Sunday, August 7, 2011

Beatles in Liverpool: St Peters Church

 Let's take a tour of the place where it all started.

Kevin took us to St. Peter's Church on Church Road. That's it on the left behind the wall.

 I must say that even today, the area has a pretty serene feel to it, much as I would imagine it was 50 years ago.
 The church grounds are entered through this beautiful covered gate.

 This is the St Peters church building.

As one would expect, it is still an active church and very much a part of the community.

 The building appears to be very well maintained and is quite architecturally beautiful. I am very appreciative that the church allows us tourists to enter the ground and respectfully view the graves of those we've grown to know over the years. It is a beautiful church and site, and is a must-see on any trip to Liverpool.
 Okay, another pose Kevin had us do - we felt silly but you know what? We're glad he had us do it now.

 From there, we entered the church grounds where there are headstones from the 1800s through the present time. It appears to us that there are probably very few plots left at this point.
Kevin led us to some of the more famous graves.

 A look back towards the street.
 A grave marker for a John McKenzie. Make mental note of that.
 Gravestones for Rigby and McKenzie, practically side by side.

 Kevin shows us the most famous gravestone, for Eleanor Rigby. I have read that Paul McCartney denies that the song was named for the person buried here - he said the last name was from a famous star in the UK at that time. Personally I don't believe that. Maybe there is some sort of strange British law that forces him to say such a thing, but it would be a pretty strange coincidence for that name to appear at a location where he spent a lot of time. Either way, it has given the world the opportunity to learn a little bit more about this woman who would have been completely unknown if not for the Beatles song.
 He also denies that the reference to "Father McKenzie" in the same song refers to the other gravesite nearby. Yet another coincidence? I'm not buying it.

 Looking up at the church from Eleanor Rigby's grave.

 Kevin said visitors to Eleanor's grave have done some damage to the neighboring plots, such as pushing over this headstone - and breaking it - directly in front of her grave.

It didn't feel right smiling in front of someone's grave. So we didn't.
 I love the way the camera caught rays of light as we walked through church property!
 Let's walk deeper into the site.
 Kevin had us stand on a small wall and look at the nuclear power plant off in the distance. He was not keen on it, a feeling shared by much of the world especially this year.
What appears to be a new addition on the back of the church. I would have preferred they continue with the original style.
 This is the grave of George Toogood Smith, Aunt Mimi's husband. John lived in Mendips with George and Mimi. George operated two dairys and a store with his brother and married Mimi in 1939.
When John started living with them, George taught John to read and often read him stories. On a Sunday in June 1955, George collapsed on the stairway in Mendips and died of a liver hemorrhage. John, who was 14 at the time and away visiting relatives in Scotland, learned of the death when he returned home.
 Heading towards the rear of the site behind the church. This is where the newest headstones are located.

 This is also the area where John's first band, the Quarrymen skiffle band, played its first concert on July 6, 1957. That's John at the microphone. It was also that afternoon, on this same spot, that a friend introduced Paul McCartney to John Lennon.
 A photo of that same spot today. Note that graves now fill the area. The band name came from the fact that many men in Liverpool at that time worked in quarries.

At least his first band wasn't called the Grave Diggers
 Looking back towards the church.

 Kevin then took us across the street to the St Peters Hall. This is where the Quarrymen played that same evening.

 It was before the performance in this hall that Ivan Vaughn introduced Paul to John, as described on this plaque.
 Sorry, I couldn't resist a photo of the car...the red looked even better in person!
Looking back across the street at the church.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Thank you for the cool pics. I hope someday to visit there, too.

Jim Hoffmann
Apple Valley, CA
"International Pop Overthrow," et al.