Beatles plaques in Wales

Photograph of Joe Flannery holding a plaque in Prestatyn

Last updated: 07 September 2009

Freelance journalist, broadcaster and photographer Elly Roberts talks about his campaign for commemorative plaques at the venues where The Beatles played in Wales.

Pictured: Joe Flannery, The Beatles' early concert booking manager, in Prestatyn.

"The spark of inspiration came when I met Beatles author Ray O'Brien on Spencer Leigh's BBC Radio Merseyside in February 2005.

"On returning home I decide to try and get a plaque, initially, on the venue in Mold. My application for a plaque outside was declined because it's a listed building. Instead I decided to put one inside Y Pentan pub next door, where the Beatles went to before the gig in January 1963.

"The plaque was designed by Tony Booth who did the very first Beatles illustration of the group, just after Ringo had joined, at the request of their manager Brian Epstein.

"On April 14 2005 I was commissioned to write a piece on the project for the Western Mail, which was published on 2 August 2005.

"The Mold plaque was eventually unveiled on Tuesday 15 November 2005. with ITV Wales and BBC Radio Wales covering the event. It was later included in a BBC Radio Wales Christmas Special broadcast about the group.

"We then moved onto Rhyl, with this one placed outside the now Burtons store, formerly the Regent Dansette. It was unveiled in summer 2006.

"By now momentum was growing, with the support of Joe Flannery - original booking manager for The Beatles - and Mersey Beat magazine creator Bill Harry, along with local historian and Beatles fan Harry Thomas.

"Both Joe and I were interviewed by BBC Radio Wales ahead of the unveiling of the next plaque at the Nova Centre, formerly the Royal Lido Ballroom, Prestatyn on Friday 24 November 2006. Joe returned to the venue for the first time since the gig, bringing along the original booking contract.

"Two days before, Wednesday 22 Nov, I had met Paul McCartney at the HMV store in London, and this was followed by a live link from Piccadilly Circus to Alan Thompson's Radio Wales show at around 3.45, about 3 hours after I'd met Macca.

"McCartney was made aware of the fact that a plaque was being unveiled at Prestatyn. 'Gosh is it really 43 years since we played there? It seems like yesterday...'"


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