John Lennon crashes his car in Scotland

While holidaying in Scotland with Yoko Ono, her daughter Kyoko and his son Julian, John Lennon crashed his white British Leyland Austin Maxi car in Golspie in the Highlands.

Lennon was a notoriously bad driver who had rarely been behind the wheel since passing his test in 1965. He was poor at navigating roads and often failed to notice other traffic.

The roads around Golspie were narrow. The weather was poor, and Lennon panicked after spotting a foreign tourist driving towards him. Lennon lost control of his Austin Maxi, driving it into a roadside ditch. He, Ono and Kyoko sustained cuts to the face and Ono's back was injured.

They were taken to Golspie's Lawson Memorial Hospital where Lennon was given 17 facial stitches, Ono 14 in her forehead, and Kyoko four.

John Lennon's autograph, signed at Lawson Memorial Hospital, Golspie, Scotland, July 1969

Julian Lennon was treated for shock but was otherwise unhurt. He was taken to stay with Lennon's Aunt Mater in Durness, around 50 miles away, before his mother Cynthia took him back to London the following day. When she arrived at the hospital to demand an explanation from Lennon he refused to see her.

Lennon remained in hospital for five days. He later told reporters, "If you're going to have a car crash, try to arrange for it to happen in the Highlands. The hospital there was just great."

The crashed Austin Maxi was later transported to the couple's Tittenhurst Park estate where it was sited in the gardens.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono with their crashed Austin Maxi, Tittenhurst Park, 1969

Although Lennon was never intending to attend, 1 July was the first official day of recording for what became the Abbey Road album. The crash further delayed his return to London, and after being discharged from hospital he spent three days at home before finally rejoining The Beatles on 9 July.

Yoko Ono suffered worse injuries in the crash than Lennon, and was pregnant at the time. Keen to keep a close eye on her wellbeing, he arranged for Harrods to deliver a double bed to the studio, and had a microphone suspended above it for her to add her thoughts during the sessions that followed.

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15 responses on “John Lennon crashes his car in Scotland

  1. Thomas Bengtsson

    Hi!
    Since the crash occurred in 1969 the car must have been an early 1500 with cable gearchange, I own a such car (unfortunately it is red, not white as John´s was) the more well known 1750 was not introduced until 1971

  2. Curtis Day

    The article says; his mother, Cynthia picked him up? His wife’s name was Cynthia and he was with Yoko and his mother died while he was a teenager. . . .something’s wrong here.

  3. Whacko

    One other line gives the reason for split – John got Yoko a mic so she could add her thoughts during the sessions. I mean, what the heck was going through John’s head? I’m jamming with the lads who came up with such gems as Yesterday, Something, and Octopuses Garden… and sod that George Martin too… I’d rather know what Yoko thinks!!!! I’m surprised Paul hung around.

    1. Flesruoy K. Cufog

      It’s called true love, perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to experience it for yourself someday. We don’t always behave rationally when we’re in love, but it’s always true.

  4. NEIL

    I always thought that the accident did not occur in Golspie, but John was taken to the hospital there after the accident. I think the accident occurred on the North coast of Scotland, East of Durness. Golspie is on the East coast, North of Inverness.

  5. scotbeat

    Am guessing that Lawson Hospital, Golspie would have been the nearest in the region as the Lennons were ferried to the Golspie according to the following account: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/the-beatles-in-scotland-john-lennons-story-996108 The collector/buyer who first featured the autograph above also states that John and Yoko were heading back to Durness from Tongue [1July69 before the crash. http://www.rockmine.com/lennonauto/ cheers David “scotbeat”

  6. XENIOS A KALLIS

    THE ACCIDENT HAPPENED IN 1969, JOHN STAYED IN THE HOSPITAL FOR FIVE DAYS, DELAYED THE RECORDING OF ABBEY ROAD UNTIL THE 9TH OF JULY, WHEN DID EXACTLY THE ACCIDENT TAKE PLACE, NOT MENTIONED ANYWHERE!!!!!!!!…SOUNDS LIKE IT WAS THE END OF JUNE 1969………

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