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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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