1958 Liverpool Police Film Believed to Feature Earliest Glimpse of The Beatles

The Beatles
Bettmann/Getty Images

The Beatles

A vintage Liverpool police recruitment film dating from 1958 may very likely have a glimpse of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and his brother Michael, the McCartney brother told the Liverpool Echo March 7. If it is indeed The Beatles in the footage, it would be the earliest known film appearance of any of the group members.

Contacted by the Echo, Michael McCartney said he believed it was himself, Paul McCartney and very likely John Lennon. “Wow! That could definitely be us,” he told the paper. “It was a really big occasion in Liverpool and that’s what we used to do every summer –- take deck chairs and climb onto the concrete shed and watch a free show. And I think there is every chance John would have been there that year – absolutely. His friend, Pete Shotton, was a police cadet. And George could easily have been there, too. It’s bloody mad – absolutely fascinating and unbelievable!”

The footage was discovered by Peter Hodgson, who posted on Facebook, “I have old footage from 1958. They are seen, stood on top of their outside toilet roof, watching the annual Police Horse and dog display.” Hodgson told the Echo, “I love watching old films about Liverpool on You Tube and I made the connection with Forthlin Road when I saw the Mather Avenue police show footage. Then I worked out which house was the McCartneys’ and thought ‘Bingo!’ I nearly fell off my chair when I saw it. I consulted two local experts, Blue Badge tour guide Jackie Spencer and historian Mark Ashworth – and then I found the information on a Merseyside Police website which confirmed it was 1958.”

The complete film runs about 41 minutes long and is on YouTube. The glimpse of the Beatles comes at 34:33 in the film. The footage shows Paul McCartney, along with his brother Michael, and Lennon on a rooftop at their home at 20 Forthlin Road.

The Barry Miles-Paul McCartney book “Many Years From Now” had references to the fact that the McCartney brothers would watch the police training annually. “Paul's brother Michael had the bedroom at the back, overlooking the back yard. Next to Michael's room was the bathroom. This was a great luxury; their previous council houses, despite being built since the war, all had outside lavatories, as did most working-class housing in Britain at the time.

“The back of the house (20 Forthlin Road) overlooked the grounds of the Police Training College, headquarters of the Liverpool Mounted Police. Paul and his brother would watch them training horses, knocking pegs out of the ground with lances just as they had done in the British Raj.”

“'We used to sit on the concrete shed in the back yard and watch the Police Show every year for free,” Paul remembered. “One year, Jackie Collins came to open it and we were entranced at the sight of her comely young figure.”

Check out the footage below.