Sharing the Beauty of St Peter’s

St Peter’s Church and Church Hall will not be open to visitors at all this summer, but there are ways that you can bring a piece of St Peter’s to you! To try to help the Church’s financial situation, we have three items in this year’s Beatles’ Auction – being held online on Saturday August 29.

We’ve already told you about the collection box – truly a chance to own something unique (because it was hand-made and there is only one of them!).

But here’s a chance to own something just as beautiful!

These were part of the stained glass windows in the Church Hall, which we believe were originally installed when the Hall was built in the middle of the 19th century.  The windows are clearly visible in photos dating from the 1940s onwards and, when Paul ‘auditioned’ to join the Quarrymen in 1957, he did so in the light shining through these windows.

Reflecting their importance in Beatles history, Beatle guide, and friend of St Peter’s, Jackie Spencer used to call our stained glass windows the “Sgt Pepper windows” because the colours of the glass are reminiscent of the suits worn by John, Paul, George and Ringo on the cover of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. 

A few years ago we noticed that the lead which surrounded each pane of glass was bending and buckling.  The danger that this posed was even more apparent in 2018 when one of the panels fell out of the window. 

Fortunately, this was saved and is now part of the exhibition in Roag Best’s Beatles History Museum in Mathew Street, but it did prompt further investigations into the state of the windows.  In 2020, it was sadly confirmed that the windows posed a grave threat to health and safety and that they could not be repaired.  With regret, we were forced to make the decision to remove the original stained glass windows and replace them with plain glass.

However, we fully recognise the importance of the original stained glass in the history and heritage of St Peter’s and every pane of glass was saved.  These will eventually be made available for sale, with each piece of glass housed in a special presentation box complete with a display stand.  Unfortunately, the impact of Covid-19 means that we are unable to move forward with these plans for the foreseeable future. 

In the meantime, these four panes of stained glass, taken from the original Church Hall windows, are being offered for sale now (August, 2020). Proceeds from the sales of all our items will go towards the upkeep of the Church and Church Hall. All items come with paperwork confirming their provenance.

For more information on the auction and on the glass, check out the official auction website and blog post here: http://www.beatlesauction.co.uk/2020/08/beatles-auction-2020-stained-glass.html

Information on our other two lots can be found here:

Floor block: http://www.beatlesauction.co.uk/2020/08/beatles-auction-2020-floor-block-from.html

Collection box: http://www.beatlesauction.co.uk/2020/08/beatles-auction-2020-collection-box.html

St Peter’s and (non)Beatle Week

We have seen quite a few posts on social media from people planning to travel to Liverpool for the August Bank Holiday weekend and hold an unofficial non-Beatle Week.

Unfortunately, due to safety concerns, the Church and Church Hall will NOT be open to visitors at all this summer. At the time of writing, some areas of Liverpool are under local lockdown restrictions and our priority is safety above anything.

The Church and Church Hall will be open again when it is safe to do so. Until then we encourage you to put your safety, and the safety of everyone else, before anything!

Borrowed from Jackie Spencer (and originally posted in Australia)

In the words of the great Dame Vera Lynn, we will meet again! But only when it’s safe for everyone to do so.

It was 63 years ago today …

… that John Lennon and Paul McCartney met at St Peter’s Church in Woolton! Usually, we would have opened up the Church Hall, where Paul ‘auditioned’ for John and was invited to join the Quarrymen but Covid-19 had other ideas this year.

We hope that you’ll still ‘need us’ when we’re celebratiing the 64th anniversary next year and we can once again welcome the world to St Peter’s!

In the meantime, you can ‘virtually’ visit thanks to top Beatle Guide, Jackie Spencer, who recorded a walk around St Peter’s Church earlier this year: https://youtu.be/7GfTwdA8P2Q

Or how about this? A few minutes featuring the legendary Dave Peters, who witnessed the meeting between John and Paul in the Church Hall and spent hundreds of hours with Beatles fans sharing his memories of that special day: https://youtu.be/VbcSUSyxiNg

While we can’t welcome you to St Peter’s today, we can help you celebrate (safely!!) at home! As part of the celebrations for the 60th anniversary in 2017, students from the University of Chester put together a great guide for how to throw your own 1950s-themed party! You can check it out here!

Happy memories of welcoming visitors to the Church Hall!

Wherever you are today, we hope you are safe and happy, and enjoying the wonderful music of the Beatles! It all began 63 years ago in our Church Hall, and we can’t wait to be able to celebrate with you one day soon!

Happy anniversary!

Happy birthday!

Today we celebrate the birth of a very special man! On June 18, 1942, Ivan Vaughan was born in Liverpool and lived a normal, uneventful life similar to many other boys at that time. Uneventful, that is, until, on July 6, 1957, he invited his schoolfriend, Paul, who shared exactly the same birthday as Ivan, to come along to St Peter’s Church fete in Woolton and meet John, another of Ivan’s childhood friends.

That day, with Ivan looking on, a young Paul McCartney ‘auditioned’ for John Lennon and, as a result of that performance in St Peter’s Church Hall, was invited to join John’s band, the Quarrymen.

Thanks, Ivan – for instigating the most important meeting in modern muscial history and giving us the Beatles! Here at St Peter’s we will always celebrate your life!

Oh, and happy birthday to your mate, Paul too!

Black Lives Matter and Penny Lane

There has been a lot in the news lately about the removal of monuments or road names honouring those who made their name or their fortune from slavery. As a major port during the 18th and 19th centuries, clearly Liverpool played a key role in the slave trade and that needs to be recognised and, where necessary, rectified.

While this page fully supports the #BlackLivesMatter movement and we are totally opposed to racism or discrimination in any form, we also urge people to check their facts.

Penny Lane is NOT named after James Penny, the slave trader and extensive research has been carried out to confirm this. We would direct your attention to this piece of research, for example: Was Penny Lane Named After James Penny?

Penny Lane road sign, June 12, 2020. Photo credit: Jackie Spencer

However, we would also urge a degree of understanding for those who are so angry. Ultimately, ending racism is more important than a road sign. If you are angry about calls to rename Penny Lane — and we can understand that anger — the most effective thing you can do is share the research and the truth. Let those who are so angry about racism learn the truth about Penny Lane, and give them time to do that. Let’s try not to deflect our anger and our attention from racism. Road signs can be restored; lives cannot.

#BlackLivesMatter

Hello from a Quarryman!

Now that the government regulations allow it, Donna from St Peter’s met up with Colin Hanton in the park for a quick chat! As you can see from the photo, social distancing was strictly observed!

The great news is that Colin and his family are doing fine, although a bit fed up (as most of us are!) with the restrictions. But, as you can see, his smile is as great as ever!

It’s so lovely to see him, and hopefully we can all see him, and give him a long overdue hug, soon!

In the meantime, please, everyone, take care and stay safe!

The Quarrymen record a new album

Today over at the Penny Lane Development Trust in front of a small invited audience, The Quarrymen recorded their soon to be released new live CD “The Quarrymen – Live at Penny Lane”.

With permission, we recorded some videos of the performance (including some in which The Quarrymen refer to their time back at St Peters in July 1957), which will be released in due course (i.e. when the CD is released) but in the meantime, here are a few shots from today’s event.

A Statue for Bob!

Today, Bob Paisley was honoured at Anfield with the unveiling of a new statue. The statue depicts Bob carrying an injured Emlyn Hughes from the field, and very much epitomises Bob’s humility and love for Liverpool FC. As the inscription says, he would “go out and sweep the street and be proud to do it for Liverpool FC if they asked me to.”

Many thanks to Charlotte Martin,  www.livertoursliverpool.com, for the photos!

Update on the Windows

Those of you who are regular readers of our posts will know how sad we were when the original stained glass windows had to be removed from the Church Hall for safety reasons.

The windows in August, 2019. The safety concerns were raised when one of the panels fell out! Luckily it was saved, and is now in the Magical History Museum in Mathew Street.

When it was determined that they could not be repaired, and had to be replaced, we started making plans for the beautiful glass panels.

The next phase of the plans began today, when we started to remove each individual pane of glass from the lead frame. Stay tuned for future updates!

St Peter’s in 2020!

It may be cold and wintry outside, but we’re looking forward to another exciting and wonderful year of welcoming visitors to St Peter’s Church.

More details on all our planned events will be published nearer the time but here’s a quick rundown of some of our plans for the year.

Saturday June 13 – Church Hall open to mark Paul’s birthday! (Before anyone worries, we know it’s the 18th 😉 We always try to open on a Saturday because it’s more convenient for most visitors)

Saturday July 4 – Church Hall open to mark the anniversary of the day that John met Paul at the Church fete on July 6, 1957, and the Lennon-McCartney partnership began.

Beatle Week

The Church and Church Hall will be open throughout Beatle Week as usual! Times will be confirmed nearer the time.

Open Church

St Peter’s has considered it a privilege to take part in Open Church in the past two years. Plans are underway to do it again this year, and the hope is the Church will be open every weekend in July, August and September.

#John80

We can’t, of course, forget that John, had he lived, would be 80 this year, and we will be marking his very special birthday with a two-day celebration in the Church Hall. The Hall will be open during the day on Friday October 9 and Saturday October 10, and the celebrations will culminate with a special party in the Church Hall on Saturday night! The event, which will be ticketed, will be run in the same way as our Celebration of Community during the 60th anniversary celebrations in 2017. Live music and a buffet will be provided, with guests able to bring their own drink! There will also be a raffle As it’s the Harvest Festival at St Peter’s that weekend, all proceeds from the event will be donated to the Trussell Trust.

More details on all the events will be published throughout the year, as well as anything else we are doing! We really look forward to seeing you all during 2020!