Strawberry Fields Forever
Site treasured by John Lennon and immortalized in The Beatles hit song ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ to be developed as a training and work placement hub for young people with learning disabilities.
The Salvation Army’s United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland has launched an inspiring new vision for its Strawberry Field site in Liverpool, north western England. The announcement coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of the release of the Fab Four’s song.
John Lennon grew up a short distance away from the site in Liverpool, England, and played on the grounds. Lennon’s Aunt Mimi recalled that John looked forward tothe garden party that took place each summer on the grounds of Strawberry Field. “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."'
The new facility will provide vocational training in areas such as catering, retail, visitor experience and horticulture. An exhibition on the history of the site, the song and John Lennon’s early life will be opened, along with a café which will welcome people from across the world and within the local community. The gardens at Strawberry Field will be at the heart of the new experience. A music workshop will help young people develop their skills and personal growth. The renovated site will include a Christian community offering spiritual exploration, retreat opportunities and pastoral care.
The widow of a wealthy merchant sold the Strawberry Field estate to the Salvation Army in 1934. The original large Victorian house was a home for some of the city’s most vulnerable children from 1936 to 2005. The original house was later demolished and replaced with a smaller home for children, which opened in the early 1970s and provided three family units, each accommodating 12 children. It is currently used as a church and prayer center.
Peter Hooton, chair of The Beatles Legacy Group, said, “I can think of no better way Strawberry Field could be redeveloped in such an innovative way, which gives hope and job opportunities to vulnerable young people, whilst making a valuable and worthwhile contribution to The Beatles’ legacy in Liverpool.”
Visit www.strawberryfieldliverpool.com for more the project.