Sixty years ago today Margate Winter Gardens swelled with the sound of adoring fans as The Beatles began a six-night residency.
The legendary foursome took to the stage of the famous Cliftonville concert hall just weeks before the release of their record-selling single She Loves You.
But today there remains little evidence the iconic venue was once a draw for some of the biggest names in entertainment.
Now derelict and surrounded by rust-covered railings, the 123-year-old building is boarded up, with the panels over its entrance plastered with posters and graffiti.
Weeds poke through cracks in the ground where once fans would queue to see acts such as Madness, Blur, and Laurel and Hardy.
The council-owned venue has fallen into a state of disrepair since its closure last August, when it was ringed off with mental fences following its last event, the Margate Soul Festival, despite a community campaign to keep it open.
Operator Your Leisure had decided to call it a day after suffering huge losses brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, throwing the future of the Winter Gardens into doubt.
Thanet District Council (TDC), which took control of the Grade II-listed building, says it is searching for investors to turn the venue into a “successful leisure proposition” for the district.
But in the meantime, residents continue to bemoan the state of the “heartbreaking” eyesore, as its white paint fades into a dirty grey, and the surrounding gardens become increasingly unkempt.
Karen Wotten, 52, remembers fondly enjoying various events at the venue before she moved to London.
“We used to have Christmas parties there at work and they were absolutely fabulous,” she said.
“My daughter and I have been to shows there, and to Christmas pantomimes with the grandchildren.
“It's very sad - I’ve never seen it like this.
“I went away for a long time living in London and when I came back I was absolutely astonished by how it had been let go.”
The Winter Gardens opened in 1911, built into a cliff-face overlooking the sea.
Margate resident Guy William- Addington believes the building’s location and age make it challenging to maintain, as it is “battered” by the elements.
But he says its current state of disrepair is “frankly heartbreaking”.
“It would be amazing to have such a strong asset to the community up and running, showing all sorts of great performances and events,” said the 46-year-old.
“I’ve been there lots of times and seen some amazing events and amazing concerts and performances.
“It's known all over the country - all sorts of famous people have used it.
“It's just a real shame that we won’t see anything coming back in the near future.”
Just a stone’s throw away along the seafront, Dreamland has reinvented itself as one Kent’s biggest open-air concert venues, attracting huge names this summer including Tom Jones and Rag’n’Bone man.
But local musician Aiden Sheridan says the Winter Gardens offered something different and was more recently seen as a “stepping stone” to bigger things.
The singer, who plays Morrissey in a Smiths tribute band, said: “The two spaces (an arena for 2,000 and a separate room for 600) made it more than your average place.
“They had a good attitude towards helping people grow.
“Margate musicians now have no ability to go from a small to large crowd over time.
“The middle ground is gone - it's left a massive gap.”
Mr Sheridan, who was due to play at the gardens before the closure, added: “It has the most potential out of all the venues in Thanet - I think everything is right about it.”
In the years before shutting, the venue lost significant amounts of money, and was hit hard by an enforced closure ushered in by the pandemic.
It was generating annual revenues of about £1.3m prior to the lockdowns, but still losing between £105,000 and £275,000 a year.
The financial year ending March 2021 saw it rack up £300,000 in losses because of the pandemic restrictions.
In 2021, it was announced that bookings would be suspended from August 2022, with TDC taking control of the Winter Gardens that month.
The venue where once Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison played before hitting the big time was to fall silent.
At a cabinet meeting in March, councillors agreed officers should appoint a specialist marketing agency to promote the Winter Gardens and secure proposals for its future.
TDC says it wants to secure a “long- term, viable future” for the venue and is examining reports received following comprehensive site surveys.
“These will ensure we have all of the information we need about the condition of the building and its structure,” a spokesman said.
“The goal is to attract investment proposals from organisations that have the experience and expertise needed to make the venue a successful leisure proposition for Thanet.”
Finding a partner for the venue, and a potential future use, is complicated by its listed status, they added.
“The agency will be required to create a detailed marketing information pack and launch a campaign designed to secure interest and proposals for the future use of the Winter Gardens from serious investors,” they explained.
“An advert with detailed information was placed on the Kent Business Portal and Contract Finder portals to ensure that news of the opportunity reaches as many potential partners as possible.”
“This is the next stage in our plans to secure a long-term future for the Margate Winter Gardens.”