392/0/10275 HAYMANS GREEN
THE CASBAH CLUB
Large detached Victorian villa, c.1860, red brick with stone dressings, 2 storeys with attic. Focus of interest for listing is unique basement coffee and music club dating to 1959 and birthplace of the Beatles.
PLAN: House: Double-depth plan. W entrance.
Basement: 6-room plan with corridor. Entrance via external door to rear (N) elevation of property.
HOUSE: Sash windows, decorative surrounds to front and W elevations. Canted bay windows to front (S) and rear (N) elevations. Second door on E side. Altered rear elevation. Small courtyard with outside toilets. Door at W end of rear elevation leads into basement club. Interior features include: architraves, 4-panel doors, decorative moulded cornicing to stair hall, geometric patterned tiled floor to entrance porch. Dog-leg stair with carved brackets, spiral newel post, alternately plain and carved slender splat balusters with foliage design. Replaced fireplaces. Altered first floor and attic converted to flats.
BASEMENT: Original entrance in courtyard wall to rear of property blocked up c.1960 as club numbers grew. Adjacent new entrance inserted c.1960. Internal cellar stair beneath house's main stair provides secondary access.
Series of interlinking rooms. First room inside entrance is ticket and cloakroom area; whitewashed brick walls, counter inlaid with square mosaic tiles, logo on W wall depicts 'C C C' and spider, each letter within square black border, painted by Pete Best. Door in S wall leads to 'Aztec Room'; ceiling with painted geometric shapes painted by John Lennon, plyboard panelling around bottom half of room, temporary exhibition panels above. Original brick-arched door in S wall leads to narrow, corridor-like 'Rainbow Room'; first stage area where Beatles played at W end of room and fans stood to E and in adjacent 'Aztec Room', plyboard panelling, 'rainbow' ceiling painted by (Sir) Paul McCartney, original musician equipment and furniture. Door in S wall leads to 'Spider Room' (knocked through c.1960 and converted from coal store to provide larger stage space); plyboard panelling, original musician equipment, late C20 replica railings of c.1960 originals used to separate bands from fans, painting on S wall depicts spider's web and spider painted by Pete Best, ceiling divided into brightly painted sections painted by John Lennon. Door in E wall of 'Rainbow Room' leads to original entrance corridor and 'Star Room' to rear of club (front of house). 'Star Room' with panelling to S, W and N walls, bare brick E wall with white silhouette of John Lennon against black background painted by Cynthia Lennon, 1950/1960 gas fire with mosaic surround, ceiling of silver stars on black background painted by John Lennon, (Sir) Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Stu(art) Sutcliffe, large opening in N wall forms bar counter for coffee and Coca Cola bar in small room behind. Bar retains c.1959 mug wheel, C19 panelled cellar door with opening inserted to top, painted ceiling in matching style to 'Star Room'. N of 'Star Room and E of 'Rainbow Room' original entrance corridor with gated booths along W wall where customers used to sit and Mona Best collected admissions before entrance moved, image of white and red dragon on black background on E wall painted by Mona Best.
HISTORY: 8 Haymans Green, Liverpool, was built c.1860 to the designs of an unknown architect. In 1957 Mona Best (mother of Pete Best, original drummer with the Beatles) bought the house, which had previously been used by the Conservative Club of West Derby, for use as a private residence.
Whilst watching a television programme in 1959 about coffee and music bars in London Mona Best decided to open a coffee and beat club called the Casbah Coffee Club in the cellars and coal stores of 8 Haymans Green. The name of the club is taken from the film 'Tangiers'.
George Harrison, Ken Brown, (Sir) Paul McCartney and John Lennon joined together to form the group The Quarrymen to play on the opening night of the Casbah on 29 August 1959, and they became the club's resident group. Later, after Ken Brown left the band Stu(art) Sutcliffe and then Pete Best subsequently joined and the Beatles were formed. The Beatles played their first, and many subsequent, performances at the Casbah and also signed their management contract with Brian Epstein in the club. Numerous ceilings and walls depict images and designs painted by each member of the original Beatles line-up, along with images painted by Mona Best and Cynthia Lennon.
As the Beatles' popularity grew additional rooms in the cellar were knocked through and converted into larger dance and stage spaces. Other bands to play regularly at the Casbah included Rory Storm & The Hurricanes, Gerry & The Pacemakers, The Searchers, The Undertakers and numerous others.
The Casbah closed in 1962 following a family bereavement. The Beatles (John, George, Paul and Pete) played the closing night to a crowd of 1500 people.
Beatles Tours. Available HTTP: http://www.beatlestours.co.uk
Casbah Coffee Club. Available HTTP: http://www.casbahcoffeeclub.com
The Beatle Source. Available HTTP:http://www.beatlesource.com
The Official Website of the Liverpool Lennons. Available HTTP: http://www.lennon.net
Background information about the club, its patrons, use and performances kindly provided verbally by the Best Family.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: A Victorian villa of c.1860 with a unique coffee and music club in its basement. Opened in 1959 by Mona Best (mother of Pete Best, original drummer with the Beatles) The Quarrymen (George Harrison, Ken Brown, John Lennon and (Sir) Paul McCartney) formed to play on the opening night of the Casbah Coffee Club, and became the club's resident group. Following a change in band members the Beatles were subsequently formed and played their first ever, and numerous subsequent, performances at the Casbah. Other bands to play frequently at the Casbah included Gerry & The Pacemakers, Rory Storm & The Hurricanes, and The Undertakers and many other performers who later attained regional and national prominence. The former club has undergone little alteration since its closure in 1962 and contains a series of rooms that were linked to create extra space as the Beatles' popularity grew. Of particular interest are the decorative finishes and illustrations attributed to members of the original Beatles, Cynthia Lennon and Mona Best.
The special historic interest of the building resides almost exclusively in the basement club, the villa above having been altered and extended. The former Casbah Club may be considered to be not only the performance birthplace of the Beatles, but also a unique piece of physical evidence of the beginning, and development, of what became a mid C20 cultural phenomenon of enduring international significance that has influenced and continues to influence subsequent music styles, dress and attitudes.