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 from February 28th 1966 marks a sad day for Liverpool’s world-renowned Cavern Club as it had been forced to close due to financial difficulties.
Music fans are milling around the pavement outside the entrance at 10 Mathew Street, wondering when they’ll next see their favourite Merseybeat bands.
The Beatles played the cramped cellar stage of the Cavern Club 292 times on their way to stardom. The club also hosted the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, the Hollies and the Who.
Fortunately anxious fans did not have long to wait before their favourite venue was reopened. Following a campaign led by resident band the Hideaways and local MP Bessie Braddock, the Cavern was back in business on July 23rd 1966.
Performing the reopening was Prime Minister and Huyton MP Harold Wilson – and the first band on stage were the Hideaways. They made more than 400 appearances at the club.
The Cavern closed in March 1973 and was filled in during the building of the Merseyrail underground rail loop. A new Cavern Club opened at 7 Mathew Street, but was later renamed the Revolution Club and then Erics.
When the warehouse site of 8-12 Mathew Street was redeveloped in the early 1980s, it was hoped that the original cellars housing the Cavern Club could be excavated and reopened.
Unfortunately the damage was too great, but 5,000 original bricks from the archways did go on sale in aid of the Strawberry Field Children’s Home.
Another 15,000 bricks were used in the reconstruction of the Cavern Club in the new development.
*Many more images from Then and Now will feature in a brilliant new book from publishers iNostalgia. Watch out for more details soon.