Madeleine – Paul McCartney

am gradually building up a timeline that surrounds the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Most timelines cover 5.30pm to 10pm on 3 May 2007. Operation Grange in Crimewatch 2013 stretched it bit further with incidents a few weeks before and shortly after.

I want stretch it to decades before, because I believe the development of Luz, and of the Ocean Club is critical to understanding what happened to Madeleine, so please stick with me.

Way back in late 1968, Paul McCartney flew in to Faro airport, to visit Hunter Davis in Luz. He was accompanied by Linda Eastman, who would go on to become Linda McCartney. Hunter Davies had written an official biography of the Beatles and had stayed in touch with the band thereafter. Davies was renting accommodation in Luz, and late one night around New Year of 1968-1969 McCartney turned up out of the blue, needing money to pay for a taxi due to a mix-up at Faro airport.

Davies covered this story and others in his autobiography, Memoirs From The Outside Looking In. My interest really lay in his description of the development of Luz and the Ocean Club, which affects the design and the security of the complex.

Davies also says that the area was basically undeveloped at the time. The turning point seems to have been the opening of Faro airport just a few years prior to McCartney’s visit. Presumably this opened the Algarve up as a tourist destination. The trip from Faro to Luz was much more arduous than it is today, or the way Davies describes it, much more quaint and interesting. The children played a game of counting the donkeys and carts on the journey.

Davies further says the first complex to be built in Luz was the Luz Bay Club, also known as the Hotel Luz Bay. It started shortly after the time of McCartney’s visit but at the time there were no holiday homes in Luz to mention.

The design of the Luz Bay Club seems to be similar in principle to the Ocean Club. There is a communal area for sunbathing, swimming and playing, with its own restaurant, and a lot of tennis courts. That area is fenced off, and one needs to enter it via 24hr reception. However, the properties themselves seem to be outside this area, and public access is possible as it uses the streets of Luz. The location is a bit quieter than the Ocean Club, in terms of traffic, though the front is along one of the designated routes to the beach.

I don’t know whether the locks are operated by a manual key or by a swipe key card. From the date of the build, I would guess a manual key. I think Heri may know because I believe he stayed there on his visit in May 2016.

The Luz Bay Club seems to be a prototype for the Ocean Club. The differences are I would rate the Luz Bay Club as more upmarket, while the Ocean Club is larger and more spread-eagled over the streets of Luz.

The Ocean Club was developed in 1982 by a trio of entrepreneurs. By that time, the infrastructure of Luz was extended and consequently the Ocean Club fits into more busy roads and encompasses three almost separate areas of Luz. And instead of the low-rise of the Luz Bay Club, it has blocks designed to pack more apartments into the space available.

The date of the design, and the spread of the Ocean Club, lead to certain security features. First, the locks are manual. There was no technology in 1982 to permit computer-controlled locks over this spread. And the business model was that the properties were sold to investors, meaning they are private. Customers could then enter into an arrangement with the Ocean Club to manage them, or they could choose not to. Basically, Portugal does not allow CCTV is public spaces, so the design and the business model of the Ocean Club mean CCTV is out for most of the areas. Exceptions are the Tapas area and the Millennium zone, both of which are fenced off, so private, and CCTV could be installed there.

Returning to the Hunter Davies book and the visit of Paul McCartney, there is one photo in circulation of Luz in 1968.


Hunter is on the left. His wife Margaret is on the right. In the centre is Linda Eastman and Paul McCartney.

The article written about this says Hunter took 8mm film while Linda took still photos. So there may be more historic material of this rattling around in an attic somewhere.

I cannot identify the precise location for this photo. It is not a Luz I recognise. But then, this whole story is about how Luz was transformed.

As for Paul McCartney, his look is very distinctive. This photo was taken shortly after the release of ‘Hey Jude’. That song is allegedly a reference to Julian (Jules) Lennon, written by McCartney following the split of John Lennon and Jules’ mother. The Luz photo was taken shortly before the release of ‘Get Back’. This is reputed to be a McCartney song about Yoko Ono. The odd thing about the cover of the single ‘Get Back’ is it depicts McCartney as clean-shaven, so goodness knows when it was taken.

The sequence is #1 ‘Hey Jude’. #2 the visit of Paul McCartney and Linda Eastman to Luz. #4 the release of ‘Get Back’. Squeezing in at #3 was the Beatles rooftop session, where McCartney was the same hairy-faced person he was in Luz. You can find the rooftop session all over the Internet, but this is ‘Get Back’, a supposed dig by Paul McCartney at Yoko Ono.


The second link is John Lennon with ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, which appears to be a clear tribute to Yoko. 


The Beatles were in the process of disintegrating.  Luz was in the process of coming together.


5 thoughts on “Madeleine – Paul McCartney

  1. Perhaps you should dig further back. What about the famous Library of the Algarve that was put on fire by the British led by Robert Devereux, after having stolen a hundred of precious books (most are now, it seems, in Oxford University, Bodleian Library). The worst was stealing the oldest book printed in Portugal by the Jewish Samuel Gacon, in 1487 : the Pentateuch, in hebrew (many Portuguese were Jewish). That book is still detained in the UK… Could someone have abducted the MC child in order to get that book back ?

  2. Regarding the photo of Luz from 1968. I could be mistaken but it appears to be the same area of beachfront as in the following video:

    Check out area shown between 3.20-4.30 approx. The area shown between 4.26 looks very like the wall behind the group with the flat area of stone close to the front shore where the group was standing in the photograph?

    • Personally, I can see nothing that joins the photo of McCartney’s visit to modern day Luz. Desculpe.

      However, the video link is an absolute gem. With a date of 2008, it is to date the far and away the closest I have seen to ‘normal’ Luz following Madeleine’s disappearance. It has several things about the esplanade etc which have changed since then. It captures Luz in aspic.

      Many thanks. The video link is going into my locker.

  3. Thanks for the reply. There are several good general videos of Luz that I have looked at. I found that one just doing a general search on YouTube. Has Luz changed so much since 2008?

    Regarding the Paul McCartney photo in 1968 – I believe it shows the group standing on the flat sedimentary rocks of the seashore to the south (?) of the main sandy beach area. Behind the group is a section of the old stone wall of promenade.

    This wall and the promenade near the roman baths have been significantly tarted up since 1968, but if you look closely you can see where the promenade/ walkway is now, there was a narrow track which was at least accessible by cars back in the 1960s. The video segment around 4.26 appears at least to match the wall where it changes in height.

    Considering the changes over time I think it is possibly a good fit. Though best way to check would be to take a photograph at the approximate location detailed to verify!

  4. Addendum: I should have included that the promenade area I mentioned is properly known as the
    Rua dos Pescadores.

    That area of flat sedimentary rocks I referred to – are to the west of the main sandy beach in Luz (not south as stated).

    Btw as far as I am aware there is another photograph that shows Paul McCartney on that beach.

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