“I was researching the year 1962 for a book on the Palace Hotel when I stumbled across pictures and adverts of the Beatles. You will see that the Beatles are spelt Beetles. This is deliberate and how it actually appeared in the Southport Visitor. Only 2/6d to go and see them. You will also notice Pete Best is the drummer.”
Within the Palace Hotel at the time was the Kingsway Club and there was an early promotional picture of the band in the Southport Visitor on 18 January 1962 which read: “Merseyside’s top rhythm group, the Beetles will be featured at the Kingsway Club next Monday night. This young group recently topped the popularity poll in Liverpool and have just cut their first disc, which is rising high in their local charts.”
The Southport Visitor advertisement on January 20 1962 read:
Come and Meet
‘Pete, Paul, John and George.’
The group everyone has been asking for
Now they’re here at the
Next Monday – only 2/6
Come and hear them play their latest record
The Visitor had another advertisement on 27 January:
Next Monday, a reappearance of
The Most sensational group to hit Southport
Plus ‘The Quiet Ones’
Next Monday – 2/6
When the Beatles became more popular they also played at the Odeon in Southport and the following letter from Charles R. Preston of the Little Theatre gives some really interesting background information to their rehearsals and subsequent performance:
“The secretary has passed me your letter of 1st July, 1997 requesting information in respect of the Beatles visit to the Little Theatre which, as far as I can ascertain, took place on Tuesday 22nd August 1963.
“At the time the Beatles were playing several live nightly concerts at the Gaumont Cinema (formerly the Palladium and the Odeon) which had a small stage suitable for live performances once the screen was removed. The concerts were very lively affairs with scores of screaming fans, and the BBC who wanted to make a short Beatles’ film, approached the Southport Dramatic Club to see if it could provide a daytime venue in complete confidence to so avoid the usual noisy stake out by the fans.
“Very few members of the Southport Dramatic Society were aware that the Little Theatre was to be used for the making of the film and the scenic artist Arthur Nugent who acted as floor manager and myself acting as his assistant set the stage with a grey velour curtain set with a small low rostrum for Ringo Starr’s drums upstage left. It’s this setting which is still invariably shown by the BBC when they need a short Beatles’ clipping for a news item.
“The Beatles arrived at 10am and changed into their collarless suits whilst their equipment was set up. The film recording started with ‘Love Me Do’ but as John Lennon had a sore throat I was sent to Boots for pastilles before work could continue and he could reach the top notes.