Liverpool’s Strawberry Field is to be opened to the public.
Made famous by the John Lennon song “Strawberry Fields Forever”, the real Strawberry Field was, in fact, a Salvation Army children’s home near where he lived with his Aunt Mimi.
It was an important part of Lennon’s early life. Each year the home held a garden party for locals and Lennon loved to go there.
He also used to climb over the surrounding wall to play with the children and to listen to the Sally Alley’s band. . . to the chagrin and disapproval of the home’s managers. When complaints to his school and Aunt Mimi went unheeded, one of the officials threatened to hang him if it happened again.
Thus the line in the song “Nothing to get hung about”.
Listen to the Strawberry Fields Forever video
Eventually the school buildings were demolished because they were riddled with dry rot. They were replaced for a while with other buildings, but the site has been empty since 2005.
Work on opening it has started. Lady Judy Martin, widow of Beatles producer George Martin, and Julia Baird, John Lennon’s sister, were present at a ceremony to mark the occasion.
Lady Judy said “The plans to open Strawberry Field to the public for the first time – so people can see a unique exhibition about the home, how and why the song was written by John, and allow visitors to explore the grounds as John did as a child – is very exciting.”
The Salvation Army plans for the site are to create a training and work placement hub for young people with learning disabilities.
“As custodians of the site for the people of Liverpool and Beatles fans the world over, we want to transform Strawberry Field and reopen it for the good of young people in the North West who would benefit from access to support, as well as encourage more similar projects across the UK,” said the Salvation Army’s Major Roger Batt.