Search

Beatles song immortalised circus owner

PUBLISHED: 14:56 17 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:43 30 June 2010

HE was the UK's first black circus owner and later became immortalised in a Beatles song.

And now the name of Norwich-born Pablo Fanque will live on forever in the city - after he was among the latest batches of famous people and sites in Norwich to be commemorated with blue plaques.

HE was the UK's first black circus owner and later became immortalised in a Beatles song.

And now the name of Norwich-born Pablo Fanque will live on forever in the city - after he was among the latest batches of famous people and sites in Norwich to be commemorated with blue plaques.

Eighteen new plaques have now been installed in the Elm Hill and Timberhill parts of Norwich, and 17 street plates have also gone up to explain the origins of the more unusual street names in the city.

The work is the next stage of plans by city charity Heart (Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust) to develop the distinctiveness of the two parts of the city that are internationally famous for their history and shopping.

Heart asked locals for suggestions of people, events and buildings to be commemorated on the plaques, and one of the stories that emerged was that of Pablo Fanque, who was immortalised in the Beatles' song 'Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite'.

Mr Fanque, who was born and raised in the city, was namechecked in the Beatles' lyric, 'The Hendersons will all be there, Late of Pablo Fanque's fair' on the 1967 Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album.

The plaque has been placed on the wall of the John Lewis department store in All Saints Green, opposite the entrance to Timberhill near to where Mr Fanque's family used to live.

Another plaque, at the bottom of Timberhill on the corner of Red Lion Street, celebrates the nearby former Orford Cellar, which hosted performances in the 1960s from rock legends Jimi Hendrix, Ginger Baker, Rod Stewart, David Bowie, Eric Clapton, Elton John and Geno Washington.

The venue also featured popular local acts including Lucas and the Emperors and The Continentals.

As well as plaques, street plates similar to those in the Norwich Lanes area have also been installed, providing information about the former names of some of Norwich's streets.

As reported in the Evening News, Heart was granted permission to use the Beatles lyric on the plaque by Sony/ ATV Music Publishing, which owns the copyright to the Beatles catalogue.

As all Beatles' fans know, John Lennon based the lyric for 'Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite' on an antique circus poster he bought. Mr Kite is believed to be William Kite, who worked for Pablo Fanque from 1843 to 1845. Pablo Fanque was born William Darby in 1796 in Norwich and died in Stockport in 1871.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Great Yarmouth Mercury. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Great Yarmouth Mercury