The Strange Tale Of Arthur Micklethwaite And The Beatles
Taking a busy train to Liverpool one day, I sat next to a guy who became very chatty. He introduced himself as Barry and asked if I was on a Pilgrimage to see The Beatles haunts? I was and after the initial introductions Barry did most of the talking, which proved to be fascinating.
He started by saying that his Grandfather Arthur Micklethwaite had been on the roof at the time of the famous impromptu gig by The Beatles back in January 1969! His Grandfather had actually spoken to John Lennon after the music was cut short by the Police. Apparently, Grandad was on the roof because he had been called in to inspect the chimneys. He was a Chimney Sweep by profession.
Up On The Roof With The Beatles
Barry continued with the story and I was hanging on to every word. He was on the train travelling back to his home in Yorkshire. He said that Grandad had almost finished his work that day when things that looked interesting started to happen. A drumkit, keyboards, amplifiers and microphones were set up. He hung around for a while and then a film crew turned up followed by The Beatles. Grandad wasn’t musical, but, he knew who The Beatles were and decided to cling on to his chimney stack and watch what followed.
What A Bloody Racket!
He watched the whole gig with possibly the best seat in the house. He always talked how loud it was and often referred to it in his broad Yorkshire accent as “What a bloody racket…” When it was all over John Lennon spoke to him and asked if he had any cigarettes he could spare. Grandad offered him a Woodbine and John took it. After lighting up John inhaled and looked at Grandad and announced, “Bloody hell, what’s in these?”
Grandad became a hero on his return to his village in Yorkshire. The local paper made a fuss of him so much so he would often retort, “…all I did was watch a band up on the roof!” in his broad Yorkshire accent. They printed a photograph about a week later and you can see Grandad leaning next to the chimney pots while The Beatles play on. My cousin Ethel still has a yellowing, coffee stained copy of the photo that was in the newspaper!
I’ll email a copy to you
Barry offered to email the copy to me and I thanked him for that. My first thoughts were that he’d disembark at Crewe and I’d never hear from him again. How wrong I was. A couple of days later the photo came through, it’s at the top of this article. A wonderful story. Grandad passed away in 1985 after working over 60 years all over the UK as a chimney sweep.
The Beatles Rooftop Concert Wikipedia.