Rolling Stones 1963 gig at Wisbech Corn Exchange marked

A Grade II listed venue built in 1811 as an exchange hall and gentlemen's club is marking 60 years since the Rolling Stones took to its stage.

Wisbech Corn Exchange hosted the band in July 1963, billing them as "the south's answer to Liverpool".

Kevin Rodgers went as a 15-year-old, but admitted remembering very little except his ticket to the dance night cost the equivalent of "about 32p".

The derelict hall is open to visitors until Sunday.

Newspaper advert for the Rolling Stones in Wisbech in 1963
An advert, preserved by the Wisbech Corn Exchange Conservation Trust, dates the concert to Saturday, 20 July, 1963 with admission costing six shillings and sixpence

Mr Rodgers said: "Everybody was excited, all the management, [promoter] Norman Jacobs was very excited about getting the Rolling Stones here because he knew how good they would be.

"One thing I do remember is when they came into the hall, Mick Jagger and Brian Jones came over to the cloakroom and asked my sister where the proprietor was and they were perfectly polite young men, apart from longer hair than most."

The hall was packed with about 600 people.

The Corn Exchange began hosting entertainment from 1858 and played host to Shakespeare recitations, dancing, roller-skating, wrestling and bingo.

Other acts who visited the Fenland town in the 1960s included Jerry Lee Lewis, Lulu, Tom Jones and Adam Faith.

Norman Jacobs took over its hall in 1948 and he was in charge when the Stones were booked for what was one of their first shows outside London and its neighbouring counties, around the time of their debut single Come On.

They performed on a stage next to a snack bar - the venue never had an alcohol licence.

His son, Norman Jacobs Junior, said the band asked for a sub for their petrol: "I'm glad to say he said yes. You've always got to help out young musicians, he just helped them out at that time and he must have liked what they played."

Rolling Stones band members Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood
Last week at the Hackney Empire, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood revealed details of their first album of new, original material in nearly two decades

This month, the Stones have revealed news of their first album of original material since 2005.

Mr Jacobs Jnr said: "Maybe one day they might like to come back and have a little reminisce with all of us."

Wisbech Corn Exchange is opening as part of the national Heritage Open Days programme of events.

The Wisbech Corn Exchange Conservation Trust has organised the opening, and hopes to renovate the building.

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