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Rarely seen photos of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones in the 1960s which were taken by local photographer in Devon are discovered in box hidden among his belongings that had not been opened for 25 years

Husband and wife Stan and Betty Mallett took hundreds of photographs of celebrities in the 1960s
Their children thought the images were lost after handing them to a historian after Stan’s death in 1995
Son Steve recently found 500 images taken between 1961 and 1964 in a box that lay unopened for 25 years
The husband and wife team captured the musical hits of the 1960s and dealt with publicity around Exeter

Husband and wife Stan and Betty Mallett, from Exeter, took the photographs whenever famous names visited Devon. The collection includes images of The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Billy Fury.

Mr Mallett lived off his income from a job as an accountant and his wife was an RAC patrolwoman – but the couple worked together on their sideline business Photography by Mallett.

The husband and wife team captured the great music high of the 1960s and dealt with publicity in and around the Exeter area, including the ABC, The Theatre Royal, Gaumont Exeter and the Odeon.

Their son Frank, 68, who now lives in Essex, revealed his brother Steve found 500 images taken between 1961 and 1964 in an old box while looking for documents for the family tree.

He added: ‘Both of them lived a full life. They shared a passion for photography and mum probably loved the music side more than dad.’

He said some of the stars actually visited his house when he was a child because his parents had a studio there – but he couldn’t remember who.

‘Recently I started doing our family tree and my brother Steve looked in an old box of dad’s that had not been opened for 26 years to find his personal paperwork and found more than 500 negatives in there of celebrities taken between 1961 and 1964, and some family pictures.’

The brothers have been going through the box and converting the negatives using an app. The images came out a little blurry but it didn’t stop them uploading the photographs to social media.

‘If we want to do anything with them in the future we will have to invest in professional digitalisation, but it is quite costly,’ he said. ‘Our purpose this year is to prevent any further loss of his work.

‘At this particular time with Covid and people struggling with their mental health, we hope that sharing the photographs will bring some cheer in these difficult times and create a little bit of happy wellbeing.

‘We want to get them into the public domain and at least when we go they will still be around.’

The Beatles are pictured performing in Exeter. The Liverpudlian band first performed at the ABC as the support act to Tommy Roe and Chris Montez on March 28, 1963, when they performed Love Me Do, Do You Want to Know A Secret, Please, Please Me, I Saw Her Standing There and Taste of Honey. Part of this show was recorded for BBC 2’s ‘On the Scene’. As they quickly became popular they performed in Exeter again on November 14, 1963. It is not known if this picture was March or November

Other images feature Shirley Bassey, Cilla Black, Cliff Richard, Marianne Faithfull, Lulu and Gene Pitney.

There were so many iconic moments captured by their parents’ lens the brothers are considering putting on a photography exhibition to display their work.

‘My parents managed to preserve a lot of magical moments from the ’60s. There are hundreds of thousands of photographs of The Beatles but the ones my parents took are treasured by those who were there and at the many other performances they photographed.’

As a child Frank often helped put up posters or lettering up outside venues to announce the next big act.

He said: ‘I would do all the letters up on the canopies. Everyone would tell me if I had spelt it wrong.’

At the time of The Beatles’ first show in Exeter a fan revealed he remembered the band visiting a record store opposite the ABC. They claimed Paul McCartney asked for their first LP, Please Please Me, which had recently been released. The fan asked the band to autograph a paper bag and in 2006 it went up for auction with an expected price of £3,000

He revealed his father was the ‘main photographer’ while his mother worked as his assistant. Together they were responsible for capturing the moment and even sometimes assisting celebrities to and from the venue.

‘They were well-known in the showbiz world and some of the celebrities used to write to them,’ Frank added. ‘They amassed lots of autographs. They bridged the gap between the old and new celebrities.

‘Some they photographed I have not recognised as they were on their way out when they came down here to play.’

Stan died at the age of 70 in 1995 but his four sons managed to salvage many of his precious photographs. They were entrusted into the care of a keen historian, but sadly it is not known what then happened to them.

Eight years later Betty died aged 73. Of handing the images to a historian, Frank said: ‘We thought that by doing so they would be safe. They were put in his car and they have never been seen since.

‘He has now passed away and we still hope that one day his wife may come across them. It means that most of dad’s work has disappeared.’

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