Highlands & Islands

Plan to restore 'rubbish' Beatles gig venue in Dingwall

Tower
Image caption The tower's original harling was removed in the 1880s

Part of a town hall where just 19 people turned up to watch The Beatles could be restored.

The 280-year-old tower forms part of Dingwall's townhouse and hall complex.

The Beatles played at the hall before they had their first hit. Many of those watching left because they thought the band was "rubbish".

Most music fans from Dingwall and the surrounding area were among a crowd of 1,200 watching local band the Melotones in nearby Strathpeffer.

Highland Council said the historic tower required much needed restoration work.

The local authority has applied for planning permission and listed building consent to carry out a programme of works.

Image caption The Beatles played in Dingwall before they gained worldwide fame

This would include reinstating traditional lime harling to the tower's external walls. The harling was removed in the 1880s because of a Victorian trend for buildings with exposed stonework.

Built in 1733, the tower is one of Dingwall's oldest buildings.

The town hall hosted The Beatles in 1963.

Two years ago, most of the 19 people who watched the gig were reunited and a plaque recalling the event was unveiled.

One of the reunion organisers, Billy Shanks, told BBC Scotland at the time that many of those who turned up to watch The Beatles thought their music was rubbish and headed off for Strathpeffer to see the Melotones.

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