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Nigel Whalley

A play friend of John Lennon’s from the age of five, Nigel lived in Vale Road, close to John’s home in Menlove Avenue. He became part of the small, close-knit group of friends cultivated by John, and was nicknamed ‘Whalloggs’.

When Nigel started at Bluecoat Grammar School, John formed his skiffle group the Quarry Men and Nigel was appointed tea-chest player, a task he divided between himself and Ivan Vaughan. One night when two tough Woolton teddy boys Rod and Willo threatened to beat them up as they alighted from a bus, the Quarry Men fled leaving the tea-chest bass in the road, After that, Nigel became their manager and Len Garry took over on tea-chest bass.

Nigel had cards printed:


When he left school he became an apprentice golf professional at Lee Park Golf Club. He arranged for the group to play there for free, but they got a slap-up meal and when the hat was passed round they ended up with twice as much as they’d have received for a paid booking!

At the club Nigel also played golf with Dr Sytner whose son Alan had just opened The Cavern as a jazz club. He arranged for the Quarry Men to appear there and they received a booking for 7th August 1957. Paul didn’t play with them on this occasion as he was on holiday. They began with the Del Vikings number ‘Come Go With Me’, then John launched into ‘Hound Dog’ and ‘Blue Suede Shoes’. Sytner immediately had a note delivered to them on stage: ‘Cut out the bloody Rock’.

The stint as manager didn’t last very long, as Paul wasn’t happy about Nigel receiving an equal split with them.

On 15th July 1938 Nigel dropped around to see if John was at home in Mendips. He wasn’t, but Mimi was talking to Julia Lennon at the gate. Nigel walked with Julia for about 200 yards and then continued up Menlove Avenue while she crossed the road. He heard a squeal of brakes and turned to see Julia’s body tossed into the air by a car. She was killed and the off-duty policeman who was driving was sent to trial, with Nigel as a witness. The man was acquitted.

When he was eighteen Nigel left the area and he later became a golf pro at Wrotham Heath Golf Club in Borough Green, Kent.

His father was Chief Superintendent Harold Whalley, head of City Police ‘A’ Division. The Liverpool Echo reported when he met John and Paul backstage after they’d become famous: "Mr. Whalley first met the two Beatles when they were part of a skiffle group which his son, Nigel, managed in 1957. I used to worry about some of the clubs and places they were performing at. I told them that there was no future in that kind of thing and advised them to drop it. I told them a few times to get a haircut as well".

Copyright: Bill Harry, from 'The Beatles Encyclopedia', published by Virgin Publications.


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