For two nights only in 1963, Lewisham’s Odeon became more than just a cinema.
If there are two things you would never instinctively put together, it’s The Beatles and Lewisham.
But once upon a time, the international pop stars played two gigs in the South London borough.
The first concert in March 1963 was before Beatlemania had really begun, while the latter in December 1963 was everything you would expect from the 60s icons.
There were screaming girls, uncontrollable crowds, and the streets were overflowing with people eager to catch a glimpse of the group.
They played their first gig at Lewisham’s Odeon Cinema on March 29 and performed a number of hits including Love Me Do and Please, Please Me.
Misery, A Taste of Honey, Do You Want To Know A Secret and I Saw Her Standing There were the only other four songs on their setlist.
Beatlemania was waiting in the wings and their March gig suggests they were just the support act for American musicians, Chris Montez and Tommy Roe.
They performed alongside Chris and Tommy 21 times in March 1963 and this tour is commonly recognised as the Chris Montez/Tommy Roe tour.
It was their December 8, 1963 gig at the cinema that really caused complete chaos and pandemonium among the public.
Police were strained at times as they tried to hold back the crowds, but from these pictures and their ecstatic facial expressions, even the police wanted to see The Beatles
One fan on social media recalls the event: “I was there, I screamed all the way through the Beatles.”
Other fans remember camping outside the night before and ushers having to stop teenagers leaning too far over the balconies
This time, the band were the headliners of their own tour, known as ‘The Beatles Autumn UK Tour’.
A range of different acts including Frank Berry, The Brook Brothers, Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers joined them for this leg of the tour.
From Exeter to Hull, the Beatles sang to 41 sold out crowds during their Autumn concerts.
They were coming into their own as icons and performed infamous tunes to the December crowd such as, You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me, She Loves You and Twist and Shout.
The once sold out and popular venue that also hosted other stars such as The Supremes, The Who and Tina Turner is now just a place of the past.
Lewisham’s Odeon Cinema was originally known as Gaumont Palace in 1932 and used to have an impressive 3,050 seats.
Not only was it once the largest cinema in the borough, it was apparently the largest in the UK.
It was also used as a pool club, nightclub and a bingo club but sadly, no longer exists and was demolished in the Summer of 1991.