Work to redevelop the famous Strawberry Field in Woolton has got underway in the presence of some very special guests.
John Lennon’s sister Julia Baird and the late George Martin’s widow, Lady Martin OBE, visited the Beatles’ pilgrimage site in South Liverpool yesterday.
The world-famous red gates will open to the public for the very first time next summer, giving visitors the chance to walk through the grounds where Lennon played as a child.
A new visitor attraction will also tell the story of Lennon’s childhood connection with Strawberry Field and sit alongside ‘Steps to Work’, a vocational training and work placement hub for young people with learning disabilities.
To mark the start of construction of the new facilities, 51 years since the original release of the 1967 classic Beatles song (Strawberry Fields Forever), a time capsule box was laid at the heart of the buildings footprint.
As a child, Lennon famously used to jump over the wall into the Strawberry Field grounds, where he would play with the children who lived there and listen to The Salvation Army band.
Lady Judy Martin OBE says: “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.”
Retired Strawberry Field officer, 97-year-old Major Ida Cawthorne , who fondly remembers a young John, adds: “We had a big tree with thick branches and he used to sit in it, dangling his legs and shouting to the children.
“I love the song, he telephoned me when the song became a hit record and sent several thousand pounds to Strawberry Field for the children – we bought new play equipment – very kind, he was a good lad.”