BRADFORD, England — A hotel owner reveals how she gave up her bed for the Beatles when they secretly came to stay at her family’s private members club – 59 years ago.
Gail Moss was just 14 when the Fab Four came to Holdsworth House, in Bradford, West Yorks, on October 9, 1964, during the start of their UK tour.
Her dad Freddie Pearson, who’d turned their stately home into a club a year earlier, had persuaded band manager Brian Epstein to let the band stay that night.
And police roadblocks and diversions were even set up around their Jacobean manor to ensure they were not disturbed during their visit.
“Paul, George, Ringo and Brian spent the night toasting John’s birthday 24th birthday, before sloping off to sleep in her room, which she’d been turfed out of,” said the hotel owner.
In the morning her mom, Rita Pearson, let her visit the lads before they left, adding that Paul had offered her a cigarette which she declined.
The Holdsworth House Hotel in Halifax. HOLDSWORTH HOUSE HOTEL/SWNS.
“Obviously, every teenager in West Yorkshire was excited that The Beatles were playing their opening concert in Bradford, and you can imagine how I felt when my father told me they were actually coming to stay with us. It was a hard secret to keep,” said Gail.
“Paul, George, Ringo and Brian Epstein drank in the Long Bar until the early hours along with John who, despite his toothache, was still the life and soul of the party, told endless jokes and did a brilliant imitation of a pompous Yorkshire mill owner – he was a great mimic.”
“I was up at 6.00am, terrified they might leave early and I’d miss them. But I needn’t have worried as they slept in and had breakfast in bed,” she added.
Gail Moss, now the director of Holdsworth House Hotel, had been sworn to secrecy ahead of the visit by the band.
Their stay at the private members club, then called The Cavalier, was secured through her dad after they performed at the Bradford Gaumont Theatre.
They had been looking for somewhere they could be sure of a warm welcome and more importantly, that offered complete privacy.
Her mom feared their gardens would be awash with “thousands of screaming fans”, but traffic officers managed to stop Beatles devotees from finding out their location.
“At around 11 o’clock they arrived after what my father described as a ‘hairy drive’. He traveled from the concert with them to give directions, they skirted the crowds and passed at speed through police roadblocks,” said Gail.
“My mother had been desperately worried that the gardens would be trampled by thousands of screaming fans but, in the end, thanks to a police diversion their destination remained a secret,” she added.
“Holdsworth House wasn’t a hotel at the time, so my family had to vacate our bedrooms for The Beatles to sleep. I did tell one close friend whom I trusted, Alison Butterworth, she is still a good friend today but I’m not sure that my other school friends have ever forgiven me!” said Gail.
Gail said the band had a private dinner and mixed with other private members at the bar while toasting John’s birthday.
“The band chatted to guests in the bar when they arrived, then had dinner in a private bedroom upstairs, which today is one of our private dining rooms,” she added.
“We still have a signed copy of the menu and their original bills which show a rather rich selection of trout, turtle soup, cold duckling and steak. The bar bill came to £2 15s. They all slept in the old house: John and Ringo in what was mine and my sister’s room, now an office, Paul and George in the Ayrton Room. Brian Epstein was put up in the De Aldworth Room on a camp bed and they all shared one small, very traditional bathroom. Our room had rather pretty single iron bedsteads, which we still have in the hotel today,” said Gail.
Gail had feared missing the band before they headed off in the morning but said her mom had ensured that she got to meet the boys before their next concert.
The Beatles at the Holdsworth House Hotel, Halifax, on Oct. 9, 1964. HOLDSWORTH HOUSE HOTEL/SWNS.
“My mother took sympathy and knocked on their door saying, ‘My daughter’s been waiting all morning to see you so she’s coming in.’
“I was mortified but they were all really kind and chatty. Paul offered me a cigarette which I refused (I could probably have sold it later!) and asked me about a book in our room on Majorca, as he’d never been to Spain. My sister Kim made friends with Ringo, who held her hand and let her look at all his rings. We gave them all a Cavalier Club tie and were thrilled to receive a copy of John’s book In His Own Write and a Christmas card. We still have them today, together with other memorabilia of their stay – all safely locked away!” said Gail.
Gail said visitors to the house, which has since been developed into a 33-bedroom four-star hotel, love to hear about the famous visit.
“Guests love to think they are sleeping in the same beds as John and Ringo,” she added.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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