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Thursday, 7 February, 2002, 15:20 GMT
Historic Beatles stage saved
Lennon and McCartney
Lennon (R) asked McCartney to join the Quarrymen
The wooden stage on which John Lennon first met Paul McCartney in 1957 is to be saved from demolition.

Liverpool City Council has intervened to stop the stage, at St Peter's Church Hall in Woolton, being ripped up as part of a rebuilding project.

The stage was offered for auction late last year but a buyer could not be found.

Liverpool without the Beatles would be like Stratford without Shakespeare

Mike Storey, Liverpool city council
Now the council has stepped in and reached an agreement with the church authorities to put the stage in storage in an undisclosed location while talks are held to find it a permanent home.

The hall's part in The Beatles' story came on 6 July 1957, when a 16-year old Lennon, who had been playing with his group the Quarrymen, was introduced to the 15-year-old McCartney.

McCartney was audacious enough to tell Lennon that his guitar was out of tune, and then showed off his own musical prowess by playing 20 Flight Rock - and won a place in the band.

'Fantastic news'

The band's name later changed to Johnny And The Moondogs, then the Silver Beetles, and finally The Beatles.

Lennon and McCartney
Part of Liverpool's "cultural heritage"
Colin Hanton, 63, who was playing drums with the Quarrymen the day John met Paul, said: ''This is fantastic news.

''I remember the day well and can still see John talking to this lad who I later found out was Paul.

"He didn't strike me as anything special then but after Paul joined we practised a lot and got better.

"Even though I left I'm proud to have been a part of it all."

'Blind eye'

He added: ''To hear that the stage will be saved and remain in the city is great news not just for me and the Quarrymen, but for Liverpool and Beatles fans everywhere.''

Councillor Mike Storey, leader of the city council, said he was delighted to rescued what he called "a vital piece of pop music and Beatles memorabilia, as well as part of our city's wonderful cultural heritage".

''The days are long gone when the city council turned a blind eye to its heritage by allowing places like the Cavern to be demolished," he said.

"We will never allow that to happen again. It was on this very spot that one of the most successful musical partnerships in history first began.

"This stage is an important part of The Beatles legend - Liverpool without the Beatles would be like Stratford without Shakespeare."

The council said there have already been inquiries from a number of interested parties wishing to use the stage as a tourist attraction.

See also:

26 Nov 01 | Music
Historic Beatles stage for sale
11 Oct 01 | Music
Rejected Lennon letter sells
12 Jun 01 | Music
Beatles stage sale row
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