Long-lost photographs of the fab four have been discovered lying in a dusty attic where they have been hidden from the world for almost 50 years.
The photographs of the Beatles taken during and after a performance at Fairfield Halls in Croydon on 25 April 1963, were shot just a month after the release of their first album, Please Please Me, and portrait the band in the days leading up to their international stardom.
In one of the shots the band sits together off stage looking dapper in their collarless jackets, skinny ties, and ‘mop-top’ hairdos, the early-60s style they embodied to perfection. In another, a modest crowd of around 100 fans wait outside the gates, a far cry from the Beatles mania that would soon sweep the globe.
The lucky photographer Andy Wright, who at the time was just 15-years old and a pupil at the Woodcote Secondary School in Croydon, captured the images after his father, a steward at the venue, got the manager’s permission for his son to wander around with a back stage pass and snap pictures at the gig.
The show in Croydon was the final of four comprising ‘The Mersey Beat Showcase’ mini-tour, which featured performances from other famous acts managed by Brian Epstein including Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Big Three, Billy J Kramer and The Dakotas.
The Fab Four appeared on stage at Fairfield Halls just six months after the venue opened 50 years ago.
To celebrate their forthcoming golden jubilee, the iconic Fairfield Halls have revamped their website transforming it into an archive of past events including images of performers, programs, and promotional posters.
Mr Wright had long-forgotten the photographs he’d taken nearly 50 years before until a chance meeting with an old friend, who worked at Fairfield Halls, prompted his memory: “I said I took photographs of the Beatles there, and he couldn’t believe it and told me about their anniversary archive.
“You know how it is, you just have boxes of rubbish in the attic so I was delighted I still had them.”
Mr Wright, who now lives in Hertfordshire where he works as a freelance photographer, said: “I only had 12 pictures on my roll of film. Film was expensive back then. The picture of all four of them backstage, potentially the most financially lucrative, was taken with the last shot I had.
“I still have the Rollei camera I took pictures with.”
To see the full collection of photographs and help celebrate Fairfield Halls’ 50th anniversary please visit: http://fairfieldat50.ehive.com/
By Sean Lindholm