On Saturday, September 13 1964, there was a 'Caverncade', a parade through the streets of Liverpool by groups on decorated floats, the proceeds being donated to Oxfam.
There was even a weekly half-hour radio show which took place at the club. Called 'Saturday Night At The Cavern,' it was broadcast on Radio Luxembourg each Sunday at 10.30pm commencing on March 15 1963. The show was hosted by Bob Wooler who played the latest chart records and introduced a group live from the Cavern stage each week.
The producer was Roy Tuvey of Ross Radio. I wonder if he still retains the tapes of those shows - they could surely be compiled into album form. The fact that a weekly radio show with live groups on stage could be recorded at the Cavern indicates that acoustic problems could be solved - so it's a pity George Martin didn't take a chance and record the Beatles on stage at the Cavern in front of a live audience.
Unfortunately, Ray had taken on too many enterprises and overextended his capital, with the result that in February 1966, he had to declare himself bankrupt.
The loyal troglodytes (one of the names by which the Cavern 'regulars' were known) wished to support McFall and keep the club open, but the bailiffs were called in. The irate Cavernites staged a sit-in.
Frieda Kelly, the Beatles fan club secretary, took part in the siege by blockading the stairway to the Cavern with chairs. On stage, moral support came from the music of the Hideaways. Eventually, the police entered the club and removed its struggling inhabitants. The Cave dwellers continued their protests and a petition was sent to Prime Minister Harold Wilson at Lime Street Station as he arrived in Liverpool on a visit.
Incidentally, the other Cavern figure known to all the groups and fans was Paddy Delaney, the club doorman.
He was a former guardsman, had become a member of the Liverpool Parks Police, then a doorman at both the Locarno and Grafton Ballrooms in West Derby Road.
In 1959 he was approached by Ray McFall to be a 'bouncer' at the Cavern. He said he'd do it for £1 per night. Instead of dressing in the informal gear usually worn by Cavern doormen, Paddy always turned up in a tuxedo with cummerbund and diamond studs.
Initially, there was a strict dress code which included barring anyone wearing jeans and Paddy once attempted to prevent George Harrison entering the club because of his jeans.
Following the bankruptcy proceedings, the club was acquired by Joe Davey, proprietor of Joe's Cafe in Duke Street, and Alf Geoghegan. It was officially reopened on January 23 1966 by Prime Minister Harold Wilson, while Ken Dodd and local MP Bessie Braddock were also present. The first group to take the stage after the reopening was the Hideaways, who had been the last group to play at the club (the group also appeared at the Cavern more times than any other band, a total of 412 appearances). The Beatles were unable to attend, but sent a telegram.
The Cavern changed hands again and was taken over by another local club-owner, Roy Adams. Although he ran the club successfully, Roy couldn't fight the local bureaucracy. Liverpool Corporation decided they needed to fit an extraction duct for the underground railway in the premises and Adams was given notice to quit. The club was forced to close on March 27 1973 and bulldozers razed the site. The Cavern itself was buried in rubble and when the railway work had been completed, the site was turned into a car park.
Adams obtained the premises directly opposite and opened the New Cavern Club. Arthur Dooley created a Beatles sculpture for the outside wall.
The premises were taken over by Roger Eagle who reopened the venue as Eric's in 1975 and a whole new generation of Mersey talent found an outlet - Elvis Costello, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, China Crisis, Orchestral Maneuvers In The Dark, Echo And The Bunnymen, Teardrop Explodes, A Flock Of Seagulls, the Lotus Eaters, Wah! and many more.
Following John Lennon's murder, Liverpool architect David Backhouse approached Royal Life Insurance Limited to develop the site.
They were originally going to call it the Eleanor Centre, after Eleanor Rigby, but it was then dubbed Cavern Walks and £9 million was spent on the scheme. Backhouse designed the basic plans for the complex in only two days, producing an original design of a structure seven
stories high with an almost Victorian look to it.
He also included provision for the restructuring of the original Cavern Club. The bricks to the club were still built at a right angle to the street. As a result, although it occupied 50% of the former Cavern Club site, it had a different entrance and instead of merely walking down eighteen steps into the club, a new entrance with a large spiral staircase had to be constructed with at least thirty steps.
The Cavern Walks complex also contained a shopping centre, offices, an 'Abbey Road' pub, a restaurant, a central atrium where the shopping malls merged and an eye-catching statue of the Beatles.
Cynthia Lennon was asked to provide a design for the terracotta tiles that would face parts of the new building.
On April 25 1985 Cynthia unveiled a small commemorative plaque, placed on an outside wall, inscribed 'To John' and containing the lyrics to 'In My Life.'
In the centre of the atrium itself - which reached up past the entire seven floors with a wall-climber lift, candy-pink lamp-posts, vaulted ceilings and hanging gardens of foliage - was the controversial £40,000 statue by John Doubleday. The sculptor commented, "It is the largest figurative group in bronze commissioned in Britain for 25 years, in fact since Epstein's Bowater House group. It has been a considerable professional challenge. Above all, I have tried to capture the raw energy of the Beatles as they were when they were playing at the Cavern."