Tucked away on Mathew Street lies a true treasure… This hidden gem has three floors dedicated to exploring the history of the Fab Four.
With so much happening on Mathew Street, another Beatles attraction is easy to miss – but this one is definitely worth discovering.
The Magical Beatles Museum is owned and run by Roag Best, brother of the ‘fifth Beatle’ Pete, and utilises his own personal collection of Beatles memorabilia.
Across three floors, the museum features more than 300 rare and authentic items, following The Beatles on their journey from their early days at the Casbah Coffee Club to their final days together.
Many of the items on show at the museum come from Roag’s personal collection, cultivated over more than 30 years, including items given to him by his mother, brother and father Neil Aspinall.
On how the museum initially came about, Roag said: “My wife said to me ‘I’ve had enough of this, the house is starting to look like a shrine to The Beatles’” – and this led to several large storage units and an idea.
Settling on an idea for a Beatles museum, Roag knew that if he was going to do it, it had to be a building on Mathew Street – though he didn’t realise it would take 10 years before his dream would come to fruition.
Having almost given up after several attempts, it took just one day and a meeting with an old friend for Roag’s Beatles museum dream to be realised.
The five-floor building houses rare items, including ones that very few people know about, with three of the floors dedicated to a different period in Beatles history.
The first floor tells the story of the beginning of the band that shook the world, from 1959 to 1962.
The entire floor is decorated in black and white, in homage to all the photographs of the band at this time, according to Roag.
Roag took us on a tour of The Magical Beatles Museum, which starts with his mother Mona Best, founder of the Casbah Coffee Club.
Roag discussed the band’s beginnings and said: “The Casbah Coffee Club is where The Beatles truly began – the band came together there, they were playing there almost two years prior to playing their first Cavern show.”
“She arranged their first Cavern show – so a lot of the items here were left to me by her.”
Roag discussed the impromptu meeting of The Beatles at the Casbah Coffee Club, which was launched in the cellars of his mother’s house in West Derby, saying: “They played as The Quarrymen for 13 weeks…you had the five original Beatles in the same place at the same time.”
The first floor is filled with priceless artefacts from The Beatles’ very beginnings, including Pete Best’s drums, the first ever posters for The Quarrymen and even never-before-seen outfits that the band wore.
The first floor follows the band on their journey to Hamburg, including Pete and Paul McCartney’s run in with the German authorities.
Roag is full of anecdotes the entire time, revealing tidbits of information throughout our tour, including hilarity that ensued when people at home thought The Beatles were a German band.
The first floor finishes with Brian Epstein’s entry into The Beatles’ lives and an incredible screening of the first footage ever recorded of the band. Up the staircase lies the second floor, which holds the key to Beatles secrets from 1963-66. The floor is dedicated to the introduction of technicolour, a stark difference from the monotone decor of the floor below.
The second floor sees The Beatles truly come into their own, with the beginning of Beatlemania and recordings at Abbey Road Studios. Huge tours begin for The Beatles on the second floor, with many of the items on show having been brought back by the band themselves.
Items from tours to the USA, Japan, Austria, Spain and many more are included, and even original props from The Beatles films such as A Hard Day’s Night and Help.
Roag discussed the growing reputation of the band, and said: “They were the first band to play a stadium, no one thought that one single band could sell out a stadium and of course they did.
“They hit America, and everything just exploded”.
This takes us to the third and final floor, which explores 1967-70 and The Beatles’ psychedelic era.
Heading up the stairs to the third floor is surreal, with an enormous white piano being the first thing you’ll lay your eyes on – and what a sight.
The walls upstairs are stark white, making way for the array of colours displayed by the bright projections on the walls. In homage to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, items from the album cover are proudly displayed along the narrow hallway, before moving on to explore the band’s time in India and the beginning of Apple Corps.
The Magical Beatles Museum concludes in 1970 with a poster given to Apple Corps staff for Christmas that year, and where Roag concludes: “This is where it all started to kind of wind down”.
On the success of the museum so far, Roag said: “While we’re not new to tourism, with the Casbah Coffee Club being so successful, we are new to museums and we’re very proud.
“We get people asking ‘are you gonna do Beatles solo years’ and our answer to that is we haven’t even finished doing The Beatles years yet.”
Having explored the entire museum, it is easy to see why such an attraction is needed on Mathew Street.
According to Roag, the museum as it is now is just the tip of the iceberg – and though it sometimes seems impossible that there could be more to learn about The Beatles, The Magical Beatles Museum proves just the opposite.
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