30 miles from London |
Sam Leach's marvellously inventive idea was to get The Beatles to play in front of some of London's top impresarios, so that they could see for themselves the scenes of frenzy the band were generating, nightly, on Merseyside. After another massive turn out for the group at the Tower Ballroom, New Brighton, on the Friday night, Sam hired a specially equipped van—with seats for everyone—and a driver.
The next day The Beatles were driven down to London for their debut. Almost. The venue—the Palais Ballroom—turned out to be in a country town—better known for the huge army camp on its outskirts. A town situated more than thirty miles from the show business capital—the West End of London.
Worse, the full-page ad for the venue—Presenting a "Battle of the Bands"—Liverpool V London—7-30 p.m. to 11.30 p.m.—Bar—Buffet—Admission 5/-—Everyone Welcome—Tell Your Friends—hadn't even appeared in the local newspaper, as the cheque Sam had used as payment the previous week had yet to clear.
So nobody knew The Beatles were coming to town.
Photographs by Dick Matthews. Source: BeatlesSource | The Savage Young Beatles
*The Palais Ballroom was on the corner of Queens Road and Perowne Street | some 330 yards up the road from The Havelock Arms—demolished 1979—on the corner of Victoria Road and Cross Street | just before Victoria Road becomes Queens Road.