London residents living near THE Beatles' former recording studios are petitioning their local council to remove fans' graffiti from the walls of the famous Abbey Road building.

Locals in St John's Wood, north west London, claim the defaced white wall outside the studios - courtesy of messages fans have written in tribute to The Fab Four over the years - is lowering the tone of the exclusive area.

But London tour guide RICHARD PORTER, who takes tourists to the unofficial Beatles shrine, is disappointed residents haven't embraced their local musical history.

He says, "It is a great shame if this tradition has come to an end. Fans from all over the world have been writing on the walls for years. I always stop to read the messages on the wall."

Local councillor JUDITH HARNER laments, "One person's so-called tradition is somebody else's eyesore. Would you do that to the Vatican?"

Studio manager DAVID HOLLY has no problem with the inscriptions, which began after John Lennon's murder in 1980.

Holly explains, "We have no objections to people writing on the wall. We rather like it. Some of our neighbours are not quite so keen.

"People can still leave their messages - it just does not stay up quite so long."

The Beatles recorded 90 per cent of their hit tracks at the studios and posed on the pedestrian crossing outside for the cover of their 1969 Abbey Road album.

19/11/2004 09:12