Magical Mystery Tour: See inside John Lennon and Paul McCartney's childhood homes
By Kirsty McHale
Nov 13, 2014
Forty four years after The Beatles' last album Let it Be, millions of tourists still flock to Liverpool to take up the trail of John, Paul, Ringo and George
What better way to take up the trail of the band that has sold more than 600 million records than visit the childhood homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
Both grew up in the south end of Liverpool - Lennon at Mendips, Menlove Avenue, and McCartney at Forthlin Road, Allerton.
Their first homes are now operated by the National Trust as tourist traps for the millions of Beatles fans worldwide.
Yoko Ono, John Lennon's widow, bought Mendips in 2002 when the previous owner died.
She then donated the property to the National Trust, and asked them to "restore the house to what it once was, and tell John's story".
20 Forthlin Road has been within the ownership of the National Trust for 16 years, reports the Liverpool Echo.
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Each home has been meticulously restored to the homes that Lennon and McCartney would recognise from their younger years, using photographs and eyewitness accounts to restore original fixtures and fittings.
Mendips belonged to John's aunt and uncle, Mimi and George.
He moved in with them as a child after the breakdown of his parents' marriage. The McCartneys – Mary and Jim, Paul and his brother Mike – moved to 20 Forthlin Road from Speke in 1955.
As visitors are guided around the homes, locked in a 1960s timewarp, they are regaled with stories of Lennon and McCartney's childhoods, told passionately by husband and wife team Colin and Sylvia Hall, who are custodians of Mendips and Forthlin Road respectively.
There are amusing and heart-warming tales to be told inside these homes.
Aunt Mimi would insist that all visitors enter the house through the back door to "save the carpets", and George would encourage John's reading by showing him copies of the Liverpool Echo.
At Forthlin Road, father Jim would plant lavender in the front garden, and use the plants in the ashtrays to fend off the smell of cigarette smoke.
The foundations of what would go on to be The Beatles are also laid bare – John wrote Please Please Me in his Mendips bedroom, and he wrote I Saw Her Standing There with Paul at Forthlin Road.
When he was 14, Paul sat at the family piano and composed the tune for what would eventually be When I'm 64.
But there were also stories of heartbreak.
John's mother Julia was killed in a road accident in 1958, while Paul's beloved mother Mary died of breast cancer in 1956, aged just 47.
PA'Mendips', the childhood home of former Beatle John Lennon in Liverpool.Here comes the sun: John Lennon's former home 'Mendips' tastes the sunshine in Liverpool
Five things to look out for at Mendips:
Penny Lane: Not quite, but McCartney's childhood home at 20 Forthlin Road is two miles from the landmark
The National Trust operate tours to Mendips and 20 Forthlin Road, with around four tours a day departing from the Jury's Inn hotel in Kings Dock and Speke Hall. For more information, visit the National Trust website