Street and Finchley Road when the Metropolitan Line’s services on its Stanmore branch were transferred to the Bakerloo Line. It was transferred along with the rest of the Stanmore branch to the Jubilee Line when it opened in 1979. With the opening of St John’s Wood station, two nearby stations on the Metropolitan Line were closed. These were Lord’s (which had originally been opened in 1868 as St John’s Wood Road) and Marlborough Road.

The station building is located on the corner of Acacia Road and Finchley Road. The station is the nearest one to Lord’s Cricket Ground and Abbey Road Studios. For this reason Beatles memorabilia are sold at the station.

The platform design remains the same as when opened in 1939, and was designed by Harold Stabler.
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