McCartney prize-winning school essay discovered

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The Independent Online

A prize-winning essay by a 10-year-old Paul McCartney sheds new light on the thoughts of a budding superstar, an author claimed today.

The handwritten piece about the Queen's coronation was found among records at the Central Library by Kevin Roach as he researched for a book on the Beatles legend.

It had been stored away for over 50 years in the library's record office.

Mr Roach said: "It's unique in its own right. It shows his handwriting at that age and shows how Paul was thinking at the time.

"His handwriting is well advanced - you would say it was written by someone who was older than 10-years-old, more like 14 or 15."

Although the researcher said he is not concerned about its value, he likened the essay to John Lennon's christening bracelet, which was the last piece of Beatles memorabilia to be sold in a private auction. It fetched £27,000.

McCartney, whose hits included Paperback Writer, was marked down for his grammar in the project, using the word 'But' at the start of a sentence.

But instead of joining the examiner in criticism, Mr Roach believes the decorative 'B' hints towards the musician's future.

"The interesting thing is that it is the same 'B' as on the early Beatles drum-kit logo in 1961 and 1962."

The 10-year-old, who would become one of the most famous singer songwriters of all time, entered a city council essay competition in 1953.

He wrote about the "lovely young Queen" Elizabeth's coronation, the gathered crowds and the parade through London.

The schoolboy compares the happy scenes expected outside Buckingham Palace to the coronation of William the Conqueror nine centuries earlier, when a massacre of Saxons took place.

He also declares that Britain's "present day royalty rules with affection rather than force". Little did he know that in 1997 he would be knighted by the same queen.

McCartney won the under-11s age group category and was presented with a prize at the Central Library by the Lord Mayor on 27 May 1953.

Mr Roach explained how he came across the bound collection of essays: "I've been working on my own private project which is a book on the family history of the McCartney family.

"I did know from reading the council minutes that this competition took place, and it was then a case of looking for the actual winning entries."

He discovered the volume six months ago among a collection marked "coronation events", with no clues pointing towards the rock star's essay, thought to be his earliest surviving creative work.

Mr Roach, whose book "McCartney: In The Town Where They Was Born" is released in mid October, said many historians believe McCartney bought a book on modern art with his book token prize.

They say the book inspired him to become a musician.

By chance, the volume of essays were stored next to a collection of issues of Mersey Beat from 1962 to 1966, the music magazine that helped launch the Beatles to become the biggest band of their generation.