A GIRL who was pictured meeting The Beatles at the Gaumont in 1964 has revisited the exact spot she met the group more than 50 years on.

Karen Grimaldi was five when she went with her music journalist father Tom Spence to the Bradford venue and was encouraged to sing to John Lennon to mark his birthday.

The young fan was overwhelmed by the flashing camera bulbs and in the end was too shy to sing Happy Birthday to the musician.

Mrs Grimaldi, now 59 and again living in Pudsey, has been able to visit the exact spot she met The Beatles as the once blocked off dressing room has been uncovered during stripping out works at the Odeon building as it is now known.

Love looking at old pictures from across the Bradford district? Join our new Bradford Nostalgia Facebook group. 

She told the Telegraph & Argus: “My dad was a journalist and he reviewed one of John’s books and they got to know each other quite well. So when they were playing in Bradford my dad had said my daughter would love to come and they said yes, bring her along.

“It had been John’s birthday, so I had been practicing singing, then with those old camera flashbulbs - all I could see was this sea of flashbulbs. It was quite overwhelming.”

She added: “I remember arriving home and my mum saying, ‘be quick, be quick, you are on the news'."


Mrs Grimaldi said it had been her overriding memory of her dad, who had passed away when she was nine.

Odeon historian Mark Nicholson added that the dressing room had been blocked up when a staircase was added during the 1969 alterations to turn the former theatre into an Odeon cinema.

He said: “People like Karen are living links with the old theatre, which is an interesting connection of the past with the future. It's been lovely to reacquaint Karen with a part of the building that connects her to her dad."

Work to strip the almost 90-year-old building began earlier this year. Lee Craven from Bradford Live, the group behind the redevelopment, said a large opening had been made in the back of the building allowing larger machinery inside the building.

Work was also taking place in one of the towers to remove a false ceiling.

He said these works will be completed by the end of June, and they would be going out to tender for the main contractor shortly, now planning permission was in place.

The conversion of the former Odeon building will turn it into a 3,800-capacity live music venue. to be run by the NEC group.