The 7th of July this year marks the 60th anniversary of the Woolton Church Summer Fete in Liverpool where a young John Lennon was introduced to an even younger Paul McCartney for the first time. That meeting has gone down in musical folklore leading to one of the most extraordinary writing partnerships that changed the face of modern music.
Now, sixty years on, I’m interested in the relationship of the Beatles to this small part of south Liverpool – just a few streets. I am taken by the idea that tourists travel from all over the world to visit such ordinary suburban streets leading to the somewhat incongruous sight of international day trippers rubbing shoulders with locals in very un-touristy locations.
Often they have travelled from far and wide for a once in a lifetime visit to the UK: they take in Buckingham Palace, Stonehenge, Edinburgh Castle and a few run down streets of council housing in Liverpool!
Having grown up in Liverpool, I’m intrigued by the power the band still has to attract people from far and wide and how the locals just go about their business semi-oblivious to the daily invasion.
In Arnold Grove in particular, where George Harrison grew up, the house is still occupied by an elderly lady – every day hoards of tourists walk past children playing in the street, as George would have done, to have their picture taken outside her house and sometimes peer in through her windows. In Madryn Street, Ringo Starr’s home, all the houses are now boarded up and visitors come to write on the metal shutters and sometimes to dance!
The Magical Mystery Tour bus passes Madryn St. the childhood home of Ringo Starr
Magical Mystery Tour bus tourists (on the pavement) and National Trust visitors (in the garden) of 20, Forthlin Road, the childhood home of Paul McCartney.
Canadian Tourists at Forthlin Road.
Spanish tourists at ‘Mendips’, the childhood home of John Lennon.
A ‘selfie’ for the Magical Mystery Tour at the gates of Strawberry Fields.
“Behind the shelter in the middle of the roundabout”, the Magical Mystery Tour passes the ‘barber’ and the ‘bank’ at the top of Penny Lane.
“In Penny Lane, there is a barber showing photographs”
A group of German tourists dancing outside the former home of Ringo Starr. Madryn Street in Dingle is one of ‘The Welsh Streets’, traditional Liverpool terraces, now all boarded up and awaiting a council decision on whether to demolish or refurbish.
A busload of tourists descend on the tiny cul-de-sac Arnold Grove where George Harrison lived as a young boy. The house and those surrounding it are still lived in and each day residents tolerate a stream of visitors from all around the world.