Thursday, 30 April 2015

A Storm in a B-Cup



The Morgue Skiffle Cellar
"Balgownie"
25 Oak Hill Park,
Broadgreen,
L13







Historically part of Lancashire, Broad Green is a small, primarily residential district on the eastern edge of Liverpool, covering an area of just over a square mile and today close to the start of the M62 Motorway. It is bordered by Old Swan to the north west, Knotty Ash to the north east, Childwall to the south and, further east, Bowring Park where I grew up. 

Despite its size it is home to both Broad Green Hospital and Broad Green International School and is served by its own railway station where regular trains depart for Liverpool City centre, Manchester, Wigan and St. Helens. Along with some other stations on the same line, Broad Green is the joint oldest used railway station site in the world being a part of the original 1830 Liverpool and Manchester passenger railway. 

Walking in a north westerly direction up Broad Green Road you will shortly come to an area on the left called Oak Hill Park. 



Map showing position of the villas in Oak Hill Park 1906

In 1904 there were some 25 villas in this area owned by well to do merchants and other businessmen. Whilst the majority have since been demolished to make way for modern flats and houses a few examples of some very fine properties remain.

Three of the large houses remaining have been occupied by religious orders. Temperley (no. 84) is now called Bon Secours and was taken over by a Catholic Order of Sisters of that name in 1957.  Spekelands was, until 1991, the premises of the Convent of the Daughters of the Heart Mary who took over the property in 1949.

St. Martins nursing home presently occupies the site of Grange House, in 1904 the home of Peter Carroll and Owen Traynor, proprietors of a firm of oyster merchants. Grange House was subsequently taken over by the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition who had used it as a postulate house. Since moving from Manchester in 1932 they had been established in the adjacent house called Roseyln next door. However, war damage and deterioration to the latter property led to the Sisters buying a third house, Thornwood which is now in use as a convent with the former site of Roseyln now occupied by a residential home.
With regards to the quality of the former villas in Oak Hill Park the author Eddie Barker writes: One cannot fail to be impressed by the large rooms, the many bedrooms, splendid marble or mahogany fireplaces....many of them would have had a billiard room where the gentlemen would retire to have a cigar and a game on the foolside table.

Fern Lea, well hidden from the road by trees and bushes is privately owned. The property still has some of the old stables and an original cobbled area.






Directly opposite Fern Lea at 25a Oak Hill park is the former site of Balgownie.  The house was demolished in the 1960s and St. Agnes Secondary Modern School for Girls (latterly the St. Agnes Wing of the Broughton High School) was built on the site as seen above. The school too has now been demolished and today the land is occupied by a private house. I'd made several unsuccessful visits trying to find the site until a friend told me he'd noticed that the gates were still in situ whilst walking his dog around Oak Hill. 


So, what’s the connection to the fabulous foursome then?

Rory Storm was born Alan Caldwell and lived at 54 Broad Green Road near to the southern entrance to Oak Hill Park. He was an "extrovert entertainer" despite his serious stammer (which disappeared as soon as he started singing) and at the start of the 1960s his group The Hurricanes were considered to be one of the best in Liverpool, performing regularly in the Cavern and elsewhere. Ringo Starr would join the Hurricanes in late 1958.




Al’s sister Iris found her first boyfriend when she was thirteen, a fourteen year old lad from Speke called George Harrison. She met him after agreeing to accompany her friend, Ann Harvey on a double date at the Palace Ice Rink on Prescot Road in Kensington. Ann’s boyfriend was Arthur Kelly and he brought his friend George with him.


Palace Ice Rink, Prescot Road, Kensington

George definitely saw her as his first girlfriend, but was unsure how she saw the relationship. "My first girlfriend was Rory Storm's sister, Iris Caldwell. She was really nice and had cotton wool in her bra. She probably didn't ever think she was my girlfriend. You never know when you're young; you just fancy somebody, or someone's in the same room as you, and you end up thinking they're your girlfriend. ...I'd met Iris a couple of times and went round to her house and hung out".


George went on a couple more dates with Iris before being invited to her home in Broad Green Road to meet her parents, beginning a friendship with them that would last longer than his brief teenage romance with their daughter. Their mother, Vi Caldwell recalled that "George used to come and watch TV three times a week. He and Iris used to sit there holding hands. It was the first time either of them had ever taken any interest in someone of the opposite sex. At Iris' fourteenth birthday party, I remember George turned up in a brand new Italian-style suit covered with buttons. As in most teenage parties, they kept on playing kissing games and somehow or other, George and Iris always ended up together." 


During the course of his visits to the Caldwells, George became aware of the music club Al and his friend Johnny Byrne were planning to open. George later recalled that "they had a little basement that they were trying to turn into a coffee club. That seemed to be the craze in the Fifties". It was the second such venue in Liverpool. Two and a half miles away Lowlands, a similar club in the cellar of a large Victorian House opened a week earlier in Hayman's Green, West Derby.

The club, which they decided to call the Morgue Skiffle Cellar was in the cellar of Balgownie a big house six doors along from where Johnny Byrne lived and just around the corner from Alan. It was a nurses' home, owned by Mrs Thompson and it was she who allowed her nephew Alan and his friends to use the cellar as a teenagers’ music venue, to the delight of the area's excitable teenagers.  They promptly painted the club entirely in black and with the help of a couple of girls from the art college added some luminous skeletons which glowed in the light of an ultra-violet bulb. Hung over the entrance was a sign THE MORGUE which gave visitors the impression of a crypt.

The club was open for business twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. As the boys never obtained a license the Morgue was illegal. Mindful of this they didn't provide the club's address in the Evening Express advertisement for the opening session on 13 March 1958 which meant that few, if any, knew where it was.

Advertising handbills typed on coloured paper were handed out to local teenagers, individually signed by the clubs manager (a certain Al Caldwell) who also had his own skiffle group. 

Formed around January 1957 the Alan Caldwell Skiffle Group comprised of the eponymous vocalist and acoustic guitar player, John “Johnny” Byrne on vocals and guitar, Reginald “Reg” Hales on washboard and Jim Turner on tea-chest bass.  A year on and co-inciding with the opening of the Morgue, Al decided to rename his group the Texans.  

Keen to join them was fourteen going on fifteen years old George Harrison, demonstrating his not unsubstantial talents on the guitar in Al’s presence whenever the opportunity presented itself. Caldwell remained unimpressed. Perhaps put off by their age difference, he advised George to “Come back in a few years, son”.

George never bothered because shortly afterwards Paul got him into the Quarrymen. 

Some years before he passed away, Johnny Byrne handed former Mersey Beat editor Bill Harry the diaries he had kept for the years 1958 to 1963, together with permission for Bill to use them in a planned Mersey Beat project. As Bill writes on his website, the diaries provide an intriguing insight into the everyday life of a teenage musician growing up in Liverpool during the birth of the Mersey Sound and a mine of information for authors and historians of this particular era.

Using Johnny’s diary for 1958 we know that the club was active on the following Tuesday/Thursday nights:

March 13, 1958. As noted in the entry for Stanley Abattoir, Broad Green was miles away from where the Quarrymen lived in South Liverpool but they heard about the club through George and secured an engagement on this, the opening night, performing on the makeshift stage in rotation with Al Caldwell’s Texans.  Whatever fee they received was collected by passing an old metal teapot around the club in which the patrons would deposit coins.

March 20, 1958
March 25, 1958
March 27, 1958 – with the Bluegenes (later the Swinging Blue Jeans)

Ray Ennis of the Bluegenes: “The Morgue was just round the corner from Rory’s house. There was a mother and her daughter and she had persuaded her mother to let Rory and Johnny have a club there. They couldn’t charge for entry but they did pass a teapot round and collected donations in it. I doubt if there were more than 30 there when we played.”


It is uncertain who performed alongside the Texans on the other nights as we are relying on Byrne’s diary and he doesn’t always list the second group. The Quarrymen are likely to have performed several times, reportedly once as a trio of guitarists and at least once with Colin Hanton on drums. When they weren’t playing, John and Paul accompanied George to the Morgue, (after all, it was full of nurses) and they too struck up a lasting friendship with the Caldwell’s, especially Vi, mother of Al and Iris.  Remarkably they were at the Morgue on March 20 rather than at the Philharmonic Hall where Buddy Holly and the Crickets were performing. Why the Quarrymen, Holly fanatics all, chose not to go will never be explained.


Clearly Al was looking to improve the club because for the entry April 2, Byrne writes “bought new neck (?) for cellar. Alan’s dad broke it” followed a day later with “Bought fan for cellar, £9. Alan removed boards. Leaves more room”

By April word of mouth had spread the news of the club and on April 8, the next time the Morgue was open Alan’s alterations enabled 100 to squeeze in.  Another good crowd were dying to get in on April 15. By buying a bottle of Coca-Cola at the door you gained entrance.

Unfortunately the more people turned up at the club, the more unwelcome attention it attracted from the Oak Hill residents, to the point that on April 17, Mrs Thompson announced that they would have to close for five weeks. 

The club was open for a further two nights, on April 19 and 22 1958 at which point the pressure from the neighbours had led to talk of closing the cellar until 19 June. It was all over for good the following night, Byrne writing on April 23, that "Mr Brown and Co came round to Mrs Thompson's to say that the cellar must end.” Apparently Brown was unhappy with teenagers “frolicking”and chucking empty coke bottles in his garden.

George’s memory of cotton wool probably stems from the night Al decided to embarrass Iris. She recalls that "they had the Beatles on there for 30 bob (£1.50), but George Harrison wasn’t with them then. George was my boyfriend: we were kids but we were seeing each other. I was 13 and desperately wanted to go and Rory did let me go one night. I was not well developed and so I got a lot of cotton wool and shoved it down my bra and thought I looked older and off I went. Just as big brothers do, Rory announced that Iris was at the back and had cotton wool down her bra, and that broke my heart. I ran out of there sobbing and George chased me right round Oak Hill Park and gave me my very first kiss when he caught me. The only thing between us was cotton wool.”

Their brief teenage romance was not to last but all of the Caldwells remained very friendly with George, who loved Vi like a second Mum. This was something he would have in common with a lot of Iris’s boyfriends including Paul McCartney whom she dated in 1961 when she was (just) seventeen. "They were a great family and were very friendly to all of us. Later - after we'd come back from Hamburg and done loads of gigs in Liverpool and the North of England - we used Rory's house as a place to hang out when we got back to town after shows. His mother Vi would make endless pots of tea and toast for us all."(George Harrison – Anthology) 

Alan Caldwell - Rory Storm, and his mother Vi with Iris pictured on the wall 
Tragically Al's father died in 1972 and later that year both he and his mother Vi committed suicide. It must have been a terribly sad time for Iris who was living in a house opposite "Balgownie" at the time.

Having dated two Beatles, Iris Caldwell went on to marry Bernard Jewry, known in the sixties as Shane Fenton but probably better known now as seventies superstar Alvin Stardust.

Note:


Some Beatles Books state that George auditioned for the Quarry Men either at the Morgue or on the top deck of a bus after a night at the club. Whilst the timescales are about right, two facts puncture this myth: One, a week before the Morgue opened Mike McCartney had taken a photograph of George playing with John and Paul on Saturday 8 March 1958, and two, with Broad Green being so far from where John and Paul lived it's very unlikely they would have even known about the club, never mind played on the opening night had they not had George's insider information. 
Sources:

Web:


http://sentstarr.tripod.com/beatgirls/caldwell.html
You could spend hours in Billy Harry's Merseybeat site:
http://www.triumphpc.com/mersey-beat/a-z/johnnyguitar-diaries.shtml


Book: 

"In And Around Broad Green, Liverpool" by Eddie Barker (1991)

"Tune In" by Mark Lewisohn
"Anthology" - The Beatles

Photos:


"John, Paul, George and Dennis" (the colour photo of the Quarrymen used above) by Mike McCartney

"Rory Storm" by Astrid Kirchherr.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Breaking the Mold

Assembly Hall
High Street
Mold
Flintshire
North Wales

Mold is a busy market town in Flintshire, North Wales, not far from the border with England. The Beatles made one appearance at the Assembly Hall in the town centre on the evening of 24 January 1963.

The Beatles were paid £50, an extremely large fee, as bands who appeared there usually received, on average between £8 and £10. The local council had at first been very reluctant to pay them any more than the going rate and spent a considerable time in discussion before agreeing to the deal.

Rhona Jardine-Phillips who was involved in arranging dances on Thursday evenings told the Wrexham Leader in 2001: Some people thought it was rather a lot of money for a group.

In fact, £50 was a fraction of the fee that the group was commanding at the time. 

They were booked in the October or November of 1962 for just £50 by the old Mold Urban District Council. Shortly after that the band went to Hamburg and they released "Love Me Do" and "Please Please Me" and were really beginning to make it big. From what I understand they were then charging £700 a show and were reluctant to honour the Mold commitment, but their manager Brian Epstein insisted they did
(Elly Roberts, music journalist)

Ringo and George backstage at the Assembly Hall, Mold 

They had been booked to play for two hours. The Cavern Club's DJ Bob Wooler travelled down to compère the night, and Epstein was also present, as was Paul McCartney's brother Mike. Rumours abound that the Beatles spent the early evening in the nearby hostelry and were a little worse for wear on arrival.  Being drunk on stage did not appear to affect their performance (see the Star Club tapes) and the council had to agree with the teenagers who had packed the Assembly Hall that the money had been well spent. The assembly hall did not sell alcohol which may explain why they had spent the pre-performance elsewhere.

Or did they?

The Wrexham Leader pop page "Off Beat" ran an interview with the Beatles on 29 January conducted by their reporter David Sandison who wrote that he spent two hours backstage with them at the hall. 

David Sandison interviews Paul McCartney (photo by Michael McCartney)

"D.D.S. Meets The Beatles" declared the banner headline of what was perhaps the earliest of lengthy newspaper interviews with the group.

The lead column read "Off Beat's David Sandison was on the scene at Mold Assembly Hall on Thursday night (24 January). The Beatles, the new name in the new wave of beat music were given a great welcome by the hundreds of fans who packed the hall. The appearance was a screaming success, as two hundred ecstatic fans proved when the boys took to the stage. A quick return appearance seems likely for the popular Liverpool lads.


Sandison,in a two hour long interview with the Fab Four,described his meeting thus: The door of the dressing room opened a few inches and a face peered out. 'Wrexham Leader', I said. 'Come in lad' said the face, and yelled back in the room 'Press!' A hand was pushed into mine and John Lennon, the leader of the Beatles, introduced me to the other members of the group.'Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, sit down,if you can find a seat. 

Having found a seat,Sandison launched into a marathon interview the content of which was to be repeated a thousand times in the early years of Beatlemania.'What don't you like about popularity?' Paul answered 'The long journey to dates.Once you you've arrived it's fine,but the hours wasted in cars and trains are enough to drive you round the bend.'


I remarked on the strong rhythm and blues touch to their music.This time John Lennon spoke up.'That figures,because Ray Charles is our idea of the end.' 

Chuck Berry another rhythm and blues specialist rates in in their wide repertoire,with numbers like Sweet Little Sixteen producing a fantastic, almost Nashville sound. Nashville, is of course, the Country and Western centre of the world, and there is more than a touch of Country Music in their arrangements. Talking about Nashville, it came out in conversation that George Harrison is a great Chet Atkins fan. The boys amusement at the other hobbies George had (food and girls) prompted me to ask them what their hobbies were. John Lennon and Paul McCartney spoke as one man in their tastes. 'Girls, song writing, eating and sleeping Ringo Starr, the frantic drummer who supplied the force behind the Beatles was quick to answer. 'Driving, music (Dinah Washington and Ray Charles) and girls'


Also on the bill were the brilliantly named Dave Roman and The Chariots.


I was rhythm guitarist in the Chariots on the night we supported the Beatles in Mold. Lead guitarist Terry Wilcox now lives in Silverstone I believe. Does anyone know what happened to Dave Reevey the lead singer of the Chariots last heard of in Ellesmere Port? As we were setting up equipment I played a tune on the piano for Paul McCartney and he said "It's good that". I have dined out on this tale many times since! (Wally Rees)


What did they play? The nearest available set list we have to the date of the Assembly Hall show is this one, from Sheffield on 12 February 1963. In the early months of 1963 they were still performing sets heavy with cover versions, at Sheffield only 9 out of the 20 songs played were original compositions and no doubt the Mold show was very similar. David Sandison's report certainly seems to indicate Sweet Little Sixteen was performed, as were the group's two singles to date, Love Me Do and Please, Please Me.

Azena Ballroom, Sheffield, 12 February 1963



  • I Saw Her Standing There
  • Sweet Little Sixteen
  • Chains
  • Beautiful Dreamer
  • Misery
  • Hey Good Lookin'
  • Love Me Do
  • Baby It's You
  • Three Cool Cats
  • Please, Please Me 
  • Interval/break 
  • Some Other Guy
  • Ask Me Why
  • Roll Over Beethoven
  • A Taste of Honey
  • Boys
  • Keep Your Hands Off My Baby
  • Do You Want To Know A Secret
  • From Me To You
  • Please Please Me (possible encore)
  • Long Tall Sally

Memories of the show:

Paul McCartney sang to me for my 16th birthday which I was celebrating that week. Happy memories. (Jennifer Hughes (Evans), from Wrexham)

I was 18 years old when The Beatles came to Mold. I lived in the town at the time. When we got in, we rushed up the stairs. There were lots of boys and girls with a big gang from Liverpool. They were doing the 'Stomp' to music by The Chariots. (Bernice Sivel, Wrexham)

I was with the boys for about two hours and when the time came for them to do their act, I went ahead to take a look at crowd. The minute Paul and John came out of the door to the stage, the place was filled with screams as hundreds of girls clamoured forward.The screams were carried on through the hour they were on stage.
(David Sandison)

The Beatles were on a little raised platform across the corner, not a stage, so you could actually get to them. We knew they were special. They had already had one hit and the second was going up the charts. It was ticketed so lots of people couldn't get in. I think I paid five shillings or seven and six, which is about 30p in today's money. I danced the night away. They were fantastic and appeared to enjoy themselves.

(Margaret Lysaght, 16 in 1963, Mold)

When The Beatles came on there was a lot of pushing and shoving again as they moved towards the stage to get close up. I clearly remember them playing Love Me Do and Please, Please Me. They were fantastic that night, and we were besotted with them. At the end of their spot I tried to grab Paul McCartney's scarf, but he wouldn't let me have it. It turned into a bit of a tug-o-war and he said, 'It's the only one Ive got,' and left the room. (Bernice Sivel, Wrexham)

I was at this show. I was 20 years old at the time. I went with a gang of friends. I paid about 60 old pence for the ticket. The place was packed with lots of screaming girls. Everyone was very excited, as they'd just become known through their TV appearances and the single Love Me Do. There was probably twice the normal crowd for the regular Thursday night dances. I'm certain that their manager Brian Epstein was there too, but I thought he was just the compere. (Owen Thomas, Cilcain)

It was out of this world.There was talk about it for weeks afterwards. I will always remember Brian Epstein's face,he was absolutely mesmerised with the reception that the yougsters gave the band. (Rhona Jardine-Phillips)


After the show the Beatles signed autographs for the fans.


I was lucky enough to win the second door prize, it was their 1st single, a 45 record "Love Me Do". I got to go on stage to collect it. Later that night someone I knew asked if I wanted the record autographed. I said OK and we went down behind the stage to the dressing room. All the group signed the record. I was made up. (Dave, Canada, formerly Mold)


I was on the Mold Urban District Council at the time. I was a doorman on the night they played at the Assembly Hall. They were booked to appear there in October 1962, then from the 18th to 31st December, they appeared at the Star Club in Hamburg, where they were very popular. I'm not certain if they wanted to come to Mold after that, but Brain Epstein insisted they honoured the booking. On the night, I was at the back entrance opposite the pub, where the artists came in. I didn't see the group on stage, but I can remember the noise inside, it was incredible. After the show, girls were screaming at the back entrance. I had a difficult job containing them, and I could only let two girls in at a time. The Beatles signed autographs on various parts of their anatomies! It was absolutely manic. The girls were going crazy.

(Rupert Lloyd, from Llanarmon yn Iâl)

I was 17 at the time the Beatles came to Mold. . I was a Jones then from Northop and went to the dances in the Assembley every Thursday, along with Ann Catherall, Cath Piercy, and Vicky Lloyd, where we saw all the groups of the day. The night of the Beatles my younger sister was not allowed to go, but made me get their autographs for her. Not only did I get them for her, but came home with John Lennon's autograph on my arm! Unfortunately I was at another dance the following night and so had to wash it off the next day! (Marilyn Cadwallader from Llanarmon yn Iâl)


I was 19 years old at the time. A gang of us went to see The Beatles in Mold. I was one of the last to leave the Assembly Hall. Before I left I was asked to help move some of their instruments from the dressing room. I went down stairs and knocked on the door, and went in. They were drinking out of bottles as I recall. John Lennon said, 'Carry these things to the van!', in an abrupt voice. I told him in a very impolite way to take them himself, and left the building. That's my claim to fame (Howard Williams, Nannerch)


 I was a full-time pupil at Hawarden Grammar School and part-time roadie for Dave Roman (Revie) and the Chariots and was at Mold the night that The Beatles played in the Assembly Rooms. My enduring memories are: - Bob Wooller from the Cavern as visiting DJ / Announcer holding up a copy of that day's ? Daily Mirror with the Beatles featured in the charts with "Please, Please Me" - The equipment - Paul McCartney had a Vox 60 watt base amplifier with a transistorised head (a first in Mold) and Barry (AKA Snaz) Roberts, base player for the Chariots was invited to use it for the Chariots' slot on the bill! We couldn't get the smile off his face for weeks! - Brian Epstein very smartly dressed and wearing brown and white leather shoes which were definitely OTT for Mold on a winter's night! - Sharing the band room under the stairs that was tiny that we could hardly move with us and the Beatles in there - having to go to the pub across the alley to get a crate of beer and a bottle of Scotch for the bands because the Beatles could not go out without being mobbed by the girls that were outside in the cold (I think there was snow on the ground at the time) - seeing John Lennon eating a hot dog covered with tomato ketchup whilst still wearing his leather gloves - seeing John Lennon signing his autograph on a girl's thigh above her stocking top and down the front of her dress! - getting the autographs of John, Paul and Ringo in the band room - catching George Harrison for his autograph at the top of the stairs as he left early to visit his auntie in Hawarden (Broughton) on the way home to Liverpool (yes, I got all 4 on a single page and my sister still has these in a safe deposit box at her bank!) - a C & W group on the side stage as an additional supporting act (all Gibson Guitar and mean guitar picking) - coming home and telling my father that the Beatles were going places and would be very big (I was always one for understatement!) (Dr Ian M Millington, Swansea)





After the show three of the Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr went back to The Talbot pub (now Beaufort Arms) in Holywell, with two girls from the show. Their landlady mum was in bed, but the girls got her out of bed to make sandwiches for them. Paul McCartney played songs on a rickety up-right piano for about half an hour. They were very entertaining. Apparently George had gone from Mold to see his Auntie Jinnie in Broughton. As John, Paul and Ringo left the pub, the landlady asked them to pay up, so they gave her 30 shillings for the food. They did not stay there overnight. (Peter Roberts, Holywell)

Ian Brown, 18 at the time, was at the concert with his 17-year-old sister Moya when the pair invited The Beatles back to the pub "My sister Moya was friends with the tour manager for Gerry and the Pacemakers who were well acquainted with the Beatles. After the concert she persuaded them to come back to the pub for a drink. We took a couple of cars from Mold up to Holywell and I jumped in with Paul McCartney to show him the way. I was a really big fan so it was quite daunting" 


But the party encountered a hitch when they made it to the Well Street pub:





It was quite late so the pub was closed up,” said Ian. “We knocked on the door and my dad, John, answered. I told him he had to let us in because the Beatles were here, and he said ‘I don’t care who they are, they’re not coming in. But we twisted his arm in the end. They were very nice chaps. I remember that it was winter time and they were wearing leather gloves and scarves. We were all eating sandwiches and John Lennon was playing a tune on the upright piano. I thought it was a bit of a laugh at the time. Now when I see them on television, I tell everyone the story.

To conclude his article, journalist David Sandison asked whether the Beatles would make a return visit. 'We'd like to come back to Mold' said John 'but I don't know if they will want us back' . Signing off, Sandison was sure (that) "If the committee and fans of the Mold Assembly Hall have any say,the Beatles will be asked back...but soon!" 


Margaret Lysaght: (After the show) John Lennon said "We've loved coming. We'd like to come again. You've paid us £50 but if we come again it'll be £500.


The Beatles never returned.




The Building

The building has changed little and is now a branch of the Lloyds TSB bank. In 2005 a campaign was launched for a plaque to be mounted on the wall of the former Assembly Hall commemorating the Beatles appearance. An application for the plaque was submitted to the conservation department of Flintshire Council by music journalist Elly Roberts and Beatles author and historian Ray O'Brien.


Mr Roberts said he had strong support from the community and wanted the plaque to be a "lasting honour" to the Liverpool band who honoured the booking at the Mold assembly hall on 24 January 1963.


Ray O'Brien said the memorial would help put the town on the map for fans.

"Liverpool is only 45 minutes away from Mold and every autumn 500,000 people go there for the Beatles convention," he said. "I arrange Beatles tours myself and I'm sure that some of those people who visit Liverpool could be persuaded to come to north Wales to see another item of memorabilia"

I was pleased to learn that both gentlemen got their wish. The plaque was unveiled on Tuesday 15 November 2005 with ITV Wales and BBC Radio Wales covering the event. However, unlike most (in fact all) of the other plaques on venues around the North West commemorating a Beatles' appearance, the one in Mold is not actually on the building where they performed. Instead, you can find it on the wall inside the 
Y Pentan pub situated in New Street, next door to the Assembly Hall.  Reportedly this is where The Beatles spent some time before the concert and it was thought to be the ideal place after permission to put the plaque on the Assembly Hall was denied, apparently due to the listed status of the building.




Stranglely, the listed status doesn't seem to have prevented THIS plaque being installed on the wall of the Assembly Hall by the Mold Civic Society. Most peculiar Mama... 






Pictured above is the original, one off handmade poster advertising the Beatles' performance at the Mold Assembly Hall on Thursday 24 January 1963. This came directly from the wall of the Mold Co-operative Building where it hung until recently coming up for auction.


Note: Before this gig the Beatles had made a personal appearance at the NEMS store in Whitechapel, Liverpool signing copies of their new single, Please, Please Me and unwittingly ensuring a great many local fans would be able to buy new boilers and the like fifty years later.



Signed examples of the Please, Please Me single obtained at NEMS on 24 January 1963. 








Source: