The stage they played on
I saw The Beatles play Tenbury Wells
by Pat Lambert
The story of how The Beatles - who'd just had their first number one - came to play a tiny club, in Worcestershire, from someone who was in the audience that night.
It was the early 60's that my husband and I, together with about ten like-minded people, got together to discuss what we could do to entertain the young people of Tenbury Wells on Saturday evenings.
We hit on the idea of forming a dancing club, where we would book acts from the pop charts, and backing groups to support them, which would also give local groups an airing too.
Bridge Inn, Tenbury Wells
That was how the Riverside Dancing Club was born - we decided to use the largest ballroom in the town, which was at the Bridge Hotel.
The young people were delighted with the idea, so we had some membership cards printed and there was a small membership fee.
Jean Morton was on children's TV at the time, with two bears called Tingha and Tucker (password Woomerang Boomerang) - on the program she was known as Auntie Jean, and we asked her to come and open the club.
The committee met weekly to discuss the acts to be booked, and two of the members presented them to us, so we booked the acts the members wanted.
The stage they played on
Joe Brown and the Bruvvers were particularly good, as were Johnny Kid and the Pirates, The Rocking Berries, Screaming Lord Such, Tommy (the gravel voice) Bruce and many more.
In 1963 we were asked by the members to book a group from Liverpool called The Beatles.
We had never heard of them, but their agent was duly contacted, and they were booked for the princely sum of £100.
By the time they came to Tenbury they were top of the Hit Parade with 'Please, Please Me.'
There was great excitement in our little town, and member's tickets of three shillings and six-pence were soon snapped up.
We made arrangements for a buffet supper in the Bridge dining room, for the committee to have the honour of a meal with the famous four.
The excitement in the town grew and grew, especially when they turned up in mid-afternoon and went for a stroll down the main street.
I myself had a hairdressing salon in Teme Street and we kept a look out for them.
With permission of Bridge Inn Tenbury
Someone shouted "They've just come out of the café opposite!" and everyone in the salon got up and rushed outside, without a care in the world that their hair was in rollers and perming curlers!
Ringo I remember was eating an ice-cream cornet.
The evening came at last, with almost mass hysteria among the teenagers (and some old people!)
We finally got them to ourselves, in the locked dining room with people hammering on the door for their autographs.
I got their autographs in my book, which I sold at Christie's pop memorabilia about ten years ago.
They are worth even more now, as only Paul and Ringo are still living.
Looking back it was great that they did honour our booking, as by the time they came to Tenbury they were worth thousands.
P.S. We were asked to book a young vocalist called Cilla Black but we turned that idea down. What a lorra lorra bad luck!
last updated: 27/11/2008 at 14:50