The historic St. Peter’s Church Hall in the Woolton section of Liverpool where Paul McCartney auditioned for John Lennon on July 6, 1957 will open its doors Aug. 27 through Sept. 1 to welcome the many Beatles fans who will flock to the city for International Beatle Week and also host a very special auction that overseas fans can participate in, Dr. Donna Jackson, Senior Modern History Lecturer at the University of Chester, a member of the church congregation and Liverpool correspondent for Beatles Examiner, said Aug. 23.
During recent repairs to the roof of the hall, it was discovered that the antique weather vane which has been atop the hall since the mid-19th century, is no longer safe and a decision was made to take it down. As part of ongoing fund raising efforts at St Peter’s, it is being offered for sale at the annual Beatles Auction taking place Aug. 29 at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, Sir Paul McCartney’s ‘fame’ school.
“For some, the weather vane is a battered piece of old metal, but really it is a unique piece of history,” Jackson said. “It has witnessed the transformation of Woolton from a village to a thriving community within Liverpool. It stood proud during the First World War and survived Hitler’s bombing raids on Liverpool during World War II. And, of course, it was there when a young man entered St. Peter’s on July 6, 1957, to audition to join a local band. Touching the twisted metal gives us a chance to touch all that history.”
She added, “I’d love to own it but I think it will far exceed my budget. For the sake of the Church, I hope it does!”
Besides the weather vane, the church has also entered an old hymnal and prayer book in the auction. Jackson says these books are not used in the church now, but were during the 1950s when both John Lennon and his Aunt Mimi Smith attended services there.
“Although St Peter’s has about 50 of these books for sale, they are only available to those people who can buy them in person at the church,” Dr. Jackson said. “By putting one of each in the auction, we are giving overseas Beatles fans who are able to place absentee bids for the auction a chance to own these special items.” More information about the Beatles Auction, including other items for sale as well as how to place an absentee bid, is available on the auction website.
The Church Hall will be open every day during International Beatles Week except Sunday, Aug. 30. Entry to the hall is free, and some of the current members of the congregation who were at the historic church fete on July 6, 1957 will be on hand to share their memories of the historic day. Souvenirs, including T-shirts, key rings, commemorative posters, mugs and postcards, as well as the hymnals and prayer books used during the 1950s, will be available for sale. These items are only available at the Church and cannot be purchased online.
The hall will also host a book signing by Marie Darwin and Tom Donohue, the author and illustrator of a new children’s book entitled “What Did Grandad Paul Do When He Was Little?: A Story of a Beatle” The book is about the life of Paul McCartney through 1970 when the Beatles broke up. More information on the book is available at its website.