Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Sheffield History

The Beatles In Sheffield

Recommended Posts

Sheffield History

Sheffield is the largest city in Yorkshire, England, with a population of more than half a million people and during the 1960s there was extensive redevelopment in the city centre. All of the Beatles appearances there took place in 1963 and 1965. Sheffield was also the original home of Brian Epstein's mother Malka, nee Hyman, who was known as Queenie.

Synagogue, Wilson Road

At the age of 18, she married the 29-year-old Harry Epstein at the Synagogue, Wilson Road Sheffield 11, on September 6 1933. A five-bedroom house in Queen's Drive, Childwall, Liverpool was given to the couple as a dowry.

Queenie's father Louis Hyman owned the Sheffield Cabinet Company at 11 Porter Street, Sheffield S1. Their most famous item was the Clarendon bedroom suite. The building and the road no longer exist.

The Beatles made their Sheffield debut at the Azena Ballroom, White Lane, Gleadless, Sheffield S12 during a break in their tour with Helen Shapiro. They appeared there on February 12 1963. (The Azena was called after the owners Arnold & Zena Fidler)

The promoter who had booked the group was Peter Stringfellow. Originally he had booked them to appear at St. Aiden's Church Hall, where he usually held his dances.

However, due to the growing popularity of the Beatles, the police advised Stringfellow to alter the venue and select larger premise so he transferred the dance to the Azena. The Zena is now a Kwik Save.

The penultimate appearance of the Helen Shapiro tour took place at the City Hall at Helen Shapiro handbill from Sheffield City Hall 2 March 1963 Barker's Pool, Sheffield on Saturday 2 March 1963. The billing in the local paper read:

There were two performance, the first at 6.10pm, the second at 8.40pm and ticket prices were: Circle 8/6. 6/6. 5/6. Stalls 8/6. 7/-. 5/6, 4/-. Balcony 5/-, 3/6. Platform 3/6.

The group returned to the City Hall two weeks later on Saturday 16 March as part of another Howes tour, billed locally as:

Chris Montez handbill at Sheffield City Hall16 March 1963The ticket prices were the same as those of their previous City Hall appearance. They next appeared at the City Hall as part of the Roy Orbison tour on 25 May. When they returned to the venue later that year, on Saturday 2 November, they were bill toppers in their own right.

The local paper, the Star, had organized a competition in which six of their readers would win a trip to the ABC Television Studios in Birmingham to meet the Beatles. Reviewing the concert in the Star, journalist Francis Mullins called it "the night when Sheffield went Beatle-barmy" and described how 4,000 "frenzied screamagers" yelled themselves hoarse during the two shows at the hall.

Three girls in the audience fainted. 17-yearold Joyce Elgie, a secretary from Worksop in Notts was carried from the hall in tears and treated for hysteria by local St John's Ambulance men - then allowed to return to the hall to watch the rest of the show.

Reviewing the City Hall concert for the local press was 18-year-old Anthea Linacre, a former head girl of Dore and Totley High School in Sheffield, who was training to be a journalist. In her lengthy review, she made some personal assessments of the individual performances: "The image of the Beatles as an exciting, pulse-raising musical group was redeemed only by angelic-looking, curly-eyelashed Paul McCartney, who was delightful.

It was he who won the hearts of the audience with his cheeky smile and boyish appeal. Ringo Starr, the drummer, who, physically, has to take a back seat anyway, was truly the team's anchor. Pleasant and efficient with few frills, he was what we expected. But George Harrison, the youngest Beatle, his head held low, hiding his lean good looks, was for the most part unanimated. True, he mustered the occasional smile and a shake of his silky brown hair to set his fans swooning.

John Lennon might have been a guard on Buckingham Palace duty for all the movement we received from him. Not an expression crossed his face except when a straw boater floated on to the stage and he had the inspiration to put it on for a moment."

The Beatles rushed off the stage at the end of the show and, escorted by the police and still in their stage clothes they piled out of a side door, into a waiting car and were off to a hotel in Doncaster. Fans spilled out of the hall quickly, hoping to see their idols, and they refused to budge, even when a police message was put over the loud speakers that the Beatles were already out of the city. At midnight there were still over 250 fans milling outside the stage door, convinced that the group hadn't left the venue.

The Beatles were the headliners when they appeared at the City Hall on November 2 1963.

Their final appearance at the City Hall took place on 9 November 1964, probably due to the fact that Peter and Jeff Stringfellow dropped in to see Epstein at his London office to petition him to ensure that Sheffield was on the itinerary of their next concert tour. The brothers impressed Brian and he not only agreed to the gig, but offered the brothers the opportunity of compering the City Hall concerts that evening instead of the tour compere Bob Bain.

There was one unfortunate muddle that evening. The Sheffield Star had a pop music supplement called Top Stars Special and its editor Roy Shepherd had spent weeks arranging with Brian for the Beatles to meet up with Sheila Parkin, the Olympic long jumper, between shows. Sheila was to present the group with their Top Stars Popularity Poll Award. Derek Taylor had phoned Neil Aspinall at 7.30 to let him know about the arrangement, but Sheila was told she wouldn't be able to see them, that they were too tired to meet anyone.

She left the Hall disappointed and furious at the snub. Derek Taylor commented, "I can't understand why it happened. The Beatles knew of the arrangements and had agreed to them. "All I can say is that this has been a desperate year for them. The night before they came to Sheffield, they played in Liverpool and, after their shows, were surrounded by strange faces." When he heard what had happened, Brian personally invited her to meet them in London on an expenses-paid trip where she could make a proper presentation - and Sheila agreed.

Park Hall Residential Country Club

The Beatles stayed overnight at the Park Hall Residential Country Club in Spinhill, near Sheffield, having landed on the lawn in front of the building by helicopter. The club later became the Parkhall Hotel and Restaurant.

Their final Sheffield appearance took place at the Gaumont, Barker's Pool. It was their one and only appearance at this cinema was one of the very last concert dates the group performed in Britain. 'The Beatles Show' was presented at the Gaumont on Wednesday 8 December 1965 during their final British concert tour.

Manager Harry Murray decided on a simple trick to get the Beatles into the theatre. They'd phoned him five minutes before they were due to arrive and he told them to come straight to the front entrance. While police and security men were gathered at the stage door, the Beatles car arrived at the front of the cinema and they walked straight in, in sight of the large queues, before anyone could realise what was happening.

Ringo commented: "It was unusual for us. Normally we have to hide in vans or go in through back entrances. They did not realise outside what was going on."

The group was provided with a TV set in their dressing room where they watched the programme 'No Hiding Place.'

During the show the usual missiles were hurled at the stage and a pear drop caught Paul in his left eye, causing him to blink throughout the rest of the performance. Ringo said, "Another half inch and would Paul have been blinded for life."

Compering the show was a local lad, Jerry Stevens of Seagrave Avenue, Gleadless. He said, "It is a big experience working with the Beatles and I have learned a lot. I said before I met them I thought they were the greatest. Now I think they are even better than I thought they were."

During the show Jerry presented them with two Top Stars Special awards. The first was for being voted the most popular group by the Sheffield readers of the paper, the second was for 'Help!' voted the most popular single of the year.

Following the show the Beatles stayed at the Park Hall Residential Country Club, Spinkhill, near Sheffield before moving on to their next venue in Birmingham. They stayed overnight on November 9/10 1964 and landed on the lawn in front of the building by helicopter. The building is now the Parkhill Hotel and Restaurant.

©Text Bill Harry. Photographs courtesy Mark Bowers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sheffield History

The Beatles played in Sheffield a total of seven times.

The first Sheffield concert was at the Azena Ballroom, White Lane, Gleadless on 12 February 1963. Peter Stringfellow paid £85 to book them. Although Peter had originally been quoted £65, Brian Epstein put the price up to £90 "because they've got a record in the charts", which was then haggled down by a fiver.

Stringfellow originally planned to book them to play at his Black Cat Club (St. Aiden's Church Hall), but because he couldn't fit enough people in to cover the huge booking fee of £85 (most "name" bands charged between £35 - £50 back then), he hired the Azena for the night, which cost him £29.

The Azena normally held 500 people, but Stringfellow sold 2,000 tickets and it's estimated another 1,000 showed up on the night. Tickets were four shillings (20p) rising to five shillings (25p) when demand took off.

Just pause and think about that: 25p to see the Beatles!

God knows how they did it, but the Beatles also played another gig on the same day in Oldham, Lancs.

The exact set list for the Azena show is lost in the mists of time, but they were only playing one Chuck Berry song live around that time (Too Much Monkey Business). The rest of the set would have been songs from their first LP including: Chains, Keep Your Hands Off My Baby, Please Please Me, Love Me Do, A Taste Of Honey, Do You Want To Know A Secret, I Saw Her Standing There.

By an amazing coincidence the Beatles had just recorded the remaining 10 tracks which would make up their debut LP on 11th Feb - the day before the Azena gig! All ten tracks were recorded in the one day, the remaining 4 tracks (it was a 14 track LP) being the A & B sides of their first two singles (Love Me Do & Please Please Me), which were already released.

Interestingly, The Beatles were back in Sheffield only a few weeks later on 2 March and then again on 16 March. Both concerts took place at the City Hall during the first wave of Beatlemania.

For the second of the City Hall shows, The Star organized a competition in which six of their readers could win a trip to the ABC Television Studios in Birmingham to meet the Beatles. Reviewing the concert in the Star, journalist Francis Mullins called it "the night when Sheffield went Beatle-barmy" and described how 4,000 "frenzied screamagers" yelled themselves hoarse during the two shows at the hall.

The Beatles played Sheffield again two months later when they appeared at the City Hall as part of a Roy Orbison package tour on 25 May 1963. Roy started the tour as headliner, but was moved to second on the bill after a few concerts, as the Beatles' popularity was growing daily.

Their fifth visit of 1963 was on November 2, again at the City Hall, where they were billed as headliners for the first time.

The Beatles' final City Hall concert took place a year later on November 9, 1964. Once again the Stringfellow brothers had a hand in it. Sheffield originally wasn't on the tour itinerary, but Pete & Geoff Stringfellow dropped in to see Brian Epstein at his London office to petition him to ensure that Sheffield was added. The brothers impressed Epstein and he not only agreed to the gig, but offered the brothers the opportunity of compering the City Hall concerts that evening instead of the tour compere Bob Bain.

The Beatles stayed overnight at the Park Hall Residential Country Club in Spinhill, near Sheffield, having landed on the lawn in front of the building by helicopter. The club later became the Parkhall Hotel and Restaurant.

Their seventh and final Sheffield appearance took place at the Gaumont Cinema, Barker's Pool on Wednesday 8 December 1965. It was their only appearance at this venue and was one of the very last concert dates the group performed in Britain (the last time the Beatles played live in front of an audience was at Candlestick Park, San Francisco on August 29, 1966)

Compering the Gaumont show was a local lad, Jerry Stevens of Seagrave Avenue, Gleadless. He said, "It is a big experience working with the Beatles and I have learned a lot. I said before I met them I thought they were the greatest. Now I think they are even better than I thought they were."

During the show Jerry presented them with two Top Stars Special awards. The first was for being voted the most popular group by the Sheffield readers of the paper, the second was for Help! voted the most popular single of the year.

Ironically, Seagrave Avenue runs off White Lane, which kind of takes us back to where we started. I can't help wondering if young Jerry was also in the audience for the Azena show.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mickjj

When they did their concerts at the City Hall they stayed at the Grand Hotel. My sister was working the reception desk at the time and was in her element meeting them all. They used to have to sneak them in a back enterance to avoid all the screaming teenagers outside.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Desy

Beatles stay in Sheffield was on Gleedless at Peter stringfellows mothers the wife saw them

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sheffield History

You mean the concert or where they slept that night ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...