Live: Swimming Baths, Leyton, London

8.00pm, Monday 8 April 1963 (51 years ago)

This was The Beatles’ only performance at this leisure centre on the High Street in Leyton, east London.

This show is commonly listed in Beatles reference books as having taken place on Friday 5 April 1963, but it actually took place three days later.

Advert for The Beatles at the Swimming Baths, Leyton, London, 8 April 1963
In the early months of 1963, I was working as a disc jockey at Leyton Baths in East London, an indoor swimming pool that had been converted into a dance hall. Every Friday night well-known groups of the time would play there live.

By now the Beatles had already established themselves with Love Me Do and Please Please Me and also completed successful tours appearing with Helen Shapiro, Chris Montez and Tommy Roe. Plans were also underway for the group to tour with Roy Orbison and Gerry and the Pacemakers. However despite this, Brian Epstein had insisted that the Beatles would still appear at the remaining outstanding dance hall dates that had been previously made.

So it was that in April 1963 the Beatles appeared at Leyton Baths (also on the bill was Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers). In front of a packed crowd of dancing, screaming fans, the Beatles wore maroon mohair suites with velvet collars and played most of the tracks featured on the Please Please Me album and gave a preview of their forthcoming single, From Me To You. After the show I went backstage, complete with camera to congratulate the boys.

I introduced myself and offered to buy them all beers, they accepted and over a few drinks we had a good chat, talking mostly about music and their favorite artists, the Beatles going out of their way to be jovial, obliging and friendly. I asked if I could take a photo of them “of course” they replied. “Just a minute” said Paul “I must clean my teeth first.” After a while Paul was ready and John positioned the group for their photo.

“Right” John said to me, “When I say three, we’ll all smile and you take the picture.” John commenced to count “one, two, THREE” John literally yelled THREE making the other Beatles and myself nearly jump out of skins. I wasn’t able to take the picture, but Paul was the worst “casualty,” he had still been holding the open tube of toothpaste and when John had shouted, Paul had squeezed the tube and a long length of toothpaste had shot down Paul’s trouser leg. After much laughter I finally got my photo with Paul keeping his hand over the embarrassing stain on his trousers.

Norman Scott, disc jockey
Beatles Now, 1982
The Beatles at the Swimming Baths, Leyton, London, 8 April 1963

John Charles Julian Lennon, son to John and Cynthia Lennon, was born early on this day at Liverpool’s Sefton General Hospital. As The Beatles were on tour at the time, John didn’t get to see Julian until 11 April.

6 Responses to “Live: Swimming Baths, Leyton, London”

  1. Carolelinda

    On reading the review I’ve noticed you’ve place the Beatles at Leyton Baths on the 5th April 1963, sorry, you’ve got the wrong date, I know I was there, it was the Monday – 8th April, still got my entrance ticket somewhere.

    Reply
    • Joe - The Beatles Bible

      That’s interesting. All reference books have the show on the fifth – I’d never heard otherwise before, but I did find an advert listing it as 8 April. I’ve amended the article.

      If you’re able to scan the ticket in I’d love to put it on the site. You can send it to joe at beatlesbible dot com.

      Reply
  2. Al

    I was also there that night, I often tell the kids I saw the Beatles for 5 bob.
    Leyton baths was an indoor pool that was boarded over for winter to have dances, etc. There was no security we could all get right up the front right in front of the groups.
    Neighbouring suburb, Walthamstow was the last stronghold of the Teddy Boys who would rurn up to the baths in their Edwardian jackets and greased back hair, they were oddities even then

    Reply
  3. Julie Hart

    Used to go to the baths every week with my friends to dance and to see live bands. We were there for the Beatles, The Stones and most of the popular 60s bands. Great times!!
    Part of the year the baths was just for swimming, floor boards were put across the pool for other events.

    Reply

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