The landmark grounds that inspired The Beatles famous hit – Strawberry Fields Forever, has announced it is to open its gates as not only a tourist attraction but also a youth centre.
The grounds are an iconic landmark after it was immortalised by the Fab Four in 1967, with an estimated 60,000 tourists visiting the outside of the Beaconsfield Road site. Originally open by the charity and ran from 1936, it has been closed since 2005 and is set to be open by The Salvation Army on Saturday 14th September.
John Lennon’s sister, Julie Baird said as a child the musician would clamber over the wall to get to “his special place”.
“As children we all have somewhere that’s a bit ours, a bit special.”
Speaking about the project, Ms Baird said: “I think he would have loved it, because he himself was not mainstream and was very aware of it.”
The centre will host an exhibition on Lennon’s early life and will provide training for young people with learning disabilities. The interactive exhibition explores the history of both the Salvation Army as well as Lennon’s life, focusing on his childhood and the writing and recording of Strawberry Fields through archival footage, multimedia and interviews with Paul McCartney.
Anthony Cotterill, from the Salvation Army said: “John Lennon found sanctuary here as a child and that’s exactly what we want to offer by opening the Strawberry Field gates for good.”
Another attraction is the set of iconic wrought-iron red gates, both sets! The original gates were stolen in 2000, which were soon returned when the crime made the news. Forcing the thieves to dump the gates at a local scrap metal merchant, the gates were returned the following day.
Kept in storage ever since, they will now sit in a quiet corner of the garden, while the heavily graffitied replicas will remain in place on the road at the former entrance.
Giving everyone the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Lennon, the gates will be open for good.
For further information visit www.strawberryfieldliverpool.com
Photo Credit: Activate Digital