Home of Stuart Sutcliffe (original Beatles bassist)

 

Stuart Sutcliffe was the original bassist of the Beatles and in 1961 when he was 21 years old the family moved into an apartment in this building on Sefton Park. Even though it’s now a hotel I went to have a look one autumn afternoon.

 

I was lucky to park right in front of the hotel. Before taking photos I decided to listen to the end of a drama and consume sandwiches and a coffee. A granny with a bent face rapped on the window. “Oh no,” I thought, “how do I attract these nutters? Get ready to hear some sob story from a mad granny who wants £2.”

   I put the passenger side window down. “Alright then?” she said with a smile and sunken eyes of an acid-bather murderer.

   “Yes. Alright yourself?”

   You enjoying yourself?

   “Yes. Are you lost?” I asked.

   “I’m waiting for my daughter coming home. She’s not answering. I’ve had nothing since last night. I couldn’t just have a sandwich could I?”

   Cheeky thing!

   “Yes, but I’ve only got jam and cheese.”

   “Could I have a cheese one?”

   “No they’re on the same bread. Jam and cheese together.”

   The human mouth is an expressive thing and she obviously recoiled at this food combination. She didn’t even say thanks or sorry to disturb you and walked away.

 

I finished the food in peace, got out and took some photos of number 37 which is now the Blenheim Lakeside Hotel. There’s a gold-effect plaque at the entrance saying Stuart lived there. Stuart’s dad was a ship's engineer and often away at sea for long periods and his mum was a schoolteacher. He had two younger sisters. It was here his family heard of his sudden death aged just 21. Stuart’s heart wasn’t into music and he left the group to study art at The Hamburg College Of Art (lending his guitar to Paul McCartney until Paul could buy his own left-handed version.) Though he grew up and studied in Liverpool he died in Hamburg, collapsing and dying of a cerebral haemorrhage. He died in his girlfriend’s arms before the ambulance reached the hospital. I’ve been to his grave and the link is here...

 

http://johnhalley.uk/Grave%20-%20Stuart%20Sutcliffe.htm

 

I had a look around and as I took a few photos of the place someone dressed in cook’s whites watched me from the front window. I’m sure the employees are used to it. I don’t know when this place became a hotel but the Sutcliffe family were lived here for nine years until 1970. It wasn’t a happy time for the family. Stuart’s dad was a heavy drinker and physically cruel to his wife, witnessed by the children.

 

The hotel place looks out onto Sefton Park which people seem to flock to at the weekends. I didn’t know it was so pretty - a 235 acre public park south from the city centre. The circular road looping it populated by grand Victorian houses and mature trees is a pleasure to walk round. I didn’t walk to it but inside there’s a bandstand in the park somewhere, popular since the Victorian era, which is said to be the inspiration for The Beatles' song Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

 

I had another coffee and a bit of Parkin in the car in front of the hotel. Stuart was glad to leave home before me and he moved into a flat with John Lennon when he started attending Liverpool College of Art. The address is Hillary Mansions at 3 Gambier Terrace and I had a quick look. They used it as a place to practice with the rest of the band. When they lived there the light bulbs were bare and mattresses were on the floor on the floor in the corner. They painted the rooms yellow and black and occasionally burned the flat's furniture to keep warm. They stayed here for just a few months before leaving for Hamburg in the summer of 1960.

 

 

 

 

 

The kid on the steps came out to see what I was doing…

 

 

 

The hotel looks out onto the lake…

 

 

A lovely road decked with mature houses and trees surround park…

 

Looking left as you stand outside the hotel (sorry, it’s a little blurred)…

 

In the early days…

 

Image result for peter sutcliffe, the beatles

 

Stuart moved out to share a flat here with John Lennon…

 

 

 

Taken from across the road…