Beatles' Strawberry Field gates removed

Original gates to be replaced with replicas in order to prevent further damage to them from sightseers to Liverpool

The gates to Liverpool's Strawberry Field have been removed to prevent any "further damage" being caused to them.

The Salvation Army, which owns the site immortalised in a song by The Beatles, will replace the original gates with handcrafted replicas.

It said the 100-year-old wrought iron gates to what was formerly the Strawberry Field Salvation Army Children's Home in Woolton, a will be taken into storage for "safe keeping".

The replacements have been made by a local specialist, Jim Bennett, and gifted to the charity.

Major Ray Irving, director of social services for the Salvation Army, said: "Although care has been taken to ensure the original gates to the site have remained in good condition, inevitably time has taken its toll."

The condition of the original, which measures 3 metres (10ft) in height and 2.4 metres in breadth, will be assessed while in safe storage, he said.

Irving added: "When Mr Bennett got in touch with us in 2010 and explained that he was creating a set of replica gates as a project, we were very interested.

"This means that the original gates can be kept safe from further deterioration and, with the replica gates in place, allow for an authentic experience for the many thousands of people who come on a musical pilgrimage to Strawberry Field.

"We are very grateful to Mr Bennett for his work and for very generously allowing us to install the replica gates."

From 1936 and when John Lennon was a child, Strawberry Field was an imposing building, housing a large number of children who had been taken into care.

It was Lennon's memories of the site which were immortalised in the 1967 song Strawberry Fields Forever.

The original building was demolished in the early 1970s and was replaced by a smaller purpose-built home which eventually closed in May 2005.

The long-term future of Strawberry Field is still to be determined by the Salvation Army, which is looking into developing a centre for children and young people with learning disabilities.

A Strawberry Field heritage centre is also being discussed.

Press Association

The GuardianTramp

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