The famous crossing in North London, the Abbey Road zebra crossing which became a worldwide sensation after appearing on a Beatles album cover actually is protected by law as a heritage site.
The first crossing in England to be listed as a Grade II status, meaning it is practically impossible to ever make any changes to this section of the street. Imagine that a crossing deemed so important that you cannot even re-paint it without official permission.
The crossing is recognized for its “cultural and historical importance” as per the statement made by English Heritage in 2010. The Beatles used the crossing on their 1969 album Abbey Road, and the shot taken by Ian Macmillan has been iconic ever since. As per Sir Paul McCartney, this decision was the “icing on the cake” after an amazing year.
But really the decision is a bit of a strange one, when you take into consideration that the original zebra crossing no longer exists, it was moved for traffic management reasons about 30 years ago. In fact, none of the original features from the photograph exist! Westminster City Council is no longer sure why the crossing was moved, the decision being lost in their records but undoubtedly it was to make the roads safer.
English Heritage advised that thanks to the Beatles and a quick 10-minute photograph, even if the crossing is not a cathedral or a castle it still brings with it a strong claim to being part of British heritage.
They feel it is an important decision to help keep the mecca spot of worldwide Beatles fans intact. It is indeed true to hundreds of thousands of people flock to this spot to reenact the famous photo every year. And now with the crossing is listed as Grade II, fans will be able to continue their pilgrimage for many years to come. A Grade II listing means that the building or monument is officially recognized as being nationally important and holding a special interest.