The Casbah, West Derby

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The Casbah, West Derby

Postby redrose » Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:55 am

I thought I would share an experience with you.

In 2003 a group of us were invited to the Casbah Club in West Derby Liverpool, for an open night after the club had been reopened. It had been left as it was when it closed it's doors in the early 60's and remained stuck in that time warp. Pete Best once lived in the house above the basement club, and it still remains the property of the Best family. The Casbah has been described by the Bests as 'the birthplace of the Beatles' and the cellar rooms are the same exactly today as they were when The Quarrymen played there for the first time on 29th August 1959. Pete's mother Mona Best decided to open the basement as a coffee club and venue for local beat groups and she enlisted the help of her sons Rory and Pete and their friends to prepare the rooms and decorate them before the grand opening.

When we visited in May 2003 we could see the aztec ceiling, painted by John Lennon. John orignally painted his trademark pot belly figures on the ceiling, but Mona didn't like them, and asked him to paint them over, which John did in aztec symbols. The next room was a long narrow area with a rainbow ceiling, which was painted by Paul McCartney, and is the room that is seen in the photograph of John, Paul, George and Ken Brown playing guitars. The coffee bar room has the original fireplace which has a silhouette of John painted in silver, and this was done by Cynthia Lennon.

The largest room has a spider painted on the wall behind where the bands would perform, and indeed was the stage where John, Paul, George and Ken Brown made their first appearance on the night of the Casbah's opening. The club is quite small so to have around 300 people crowded in there listening to the music bouncing off the walls must have been exhilirating.

Cynthia Lennon said, "John, Paul and George went around to see Mona, who told them they were welcome to play but she was still painting the cellar for the club's opening the following week. The three boys grabbed paintbrushes and helped her finish it off. John mistook gloss for emulsion - because of his short sight - which took days to dry.

The boys played at the club's opening on August 29, 1959, and I was there to watch them. They played with another lad, Ken Brown, on guitar, but without a drummer, as they couldn't find one. About three hundred people came along that night, and the boys played rock and roll hits for a couple of hours. The place heaved, with kids jiving and swinging, and the temperature soared until it was hard to breathe.

That was the evening when we first met the Beatles' future roadies, Neil Aspinall and Mal Evans, both friends of Pete, but Neil was also his mother's boyfriend and the father of his younger brother, Roag" [born in 1962].

Cynthia Lennon


In the house above, what was once the family home has now been converted into flats, and on the ground floor where the lounge would have been has now been converted into a recording studio. On the first floor in one of the flats is a bedroom with beautiful coloured leaded windows, and this is where Mona Best gave birth to her son Roag, who was the result of an affair she had with Neil Aspinall.

The house seems to echo with the ghosts of the many bands and groups that played there during it's short history, but what gives one the shivers is knowing that this place is one of the remaining Beatle sites that hasn't changed since the 60's and is preserved as it was.

If you ever visit Liverpool I would recommend that you visit the Casbah, and you can prearrange viewings via the casbahcoffeclub.com website.

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Re: The Casbah, West Derby

Postby jkpiodsoea » Sun Apr 17, 2011 6:47 am

ImageThis phrase is simply matchless ;)
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Re: The Casbah, West Derby

Postby jkpiodsoea » Wed Apr 20, 2011 2:50 pm

ImageI can speak much on this question.
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