Eleanor Rigby (1895 to 10th October 1939)

 

 

The song “Eleanor Rigby" is from the Revolver Album by The Beatles. It was written mostly by Paul McCartney however the original name was not Eleanor Rigby but Miss Daisy Hawkins.

 

Here I am at the grave of Eleanor Rigby (which was discovered in 1980 and now receives countless visitors from all over the globe.) Who knows if the name rose from his Paul McCartney’s subconscious as he put the song together. Though he said the name "Eleanor" came from the actress Eleanor Bron (who had starred with the Beatles in the film Help!) and "Rigby" came from a shop "Rigby & Evens Ltd, Wine & Spirit Shippers" he confessed it could have been influenced by the grave.

 

Lennon and McCartney used to sunbath and play in the graveyard (they had met at the Woolton Village garden fete across the road).

 

A real Eleanor Rigby was born in Liverpool in 1895. A register from Liverpool City Hospital (sold in 2008 for £115,000) stated an "E. Rigby" was a scullery maid. There are no surviving pictures of her. She was born on Vale Road which backs onto Menlove Avenue where Lennon grew up.  She was married at 35 (very old in those days) to a much older railway foreman. Eleanor could not have children and died a month after the outbreak of World War II from a brain haemorrhage at 44.

 

The song always mentioned “Father McKenzie” and just a few feet away from the Eleanor Rigby grave is that of another bearing the name "McKenzie." Though Paul McCartney said he picked "McKenzie" from the telephone book he said it could have surfaced from the soup of his mind.

 

Well-dressed wedding guests were arriving for a ceremony as trampled around the grave yard. As they walked up to their church entrance in posh frocks and suits I almost shouted, “Look - the Eleanor Rigby grave!” Instead I sat in my car and had a coffee and a slab of Cadbury’s chocolate cake.