Strawberry Field opens its gates for good
published on 13 Sep 2019
The world famous Strawberry Field, immortalised by The Beatles, will be open to the public for the first time thanks to The Salvation Army this Saturday 14th September 2019.
For over 70 years, Beatles fans have only been able to stand outside the iconic red gates but from Saturday, they will now be able to enter the grounds and gardens that inspired John Lennon to write the 1967 classic hit, Strawberry Fields Forever.
The site will include a visitor attraction, created by The Salvation Army that commemorates John Lennon’s link with Strawberry Field but also provides a place for spiritual reflection. Money raised from the site will also support Steps to Work, a Salvation Army project that helps local young people into employment.
The new Strawberry Field site includes:
- The original iconic red gates that have not been on site since 2010.
- An interactive visitor exhibition, ‘Strawberry Fields Nothing is Real’, where visitors can explore stories with help from characters including Elvis and John’s school friend Mike Hill.
- A virtual Mellotron where you can recreate the famous opening chords from ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’.
- Imagine More, a community café stocked with local produce.
- A calm garden space for spiritual reflection.
- A gift shop selling genuine Strawberry Field history and gifts from local suppliers.
- Fully accessible ‘Changing Places’ facilities.
- A chance to learn about life in the former Salvation Army children’s home and how The Salvation Army’s own pop band reached No 32 in the UK pop charts.
The site will be open every day. It’s free to see the original gates, visit the café and explore the grounds, where stones from the old Victorian house have been used to create seating in the gardens. Local suppliers are stocking the café and gift shop and local community-led charities can also apply to use the space.
Within the grounds is the interactive ‘Strawberry Fields Nothing is Real’ visitor exhibition which costs £12.95 (£8.00 concessions)
Julia Baird, John Lennon’s sister and Honorary President of the Strawberry Field project, said:
“I’ve been really impressed by The Salvation Army’s vision and now there is huge potential to make a real change in the lives of young people who will grow in the precious soil of Strawberry Field.”
Salvation Army Territorial Commander, Commissioner Anthony Cotterill 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.
“We know thousands of Beatles fans already visit the site and we saw an opportunity to channel that interest into a responsible tourist attraction that will support local people and businesses.
“The Salvation Army ran a children’s home at Strawberry Field from 1936 until 2005. In that time, we helped some of Liverpool’s most vulnerable children. 70 years later, we are using Strawberry Field to give Liverpool’s young people a step onto the employment ladder. I like to think that John Lennon would be pleased that his special association with Strawberry Field is being used in this way.”
Tickets for the visitor exhibition will be available to purchase online from 8th September, with an option to purchase a mini bus ticket add on. Strawberry Field is around 15 minutes’ drive from Liverpool city centre. Drop off and pick up parking spaces will be available as well as nearby coach parking. The dedicated mini bus service costs £4 one way or £7 return, and will operate throughout the day with a pick up location at Jury’s Inn Hotel in the city centre.
Strawberry Field is owned and operated by The Salvation Army. The church and charity hopes to continue inspiring future generations to come.