Behind the wrought-iron scarlet gates of Strawberry Field was a Salvation Army home for young orphaned children, and surrounding this Victorian Gothic house were acres of thick woodland, which also backed onto John Lennon’s childhood home on Menlove Avenue.
These grounds became fertile territory for a troubled young Lennon’s imagination. The solitary field was a place to escape, climb trees, build dens, and perhaps with a mix of sadness and fascination, watch the less fortunate kids inside the home. The times spent under these illusory, northern skies scarred Lennon’s subconscious deeply and it took a psychedelic-triggered yearning for childhood innocence for it to re-surface around the summer of 1966 when he penned the famous song Strawberry Fields Forever. The field itself is generally unremarkable, but thanks to the popularity of the tune, the site has become a pilgrimage site for Beatles fans.
The original gates had to be replaced after they were stolen (but later found in a scrap metal yard), and the original orphanage has been torn down but the lonely field that inspired one of the most timeless songs of all time has become a training hub for young people with disabilities and other barriers to employment; in 2019 the Salvation Army opened those iconic gates after building a multi-million pound development featuring a café & gift shop, gardens, exhibition space and Christian community centre for spiritual reflection & education.
Know Before You Go
The visitor's centre was opened in August 2019; it was affected by Covid restrictions and partially closed but is now fully open again to the public.