Japanese tea service bought by George Harrison goes on display at Liverpool Beatles Museum

The rare memorabilia was acquired in Japan for George Harrison on the Beatles 1966 tour. Credit: PA

A Japanese tea service bought by George Harrison when he was confined to a hotel room because of Beatlemania has gone on display in a museum.

The set, one of three bought by Harrison in 1966, was given to tour manager Neil Aspinall and passed on to his son Roag Best, who now runs the Liverpool Beatles Museum on Mathew Street.

Mr Best, the half-brother of the band’s original drummer Pete Best, said: “The Beatles had gone to play the Budokan. They played five shows in a three-day period and were playing to in excess of 10,000 people a show.

“Beatlemania had truly hit Japan. They couldn’t go out.”

George Harrison, left, with John, Paul and Ringo in 1967. Credit: PA

Best said his father accompanied John Lennon, in disguise, as they left their Tokyo hotel once and Sir Paul McCartney also went out once, wearing a disguise, but Ringo Starr and Harrison stayed confined to their rooms.

“They liked buying stuff when they were touring but because they couldn’t go out they were having people bringing their wares up to their rooms to sell,” Mr Best said.

“George bought three really ornate Japanese tea services which he then had shipped back to England.

“He kept one and gave my dad the choice of the other two, then the third he gave to his mother.”

The crockery made its way back to Liverpool and was put in a display cabinet in the house of Mr Best’s mother – owner of the Casbah Club, Mona Best.

But, Mr Best said it had not been a complete set since his mother asked him to clean it when he was 15.

He said: “I carried it all very carefully through to the kitchen and washed it but once I’d finished, I was in a rush to go and play out with my mates, so I stacked it all on top of each other to carry it back in.

“My mum said to me ‘don’t take it back like that, you’ll drop it’. I said ‘no, I won’t’, and as I uttered those words the pile buckled and three cups smashed on the floor.

“I just bolted out of the door then before she could kill me.”

The tea service has gone on display at Liverpool Beatles Museum. Credit: PA

Mr Best said he hoped the tea service would be of particular interest to Beatles fans visiting Liverpool from Japan.

He added: “The Japanese Beatles fan club has one of the biggest memberships, it is about 40,000 strong.

“I think they’re going to love this.”

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