The Grave of Bob Paisley

14th February 2016 marks the twentieth anniversary of the death of Bob Paisley, the most successful manager in Liverpool Football Club’s history. The former bricklayer from Hetton-le-hole in county Durham came to Liverpool as player in 1939 and never left. After retiring from playing in 1954 he took up various backroom roles before being appointed manager in 1974 following the retirement of Bill Shankly.

bob paisley grave feb 2016

In just nine seasons as manager Paisley won six league titles, three European Cups, one UEFA Cup and three League Cups. His achievement in winning Europe’s highest prize on three occasions was not matched until Carlo Ancelotti in 2014, although Paisley remains the only manager to do it with the same club.

Despite such successes, Paisley wasn’t comfortable in the limelight and liked nothing more than to play with his grandchildren or call into a garage on the way to training for a cup of tea and pick some horses from the betting pages of the papers.  

After handing over the managerial reins to Joe Fagan in 1983, Paisley enjoyed a spell of retirement but was persuaded to return for a season in 1985 to help newly appointed Kenny Dalglish, who was still playing as well. He then took up a boardroom role until ill health forced him to leave the club altogether in 1992.

Paisley spent the last year of his life battling Alzheimer’s Disease at Arncliffe Court nursing home in Halewood, where he was regularly visited by his beloved wife Jessie, two sons and one daughter. His death at the age of 77 was greeted with sadness beyond Merseyside, with stars past and present attending his funeral at St Peter’s Church in Woolton. He was buried in the churchyard, his grave marked by a suitably modest headstone with the words ‘He remained an ordinary man amidst extraordineleanor rigby grave feb 2016ary achievements.’

Paisley shares the churchyard with some graves of the Earle family of Allerton Tower, who were not so humble. They moved there in the early nineteenth century after selling their Spekelands estate in Edge Hill. In 1869 Hardman Earle was made a baronet, a peerage that could be passed down through the generations. He died in 1877 and his son Sir Thomas Earle, who died in 1900, described himself as a ‘baronet and merchant’ in the census of 1891. They decamped to Cheshire in the early twentieth century and Allerton Tower was demolished in the 1930s, the land being one of Liverpool’s lesser known parks.

It is fair to say that the vast majority of visitors to St Peter’spass the Earle graves without giving them a second glance. Many Liverpool fans come to see Paisley’s graves but the church welcomes many more Beatles fans, the graveyard being the final resting place of somebody immortalised in one of their songs, Eleanor Rigby.

Beatles Graves in Liverpool

A new statue of The Beatles at the Liverpool waterfront has been unveiled to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the last time the band played in the city on 5th December 1965. Neither John Lennon or George Harrison have grave markers anywhere, their ashes having been opened privately, but there are other people connected with the Fab Four who are buried in Liverpool.

julia Lennon grave

Both Paul McCartney and John Lennon lost their mothers while they were teenagers. Paul’s other Mary died in 1956 when blood complications arose following a mastectomy and she was buried in Yew Tree Cemetery. John’s mother Julia was knocked down by a car on Menlove Avenue in 1958 and buried in Allerton Cemetery. For many years her grave was unmarked and a simple stone marker now stands there, bearing the names of her four children.

Only three of the four lads that went on to conquer the world played in the group’s residency gigs in Hamburg in the early days. The drummer then was Peter Best, who was replaced by Ringo Starr shortly before the first single Love Me Do was released.  the concerts in Hamburg were performed by a five piece band, with Stuart Sutcliffe on bass guitar. He left the group to concentrate on an art career in July 1961 after their second stint in the city. He tragically died of a brain hemorrhage on 10th April the following year, just three days before the rest of the group arrived in the city to begin a six week residency at the Star Club. Manager Brian Epstein flew out their with Stuart’s mother and arranged for the body to be brought back to Liverpool, with the burial taking place at Huyton Parish Church.

Epstein, who ovBrian Epstein Graveersaw the groups sensational rise to worldwide stardom, also had a tragically early death, at the age of just 32, in 1967. He was found in his London flat and was believed to have accidentally overdosed on medication. To allow the family some privacy, the band members did not attend the funeral or burial, which took place at the Jewish section of Everton Cemetery.

When Ringo Starr joined he group in August 1962, he did so from Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, who were billed ahead of The Beatles in Hamburg in October 1960. The group though never hit the heights, both of their singles failing to make the charts. After disbanding in 1967 Storm became a DJ before returning to Liverpool to live with his mother after his father’s death. On 28th September 1972, Storm and his mother were found dead at their home in Broadgreen Road. Alcohol and sleeping pills were found in his bloodstream and it was believed that after finding her son’s body , his mother Violet had deliberately overdosed to kill herself. They were cremated together and the ashes scattered at Anfield Cemetery’s garden of remembrance.

One of The Beatles many number one hits was Eleanor Rigby, who is buried in St Peter’s Churchyard in Woolton. Eleanor was a scullery maid and died of a brain hemorrhage in 1939 at the age of 44. Even though Paul McCartney and John Lennon would often go there, McCartney maintains this is purely coincidental, although has admitted the lyrics of the song could have come about due to his subconscious.

Whatever the truth is regarding Eleanor Rigby the gravestone, which was only discovered in 1980, has become a stop on the Beatles tourist trail, with taxis and minibuses often seen outside the churchyard. The other graves too are often tracked down by Beatles fans who have visited the city from all corners of the world.