The Beatles live: David Lewis Club, Liverpool

This was The Beatles’ only appearance at the David Lewis Club, a city centre venue situated on Great George Place, Liverpool. It was also the first official event put on by the one-month-old Beatles Fan Club.

Such was the interest being shown in us now that a fan club emerged, formed by some of the girls at the Cavern, an impromptu and well-meaning demonstration of affection but executed with little knowhow. It was our first fan club, however, and we were grateful for it, especially when the members collected £5 between them to stage the inaugural club night in a room upstairs in the David Lewis Theatre, a fine old building which had seen better days, situated near Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral.

We were scheduled to give a performance for no fee, which might have hurt a little but not all that much, seeing that we were the objects of so much devotion. Sadly, it was not much of a night to remember. We had expected to find a huge crowd gathered there, but only some sixty people turned up. We had no PA system with us, a couple of amps had fused and we spent most of the time sitting on the edge of the stage chatting to the birds under the watchful eye of Paul’s father.

There were requests for favourite Beatles numbers, which were delivered without any aid of a mike. I was asked to sing ‘Matchbox’ and Peppermint Twist, a couple of my solos that were featured in the Cavern, and a Presley number, A Rose Grows Wild In The Country. I couldn’t remember all the lyrics of that one, so when I dried up I went into a semi-Presley act, leaping around, then leaning down and greeting the fans with a handshake, would up like some clockwork doll.

Paul’s father was delighted. ‘You’ve broken the atmosphere,’ he said. ‘It was dying a death.’

Paul did his best as well, singing his ballads, but generally it was a dismal night of complete failure, having suffered from lack of publicity.

Pete Best

The David Lewis Theatre was part of the enormous David Lewis Centre, which was built in 1906. Lewis was a businessman who founded his first shop in Liverpool in 1856, followed by a large department store in Manchester in 1880. He left his considerable fortune to be used to benefit working class people of the two cities.

The David Lewis Trust was founded on 7 July 1893, with a committee for each city. The David Lewis Centre – known locally as the Davy Lou – was built in 1906 and included a hotel with a theatre and sports facilities.

Intended primarily as a music hall, the venue was also used by local amateur dramatic societies to stage theatrical productions. Films were later shown, and sports and games including boxing and billiards were introduced.

In 1960 the floor of the club was levelled and seats were installed. The venue closed in November 1977, and it was demolished in October 1980 to make way for road widening and redevelopment of the area close to the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.

Last updated: 24 January 2024
The Beatles live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime)
The Beatles live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime)
Also on this day...

Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.

Leave a Reply