Since the closure in 1973 there has been much misinformation regarding the club and now is the time to dispel three of these Cavern myths.
The Cavern was knocked down in 1973 and in its place a car park was built.
The Cavern was and still is a basement cellar club. The buildings above the Cavern were fruit warehouses. These were knocked down in 1973. The Cavern was below ground level thus it was not knocked down, it was simply filled in.
The Reason for the Myth
When the fruit warehouses were knocked down, it left an open space within the city centre. This open ground was used by the locals as a car parking space. A car park was never built as the mythology would have you believe.
The original Cavern was on the opposite side of the road from the site of the Cavern Club today.
The Cavern today occupies 75% of its original site. The address of the Cavern in 1957 when it opened was 10 Mathew Street. The address today is 10 Mathew Street.
The Reason for the Myth 2
The fruit warehouses above The Cavern were demolished in 1973 and The Cavern Club was closed down. The Council were planning to use the Cavern basements for improvements to the Merseyside Underground Railway system (which never did
materialise). The Cavern Club was filled in and remained intact until 1982. Meanwhile, the owner of The Cavern, Mr.
Roy Adams opened a new club opposite the original site calling it The Cavern. He erected a new 30 foot Cavern sign over his new doorway and an accompanying plaque which stated “The Cavern Club today now stands opposite from the original site”. In 1973 this sign was relevant and the information on the plaque was correct.
In 1974 the new Cavern Club folded. Roy Adams launched the club again as The Revolution, which also folded. Eventually, success was found on this new site with the launch of yet another venture,
ERICS, which gained a worldwide reputation during the Punk Rock Revolution. Sadly when punk died, so did
However, throughout The Revolution and Erics era, the 30 foot Cavern sign remained, as did the plaque. Indeed, both remained in situ until 1992, when the severe winter gales finally blew the sign down, nearly 20 years after it was originally erected.
This seems quite straightforward. So why should there be any confusion? In December 1980, tragically John Lennon was murdered. Local architect David Backhouse won approval for plans to re-open the original Cavern, which had remained intact underground. He envisaged the reopening and redevelopment of the area as a lasting tribute to John. In late 1981 the site was excavated. The Cavern was intact. However the foundations of The Cavern were deemed to be unsafe. In 1982 The Cavern was knocked down. The original bricks were saved, treated and utilised in the re-building of The Cavern on its original site to the original dimensions. In 1984 The Cavern Club re-opened on its original site. The timetable of events is irrefutable, so why is there any confusion?
Quite simply, Roy Adams’ sign and plaque remained in position from 1973 -
1992. When The Cavern re-opened in 1984 on its original site, many locals believed the 30 foot Cavern sign and plaque on the opposite side of the street were the indicators of the site of the original Cavern Club. This of course is
absurd. From 1984-1992 this sign was not relevant and the information on the plaque was incorrect.
Next to the Cavern Club is a car park (open space). Below that car park are remains from the original club.
There is indeed a car park next to the Cavern Club now. David Backhouse, the architect responsible for Cavern Walks and the excavation of the Cavern Club site (and eventual reopening of the Cavern Club), can confirm that all of this area under the car park was filled in. There are
no remains of the original club under the car park.
The Reason for the Myth 3
This appears to be a combination of the two myths i.e. the club was knocked down for a car park and that the site of the Cavern today is not the site of the original. The fact remains that the Cavern today occupies
75% of its original site.
There has been a Cavern Club on the site of 10 Mathew Street for 40 years. The Cavern Club closed from 1973-1984. The original club was knocked down in 1982 as the site was excavated and although the club was intact the foundations were unsafe.
The bricks of the Club were saved and treated, and used in the building of the Cavern Club which stands today. The original Cavern plans were used to reconstruct today’s Cavern. The arches, dimensions and the floor space in the front of the Club are more or less exact to the original Club. There are three major differences:
1) The Club today occupies 75% of the original site.
2) The Club is in fact deeper than the original Club. In 1962 you would descend 18 stairs, today you will descend 30 steps.
3) When you entered the Cavern basement the stage was directly in front of you. Today the stage is to the left.
Roy Adams, the last owner of the original Cavern
Club had been forced to close the Club. A compulsory purchase order had been
placed on the Cavern as it’s site had been earmarked as the location for a
ventilation shaft for the new Liverpool underground rail loop.
Ironically the shaft was never built however when
you stand in the newly built Club, if there is no music playing, you can hear
and feel the vibration of the underground trains passing beneath the Club.
During the construction of the underground
railway the area of Mathew Street that had been flattened became a working site
for British Railways to store their construction equipment. After the work was
finished, the waste land became a car park.
The senseless murder of John Lennon in December
1980 sent shock waves throughout the world - nowhere was the shock felt more
than in Liverpool. When the people of Liverpool woke up to the news on 9th
December, many fans and admirers of John, dealt with their sense of loss by
gathering in Mathew Street - it just seemed the obvious thing to do. Where a row
of concrete posts marked the boundary between the car park and Mathew Street, a
fan taped a beer bottle to the post nearest the perceived entrance to the
Cavern. A single flower was placed in the bottle, a crude but poignant tribute
to a great man. Later that week, 10,000 fans were to congregate outside
St.Georges Hall in Liverpool, as a tribute to John, the City's most famous son.
Liverpool architect David Backhouse had his own
tribute in mind and four years later at a cost of £7 million Cavern Walks was
completed where the Cavern once stood.