Legendary arts centre and live music venue Fairfield Hall in Croydon, London, England is currently celebrating its 50th Anniversary. Thanks to a fortunate set of timely circumstances, previously unpublished photographs of none other than The Beatles have surfaced from a performance the Fab Four put on at Fairfield Hall on April 24, 1963; almost 6 months after the venue first opened on November 2, 1962.
According to an article by the Croydon Guardian, the pictures were laying dormant in the attic of freelance photographer Andy Wright who original photographed The Beatles at the tender age of 15. Wright was able to snap the shots from various positions around the venue including side and backstage thanks to access gained from his father, who was a steward at Fairfield Hall.
When recounting the story of how the photographs finally came into public viewing, Wright said it was just lucky timing.
“I met up with an old friend and he said he worked with the Fairfield Halls,” Wright said.
“I said I took photographs of the Beatles there, and he couldn’t believe it and told me about their anniversary archive,” he said.
“You know how it is, you just have boxes of rubbish in the attic so I was delighted I still had them,” he said.
As for the gig itself, the performance came approximately a month after The Beatles had released their debut LP Please Please Me, which came out March 22, 1963. Recalling his encounter with the legendary band Wright points out the difference level of access that was permitted in the 60s as opposed to today.
“I was allowed to wait backstage. They had just come off so they were probably a bit shattered. We turned over a couple of theatre seats and took a couple of quick photographs,” Wright said.
“I think they just wanted to get to the dressing room. If you think about it now you’d have an army of security guards with earpieces. Completely different,” he said.
Inspired from the events of that day, Wright went on to become a successful freelance photographer and gave Fairfield Hall permission to use his pictures free of charge.
“I still have the Rollei camera I took pictures with,” Wright said.
The Beatles weren’t the only band playing that night, check out this flyer to see the full bill.