Strawberry Fields, the Salvation Army gardens immortalised by The Beatles on ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ is opening as a public tourist attraction for the first time.
Opening tomorrow (September 14), the gardens will be available for the public to visit alongside a new visitor’s centre, cafe and shop. There will also be a new interactive exhibition about John Lennon’s early life and The Beatles for fans to visit.
The site of a former children’s home, John Lennon reportedly “found sanctuary” in the gardens of the Strawberry Field in Woolton, Liverpool, when he was growing up. Until now, 60,000 fans visiting the site have only been able to look through the red gates and into the gardens.
Speaking to the BBC, Lennon’s sister, Julia Baird, said as a child, Lennon would climb over the wall and into “his special place” in Strawbeerty Field gardens.
“As children we all have somewhere that’s a bit ours, a bit special.” Of the new project, Baird added: “I think he would have loved it, because he himself was not mainstream and was very aware of it.”
The Salvation Army’s Anthony Cotterill added: “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.”
Renowned rock historian Mark Lewisohn gave The Guardian access to a tape of a meeting held 50 years ago this week, which seemingly shows The Fab Four at loggerheads. Having finished the recording of ‘Abbey Road‘, it features audio of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison meeting together at Apple HQ in Savile Row.
“It’s a revelation,” Lewisohn told The Guardian. “The books have always told us that they knew ‘Abbey Road’ was their last album and they wanted to go out on an artistic high. But no – they’re discussing the next album. And you think that John is the one who wanted to break them up but, when you hear this, he isn’t. Doesn’t that rewrite pretty much everything we thought we knew?”