One of the most significant moments in Walthamstow history was over in a flash for one young fan as she recalls the day The Beatles came to town.

The Beatles, a mop-topped four piece from Liverpool, were still on their way to global stardom when they visited the Granada cinema in Hoe Street, Walthamstow, on May 24, 1963.

The Granada, which could hold almost 3,000 people, had played host to many leading acts of the time including John Coltrane, Little Richard, Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis and Buddy Holly but the excitement was palpable for the arrival of John, Paul, Ringo and George.

Tickets were seven shillings and six pence and had 4,000 fans, some queuing for over two days, held back across the road by police as the cinema continued to show films.

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In the show with US support from planned headliner Roy Orbison, the band delivered a frantic seven-song set including, Love Me Do, From Me To You, Please Please Me, and crowd favourite Twist And Shout.

Newspaper reports at the time said that 24 girls were treated by the St John Ambulance volunteers for hysteria.

Sue Moffett, who lived in Walthamstow as a child, had gone to the Granada to see films, or the regular pantomimes and talent competitions held there with her father.

This was her first gig and she went with her friend Hazel from Walthamstow High School for Girls, escorted by an older cousin.

She said: “Everyone was dressed up in their best clothes with hair styles either really high on the head or really cropped.”

“We were seated in the stalls.

“Once the group came onto the stage the noise was deafening and you could hardly hear them singing.

“That really didn't matter to me because I was 'there'.

“St John Ambulance were in attendance and if my memory serves me correctly a few girls were carried out into the foyer.

“Whether through hysteria or heat I don't know.”

“The concert seemed to be over in a flash and although everyone gathered outside for a while it was only the bold who stood by the backstage door. It was always too dark there.”

Bizarrely, fans threw Jelly Babies at the band after George Harrison said in a TV interview they were his favourite treat and that John had stolen them.

George Harrison trying to stop the habit, wrote to a fan he said: “We don’t like Jelly Babies, or fruit gums for that matter, so think how we feel standing on stage trying to dodge the stuff, before you throw some more at us. …besides it is dangerous. I was hit in the eye once with a boiled sweet, and it’s not funny.”

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Interior design of Walthamstow cinema in 1930

Interior of Granada Cinema in the 1930s

The Beatles returned to Waltham Forest playing the Leyton Baths and the Granada Cinema for the last time on the 13th date of their 1964 British tour.

Mark Hart, who organises musical tours of Walthamstow as part of the Stow Fest, called their first gig a ‘huge moment’ in local history.

He said: “They didn’t play in London that often, this was before they went to America, where they would explode into this phenomenon.

“Even though it was before I was born I am absolutely fascinated by that level of hysteria surrounding it was so new.

“People need to know Walthamstow is not just East 17, it has had a huge rich musical history.

“Bands like Joy Division, The Who, The Rolling Stones and The Sex Pistols all performed here but that Beatles gig was a level above.

“Sadly, when the cinema was divided up into a multiplex it was no longer attractive to those big bands that could draw 3,000 people.

“I hope new plans with Antic and Soho Theatre will revitalise the area and the whole town centre.

“Bands need the infrastructure to sound as good as they can be, especially following the loss of The Standard in Blackhorse Road- a dedicated music venue is vital.”

On the future of the music scene in Walthamstow, the musical historian was just as enthused.

“The really exciting thing now is that there is a 13 year-old kid somewhere recording music in their bedroom with all the technology they have got which could be bigger than the Beatles in 10 years’ time”, he said.

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This article was first published by the Guardian Series in 2015.