John Lennon photographed in Liverpool

This picture of John Lennon with friend and Quarrymen manager Nigel Walley was uncovered by the BBC during research for a 2007 episode of Inside Out.

John Lennon and Nigel Walley in Liverpool, 5 May 1958

Taken on Liverpool’s Lime Street on 5 May 1958, the picture was unearthed as BBC researchers attempted to track down previously undiscovered pictures of the Quarrymen onstage, while making a programme to mark the 50th anniversary of John Lennon’s first meeting with Paul McCartney.

Quarrymen shots proved elusive, but they did find this picture of John and Nigel, who played tea chest bass for the group between 1956 and 1957, and was their manager until 1958.

“My brother took this and some other photos to show his friends at school when John became famous, and they were nicked from his desk,” Walley told the Liverpool Echo. The photo was subsequently bought at auction by an anonymous buyer.

It was believed to have been taken by a professional photographer who was looking for shots of passers-by in Liverpool on that day in 1958.

When the BBC showed the blown-up picture to me after all these years I was absolutely flabbergasted, because of its quality and clarity. Then, after we finished filming, I was astonished to see the original picture had my handwriting on the back of it.

There was a professional photographer who took pictures of people in town, but I can’t remember this actual photograph being taken. Perhaps if I’d known then that the friend I was standing with was one day going to be the most famous man in the world apart from the Pope I would have noted everything down!

If the date is right then John must have been at art college while, as it was a Monday, I would have been on my normal day off from my job as an assistant golf professional at Lee Park golf club in Gateacre.

I’ve no idea what we would have been doing, but looking at those camel coats and how smart we looked, perhaps we were trying to attract the girls!

It’s a lovely photograph and I think it shows how close and happy we were. And when I look back now and think about John, I don’t look back and think of him as a world-famous musician. I just see someone who was a close mate.”

Nigel Walley
Last updated: 9 June 2020
The Quarrymen live: Morgue Skiffle Cellar, Liverpool
Recording: In Spite Of All The Danger, That'll Be The Day
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