Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane
I was on a weeks holiday. It was a cold early February day in 1967 and I hadn’t much better to do than to walk from my Home up to Sevenoaks High Street and frequent the then Coffee Bar ‘La Cabana’
La Cabana was the meeting place for all us late teen types; the place seated about 30, but you usually had about 50 in there. I’m sure the Owner never worried about the safety issue of numbers, probably because he couldn’t see more than half way down the Cafe for Smoke!!
As soon as I walked in I was asked if I’d heard the news that The Beatles had been filming just a stones throw away in Knole Park. I hadn’t and was most disappointed to learn they had done their business and left.
Some lucky people got to hear about it early enough to wander up and see them, there are stories to this day by local folk who got an autograph or had some story to tell. One young man even got a Bottle of Champagne from the Set and with the exception of Ringo, got them to sign it – now a valuable little piece!
They were there to make a Promotional Film for their latest ‘double A sided’ release of Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane now regarded as being the first Pop Video.
Both ‘stories’ were filmed around the Owl House just at the back of Knole House tucked between two Holes of the demanding Golf Course.
For Penny Lane they rode horses through the derelict archway at the rear of Owl House and around he corner towards the Hole 7 Fairway.
After that, the video shows them having some sort of Picnic next to the Pond beside the short Par 3 just a few yards further behind the House.
The Archway and the corner wall are more or less the same now as they were then, the Pond is now very overgrown and it’s difficult to get to the exact spot where they sat etc.
You will see from the photographs right and above that many trees are no longer there being torn down during the Great Storm of 1987 which ripped apart much fine woodland accross the Weald of Kent.
The finished film was blended in with scenes filmed in their native Liverpool.
The tree featured in Strawberry Fields forever (what is the story exactly??) appears to be no longer there.
Apparently it was virtually on the Tee of Hole 7 and being in very open land, one assumes that was lost in the Storm.
There are other very similar shaped trees around but none seem to have exactly the same features all be it that 43 years have passed since.
I am blessed in having a Son who is a big fan of the Beatles plus most music of that time, to take him along was a real experience for him – and a treat for me as Knole Park brings back many happy memories of youth when time and history were changing at such a fast rate.
One final little story is that whilst The Beatles were there, John Lennon went into a local Antique Shop, was attracted to and purchased an old Circus Poster which had as it’s main title ‘being for the benefit of Mr.Kite’ and we all know where that went to!
The song is written entirely around the poster including names of the acts etc. The only thing not on the poster is the name of the Horse, which Lennon called Henry.