THIRTY two years ago, four young fresh-faced Liverpudlian musicians took to the stage in Peterborough and a review in the Evening Telegraph described them as: "Not nearly as bad as they might have been." Obviously the reviewer and the audience did not realise they were watching the birth of a musical phenomenon called The Beatles. At the weekend a Beatles expert visited the city, to see if Peterborough's 'children of the 60s' had any mementoes of that night. Amy Cameron repor
THIRTY two years ago, four young fresh-faced Liverpudlian musicians took to the stage in Peterborough and a review in the Evening Telegraph described them as: "Not nearly as bad as they might have been." Obviously the reviewer and the audience did not realise they were watching the birth of a musical phenomenon called The Beatles. At the weekend a Beatles expert visited the city, to see if Peterborough's 'children of the 60s' had any mementoes of that night. Amy Cameron reporWHEN Carol Abell was 15 years old, she and two friends went to see The Beatles in concert at Peterborough's Embassy Theatre.
Later that night, Carol took her autograph book to the Bull Hotel, in Westgate, city centre, in the hope of meeting the band. She got her signatures – and a drink with the rising stars, too.
Thirty-two years later, at a special valuation day at Peterborough's Great Northern Hotel, Carol was told the autograph book was worth a staggering 1,750.
Carol, of Ladybower Way, Gunthorpe, Peterborough, said: "I can't believe it is worth so much – this is wonderful."
The concert in 1962, at the popular city venue, was the first time The Beatles played in Peterborough, and Carol, whose maiden name was Barrett, said it was a night she would never forget.
She said: "I was living with my mum and dad in Midland Road at the time.
"It was such a good concert, they were brilliant, but were not top of the bill – Frank Ifield was headlining.
"Me and my friends, Pauline White and Margaret Cawfield, walked up to The Bull after the show because we were told most of the people who performed at the Embassy stayed there.
"As we walked up to the hotel they were in their bedroom – hanging out of the window.
"So we shouted to them and they invited us in for a drink."
Sitting in the bar at the hotel, Carol and her friends talked to Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison and John Lennon about touring, performing and the band's recently released single – Love Me Do.
Carol said: "It was wonderful they were really down to earth lads and not at all caught up in the business. They just seemed really relaxed and were loving performing all the time."
Carol managed to grab signatures of the band and went on to join their fan club.
By March 1963, when The Beatles came to The Embassy again, the group had had their first number one hit – Please, Please Me.
Carol said: "This time we went to the stage door before the show and told people working there we were in the fan club.
"They let us backstage and the group were in there practicing and drinking tea. John Lennon didn't say a great deal, but the other three were still very relaxed considering Beatle-mania had just struck.
"They had just bought a small record player but didn't have any records. So they paid for me to get a cab back to my house to pick up some of my records.
"We were really annoyed with ourselves afterwards that we didn't get any photos, but we didn't take a camera with us because we didn't expect to get so close to The Beatles again."
Carol's book of autographs is full of signatures written when other bands visited the city in the 1960s.
Dusty Springfield, Petula Clark, The Shadows and Adam Faith are all included.
But when Beatles expert Paul Wane valued the book at 1,750
on Sunday, Carol was surprised.
She said: "It is just a typical teenager's autograph book, I had no idea it would be worth so much."
Valuer Paul Wane, from TRACKS, a company which
specialises in buying and selling 1960s pop memorabilia, said the book was worth so much because the signatures had all been gathered here in Peterborough.
Mr Wane (49) said: "The Beatles only came to Peterborough twice, so obviously signatures from the time are rare.
"It is also in very good condition."
Carol decided to sell the autograph book to Paul but said she had no idea how she will spend the money.
And she said it didn't upset her to hand over such a good slice of pop history.
She said: "I will always have my memories of when we met the Beatles – I don't need the book to remember.
"And my memories are priceless."
The Beatles – Paul's real passion
PAUL Wane, from Chorley, in Lancashire, decided 10 years ago to quit his job with the local council and start up a business based on his real passion – The Beatles.
Paul now travels around the country valuing posters, records, signatures and programmes from venues the band played during the 1960s.
He said: "I have a lot of collectors who come to me for certain items, but mostly it is selling the goods on at auctions.
"There is a huge fascination with Beatles stuff, whether it is personal effects, like guitars, or just signatures, people consider them to be part of our history and like to own a piece of that."
Paul said although quite a few big bands came to Peterborough in the 1960s, getting hold of authentic signatures or posters was harder because the venues they played were not so big, so there was less chance of things surviving.
Paul said: "Stars' signatures from the '60s are more valuable than a copy of Paul McCartney's signature would be if he wrote it today.
"A signed poster from the concerts in Peterborough would be worth a lot because not many were printed, as would be a programme from that tour."
Value was purely sentimental
CHEF Craig Klien took along his own piece of pop memorabilia to be valued – a 1960s Rolf Harris Stylophone.
Unfortunately, its value was purely sentimental.
Craig (42), of Canterbury Road, Werrington, Peterborough, works as second chef at the Great Northern Hotel.
He said he wasn't surprised his slice of the '60s was not worth thousands.
He added: "You never know until you ask – it could have been worth millions, it is Rolf Harris after all."
Valuer Paul said: "Lots of things like this stylophone which are kept in good condition are readily available – collectors always want that 'one-off' item."
Another fan from the city bought along a signed poster of The Who, and photographs of the band.
But valuer Paul said it was The Beatles who drive the market.
Paul said: "As the price of Beatles memorabilia goes up, it is forcing up the value of other bands such as The Who and The Rolling Stones. With the rise of the internet it is also easier to get hold of things, so the quality of goods needs to be tip-top."
Four men with fringes
ON October 5 1962 The Beatles' first hit "Love Me Do" was released in the UK. Two months later, on December 2, the band came to Peterborough.
Colin Bostock-Smith reviewed the concert in The Evening Telegraph at the time.
He said: "The Beatles, four young men with four fringes, three guitars, and some drums, were not nearly as bad as they might have been.
"Their Taste of Honey was performed with more taste than usual and the rocking Twist and Shout sent a small boy a few rows in front of me into hysterical delight."
By the time the fab-four returned to the city in March 1963, they already had a number one single with "Please, Please Me" and had began their bid to win over America with the same tune.
This time, The Evening Telegraph review said of the band, who shared the billing with local band The Dynatones: "As far as musical ability goes, their act gave them little chance to display any. But presentation-wise, they are home and dry.
"The Beatles are right at the top – and they deserve to be there."