This is the first in a series of walks that we will be publishing covering Liverpool City Centre and different aspects of its history. Together with a recommendation of places close by to grab a vegan snack or meal! Obviously please bear in my mind that cafes and restaurants may be operating differently at the moment due to Covid 19.
A Beatles walk for the casual fan
This short walk around some of the most well known Beatles sites is ideal if you are a casual fan. However we have included a few lesser known sites for the more enthusiastic fan too! Our walk starts outside the Britannia Adelphi Hotel which is close to both Lime Street Station and Central Station.
Liverpool was a key starting point for transatlantic travel. Subsequently on opening in 1914, The Adelphi replicated the grandeur of the ocean liners sailing to America. It was soon regarded as the most luxurious hotel outside London. Lately it has fallen from these lofty heights and is rather jaded. However it is home to the Annual International Beatles Festival which is well worth attending!
Romantic dates and a wedding reception
Opposite The Adelphi, is the old Lewis’s building. Originally one of Liverpool’s finest department stores. they commissioned the “Liverpool Resurgent” statue, known locally as Dickie Lewis. Regularly used as a meeting place for young couples including John Lennon and Cynthia Powell. Also in November 1962 The Beatles played on the top floor at a staff dance.
Take the first right off Hanover Street into Great Charlotte Street. This is the site of the first NEMS store in the city centre. Short for North End Music Store, Nems was owned by the Epstein family. Brian Epstein managed the record department. He was so successful running this shop he was put in charge of the new flagship NEMS store in Whitechapel.
Further along Great Charlotte Street is the Wetherspoons Pub, Richard John Blackler. Originally Blacklers Department Store, well known locally for its Christmas grotto. George Harrison worked there for a while as an apprentice electrician. Walk down the steps and keep walking until you reach Superdrug. (Follow Great Charlotte street around further for a ramp if you would prefer)
Reece’s Restaurant on the 1st floor was the venue for John and Cynthia Lennon’s wedding breakfast. Amidst all the shoppers and office workers, they ate a set meal of soup, roast chicken and trifle. The bridal party consisted of Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Brian Epstein, who paid the bill.
Shopping for the Merseybeat
Turn right onto Church Street and follow until you come to the pedestrianised crossroads, turn right onto Whitechapel. The new building on your right (formerly Forever 21) is on the site of the NEMS flagship store and offices. As an astute music retailer Brian Epstein would have been aware of the thriving local music scene. As a result it was from here that he made his first trip down into The Cavern to watch The Beatles.
Further along Whitechapel is the building that once housed Rushworths Music Store. In its heyday Rushworths was the premier music shop in Liverpool. With five sales floors of musical instruments, TVs, record players, sheet music and records. Founded in 1831 it finally closed in 2002. Many bands including The Beatles bought instruments here.
Re-trace your footsteps to Wongs Jewellers and take a right onto Stanley Street. Here you can see a blue plaque to Hessy’s Music Centre. Frequented by many of Liverpool’s musicians you could get a free guitar lesson when you bought a guitar from them! The Beatles had run up a debt with Hessy’s for guitars and amps that Brian Epstein paid off when he became their manager.
The Cavern Quarter
Further up Stanley Street is the Eleanor Rigby Statue. Sculpted by Tommy Steele, an acclaimed entertainer. He subsequently sold the statue to the City of Liverpool for Half a Sixpence. Although in reality the cost of casting the sculpture was borne by The Liverpool Echo readers. Go back down the street and turn right into The Cavern Quarter.
The Beatles Pubs
Take the first left to The White Star pub. In the early 60’s The Cavern did not serve alcohol. So musicians and audience members would go elsewhere before, during or afterwards for a drink, including The White Star. It was also used as an unofficial office by Cavern DJ Bob Wooler, and manager and promoter, Allan Williams for paying their acts.
Turn back onto Matthew Street again and don’t forget to check out The Beatles Shop for your souvenirs. Incidentaly if you would like further info about the statue above the door, you can read about it here.
Like The White Star, The Grapes was often frequented by The Beatles and other Cavern Club dwellers. Besides it was the only pub on Matthew Street, a little difficult to imagine now! Nowadays the pub has a 7″ vinyl juke box, karaoke most week nights and a full roster of live music at the weekends.
Magical History Tour
The Magical Beatles Museum opened it’s doors in 2018 with a great Beatles pedigree. The brainchild of Roag Best; brother of Pete and son of Beatles road manager Neil Aspinall. Roag’s extensive collection is housed over 5 floors in a grade II former warehouse. As a result it is well worth a visit to see so many genuine Beatles items, including personal letters, stage clothes and instruments.
In a slight diversion from The Beatles. But integral to the next wave of Liverpool music to sweep the nation. Eric’s hosted many touring bands, mainly from sub-cultures. In fact it’s name was in response to the nightclubs with names such as Tiffany’s. This underground scene gave rise to a community of musicians including Echo and the Bunnymen, The Teardrop Explodes and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark.
Look up to see The Four Lads who Shook the World statue. You can read more about this statue – the first in Liverpool to commemorate The Beatles and many more here.
A cellar full of noise
This door way is located where the original Cavern entrance would have been and is now their fire exit. Cilla Black worked in The Cavern cloakroom for a while. She later became one of Brian Epstein’s most favourite and successful artists. Her statue was donated to the city by her sons and unveiled as part of the Cavern Club’s 60th anniversary celebrations.
The Cavern opened as a Jazz club in 1953 and eventually and somewhat reluctantly embraced the rock ‘n’ roll era. The Beatles played here nearly 300 times in the space of 2½ years. Closed in 1973 due to plans for a ventilation shaft that never happened the club was rebuilt and reconfigured in the early 1980’s. However the new club gained official Beatles status when Paul McCartney played there in 1999 and 2018.
The Wall of Fame shows all the acts that played the original Cavern and musicians of note who have played since the club re-opened in 1984. Inside The Cavern Pub, the walls are adorned with music memorabilia, it also offers live music every night. The John Lennon statue is a magnet for tourists having their photo taken.
A Hard Days Night – the hotel and the film
At the end of Matthew Street take a left onto North John Street. The entire block is the Hard Days Night Hotel. A grade II listed building, featuring individually designed themed rooms. The statues on the building represent each Beatle during their solo career. Follow the road around to the right onto Lord Street.
The Queen Victoria Monument was erected on the site of Liverpool Castle. It was also one of the few things in the area to survive the May blitz of 1941. In February 1963 The Beatles were photographed there for “Honey” magazine. Especially fascinating as the very same day Please Please Me reached number 1 in the NME charts.
Walk along Castle Street towards one of the oldest buildings in Liverpool City Centre; the Town Hall. The Beatles attended a civic reception here in July 1964 prior to the Northern Premiere of their first film A Hard Days Night. Furthermore hoards of fans gathered along their route from Speke Airport to the city centre. Whilst many more crowded onto Castle Street to see them make an appearance on the Town Hall Balcony.
This is where our whistle stop tour ends. Why not treat yourself to some lovely food at Veggie Republic before heading back onto Matthew Street to dance the night away!
There are places I remember
On a Beatroute tour we love to give you an overview of this wondrous city and that obviously includes a healthy sprinkling of The Beatles! However we can take you on a bespoke Vegan tour with lots more Beatles sites. Similarly if you would like to delve even deeper into The Beatles Liverpool we can recommend some very knowledgable Beatle guides to show you around.