Welcome again to Then and Now, where each week we compare images of Merseyside streets, landmarks and buildings from bygone days with how they look today.

Our main image this week shows the Beatles landing at Speke Airport for the Liverpool premiere of their film A Hard Day’s Night. The date is July 10th 1964.

More than 3,000 fans greeted the Fab Four at the airport, occupying every vantage point. Hundreds lined balconies on the art-deco terminal building to catch a glimpse of their favourite band.

Paul McCartney occupies the centre of our photo with George Harrison beside him. Ringo Starr and John Lennon are further to the right. All are carrying bouquets of flowers.

Around 200,000 people lined the route to the Town Hall and later gathered around the Odeon cinema as the Beatles returned to their home city. Police in their hundreds tried to control the screaming fans.

The Beatles in Liverpool
Liverpool John Lennon Airport
As the Beatles appeared on the Town Hall balcony, the Liverpool City Police Band struck up the group’s hit single Can’t Buy Me Love.

McCartney was overwhelmed by the welcome. He said: ‘It was incredible because people were lining the streets we’d known as children, that we’d taken the bus down or walked down.’

After the film’s screening, introduced by DJ David Jacobs, the Beatles headed back to Speke and a flight to London.

Our modern image shows Speke, renamed John Lennon Airport in 2001, in a very different light. Covid restrictions have left the terminal buildings deserted.

Testing stations, masks and hand sanitation dispensers have replaced the jubilant crowds of 1964.

*Hundreds of pictures from an unforgettable decade are packed into Clive Hardy’s fascinating book Around Merseyside in the 1960s. It’s available at £9.99 plus postage and packaging.

Just go to inostalgia.co.uk to place your order or ring the hotline on 01928 503777.