Stuart Fergusson Victor Sutcliffe is best remembered as the original bass player in the Beatles. He was born in Edinburgh on 23 June 1940, his father moving to Liverpool where he worked at Cammell Laird shipyard. The family lived initially at various places in Huyton and Stuart went to Prescot Grammar School, leaving with 5 O levels in 1956 and enrolling in Liverpool Art College. It was there that he met and became close friends with John Lennon who persuaded him to join the Beatles. When the Beatles were in Hamburg he met and became engaged to photographer Astrid Kirchherr and decided to leave the band to concentrate on painting. He stayed on in Germany and enrolled in the Hamburg College of Art, studying under Eduardo Paolozzi. While in Germany he began to experience severe headaches but doctors were unable to determine what was causing his illness. On 10 April 1962 he collapsed at Kirchherr's home and died in the ambulance on the way to hospital. The cause of death was an aneurysm causing bleeding in the brain. He was buried in Huyton Parish Cemetery.
Sutcliffe lived in various flats whilst a student, at 83 Canning Street, 12 Canning Street, 9 Percy Street and 3 Gambier Terrace (which he shared with John Lennon for a period). His family had moved from Huyton firstly to 53 Ullet Road and then to 37 Aigburth Drive, Sutcliffe spending time at both addresses when between flats. The Aigburth Drive address is now a hotel.
A Sutcliffe family home.
Sutcliffe shared a flat here with John Lennon.
One of the Sutcliffe family homes.
Comprehensive information about Sutcliffe can be found on the website run by the Stuart Sutcliffe Estate. For an appreciation of his painting the book Stuart Sutcliffe a retrospective is useful. It was issued by the Victoria Gallery and Museum of Liverpool University in conjunction with an exhibition in 2008-9. Sutcliffe, of course, features in the countless volumes that have been written about the Beatles. There is a BBC 4 documentary on Stuart Sutcliffe available on YouTube.
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