Welcome to Beatlepool
18 July, 2016
In effect, The Beatles are the benchmark for pop music. They are a veritable icon, essential to any understanding of 20th-century culture. But, we won’t labour the point, as all the details can be found in Wikipedia and music history books. What we are going to reveal in this post, however, is a list of the places associated with the history of the group’s members during their Liverpool years or where they drew inspiration for some of their songs. The quartet made up of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr are still a magnet for the new generations and in Liverpool the story repeats itself ad infinitum.
The 10 “Beatles Points”
1. The Beatles Story
A good way of immersing yourself in the Beatlesque universe is to visit The Beatles Story Museum, in the Albert Docks industrial buildings. We went there and were stunned by all the memorabilia we came across relating to the Fab Four. The museum even hosts workshops for children. It is also the starting point for The Magical Mystery Tour, a two-hour bus tour around places associated with the group.
2. The Cavern
Rebuilt brick by brick after its demolition in 1973 is the famous basement on Mathew Street known as The Cavern. It was here that they played for the first time and where they were discovered by the music manager, Brian Epstein. This venue is a must-visit, whether you’re a fan of The Beatles or not. We urge you to go on a Thursday when countless Beatles imitation bands play. Mathew Street is currently abuzz with pubs and clubs where you can listen to live music, notably The Grapes, the pub where they used to meet before their performances.
3. Penny Lane
Lennon and McCartney lived very near this alley in the suburbs and they would walk down Penny Lane daily on their way to school. The barber shop, fish & chips shop and bank that feature in the song are still there. Some years ago, there was a move to change the name of the street, as Penny Lane was a character who had made his money from slavery. However, in the end, the power of Beatlesque support led the proponents to abandon their initiative.
4. Strawberry Fields
Strawberry Fields was one of the most groundbreaking singles in the Beatles’ career. The song is dedicated to the Strawberry Field orphanage which the Salvation Army ran in Beaconsfield Road, near Lennon’s home in Menlove Avenue. Only the metal gate and the gardens they used to play in still survive. The brick walls surrounding the gardens are painted with graffiti in memory of John.
5. St. Peter’s Parish Church
The Quarrymen was John Lennon’s first band and they used to rehearse in St. Peter’s Parish Church, in the Woolton district. It was there that in 1957 Lennon and McCartney first met. The church graveyard has a headstone with an inscription mentioning Eleanor Rigby, the protagonist of one of the Beatles’ songs. John lived very near there, in an avenue lined with semi-detached houses.
6. Oxford Street Maternity Hospital
Still standing here is the building which once housed the maternity hospital where John Lennon was born on 9 October 1940. He is said to have been born in the middle of an air raid during the Second World War. His mother was attended by his aunt, Mimi, who was appointed John’s guardian.
7. Liverpool College of Art
In 1957, Lennon took up studies at the Liverpool College of Art on Hope Street where he met Stu Sutcliffe, who became one of the Beatles soon afterwards. Some years later in Hamburg he left the group to pursue his career as a painter and lived with the German photographer, Astrid Kirchherr. Stuart died in 1962. Paul and George studied at the neighbouring Liverpool Institute.
The walls of this pub on Slater Street are decorated with paintings by Lennon and Sutcliffe. Its owner at the time, Allan Williams, offered them the opportunity to travel to Hamburg and play on a daily basis in the Kaiserkeller Club. This was the period of the Beat Brothers, with Pete Best, who became The Beatles’ original drummer, to be subsequently replaced by Ringo Starr.
9. The Casbah Club
This venue is where it all started. Before their success at The Cavern with The Beatles, John Lennon had performed live at the Casbah with his first group, The Quarrymen, in 1959. This club, located some 6 kilometres from downtown Liverpool, was originally a cellar owned by Mona Best, the mother of Pete Best. This was also where Ringo Starr’s first band, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, played. The Beatles were the last group to set foot on its stage, in 1962.
10. Quarry Bank Grammar School
John Lennon first entered this school on Harthill Road at the age of seven. Here, together with his childhood friend, Pete Shotton, he founded The Quarrymen, a group grounded in the teddy boy look which played rock’n’roll, the music that had stirred up a revolution among youths across the globe.
No one questions the fact that The Beatles were one of the greatest bands in the history of rock, and their association with Liverpool is irrefutable. Don’t wait to give yourself over to Beatlemania – check out our flights to Liverpool here.
Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS
18 July, 2016