On this day in history : 1st December 1960 – Paul McCartney and Pete Best are deported from Hamburg after being arrested following accusations of arson….

When the Beatles first travelled to Hamburg they were still very young…. In fact so young that George Harrison, at just 17 was not old enough to be participating in the late night sets the band were performing…. When the German authorities discovered his age he was shipped back to England….

Image credit : Michael Donovan via Flickr

The boys were staying in a room at the Kaiserkeller and when the club owner terminated their contract they had to move out…. They found lodgings in an attic room above a cinema – finished their final set at the club and moved their gear out immediately…. It was late at night and when they arrived at their new lodgings the place was in total darkness…. Once inside, to cast some light on the situation, they decided to improvise – and one of them hung a condom from a nail on the stone wall and set light to it (as you do)! They might of briefly gained some light to see what they were doing – but they also managed to scorch the wall….

The cinema owner, obviously furious, went to the police and reported McCartney and Best for trying to burn his building down…. The pair were arrested and held in the cells over night and the following day were escorted from the country….leaving behind John Lennon and Stu Sutcliffe…. Lennon made his way back to the UK ten days later but Sutcliffe remained in Hamburg until the beginning of 1961…. Once Harrison had turned 18 the band headed back to Germany again….

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