Strawberry Field, the place immortalised by John Lennon in The Beatles song, ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, has opened its famous red gates to the public.
The old Salvation Army children’s home in whose grounds the young Lennon played, was pulled down to make way for a new exhibition space and centre. Strawberry Field now serves as a unique addition to Liverpool’s Beatles tourist sites – and much more.
The interactive exhibition outlines the history of the site and The Salvation Army. Memories from John Lennon’s childhood sit alongside connections with the music. Highlights include John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ piano and an early handwritten draft of the Strawberry Fields Forever lyrics.
Disabled visitors will find that the centre and its grounds are comfortably accessible since it’s a very new building that was designed specifically to accommodate staff and visitors with different abilities.
Not only is it fully wheelchair accessible, with a clear pathway and exhibits at comfort level, assistance dogs are welcome and there’s a lift and a changing places toilet.
The exhibition also includes accessible features starting with a captioned version of all videos on the media guide (and T-channel compatibility) for hearing impaired visitors, as well as sensitive use of language on text boards throughout the exhibition space.
Visually impaired visitors will also appreciate how simple the layout is, helping to avoid collision points and to accommodate cane detection – and that there are tactile elements to enjoy and clever use of colour contrast between the floor and walls.
Perhaps though, it’s the pre-arranged tours for visually impaired people guided by a trained staff member complete with media guides that will impress most. This helps to bring the colourful exhibition space to life for people that can’t fully visualise it.
Strawberry Field also hosts a Steps to Work programme for young adults with learning difficulties and other barriers to employment and you may well see them happily working in the café or in the gift shop.
Finally, it’s worth strolling around the wonderful accessible gardens, where in your daydreams you might start to think that, as Lennon sang, ‘nothing is real’ – but it is…
Tel: 0151 252 6130