The Mad Day Out: location five

After striking numerous poses on a traffic island in Old Street, north London, The Beatles travelled to St Pancras Old Church and Gardens near Regent's Park, where some of the best-known photographs of the Mad Day Out were taken.

Firstly, photographer Don McCullin snapped the group as they stood on a small grass knoll to the left of the entrance steps and gates. A nearby flower bed was arranged in a circular array saying "1869 to 1968 NDFS".

The second location was a bench to the north of the knoll, just south of the central monument marked on the map below. Mal Evans' son Gary sat on the bench next to John Lennon and Ringo Starr, while Paul McCartney and George Harrison stood behind.

A little further along the path, south east of the monument, was a drinking fountain. The Beatles were photographed here spitting water at the camera lenses.

The fourth location was next to the mausoleum of architect Sir John Soane (1753–1837), which was situated at the eastern part of the gardens. They sat on the grass by the tomb, next to a sign stating: "Please keep off the grass".

North of Sir John's grave was St Pancras Coroner's Court, where they accompanied an elderly man reading a newspaper on a bench. Harrison and Starr sat next to him, and Lennon and McCartney stood behind, but the man appeared oblivious to The Beatles and the photographers capturing the moment.

The Beatles by Don McCullin, 28 July 1968

Location six in the gardens was in a flowerbed north of the monument, situated against the perimeter railings. The Beatles stood with St Pancras Hospital in the background, and were largely camouflaged by the towering hollyhocks.

They then walked to a bench immediately to the north of the monument, directly opposite the bench in location two.

The eighth location was in the church's imposing arched doorway, where formal portrait shots were taken. While this took place, a crowd of people stood and stared from behind the railings which separated the church from the gardens. Photographer Don McCullin directed The Beatles to mingle with the crowd, resulting in an image which was used in 1973 for the gatefold sleeve of the 1962-1966 (Red Album) and 1967-1970 (Blue Album) compilations.

Also on this day...

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2 responses on “The Mad Day Out: location five

  1. Tibor Hajdu

    I visited the place last year more times. It seems untouched by the time for centuries. It is a good place for meditation, contemplation. The flowers at the St Pancras Hospital are nearly the same as decades ago on the photos. I can understand why the lads chose that gardens.

  2. Neil

    hi my name is Neil and I am the little boy in the photo next to George, I lived in the park at the time with my grand parents.
    I had a fantastic time while I lived there and I just about remember this day, I was only 4 or 5 years old, my brother is next to me and my grandmother is behind us. my granddad was the head gardener and we lived in the house next to the gates. I agree the gardens have a very calming feeling and I have very fond memories of my time there. I have revisited in my adult life and I still can run up the steps from the front gate ha ha, which was a game we always played as kids. I have so many more memories I could be here all night, thought I would share this with you. Neil.

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