The Cavern Club, Liverpool, “Birthplace” of the Beatles: Why it was demolished.
Above Photo: the Cavern Club on Mathew Street, Liverpool in the 1960s.
A lot of the action in Bombed Out! takes place on Mathew Street, around a Punk and New Wave club called Eric’s, which was located opposite what had been the site of the Cavern. I was never a Beatles fan, but I have always been a fan of quality Industrial architecture, and wondered who had insanely demolished 19th Century warehouses that housed The Cavern, and why.
This is what I found…
In 1973 British Rail used a Compulsory Purchase Order to demolish warehouses at 8-12 Mathew Street, so they could build a ventilation shaft for Liverpool’s underground railway.
The shaft was never built, but unfortunately the demolished warehouses contained the Cavern club, the ‘birthplace’ of the Beatles, who were ‘discovered’ there by Brian Epstein in 1961.
The club, which was in the basement of the warehouses, was filled in with rubble when the site was flattened, in an act of shocking architectural vandalism.
Other than maybe Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley, the Cavern, had it remained un-demolished, might have been the world’s greatest musical tourist attraction.
Instead it was left as a dust-bowl car park, which is what it looked like when people were going to Punk and New Wave club, Eric’s in the late 1970s, before a crappy shopping mall, called Cavern Walks, was built on the site of the Cavern a few years later.
In an odd coincidence, the two most important Liverpool music clubs of the twentieth century, the Cavern and Eric’s, were located almost opposite each other on Mathew Street, a cobbled backstreet in a then-unloved part of Liverpool city centre, separated only by a few years.
Back in the early 1970s Beatlemania obviously wasn’t seen as a megabuck-generating industry for the city, and so, with barely a whimper, Liverpool lost one of the musical world’s most important buildings and one which had miraculously survived the bombing of Liverpool during World War 2.
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