predicted the demise of The Celtic Tiger?
good time to come over.
When I was over here I thought Anfield was artificially
under-developed. I thought it would get sorted out with the
Liverpool football ground expansion but unfortunately that
hasnít happened yet.
history of Liverpool has often been one of a lack of
investment Ė I remember the Derek Hatton days, but theyíve
done so much in the last few years and totally transformed the
city centre and the docks as well as other areas.
They have, but unfortunately the area of Anfield is still not
repaired and refurbished.
was there a couple of years ago to see the big concert and it
was like a bit of a throwback to the old days around there.
The McCartney concert?
Well everybody is waiting for LFC to do something.
the current climate they canít do everything can they?
Well, they donít do anything. What they do is they prolong the
uncertainty of the neighbourhood here. The old derelict houses
Ė theyíre systematically and strategically and corporately
blighting the area.
What is Brian Epsteinís
legacy and why is he so important?
Heís an enigma and a phenomenon, isnít he? He died at 32 years
of age having done so much. He inspired and made arguably the
biggest band in the world who are as popular now with the
younger generation as they were to the people in the sixties.
Thereís a lot of rubbish spoken about him but you canít take
away the fact that he recognised the talent and was so
persistent with all the record companies Ė the men in suits.
Sid Bernstein described him to me as "a gentleman and a gentle
man." He did the US deal with Sid over the phone and
stuck to it.
Well, Iíve spoken to a lot of people who have known Brian
Epstein Ė Sam Leach, Lee Curtis, Joe Flannery and two or three
others and the word is that he was a very, very shrewd and
methodical businessman. And with his dramatic experience as
well he was very conscious of clothing and image and style.
Arguably, thatís what got The Beatles noticed at the start, I
had to break free from NEMS Ė it wasnít big enough or
challenging enough for him and he was in the shadow of his
parents in a way so he struck out on his own.
Well he seemed to be happy at NEMS. Iím not sure how long heíd
been there but he seemed to be doing okay there and he was
certainly good at it. The business was very successful - it
foremost record shop outside of London. He was destined for
greatness in some way.
Digger: Nobody could have
imagined how though.
Can you please tell us about the history of The Epstein
House/Brian Epstein Hotel?
The house was built around 1860. Brianís grandfather and
grandmother, Isaac and Dinah Ė most people say they came from
Lithuania around 1900 to Liverpool but in actual fact Iíve got
a certificate which I think was filled-out by the Epsteins
themselves which says they're Russian. I only heard that a few
it possible that borders were moving around?
Absolutely, I suppose it is. Lithuania was probably part of
Russia then. I notice that in 1911 they lived in Rockfield
Road in Anfield in a smaller house and Harry was seven years
of age Ė Brianís father and on the document and it said they were
Russian. So when they got more prosperous they moved to the
house that Iím in now which is 27 Anfield Road.
Itís a great address and a great location for people coming to
the city and youíve got several bites of the cherry there.
Itís not just the music fans but the football fans as well.
Yes, Liverpool and Everton actually. In fact I just found out
the other day as well that Henry Tate, the Tate & Lyle sugar
man and art gallery man, also lived in Anfield Road. Iíd be very
happy to see Anfield Road coming back to itís rightful
there a blue plaque?
No, we have a red one Ė Iím not sure of the significance of
that but more important than the plaque actually will be the
official Liverpool statue to Brian Epstein in our garden here.
Thatís brilliant. Thatís a bit of coup Patrick. How did that come
What happened was that the council had a vote. The motion
was proposed and seconded and so carried in 2008 which would
have been 41 years after Brian died, may he rest in peace.
1967-2008. They agreed he ought be honoured with a statue to
be erected either in Mathew Street or some suitable location
and I put the case forward for north Liverpool. And thankfully
I was selected.
The Epstein House
Digger: Where's it actually
going to be Patrick?
Patrick: It's going to be in the
garden at our hotel and we'll be calling it the memorial
garden. The statute is being sculpted by a vey well known
sculptor called Tom Murphy. Tom did the Bill Shankley at
Anfield, Dixie Dean at Everton and John Lennon at the airport.
Digger: I saw him just the
other day on Google. He came up when I was looking for Tom
Murray the Beatles photographer.
Patrick: Interestingly enough
as well, I think one of the main reasons why we were chosen
for the place for the statue was that NEMS Enterprises - you
know what NEMS stood for? - North End Music Stores. And when
Isaac, Dinah and their son Harry lived in this house, they
traded down the road in Walton Road - les than a mile from
here actually. That's where the first Epstein shop was. So
some time around 1900 to 1910 they started in what became a
block of six shops actually.
Digger: It was a general music store
to start and they sold records relatively late there didn't they?
Patrick: I think actually it was a
furniture shop and I've got a photograph here that shows the
block of six shops together and basically the sixth one they
called it NEMS. Paul McCartney's father Jim reportedly
bought a piano from them. The story goes that way and I must
actually ask Paul McCartney's secretary if Paul would confirm
it actually. But the story is that when Brian Epstein asked
them if he could be the manager, they said they'd think about
it. And when Paul told his father the proposition his father
said that he'd bought a piano from them in County Road and he
found them very businesslike. And if Brian was like his father
then he sounded like a good businessman.
Digger: A good testimonial there and
isn't that amazing that such a major cultural explosion could
have turned on that rather innocent event? Paul might have
Patrick: Paul's father lived just
done the road here at 10 Sunbury Road.
Digger: That was before they moved
over to Forthlin Road.
Patrick: Yes. John Lennon asked Brian
what kind of car he drove and this would have been 1962 and
sports cars weren't as plentiful at that time...
Digger: By no means.
Patrick: ... Brian said he was driving a
Ford Zodiac and John Lennon was very impressed with that.
Digger: John was very aspirational. It was three years before he'd pass his
Digger: What can people
Patrick: I bought a lot of
memorabilia - it was described at the time as being the
largest collection of Brian Epstein memorabilia in the world.
I don't know whether it is or not but I bought it for a fair
bit of money. I'm displaying most of that and very soon we'll
have the statue. We've already got endorsements from Billy J
Kramer and Gerry Marsden, formerly from the Epstein stable.
We've had some correspondence also from Paul but he hasn't
indicated yet whether he will actively help us or not.
Digger: So you've got Beatles fans, football fans. Who would
be your typical customers and what sort of feedback are you
getting about the hotel?
Patrick: Generally the feedback
is good. We have people who are attending conferences. We have
a nice garden and have done marquee weddings and so on. The
future's looking pretty good really.
Digger: What's the theme of the hotel. Is it like a family
Patrick: Yes, it's a family
hotel and when people walk in the door it feels like a house
really. It feels homely.
Digger: I love the vibe up in Liverpool. It's a bit of a
clichť about the Scousers being different but I think they
are. They've just got that great sense of humour, but there's
also just a feeling that you're welcome.
Patrick: Yes, they're kind of
cheeky and if they don't like you, then they don't like you, but
they've got a kind of cheekiness about them.
Digger: There's a good Irish connection there too with both
Lennon and McCartney being of Irish descent.
Patrick: I wasn't overly aware
of their Irish connections. Can you tell me more about that?
Digger: Jim McCartney's great grandfather was born in Ireland
and Alf Lennon's grandparents were from County Down.
Patrick: I've never really
looked into the Irish connections.
Digger: Oh, I'm into all that as my mum was from Kerry. Why is retro pop culture still as popular - even
with the youngsters?
Patrick: I get people coming
here of all ages. Kids of 17 or 18 who come here for the
football, who don't even know about the Beatles connection and
when they find out they show how enthusiastic they are about
The Beatles. It's amazing. I don't know - it must be the
quality of the music because several generations have said that the
music of the sixties and the fifties rock and roll stands out
Digger: And famously because Liverpool was a port, that's the
reason so many of these groups started. Because they were
influenced by the music coming in on the ships on records from overseas.
Patrick: Yes I suppose it was
the 'Cunard Yanks' coming back with the American influence.
Digger: What are the best and most enjoyable aspects of
The Brian Epstein Hotel?
Patrick: It's good to be
involved in something that interests so many people. We intend
doing more tour business, weddings and themed business. I
suppose it's an honour to own our property where one of the
world's most famous and successful men grew up.
Digger: How did you get to own it?
Patrick: A lot of people ask me
that - it's strange really. People say "How did you do it?"
and the simple answer is - I bought it. (Laughs) It wasn't on
the market as such. I bought a few houses around here and
there was a house like The Epstein House - there are only four
houses like it and there was one for sale that I was
interested in. While I was looking at that, I met the guy who
owned Epstein's and I asked him if he would consider selling
it and he said that he and his partner had only decided the
previous week that thy were going to sell it.
Digger: I think there's a weakness in this country that you
don't get in America for example. We don't tend to celebrate
enough our achievements and our achievers - the important
people that have made a difference like Epstein. You Patrick
have got in there ahead of the game in a way, because nobody
else had bothered to recognise the historical and cultural
significance of this house. You've bought the memorabilia,
you've got the hotel, you've persuaded the powers that be to
erect a statue. Now people will be thinking "Oh yeah. He was
important, wasn't he?" It took somebody like you to do that.
Patrick: Yes, well I suppose I did. I remember that from
ten years of age I knew that Brian Epstein was the manager of
The Beatles. He died in 1967 and I would have been eight years
of age. I probably remember him dying.
Digger: Like me, seeing it on the news and them interviewing
The Beatles who had just rushed back from Wales?
Patrick: Yes, they were down with The Maharishi.
Digger: What are your plans for developing the hotel and
what you've got to offer?
Patrick: Well, there's a lot of plans but cash flow has to
dictate the pace and order of your plans.
Digger: What would you like to do?
Patrick: To establish the statue, to get it on the tourist
circuit and get the tour bus up here. To start selling
memorabilia and increase the memorabilia display that I have
here. I'd also like to do a re-enactment in the room that
Brian used to use as his nursery here when he visited his
grandparents and maybe put some Epstein furniture in there as
Digger: That sounds good. Get English Heritage involved as
Patrick: It would be great.
Digger: Well, thanks very much Patrick for telling us about
The Epstein House Hotel and well done for looking after such
an important part of our history.
Patrick: Thanks David. You're welcome up here any time.
Digger: I will be taking you up on that Patrick as soon as I