Demolition work will begin this week at Strawberry Field as part of ambitious plans to create a new visitor centre at the famous South Liverpool site.
The Salvation Army’s vision, which was given planning permission in November 2017, also includes a training hub for young people with learning disabilities.
The visitor experience will be a place where the public can learn more about John Lennon, his connection to the site, as well as an opportunity to explore spirituality.
The buildings being demolished were built in the 1970s after fire damage led to the demolition of the original Victorian mansion.
Ahead of the work, neighbours, as well as key stakeholders and supporters of the project, were given the opportunity to set foot beyond the famous red gates, for the first time.
Major Drew McCombe, divisional leader for The Salvation Army, North West, says: “As custodians of the site for the people of Liverpool and Beatles fans the world over, we want to transform Strawberry Field and re-open it for the good of young people in the North West who need support, and so that the wider community can, for the first time, access a site that belongs to them.
“This special redevelopment will also mean that John Lennon and Beatles’ fans the world over will be able explore the Strawberry Field grounds and see for themselves the place that inspired a musical legend to pen an unforgettable pop hit.”
Strawberry Field was run as a children’s home by The Salvation Army from the 1930s and inspired John Lennon to write ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’.
As a child, Lennon famously jumped over the wall into the Strawberry Field grounds, where he played with the children who lived there and listened to The Salvation Army band. He grew up not far from the site on Menlove Avenue. The children’s home closed in 2005.
He remained a supporter of The Salvation Army, with a particular interest in Strawberry Field throughout his life, donating several thousands of pounds to the charity after the release of ‘Strawberry Fields’.