Strawberry Field

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For other uses, see Strawberry Fields.

Coordinates: 53°22′49″N 2°53′2″W / 53.38028°N 2.88389°W / 53.38028; -2.88389

Strawberryfield.jpg

Strawberry Field was a Salvation Army children's home in Woolton, a suburb of Liverpool, England.

History[edit]

Overview[edit]

Strawberry Fields as it was shown on the 25-inch Ordnance Survey of 1891

The earliest reference to the gothic revival mansion 'Strawberry Field' dates from 1870, when it was owned by one George Warren, a wealthy shipping magnate. On an 1891 Ordnance Survey map the building and its grounds appear as the plural 'Strawberry Fields', although this had changed by the 1905 survey. In 1912 it was transferred to another wealthy merchant whose widow sold the estate to the Salvation Army in 1934. It opened as a children's home on 7 July 1936 by Lady Bates in the presence of General Evangeline Booth, daughter of the Salvation Army founder. With a capacity of up to forty girls, boys under 5 were introduced in the 1950s. Later still, older boys also became resident.

Strawberry Field was recognised by Nikolaus Pevsner in his 1969 survey of the buildings of South Lancashire.[1] However by then the building was increasingly unfit for purpose. By 1973 the structural problems, including dry rot, meant that it was more cost effective to demolish the building and replace it with purpose-built children's home. This new home provided three family units, each accommodating 12 children.[2] The driveway entrance to the building was moved further west along Beaconsfield Road, meaning that the gateposts bearing the name 'Strawberry Field' were no longer used. Throughout the 1970s and beyond however, this disused entrance and its gates became a mecca for Beatles fans from around the world. As a result the gates continued to be painted bright red, and the painted nameplates were also maintained.

The children's home finally closed in early January 2005 and the building was used by the Salvation Army as a church and prayer centre. The famous gates marking its entrance were removed and replaced with replicas in May 2011. [3] The site is now closed and The Salvation Army are planning to open Strawberry Field to the public for the first time allowing visitors to explore the grounds. There will be a new centre featuring a training centre for young people with special educational needs, and a new exibition space dedicated to the story of the place [1] and the song "Strawberry Fields Forever".

The gates of Strawberry Field, in Liverpool, England
A more recent image of the gatepost, largely vandalised due to its popularity

The Beatles[edit]

The name of the home became world-famous in 1967 with the release of The Beatles single "Strawberry Fields Forever" written by John Lennon. Lennon grew up near the home – one of his childhood treats was the garden party that took place each summer on the grounds of Strawberry Field. Lennon's Aunt Mimi recalled: 'As soon as we could hear the Salvation Army Band starting, John would jump up and down shouting "Mimi, come on. We're going to be late."'[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus (1969) South Lancashire, 1st Edition, Penguin
  2. ^ http://www.bedand-breakfastliverpool.co.uk/strawberry-fields-liverpool.htm
  3. ^ "Beatles' Strawberry Fields gates removed". 
  4. ^ The Beatles, Hunter Davies, London, 1968, p 9

External links[edit]