And Finally Artist News

Abbey Road crossing repainted while would-be crossers remain on lockdown

By | Published on Friday 27 March 2020

Beatles Abbey Road

The Abbey Road pedestrian crossing webcam is normally a place where you can watch a steady stream of people attempting to recreate the famous Beatles album cover while drivers fume at the interruption. Right now, not so much. In fact, it’s so quiet at the moment, that yesterday London’s Highway Maintenance Department took the opportunity to repaint said crossing.

It’s not the first time the crossing has been repainted since the Beatles album came out in 1969 – or indeed the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ I’m sure equally significant ‘Abbey Road’ EP in 1988 – neither of which feature the ‘look right’ text either side of the crossing that was touched up yesterday. Still, opportunities to do such work without having to constantly shout at tourists for stepping in the paint are few and far between.

In 2009, the number of people risking being run down to get themselves a souvenir photo on the crossing led Westminster City Council to consider removing it altogether. Following a campaign by English Heritage, it was instead granted Grade II listed status the following year.

Then Minister For Tourism And Heritage John Penrose said in a statement at the time: “This London zebra crossing is no castle or cathedral but, thanks to the Beatles and a ten minute photoshoot one August morning in 1969, it has just as strong a claim as any to be seen as part of our heritage. And as such it merits the extra protection that Grade II listing provides”.

However, with the site now protected by law, the problems of people posing for photos delaying traffic continued, leading to the council suggesting that it might allocate a lollypop person to manage the crossing. That plan was never implemented, possibly because they realised whoever did that job would spend their day having people shout at them to get out of the photos.

Right now, very few – if any – pictures are being taken at the usually busy site as the UK remains on COVID-19 lockdown. So you can’t watch the customary dance of humans and traffic on the webcam. You can admire the lovely new paint job though.