Romford memories provide 'fantastic insight' into era
PUBLISHED: 07:00 06 January 2016
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In 1963 the UK was in the midst of Beatlemania and the appeal of the Liverpudlian foursome was keenly felt by jelly baby wielding fans in Romford.
Manchester author, Richard Houghton, has been appealing for fans’ stories from the two visits The Beatles made to Romford and has been overwhelmed by the response from Recorder readers.
Richard Houghton called on the Recorder to help him track down gig-goers who saw the Fab Four’s appearances at either the ABC or the Odeon to create a “people’s history” of the group.
The shows, in March and June 1963, took place as Beatlemania was starting to grip the UK, with the June 1963 show also featuring Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas and Gerry and the Pacemakers.
Richard said: “The Beatles manager Brian Epstein devised a Mersey Beat Showcase package featuring artists that were signed to him.
“It came to Romford as the three main acts, including The Beatles, were occupying the top three positions in the hit parade.”
Amongst those who contacted Richard was John Murphy.
He said: “The stage was covered in jelly babies thrown on by the girls in the audience.
“One of the Beatles had said in an interview they were mad on jelly babies.”
Hazel Barham still recalls the concert clearly.
She said: “I was lucky enough to be in the audience.
“I was 14 at the time.
“We did nothing but scream the whole way through and I wonder now if we ever really heard them singing.”
Richard Tolbart also got in touch to mourn a missed opportunity: “I didn’t see the Beatles – I was too young - but I remember seeing an article in the Romford Recorder about how they stopped in Chadwell Heath High Street to buy cigarettes!
“I was disappointed I hadn’t been there to meet them - that’s where I lived!”
Richard said: “These Beatles memories are a fantastic insight into the past and I’m delighted to have received so many stories.
“I’ve now received more than 300 stories and these will be appearing in print later in 2016.”
You can still share your memories with Richard at email@example.com or write to him at 7 Hartley Road, Manchester, M21 9NG.