Tittenhurst Park

Tittenhurst Park is a country house on a 72 acre estate in Berkshire, near the town Ascot. This Grade II listed building dates back to 1737, although its facade is from around 1830.

In the 20th century, Tittenhurst Park became famous as the home of first John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and then Ringo Starr and his family. In 1989, Starr sold the property to Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates.

Photos taken at Tittenhurst Park in 1969 were used for the front and back covers of the Beatles´ album “Hey Jude” in 1970.

Photos taken at Tittenhurt with an Instamatic camera were used for the matching cover photos of the twin Plastic Ono Band albums.

Portions of the Imagine film-length video were filmed at Tittenhurst.

The inside of the house can be seen in the film used to promote the single Imagine. Ono is filmed opening window shutters and Lennon plays a white grand piano.

Tittenhurst Park

Where is it?

Tittenhurst Park is located within a 72 acre estate off London Road at Beggar´s Bush in Berkshire. It is close to the town Ascot.

Coordinates: 51.40645°N 0.63452°

19th century ownership

Data from 1869 show that at this point, Tittenhurst Park was owned by the philantropist Thomas Holloway. He founded two large institutions not far from Tittenhurst: the Holloway Sanatorium in Surrey and the Royal Holloway College in Englefield Green.

Thomas Hermann Lowinsky, who used to manage a coal mine in India, purchased Tittenhurst Park circa 1898 and created an award-winning rhododendron garden here. A devoted hortoculturist, one of his pride possesions was the rhododendron he named ‘Mrs Tom Lowinsky’. He was the father of prison reformer Xenia Noelle Field and the surrealist artist Thomas Esmond Lowinsky. Both children grew up at Tittenhurst Park.

John Lennon

After the sale of his old home Kenwood in Surrey, John Lennon acquired Tittenhurst Park from Peter Cadbury for £145,000. Allegedly, Lennon liked that it resembled Calderstones House in Liverpool, a house in which he had spent time in his childhood.

When Lennon purchased Tittenhurst, the estate included not just the manor house but also a Tudor cottage, several servants´ cottages, and gardens.

Together with Yoko Ono, Lennon renovated both the interior and the exteriors of the property, and draw considerable ire by having a lake made without planning permission.

In the wake of Beatles´ break-up, Lennon and Ono had a recording studio built on the estate grounds in 1970, giving it the name Ascot Sound Studios. Both of them would record their next several albums there.

Ringo Starr

In 1973, John Lennon sold Tittenhurst Park to his former bandmate Ringo Starr, since Lennon had decided to live long-term in the United States.

Starr kept the studio but renamed it Startling Studios and allowed other recording artists to use it. Judas Priest originally intended to record their album “British Steel” at Startling Studios, but when they arrived to Tittenhurst they found the house itself more suitable and recorded the album there instead. Later, the band´s live album “Unleashed in the East” was mixed and completed there as well.

During Ringo Starr´s ownership of Tittenhurst Park, T. Rex recorded parts of their film “Born to Boogie” at Tittenhurst.

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan

In 1988, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan – President of the United Arab Emirates and former ruler of Abu Dhabi – purchased Tittenhurst Park from Ringo Starr for £5 million.

Renovations took place in 1989-1990, during which many elements pertaining to Lennon’s, Ono’s and Starr’s time living in the property were removed. Among other things, wall paintings by Lennon were destroyed.