At Home with the Lennons

At Home with the Lennons

May 18, 2021

Lennon family at hone in weybridge by Robert Whitaker 1965

This is the famous mid 1960s photograph by Robert Whitaker that I was invited to discuss on last weekend’s BBC Two documentary, “A Life in Ten Pictures: John Lennon”. If you missed the live broadcast, you now have 12 months to watch it on catch-up via @bbciplayer! Click here ...

These were happy times at Kenwood, the Lennons’ lovely house in Weybridge, in marked contrast to the utter sadness of the last image featured, which left viewers  feeling bereft and angry. I had tons more stories to share… but of course there wasn’t time to include all of them. I shall post some more anecdotes here on my blog starting with this one… 

When John and Cyn moved into this house, there was an enormous cast iron, free-standing, rolltop Victorian bathtub in the main bathroom. The new fashion was for fitted bathrooms with boxed-in soaking tubs, so they ripped it out. When I visited, I said “I’ll have that, if you’re chucking it out?”  John pointed out that it wouldn’t fit in my MINI, so I sent my dad (who was very good fun, with a wicked Liverpudlian sense of humour) down to Surrey to pick it up in a van.  He had a fabulous evening with the family, stayed overnight  and came back full of hilarious stories. The famous bathtub sadly was too big to fit through my parents’ bathroom door. So it lived in the garden and was sold with the house, a couple of years later, to someone who had absolutely no idea they were inheriting a genuine Beatles Bathtub.

It was fun to see old friends, acquaintances and contemporaries onscreen, including Hunter Davis, Mark Lewisohn (whom I first met as a researcher on the late Ray Coleman’s biography, entitled simply “Lennon”) and Mike McCartney, brother of Paul.

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Helen Anderson, artist friend of John Lennon and creator of his iconic leather caps, features in BBC Two's factual programme, A Life in Ten Pictures, premiering May 2021.

John Lennon photographed by Astrid A Life In Ten Pictures BBC Two Helen Anderson


How to measure your head for my leather cap

sketch of John Lennon by Helen Anderson 


A message from Helen about sizing: 
Hats are a bit like jackets and dresses: sizes are supposed to be universal but may vary from one manufacturer to another. I can’t guarantee you a perfect fit, but I can do my best to help.

My cap is available in 4 sizes: Small (S), Medium (M), Large (L) and Extra Large (XL). It’s an investment piece, so I encourage you also to invest three minutes to find the perfect fit.

Don’t just guess your size!
John Lennon’s head measured 23.5 inches. He was a size XL (big brain!). Here's how I measured it, back in 1964 - and how you can measure yours now.
  1. Don’t panic if you don’t have a tailor’s tape measure handy. You can also use a length of string or ribbon, and then measure it against a ruler.
  2. Place the string or tape around your head about 3mm above your ear, across the mid-forehead, completely circling your head. Hold the tape firmly, but not super-tightly.
  3. I’d like you to measure your head exactly where the cap will sit. If your measurement falls between sizes, choose the next size up.
Remember: If you have big hair, you’ll probably need the next size up!



You will need to tell me your size at the time you order.


If you are in such a hurry to get hold of a cap that you don’t have time to measure your head, you could also check the size of another hat that fits: hat sizes are universal… in theory. Don’t see your size? Have a special request?

Email Me!