We spent last Saturday on a tour of Beatles related sites in Liverpool organised by our friend Colin. He’s a really keen Beatles fan and spent quite a bit of time organising the tour, researching and scouting out locations. So on Saturday morning we drove over to his house where, together with a bunch of Colin’s family and friends boarded a mini bus ready for the relatively short drive over to Liverpool.
First stop was Huyton Village Cemetery
Where Stuart Sutcliffe, the Beatles’ original bassist, is buried.
Then on to the Jewish cemetery, to visit Brian Epstein’s resting place
Then on to Penny Lane
Look closely and you can see Macca’s autograph
In my first year at University, I lived in Student Halls, just at the bottom of this famous street, so it brought back some memories. I used to go to the chippy half way down the street.
The Beatles song really describes the shops on Smithdown Square at the top of Penny Lane. This is where there’s a bus terminus where buses from the centre of the city with the named destination stop.
Here’s the bus stop
and the barber’s shop
We popped into the pub across the road from the chippy for half an hour and then, suitably refreshed set off for our next destination, Strawberry Field (note that Field is singular).
Strawberry Field, which isn’t far from where John Lennon grew up, used to be a Salvation Army children’s home. According to Wikipedia, he
would often scale the walls of Strawberry Field to play with the children in the Salvation Army home. The proprietors complained to his school about his antics but to no avail. Finally, they took him to his Aunt Mimi with whom John was living. She told him if he continued to do this, they would hang him. He continued anyway. Thus, the line in the song, “Nothing to get hung about, Strawberry Fields forever”
Construction work is taking place at the moment, so we were only able to take a look at the gates, which are actually replicas of the originals, installed May 2011.
Next stop was Mendips, on Menlove Avenue, where John Lennon lived with his Auntie “Mimi”
Both John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s childhood homes are owned by the National Trust and it’s possible to visit them and go inside on a National Trust tour. We’d done that some years ago. But on Saturday we could only look at the outside.
Then on to Woolton Village, to see the hall where John and Paul first met
and then into the churchyard
to see Elanor Rigby
and also to pay homage to the great Liverpool football manager, Bob Paisley.
Back on the bus and on to another cemetery, the final one of the day, to visit the very modest, but beautiful, grave of Julia Lennon (John’s mother)
Cilla Black is also buried in the cemetery so we had a look at her headstone too. Not as simple and modest as Julia’s.
Then back on the bus and on to Paul’s childhood home at 20 Forthlin Road
We then drove into Liverpool city centre and stopped for refreshments in the Jacaranda Club on Slater Street
The club was founded by Alan Williams, the Beatles first manager, and they used to perform here in their early days.
I loved the old Juke box
In the upstairs bar they have a record shop selling new and second hand vinyl discs, together with several turntables where you can listen to them (the second hand ones, anyway)
This Pete Best’s drum kit (the Beatles’ original drummer who was replaced by Ringo Starr)
Then it was back on the bus and down to the Pier Head to take a look at the statue dedicated to the Fab Four and pose for pictures
We had someone take a group photo, which is at the top of this post. I don’t normally post personal pictures but you’ll have to guess which one of the group is me!
A short drive from there and we were dropped off on Matthew Street
I used to hang out here and drink in some of the pubs in my student days. It was quite different then, much quieter, before it became a tourist attraction.
We called into the Cavern Pub for a drink and watched the band for a while – they were VERY loud
Before crossing the road and paying our £2-50 apiece to descend into the Cavern Club itself
There was a band on playing Beatles tunes
The Club opened on 16 January 1957 as a jazz club, but later became a centre of the rock and roll scene in Liverpool in the 1960s. It closed in March 1973, a few years before I went to Liverpool University and was filled in during construction work on the Merseyrail underground rail loop. It was excavated and reopened on 26 April 1984 to become a major tourist attraction (although the original entrance is long gone, replaced by an electrical substation.
We stayed the rest of the evening in the area, eating in a nearby restaurant. After the group split up with some choosing to sample the local pubs. We went with a smaller group for a drink in the Hard Day’s Night Hotel. Around 11 we all got back together to take the minibus back down the M58 to Wigan.
It was a good day out. Colin had done a great job pulling together the itinerary and keeping us entertained with quizzes and a commentary while we were on the bus. Well done Colin!