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Abbey Road zebra crossing, made famous by The Beatles, gets makeover as coronavirus leaves London deserted

The crossing has become a site of national importance after it was featured on the cover of The Beatles' 'Abbey Road'

Two mounted police officers ride their horses across the famous Abbey Road crossing as a Highways Maintenance team take advantage of the Covid-19 lockdown to refresh the markings. Getty Images
Two mounted police officers ride their horses across the famous Abbey Road crossing as a Highways Maintenance team take advantage of the Covid-19 lockdown to refresh the markings. Getty Images

London’s Abbey Road zebra crossing, made famous by The Beatles, has been repainted while the city is deserted due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Since the famous four-piece were pictured walking the crossing for their 1969 album Abbey Road, it has been a huge tourist draw for Beatles fans wanting to recreate the famous image.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 24: The iconic Abbey Road crossing is seen after a re-paint by a Highways Maintenance team as they take advantage of the COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown and quiet streets to refresh the markings on March 24, 2020 in London, England. The Beatles made the pedestrian crossing famous after featuring a photograph of the group walking on it, near to Abbey Road Studios. The album and connected artwork celebrated its fiftieth anniversary last year. British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced strict lockdown measures urging people to stay at home and only leave the house for basic food shopping, exercise once a day and essential travel to and from work. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to at least 182 countries, claiming over 10,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
The newly painted Abbey Road crossing. Getty Images

All that footfall has left the crossing worn, and with London on lockdown due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Westminster City Council took the opportunity to repaint it.

“This is a very busy zebra crossing and we repainted the line markings to ensure visibility and increased safety for drivers and pedestrians. Our contractors follow government advice on limiting the spread of covid-19, including social distancing and hand washing,” a spokesperson for the council said.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 24: The iconic Abbey Road crossing is seen halfway through a re-paint by a Highways Maintenance team as they take advantage of the COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown and quiet streets to refresh the markings on March 24, 2020 in London, England. The Beatles made the pedestrian crossing famous after featuring a photograph of the group walking on it, near to Abbey Road Studios. The album and connected artwork celebrated its fiftieth anniversary last year. British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced strict lockdown measures urging people to stay at home and only leave the house for basic food shopping, exercise once a day and essential travel to and from work. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to at least 182 countries, claiming over 10,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
The Abbey Road crossing seen halfway through the re-paint. Getty Images

In 2010, the crossing was marked as a site on national importance in the UK, which means it can only be altered with special pre-approval of the local authorities. At the time, minister for tourism and heritage John Penrose said, “This London zebra crossing is no castle or cathedral but, thanks to the Beatles and a 10-minute photoshoot one August morning in 1969, it has just as strong a claim as any to be seen as part of our heritage.”

The famous image was capture by photographer Iain Macmillan who stood on a stepladder in the middle of the busy crossing, with only enough time to shoot six pictures as John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr took a break from recording at the street’s famous studios. It was McCartney who chose the final image for the cover.

Updated: March 28, 2020 02:00 PM

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