The Mad Day Out: location six

After leaving St Pancras Old Church and Gardens, The Beatles travelled to east London to Wapping Pier Head and Wapping High Street, for the sixth location of the Mad Day Out photoshoot.

They arrived in the evening, and parked their cars in Wapping High Street. The first photographs were taken near the corner of Sampson Street, before moving on to the concrete bed – now a park – between the two Wapping Pier Head buildings.

To get to the second location The Beatles climbed the fence surrounding the eastern Pier Head building and sat on the grass. John Lennon changed into a black waistcoat and Paul McCartney went bare chested.

Lennon swung a pickaxe at concrete, then lay down on the concrete slope. McCartney draped some heavy chains around his torso for some solo shots. The chains were situated at the bottom of the slope, and had previously been used to cordon off the area.

In one of the day’s more macabre occurrences, Lennon pretended to be dead while Ringo Starr felt his forehead and George Harrison wore his glasses. The Beatles then posed for photographs while standing on the edge of the quay by the east Pier Head building.

We went down to the river at Limehouse, near those beautiful Georgian sea captains’ houses. Lennon started stripping off, so did Paul McCartney. I suppose that meant they were relaxed. Then I took this bizarre photograph where Lennon appeared to pose as if he were dead. Maybe he was pretending to sleep, to look as if he was inebriated, but I’m convinced he was staging his own death. Again, this was 1968 and the height of the Vietnam War, from which I’d just returned. I was using my Nikon F’s, which I’d brought back from the battlefield. I think everything Lennon did was a protest. Every statement he made seemed to come out of anger. There were many contradictions to him. He was a talented man who could write about peace and love, but deep down he was forceful and aggressive.
Don McCullin
A Day In The Life Of The Beatles

A short walk took The Beatles to the Butler and Colonial Wharves buildings, at 24-28 Wapping High Street. They were photographed with Tower Bridge in the background, before finally returning to the west Pier Head building. Lennon was pictured lying on the ground wearing a camouflage jacket, while the other Beatles stood behind him.

They then drove to Paul McCartney’s house, 7 Cavendish Avenue, for the final location of the Mad Day Out.

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