In April 1966, Liverpool businessmen Alf Geoghegan and Joe Davy acquired The Cavern premises at No’s 8, 10 and 12, Mathew Street. They immediately carried out long-awaited improvements, linking the three addresses underground through a new main entrance at No.8. Improvements included a cafe, disco and dancefloor, a bar, additional toilets, and a fire exit.
Bob Wooler was invited to remain as the venue’s general manager, with his first task to work with the new owners on plans for a grand re-opening of The Cavern by British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson on 23 July 1966. In the official grand opening brochure, Bob described The Cavern as ‘A Tomorrow Kind of Club’, confirming ‘the high standards of top quality entertainment established in the past will be maintained in the future’. He also likened The Cavern to a kind of subterranean ‘Disneyland Poporium’ and sort of ‘Beatique’ specialising in ‘Superpop’. However, a comment in the media questioned the line-up (with a few exceptions) and whether it really did offer ‘A Tomorrow Kind of Entertainment’ or something that could really be construed as ‘Superpop’.
Following the success of the grand re-opening, The Cavern returned to business as usual, Bob Wooler continuing to book successful artistes but unhappy with the introduction of a licensed bar and the changes it brought to the venue. He resigned in August 1967, by which time the whole music scene in Liverpool had changed. For Bob, The Cavern had become ‘just another club’.
In 1970, ownership of The Cavern passed on to businessman Harry Waterman and club and bar owner Roy Adams. However, unbeknown to the new owners, British Rail had already issued a compulsory purchase order on Mathew Street properties, including The Cavern and the buildings above.
A special ‘last night’ on Sunday 27 May marked the closure of the original Cavern club. To commemorate this end of an era, a unique ticket was issued. On the front were details of the final night, while the reverse carried an invitation to the opening of new premises at No.7 Mathew Street.
Demolition started on 28 May, to enable the completion of British Rail’s plans to build a ventilation shaft for Liverpool’s new underground railway system.
The ‘New Cavern’ opened in August 1973, but traded only until 1975.