The Quarrymen and Lee Park

The Quarrymen

John Lennon formed the Quarrymen at the age of 16 in the summer of 1956, with friends and school friends from the Quarry Bank School. Nigel Walley was one of four tea chest bass players in the fledgling line up of the group. Nigel was also training as an apprentice professional golfer at Lee Park Golf Club at that time.

Nigel then decided to become the group’s manager, at Lennon’s request, on 2nd July 1957.

Although Nigel did not secure the group too many paid engagements, he sent flyers to local theatres and ballrooms, put up posters designed by John Lennon, paid for small advertisements in the Liverpool Echo and the Liverpool Daily Post, as well as business cards to be displayed in local shop windows.

He secured two concerts at the Gaumont cinema (close to Penny Lane) on Saturday afternoons, and for the group to perform at parties and skiffle contests in the Liverpool area.

Whilst Nigel was playing golf with Dr. Joseph Sytner, a Lee Park Golf Club member, he asked him if his son, Alan Sytner, could book The Quarrymen at the Cavern Club in Mathew Street, which was one of three jazz clubs Alan managed.

After passing the information to his son, Alan suggested that the group should play at the golf club first, so as to assess their talent. After playing at the Lee Park Golf Club audition in July 1957, their first ever paid professional appearance, he phoned Nigel a week later and offered the group an interlude spot on 7th August 1957, playing skiffle between the performances of three jazz groups at The Cavern Club which had opened its doors in January 1957. The Quarrymen were just one of the many skiffle groups who played at what the Cavern advertised as “Skiffle Sessions”.

Paul McCartney (rhythm guitarist) made his debut with the group on Friday, 18th October 1957 at 15 years of age.

George Harrison (lead guitarist) at fourteen years of age and Stuart Sutcliffe (bass player) at seventeen years of age both joined the group shortly afterwards in 1958. Their first full time drummer was Pete Best who joined in August 1960, and was replaced by Ringo Star in August 1962. After several name changes – including Silver Beatles – they finally by August 1960 became the Beatles – their name changed as a tribute to Buddy holly and the Crickets – and the rest, as they say, is History!