Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Beatles in Croydon

The Beatles play the Fairfield Halls, Croydon, on April 25th 1963. This was part of the 'Mersey Beat' tour one month after the release of their first album 'Please Please Me'. Also on the bill was Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Big Three, Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas (Ringo played their drum kit) and Vic Sutcliffe. John Leyton was supposed to be topping the bill but he didn't appear due to illness, so The Beatles topped the bill.

The April concert pictures were only recently rediscovered as a result of the e-hive/Fairfield 50th website. The pictures are important as they show an early Beatles concert early in their career. Photographer Andy Wright. Photographer Andy Wright was just a 15-year-old Woodcote Secondary School pupil when his father, a steward at The Fairfield Halls, got him back stage access to see The Beatles almost 50 years ago. The experience inspired a career in photography for Mr Wright, but the photographs sat gathering dust until a chance meeting last month. He said: “I met up with an old friend and he said he worked with the Fairfield Halls. I said I took photographs of the Beatles there, and he couldn’t believe it and told me about their anniversary archive. You know how it is, you just have boxes of rubbish in the attic so I was delighted I still had them.”
The Fab Four performed just six months after the venue opened 50 years ago.
Mr Wright, who lived in Coulsdon, said: “I was allowed to wait backstage. They had just come off so they were probably a bit shattered. We turned over a couple of theatre seats and took a couple of quick photographs. I only had 12 pictures on my roll of film. Film was expensive back then. The picture of all four of them backstage, potentially the most financially lucrative, was taken with the last shot I had."  Wright's six photos are available to watch over at the e-hive/Fairfield 50th website
You can read more about it in The Guardian.

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