Ellie Wilde contemplating John’s connection with St Peter’s Church
It is a little known fact that John Lennon once tried his hand at bell-ringing at St Peter’s Church in his youth. The current Tower Captain at St Peter’s, Nick Willasey, told us that: “John Lennon did attend a couple of bell-ringing practices around 1957 – but didn’t take it up, as the then Tower Captain suggested that bell-ringing may not be for him, as John was not keen on doing what he was instructed to do!” Nick went on to add that “John would have been taught on Bell Number 3.”
The exciting news for visitors to the Church during the anniversary is that the Bell Tower will be open for tours during the celebrations, and visitors will be invited to have a go at bell-ringing themselves on the historic Bell Number 3!
Full details for the Bell Tower tours have yet to be confirmed, but we are delighted to announce that it will be open to visitors on Wednesday July 5 and Thursday July 6 for three one-hour slots:
Once up the tower there will be flyers about the history of the tower and bells and recruitment, and an opportunity to hear about bells and bellringing with some ringers as well, of course, as the opportunity to ring Bell Number 3!
We’ve saved the best for last! Here are James Davis’ photos of the procession that began the festivities on July 6, 1957 the day that John met Paul, and also Geoff Rhind’s famous photograph of the Quarrymen performing at the fete in the afternoon. You have to wonder what was in John’s mind as he sat on the back of the lorry as it trundled around Woolton village, or in Paul’s mind when he first saw John on stage! Whatever it was, little did they know that their lives would never be the same again as a result of that ‘fateful’ conversation in St Peter’s Church Hall later that day!
We are indebted to Rod Davis and Geoff Rhind for allowing us to post their photographs on our website!
Although James Davis didn’t take any photos inside St Peter’s Church Hall in 1957, these were taken in the early to mid-fifties and early 1960s, and so they give us a really good idea of what the hall looked like in 1957 when John and Paul met!
Although the first big anniversary celebration didn’t take place at St Peter’s until 1997, we were thrilled when a member of the current congregation gave us some old parish magazines that she’d found. Among them was one from July 1987, which included a small piece commemorating the 30th anniversary of the day that John met Paul and discussing the impact that that meeting was having on Woolton village as well as on the world.
One of the wonderful things about preparing to celebrate the 60th anniversary is the constant discovery of little snippets like these of the Church’s past that only confirm how important St Peter’s Church is in the story and legacy of the Beatles!
There are occasions when the words “thank you” will never be enough to express the full extent of a person’s gratitude. Today, for all of us at St Peter’s Church, is one of those days, as we attempt to express our thanks to the Hard Day’s Night Hotel.
As we were planning the events for Sunday July 9, we realised that there might be a slight problem for those people who wished to attend the whole day. With the Church service beginning at 10.30am, and the party not finishing until at least 4pm, we knew that everyone would be faced with the choice of either going hungry or missing out on some of the fun while they went in search of their Sunday dinner! However, the only way that the Church could provide refreshments would also involve charging an entry fee — and that’s the last thing that we want to do!
The Lennon Suite, Hard Day’s Night Hotel
Well, thanks to the wonderful people at the Hard Day’s Night hotel, our dilemma may have been at least partially resolved! Through the exceedingly generous support of the hotel, we will be able to offer snacks to all our visitors that day completely free of charge!
We, at St Peter’s Church are so very grateful for this wonderful gesture of support, and not only because it makes it possible for us to continue to welcome visitors to share in the celebrations without having to charge an entrance fee. It also represents and reflects the hotel’s belief in the importance of St Peter’s Church in the history and the legacy of the Beatles, and that means the world to us.
thank you from all at st peter’s to the hard day’s night hotel!
“With a little help from our friends … ” Thank you, Hard Day’s Night Hotel!
Some more wonderful memories from the collection of James Davis of St Peter’s Church Fete!
Remember that the PTA of Bishop Martin School, in conjunction with the Cavern Club, will be recreating the fete of 1957 on July 6, 2017 as part of the celebrations of the day that John Lennon and Paul McCartney first met! More details of that are available HERE
Only four photographs in this collection (dated 1955 by Rod Davis, and used with his very kind permission) – but doesn’t the Scout zipwire look fab?!
We have to confess that some of our most favourite photos from James Davis’ wonderful collection that shows Woolton in the 1950s are in this batch! One of them contains James’ shadow, which we think is really beautiful.
The procession featured in this collection took place in the winter (see the lack of leaves on the trees). We thought it might be for Remembrance Sunday, but we can’t see if the people watching are wearing poppies.
See if you can spot the “beatle” (but remember that we can’t always spell things correctly … )
Thank you James! Your shadow will always touch our lives.
Thanks again to Rod Davis for allowing us to share these wonderful photos with you!
With a theme of ‘past, present and future’ for the final day of our anniversary celebrations, as well as our emphasis on the importance of community, there can be no-one better to take us back into the past and to the day that it all began than the Woolton-based group, Rob Clarke and the Wooltones!
Forgoing their trademark ‘60s psych Mersey style pop, Rob and the band will don checked shirts to play a full one-hour skiffle set that will feature many of the songs John and The Quarrymen played back in 1957. In doing so, they will truly take us back to that moment with another local lad and his mates played skiffle here at St Peter’s Church before heading out to change the world!
Rob and the Wooltones will feature in the grande finale of the anniversary celebrations, taking place in St Peter’s Church Hall from approximately 1pm to 4pm (a more detailed schedule will be available nearer the time, so watch this space). Admission is free and refreshments will provided, so please join us for what promises to be an unforgettable and fabulous event!
We were absolutely delighted when Rob and the band, the appropriately named Wooltones, agreed to take part of the anniversary celebrations, and we cannot thank them enough. As well as playing down the Cavern for the past three years as part of the IPO Festival, Rob also recorded in Nashville with Neil Young producer Elliot Mazer last year and his music features regularly here on the BBC and on USA radio.
Rob and the Wooltones have attracted attention worldwide and their current Album ‘Are You Wooltoned?’ was New Jersey label Kool Kat Musik’s 2016 best seller and featured in various 2016 best release lists all over the planet including Goldmine Magazine.
To understand why we’re so delighted with this news, check out the video of their recent track, “Brown Paper Bag,” and some of their many great reviews!
‘Rob Clarke And The Wooltones are from Woolton (Get It?), a suburb of Liverpool. Pure Merseybeat… It’s brilliant to note that the spirit of Scouse Pop isn’t dead and this compilation is certainly one of the better releases that I’ve heard this year’ – I Don’t Hear a Single Blog
‘A moment of pop majesty that has all the feel of the golden age of Liverpool’s dominance over the pop world but firmly sits in its 21st Century renaissance’ – Liverpool Sound and Vision
‘Rob Clarke and the Wooltones are the real deal, or as close as you possibly can get to it at this point’ – Audio Ammunition
For more on the band, including how Rob first met and was impressed by the Wooltones after both acts were on the same bill for a successful concert to help save the landmark local cinema when Rob played a folk song he had written specifically, called ‘Save Woolton Cinema’, check out the band’s website!