Memorial plaque to be unveiled to the man who brought the Rolling Stones to Wisbech

PUBLISHED: 09:36 19 June 2018

Norman Jacobs Jnr with the plaque to his father.

Norman Jacobs Jnr with the plaque to his father.

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A plaque has been unveiled in Wisbech to honour the man who brought the Rolling Stones to the town.

Norman Jacobs has been honoured in the Heroes Arcade garden in WisbechNorman Jacobs has been honoured in the Heroes Arcade garden in Wisbech

The impresario has taken his place in a hall of fame Heroes Arcade at Octavia Hill’s Birthplace House.

The Wisbech-born concert promoter Norman Jacobs, who died in 2016, has been remembered with a special plaque.

During his spell at the helm of the Corn Exchange in Wisbech, Mr Jacobs, who was made MBE for his services to business and to charity in East Anglia, brought some of the biggest names in show business to the town, including Tom Jones, Frankie Vaughan and the Hollies, as well as playing host to roller skating enthusiasts.

The Rolling Stones were signed up to play at the venue on the corner of North Brink and Old Market in 1963, and for the six shillings and sixpence ticket cost – just over 30 pence in today’s money – concert goers could enjoy the magic of the south’s answer to Liverpool, with the reassurance that buses would be running to March, King’s Lynn, Welney, Long Sutton, Sutton St James and Parson Drove when the last dance was done.

The Rolling Stones at the Corn Exchange,Wisbech 20th July 1963. This is the advert that appeared in the Wisbech Standard for the event.The Rolling Stones at the Corn Exchange,Wisbech 20th July 1963. This is the advert that appeared in the Wisbech Standard for the event.

Mr Jacobs sadly missed a trick with another up-and-coming band, known as The Beatles, because they were an unknown quantity.

Their manager, Brian Epstein, offered them, but Mr Jacobs declined them in favour of another group of contenders, only to learn that the Beatles had made the big time just a few weeks later.

He went on to buy the Grade II listed Art Deco gem, the Empire Theatre, restoring cinema, theatre and musical events to the venue and bringing funny man Ken Dodd to the Wisbech stage.

Mr Jacobs also bought the old Hippodrome Theatre, which had been operating as a cinema before 1934 and had been renamed the Unit One Cinema, before it was bulldozed to make way for the Horse Fair development.

The unveiling of the plaque is open to anybody who would like to pay tribute to the man who put Wisbech on the musical map.

• There is an opportunity to recall the glory days of the Empire Theatre during a tour with his son, Norman Jacobs Jnr, on Wednesday, June 13, during an ‘Art Deco’ walk being staged as part of a series of walks by the Birthplace House. Meet at 7pm at the Clarkson Memorial. No booking is necessary, but there is charge of £3 per person and the proceeds go to the Birthplace House.

• The next walk in the series, ‘Gordon Fendick’s Wisbech’, with Steve Tierney, on Wedneday June 20, celebrates the life of the last chief education officer of the Isle of Ely, who owned Wisbech Castle.

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