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Places we'll remember all our lives
Lennon's Liverpool home donated to National Trust

by Timothy Tilghman

    For an estimated 150,000 or more, Yoko Ono has graciously purchased the childhood home of slain Beatle John Lennon on behalf of the National Trust . The semi-detached Liverpool residence is where the musically inclined Lennon formed his first band The Quarry Men, rehearsed original material with Beatle partner Paul McCartney, and later composed The Beatles first British #1 single, "Please Please Me".

    "I am thrilled that we have managed to buy John's main childhood home," Ono said. "It is especially pleasing that we will be able to keep such an important part of John's and The Beatles' history intact and out of the hands of unsympathetic private developers". Ono rescued "Mendips" after it had sat on the market and purchased it through a third party for the people of Liverpool.

    251 Menlove Avenue had an important influence over the emerging talent of the chief Beatle. Between 1945 and 1963, Lennon lived here with his Aunt Mimi and Uncle George Smith. He spent a great deal of time at this address. John's bedroom was just above the front porch. He would have listened to Elvis on his radio and fantasized about future stardom. Aunt Mimi provided him with his first guitar, and her now famous quote, "A guitar is alright John, but you'll never earn your living by it".

    Donating it to the British heritage organization has ensured its preservation for the legions of Beatlemanics that travel from all over the globe to tour Liverpool and the generations of Beatles fans yet to be born. Paul McCartney's Liverpool home at 20 Forthlin Road in the city's Allerton district is already open to the public as a National Trust treasure.

    "I think Menlove Avenue has an important place in Beatles history, and it saddened me to think that it might be lost. The fact that this is happening in the same week that Liverpool airport is officially opened as Liverpool John Lennon airport would have made my husband very happy," Ono stated.

    Having been on the market for months, there were fears it might be sold to those who may have had little concern for its unique place in the history of popular music. Private foreign interests had expressed a desire in acquiring 'Mendips'. Ono supported the public drive to protect the property during a visit last year to Lennon's childhood school, Dovedale Primary.

    Lennon once described the house as "a nice, semidetached place with a small garden". He even composed a humorous lyric about a donation to the National Trust in his 1968 composition "Happiness is a Warm Gun". The 'White Album' song mentions "a soap impression of his wife which he ate and donated to the National Trust".

RockonTour   Issue #7
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