Strawberry Field opens its gates for good
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.
Notes to editors:
The Salvation Army is an international Christian church and registered charity which has been transforming lives for more than 150 years. Working in 131 countries worldwide, The Salvation Army offers friendship, practical help and support for people at all levels of need. In the UK and Republic of Ireland this work includes more than 750 community churches and social centres. Registered Charity Nos. 214779, 215174 and in Scotland SC009359, SC037691. For more information visit the website www.salvationarmy.org.uk
Media enquiries please contact The Salvation Army Strawberry Field Press Team:
Laura Taylor, Marketing & Communications Manager, Strawberry Field
firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44(0)7770 092552
Out of hours: 020 3657 7555 or email@example.com
Location - Beaconsfield Rd, Woolton, Liverpool L25 6EJ
Visiting Strawberry Field
- Tickets to the visitor exhibition cost £12.95 / £8.00 concessions and are available from 8th September from www.strawberryfieldliverpool.com
- It’s free to visit the café, shop, grounds and the gates. Open daily from 9am until 7pm in summer (1 April – 31 Oct) and 10am until 6pm in winter (1 Nov – 31 March).
- 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 site will have a dedicated mini bus, which will run throughout the day with a pick up location in the city centre at Jury’s Inn Hotel.
- The site is a short walk away from John Lennon’s childhood home in Menlove Avenue where he lived with this Aunt Mimi.
The Salvation Army and Strawberry Field
- Strawberry Field was gifted to The Salvation Army in 1934. The organisation opened the site as a children’s home in 1936 and for nearly 70 years the site supported some of Liverpool’s most vulnerable children until it closed in 2005.
- A young John Lennon lived nearby and played in the grounds. It eventually inspired him to write the song Strawberry Fields Forever.
- The Salvation Army is a church and charity, working in 131 countries around the world, demonstrating Christian principles through practical support and friendship to people of all ages, backgrounds and needs.
The grounds and interactive exhibition
- Visitors will learn about the site’s history and connection with The Salvation Army. There will be exclusive insights into the former Salvation Army children’s home, John Lennon's childhood and the writing and recording of the famous song, as told by John’s close friends and family.
- The Imagine More Café will open for light refreshments, breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, sourced from local producers.
- The shop will stock a wide range of exclusive Strawberry Field memorabilia.
- The gardens, where John Lennon used to play as a child, offer a calm space for reflection and a place to explore spirituality.
- Proceeds from the site will help fund the Steps to Work programme, which supports local young people, aged 18-25 with learning disabilities and other barriers to employment. The programme aims to remove barriers and support trainees into employment. The 12- 18 month employability programme includes an 8 week ‘work readiness course’ followed by at least 3, three month work placements with a local employer, which could include the Strawberry Field shop, visitor exhibition, café or garden. These work placements include two days a week at work and two days a week at The City of Liverpool College.
- Strawberry Field will also support other community-led charities by providing space to meet.
- A ‘suspended coffee’ initiative encourages visitors to purchase a coffee that can be redeemed later that day by someone else in need.
- There is a ‘talking table’ in the café, where a member of the team will always be available to come and chat to anyone who sits there to provide a safe space to socialise and build community.