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Tuesday, January 31, 1967

John Lennon buys the poster that inspires him to write “Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!”

Last updated on May 2, 2024

On this day, John Lennon purchased a poster advertising a circus that took place in February 1843 near Rochdale, Lancashire, from an antique shop in Sevenoaks, Kent. The Beatles were in the area filming their promotional film for “Strawberry Fields Forever”.

John was inspired by the poster to write the lyrics for his song “Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite!“, which was later released on the album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band“.


At the end of January 1967, the Beatles were shooting a promotional film in Knole Park, near Sevenoaks, Kent, for their new ‘Strawberry Fields Forever/‘Penny Lane’ double-A-sided single. […] Ever the magpie, John had been browsing in a Sevenoaks antique shop and had come across an old Victorian poster. It advertised a circus that actually took place, in 1843, in a field near Rochdale, Lancashire. He bought it on the spot, and gave it pride of place in his entrance hall in Weybridge.

Obviously the events shown on the poster fired his imagination, and inspired him and Paul to write the song that was to become such a fundamental part of Pepper. All the names in the song are there, on that ageing bit of vellum: the Henderson Twins, Pablo Fanques, Mr Kite… as are most of the lyrics.

George Martin – From “With A Little Help From My Friends: The Making of Sgt. Pepper“, 1995


PABLO FANQUE’S CIRCUS ROYAL,
TOWN-MEADOWS, ROCHDALE.

Grandest Night of the Season!
AND POSITIVELY THE
LAST NIGHT BUT THREE!
BEING FOR THE
BENEFIT OF MR. KITE,
(LATE OF WELLS’S CIRCUS) AND
MR. J. HENDERSON,
THE CELEBRATED SOMERSET THROWER!
WIRE DANCER, VAULTER, RIDER, &c.
On TUESDAY Evening, February 14, 1843.
Mssrs. KITE and HENDERSON, in announcing the following Entertainments, assure the Public that this Night’s Production will be one of the most splendid ever produced in this town, having been some days in preparation.
Mr. KITE will, for this night only, introduce the
CELEBRATED
HORSE, ZANTHUS!
Well known to be one of the
best Broke Horses
IN THE WORLD!!!
Mr. HENDERSON will undertake the arduous Task of
THROWING TWENTY-ONE SOMERSETS,
ON THE SOLID GROUND.
Mr. KITE will appear, for the first time this season,
On the Tight Rope,
When Two Gentlemen Amateurs of this Town will
perform with him.
Mr. HENDERSON will, for the first time in Rochdale,
introduce his extraordinary
TRAMPOLINE LEAPS
AND
SOMERSETS!
Over Men & Horses, through Hoops, over Garters,
and lastly through a
Hogshead of REAL FIRE!
In this branch of the profession Mr. H challenges
THE WORLD!
For particulars see Bills of the day.
JONES & CROSSKILL, PRINTERS AND BOOKSELLERS, YORKSHIRE STREET, ROCHDALE.

From Limited edition ‘Being for the benefit of Mr Kite’ letterpress print (kiteprint.com)
From Limited edition ‘Being for the benefit of Mr Kite’ letterpress print (kiteprint.com)


Going further

The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years

"With greatly expanded text, this is the most revealing and frank personal 30-year chronicle of the group ever written. Insider Barry Miles covers the Beatles story from childhood to the break-up of the group."

We owe a lot to Barry Miles for the creation of those pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details - a day to day chronology of what happened to the four Beatles during the Beatles years!

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