JOHN Lennon once recalled: “About the time of rock’n’roll in Britain – I think I was 15, so it would be about 1955 –there was a big thing called ‘skiffle’, which was a kind of folk music; American folk music, with washboards, and all the kids from fifteen onwards had these groups”.

Lonnie Donegan, the ‘Skiffle King’, had a huge influence on countless future musicians, including Lennon – who, together with some schoolfriends, formed a skiffle group, The Quarry Men.

On July 6, 1957, they played a church garden fete in Woolton, Liverpool. It was there that Lennon first met Paul McCartney; the group would eventually give rise to the Beatles.

On November 6, the Evening Times, observing skiffle’s popularity, wondered that if the craze continued to grow at its present rate, “when every second youngster is packing a guitar”, where would future jazz musicians, the trumpeters and the saxophonists, come from? One Glasgow music instrument retailer said that for every trombone he sold, he sold fifty guitars.

At roughly the same time, a youthful Rutherglen skiffle group was playing its distinctive style of music, not for a young, hip audience but at the ninth birthday party of Croftfoot Townswomen’s Guild.

Muir Laurie’s Skiffle Group (above) had been put together by 17-year-old Muir Laurie, who had picked up a guitar just three years earlier. In the summer of 1957 he coaxed several of his friends to join him and form a group.

Alongside Muir on guitar were Michael Ormiston, Alan Watt, and Ian McDonald, all of whom had saved up £15 to buy their instruments. Muir’s younger brother, Kenny, played the banjo; Alan Anderson played the washboard, and James Mochrie was on the tea-chest bass.

According to the Evening Times, the boys went down very well at the Townswomen’s Guild, to the point where the audience “didn’t even grumble at the wasting of a washboard”.

Read more: Herald Diary