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Chester students' appeal for help on Beatles history project

Published date: 22 May 2013 |
Published by: Natalie Barnett 
Read more articles by Natalie Barnett  Email reporter


 

IT WAS the location of one of the most significant encounters in popular music history and now a group of students from Chester is making an appeal for information that will help to tell the full story of the place where John Lennon and Paul McCartney first met.

The team of eight history students from the University of Chester has been asked to research and produce a guide for St Peter’s Church in Woolton, Liverpool, one of the essential stop offs for fans on The Beatles’ tourist trail.

On July 6, 1957, The Quarrymen skiffle group, John Lennon’s band at the time, played at the garden fete of St Peter’s Church.

It was while setting up their equipment to play, John’s neighbour and boyhood friend, Ivan Vaughan, introduced the band to one of his classmates from Liverpool Institute, the 15-year-old Paul McCartney.

This project forms part of the second year students’ experiential learning module which allows them to gain real life, hands on experience on a project.

It was set up and is being led by the university’s Dr Donna Jackson, a lifelong fan of The Beatles and is also a member of St Peter’s Church.

Dr Jackson, who lectures in modern history at the university, said: “This is a really exciting project for the students to be involved in.

“The Beatles are such a rich part of our cultural heritage and, as St Peter’s is where John Lennon was first introduced to Paul McCartney, it is one of the ‘must see’ places for Beatles fans coming to Liverpool.

“St Peter’s is my church, and I was privileged to meet a man named Dave Peters who witnessed Ivan’s introduction of John to Paul and would spend hours with Beatles’ fans sharing his memories of that special day.  

“Dave sadly passed away in 2011, and many other people who were present that day, including John Lennon and Ivan Vaughan, are no longer with us. That makes it even more important to try to document this story as accurately as possible, while some of the witnesses are still with us.

“I often show visitors around St Peter’s and it’s a privilege to be able to take them to the spot where musical history was made. I’m thrilled that my students are going to be part of this wonderful heritage project as is Kip Crooks, Rector of St Peter’s.”

She added: “Dave’s telling of this first encounter will form a significant part of this guide book, but it would be fantastic if there is anyone out there who remembers being there or has information connected to that day in July 1957.”

This is not the first time that the university’s history students have been involved in such a high profile project connected to the late John Lennon.

In 2010 and 2011, two separate groups took part in a research project to gather information to be used in the future to recreate the authenticity of the garden of Lennon’s childhood home, Mendips in Liverpool.

Through the university’s website, Yoko Ono sent a personal message to the students, in which she wrote “…thank you, thank you, thank you, to members of the Family of Peace and love of beauty. Thank you for working on the garden at Mendips. John and I thank you. With love,Yoko.”

Anyone with information for the St Peter’s Church guide book project, please contact Dr Jackson at d.jackson@chester.ac.uk or call on 01244 512160.

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