In 2017, St Peter’s Church and Bishop Martin CE Primary School opened their doors to welcome the world to Woolton village as we celebrated the 60th anniversary of the day that John Lennon and Paul McCartney met!
But what if that meeting had never taken place? What if there had been no Beatles?
In his excellent book, Conversations with McCartney (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2015), journalist and author Paul Du Noyer pondered that very question and wrote about a world in which the butterfly had never “flapped its wings” and the “distant mountain” had not “tumbled over.”
As custodians of the legacy of that “fateful” day, we at St Peter’s Church found Paul’s ideas intriguing and thought-provoking, and we are indebted to Paul for allowing us to share them with you!
Read, enjoy … and imagine!
This extract is reproduced here with the very kind permission of Paul Du Noyer. Please do not download or reproduce without the expression written permission of Paul Du Noyer.
For more information on Paul Du Noyer, visit his website by clicking HERE!
Check out this great video uploaded to youtube by Mike Chitty! This should bring back some fabulous memories for those who attended the 40th anniversary celebrations of the day that John met Paul in 1997. It certainly made us even more excited as we prepare to celebrate the 60th anniversary from July 5-9 this year!
Woolton Liverpool 5th July 1997
On Saturday 5th July 1997 – 40 years after John Lennon first met Paul McCartney in St Peter’s Church Hall – the Quarry Men Skiffle Group travelled through the streets of Woolton village on the back of a lorry, as they had done on 6th July 1957, and performed in the grounds of Bishop Martin Primary School. A Beatles-themed fete was held, and recorded messages from Yoko Ono and Paul McCartney were played. Apart from the Quarry Men, the other performers in 1997 included ‘Ringer’ from Scotland and ‘Smile’ from Liverpool.
Click HERE to view it on youtube!
It is a little known fact that John Lennon once tried his hand at bell-ringing at St Peter’s Church in his youth. The current Tower Captain at St Peter’s, Nick Willasey, told us that: “John Lennon did attend a couple of bell-ringing practices around 1957 – but didn’t take it up, as the then Tower Captain suggested that bell-ringing may not be for him, as John was not keen on doing what he was instructed to do!” Nick went on to add that “John would have been taught on Bell Number 3.”
The exciting news for visitors to the Church during the anniversary is that the Bell Tower will be open for tours during the celebrations, and visitors will be invited to have a go at bell-ringing themselves on the historic Bell Number 3!
Full details for the Bell Tower tours have yet to be confirmed, but we are delighted to announce that it will be open to visitors on Wednesday July 5 and Thursday July 6 for three one-hour slots:
Once up the tower there will be flyers about the history of the tower and bells and recruitment, and an opportunity to hear about bells and bellringing with some ringers as well, of course, as the opportunity to ring Bell Number 3!
We’ve saved the best for last! Here are James Davis’ photos of the procession that began the festivities on July 6, 1957 the day that John met Paul, and also Geoff Rhind’s famous photograph of the Quarrymen performing at the fete in the afternoon. You have to wonder what was in John’s mind as he sat on the back of the lorry as it trundled around Woolton village, or in Paul’s mind when he first saw John on stage! Whatever it was, little did they know that their lives would never be the same again as a result of that ‘fateful’ conversation in St Peter’s Church Hall later that day!
We are indebted to Rod Davis and Geoff Rhind for allowing us to post their photographs on our website!
Although James Davis didn’t take any photos inside St Peter’s Church Hall in 1957, these were taken in the early to mid-fifties and early 1960s, and so they give us a really good idea of what the hall looked like in 1957 when John and Paul met!
Some more memories of St Peter’s Church Fete from the fabulous collection taken by James Davis, and used here with the very kind permission of Rod Davis
Church Fete, 1959
Church Fete 1960 in glorious technicolour!
Although the first big anniversary celebration didn’t take place at St Peter’s until 1997, we were thrilled when a member of the current congregation gave us some old parish magazines that she’d found. Among them was one from July 1987, which included a small piece commemorating the 30th anniversary of the day that John met Paul and discussing the impact that that meeting was having on Woolton village as well as on the world.
One of the wonderful things about preparing to celebrate the 60th anniversary is the constant discovery of little snippets like these of the Church’s past that only confirm how important St Peter’s Church is in the story and legacy of the Beatles!
I wonder what we’ll find next!!