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3) Cavern City Tours Limited

The company was incorporated in April 1983, created by three teachers who were also Beatle Guides: Ron Jones, Gerry Murphy and Bill Heckle.
Each of them had a special interest in The Beatles and felt that by putting together their expertise, they could create tours and packages which fans would appreciate.
With a £300 prize from Granada TV's Flying Start they started to produce their own packages but with limited resources. In 1984 Dave Jones became a partner in the company, ultimately replacing Gerry Murphy who left the company to pursue a career in music. In 1984 an 11-day holiday of Beatles Britain was marketed which attracted 50 US Beatle fans. Since 1984 this 11-day holiday has been marketed world-wide every year. It includes three nights in London and seven nights in Liverpool and special visits to places of specific interest. For example in 1988 Abbey Road Studios were hired and a recording session arranged, at which all 50 fans sang and received a copy of the record.

In 1984 Cavern City Tours introduced a Beatles pocket map and guide to Liverpool followed the next year by a Discover Beatles London map and in 1990 by a Lennon's Liverpool Map which have amassed a combined sales figure of over 250,000 copies.

In 1985 Cavern City Tours expanded its operation into the sporting world and arranged tickets and packages for 300 soccer fans who travelled to European Cup Finals in Rotterdam and Brussels. The company's involvement with football packages continued in 1994 with the introduction of Soccer City packages. In addition, the company successfully marketed packages for Euro '96.

As Cavern City Tours built up it's expertise, the County Council invited the company to take over Beatle weekends and the Beatles Convention which really marked the turning point for the company. That same year a trip to Hamburg was also established for Beatles fans.

The company decided to adopt a long-term plan and establish The Beatles Convention as an annual event, and after a successful convention in 1987, decided to move into city centre offices and employ full-time staff.

Tour packages and conventions in 1988 and 1989 attracted more people, and the company also made contact with group operators from USA, Germany and Japan.

In March 1989 the company introduced a series of 12 postcards depicting landmarks associated with The Beatles which sell approximately 100,000 a year.

Paul McCartney announced his world tour in 1989 and Cavern City Tours sold packages to his concert in Hamburg in October 1989, and Birmingham in January 1990, the latter attracted 130 Americans who celebrated New Year at Abbey Road Studios.

maccadock.jpg (139398 bytes) (McCartney ticket, click for full size version)Towards the end of 1989 Liverpool City Council announced that they had secured Liverpool as the venue for a huge John Lennon Memorial Concert in May 1990. Cavern City Tours acted as consultants and ticket agents. As a result of the company's success with the Lennon Concert, Paul McCartney's promoters, Marshall Arts Ltd, invited Cavern City Tours to help promote his Kings Dock Concert. Marshall Arts also used Cavern City Tours office as a base. 

Towards the end of 1990 the company made an agreement with Merseyside Tourism board to take over the day-to-day operation of The Beatles Tour and introduce a daily scheduled one-hour city centre sight-seeing tour. The latter had never been operated throughout the year prior to this agreement. The new service commenced in June 1991 with the introduction of a 73-seater double decker bus. This vehicle was financed with a £5,000 grant from Merseyside Task Force City Action Team and £12,000 from Cavern City Tours. 

In July 1994 the double decker was replaced with a 1966 Bedford VAL Plaxton Panorama One, which is an identical model to the one used in The Beatles' 1967 film Magical Mystery Tour and was painted in the same livery.

1991 was a watershed for Cavern City Tours as in July of that year the company also took over the tenancy of the Cavern Club. This acquisition has not only strengthened the company's ability to attract visitors and cater more for their needs, it has also generated income elsewhere in the local economy and created jobs. The 1992 convention was extremely successful as indicated by 11 international TV crews who filmed the event. The British Council also filmed the event extensively, producing a 25 minute video which was shown in 100 countries throughout the world. Accompanying this video was an exhibition which heavily featured Liverpool as the Birthplace of The Beatles. By 1993 Cavern City Tours had established a highly diverse business although not all aspects of the business proved profitable. Based on advice from the company's bankers, accountants and management consultants, the annual convention and Magical Mystery Tour needed to become more profitable or be curtailed.

In June 1993 at a meeting with representatives of Liverpool City Council and Pam Wilsher of Merseyside Tourism and Conference Bureau. Cavern City Tours outlined their clearly defined proposals.

Cavern City Tours needed help to carry on the activities which provided the City of Liverpool with marketing and economic benefits. Cavern City Tours got nothing other than praise. The city promised help. Merseyside Tourism and Conference Bureau understood the dilemma and continued to provide their usual invaluable support.

The 1993 Convention was advertised as possibly the last. However a new concept was introduced in 1993. The two-day convention was replaced by a one-day affair and on the second day a street party was organised in Mathew Street.

With considerable support from the Liverpool Echo, the inaugural Mathew Street Festival was a massive success attracting over 20,000 people into the street for seven hours of music from 65 bands from all over the world.

Cavern City Tours Ltd were voted Merseyside's Tour Operator of the Year and the Mathew Street Festival shared the honour of Event of the Year with the Wirral International Guitar Festival.

This success allowed Cavern City Tours to ensure proper funding for the 1994 Mathew Street Festival which enabled the Festival area to increase in size, incorporating large outdoor stages hosted by the two local radio stations.

Once again the event was supported by the Liverpool Echo. The result was that in 1994, 71 bands in 19 venues performed to over 42,000 people. The Mathew Street Festival appeared to be firmly established as an annual event growing in strength and receiving heartening support from both the public and private sector.

The opening of the Cavern Pub in Mathew Street, and the creation of Cavern Records made 1994 a busy year for Cavern City Tours.

In 1995 Cavern City Tours extended the area of the Cavern Club and increased the opening hours of the Cavern Pub to include Sundays. A mail-order leaflet of Cavern souvenirs was produced and a 28-page-full-colour visitor guide book to Liverpool published by Pitkin Publications in conjunction with Cavern City Tours. The 1995 Mathew Street Festival was again extended to include the Albert Dock and the Radio One Roadshow. Over 100 bands entertained over 100,000 people in one day. The Festival remarkably has remained FREE.

Cavern City Tours Ltd has remained a privately owned limited company which has continued growing steadily since it's inception in 1983.
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