Roll Up, Roll Up for the Magical Mystery Tour...

Ottawa resident Roy Morrison takes us on a tour of the historical Beatle places in London and Liverpool.

In the fall of 2005, my wife and I decided to take a trip to Scotland. Being a big Beatles fan, I thought that since I was over there, I should visit London and Liverpool too. I was in London in 1965, but being 6 years old at the time, I didn't know much about the Beatles and didn't care that they were from England. Before we left on our trip, I bought a Beatles London Tour book, so I could pick out the places I wanted to see.

We arrived in London on September 18th. The next day we took the subway to St. John's Wood to start our Beatles tour.  A short walk from the subway station we found the famous Abbey Road crosswalk. It's actually at a T intersection. Near the crosswalk was the Abbey Road Studios, where the Beatles recorded most of their songs.

A few blocks away, we found Paul McCartney's former house on Cavendish Ave. The number of the house was taken off, but my book explained where the house was. On our way back to the subway station, we passed by the Post Office where Brian Epstein sent the Beatles a telegram to inform them they got a record contract at EMI.

A short trip by subway, we got off at the Baker Street Station. The first place we saw was the London Palladium. After the Beatles played there in 1963, the newspapers first used the word "Beatlemania" to describe the madness at the concert.  From there, we went to Jane Asher's parent's house. Paul moved in there when The Beatles moved to London. It was here that Paul wrote such great songs as Yesterday. Then we found the old Apple Boutique building, which is now a drug store, and from there we went to Saville Row to the old Apple Headquarters. Saville Row is such a narrow little street, not at all what I'd imagined. We then hopped on a bus and made our way to the Marylebourne train station. It was here that they filmed part of "A Hard Day's Night".

A few days later, we drove up to Liverpool. By the time we got there it was too late to see anything, so we got up early the next day to start our tour. Our hotel was down the road from the Beatles Story Museum, which is beside the Mersey River, at Albert Docks. At the museum we learnt about this Magical Mystery Tour that takes you to all the Beatles sites around town. Since we only had one day in Liverpool, we thought this would save some time. We spent the morning going through the Beatles Story museum and caught the Magical Mystery Tour after lunch.

The tour guide played Pete Shotton in the movie "John Lennon: In His Life", and worked with Paul McCartney anytime Paul was in town for a concert. The bus was a replica of the Magical Mystery Tour bus. The original one was sold to the Hard Rock Café in Florida. Our first stop was to Penny Lane. Most of the places mentioned in the song, isn't actually on Penny Lane, but on a street that runs into Penny Lane. The town officials later changed it so that the first 500 yards of that street would be called Penny Lane. A lot of the places we went to, we never got a chance to stop at, so I didn't get a chance to get a picture of a lot of things. Most of the ones I did get a picture of, were from inside the bus.  From Penny Lane, we drove to 12 Arnold Grove where George Harrison was born. It was located on a small dead-end street with row houses on both sides. The tour guide mentioned that a few years before George died, he found out that he was in fact born February 24th and not 25th. He was born just before midnight on the 24th and by the time the nurse made note of it, it was February 25th. From there we went to John's Aunt Mimi's house. I was under the impression that we were on the tour bus that actually got to go inside the house, but to my disappointment, I found out that I was on the wrong tour. We didn't even get off that bus at her house as it was rush hour and the bus couldn't stop for too long. On the house is a blue plaque stating that this was the house where John Lennon once lived. The next stop along the way was to Paul's dad's house. We were allowed to get off the bus there. Paul's dad's house didn't have a plaque because you have to still be famous 25 years after your death, so since Paul is still alive, he'll have to wait (the town officials don't believe in  the "Paul Is Dead" theories).

From there we went to Strawberry Field. We could only get as far as the main gate. The building is up for sale. In the sale agreement it states that whoever buys it, they have to keep the gateway as it is.

Other places we drove by, but didn't get to stop at was Ringo's house where he was born. Around the corner from there is the Empress pub where Ringo's mum used to go. We also drove past (rather quickly) the hospital where John was born, Quarry Bank High School, The Liverpool Institute, Woolworth's where Cynthia Lennon worked, the place where John and Paul met, and other sites, stopping off at Matthew Street, where the Cavern Club is. It's not the original Cavern Club, but its suppose to be built to the same specs as the original one. Across from the Cavern Club is the Cavern Pub. Outside of the pub is a statue of John Lennon.  Next to the Cavern club is the Matthew Street Mall. In the mall they have a store where you can buy suits like what the Beatles wore, and of course, Beatle boots. Down the street from the there is the Grapes pub. This is where the Beatles used to go for a beer after playing at the Cavern. The Grapes still has the actual booth that the Beatles used to sit at. Further down Matthew Street is The Beatles Store, where you can buy anything related to the Beatles. Above the entrance is a statue of the Beatles, in their famous 1963 collarless suits pose. On the wall inside the store is a picture of Ringo using their phone.

Around the corner from Matthew Street is The White Star pub. This is another place where the Beatles drank at. Around the corner from there is Brian Epstein's NEMS store. Now it's an Ann Summers lingerie shop.

That was all we got to see as it was starting to rain, so we head back to our Hotel. The next day we left Liverpool and drove to Scotland to start our vacation.

We left the UK on October 9th, John's Birthday. The next day, we were off to Toronto to see Paul McCartney. At the concert Paul played Mull of Kintyre, which he was a great way to finish off our Scottish vacation.

Note: The Ottawa Beatles Site wishes to convey our sincerest thanks to Roy Morrison for providing his lovely write-up and photographs.

Copyright © by Roy Morrison and the Ottawa Beatles Site. First published on January 26, 2006