It was 50 years ago today. Well, this year anyway.
I spent yesterday in Liverpool finding out about events to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the album Abbey Road, the recording sessions for which were the last in which all four members of the Beatles participated.
The front cover image of Abbey Road, taken in August 1969 on the zebra crossing near the entrance to the London recording studios, is one of the most copied images in popular culture.
A new mural by the street artist Paul Curtis on a wall in Liverpool’s modern-day Baltic Triangle is currently the city’s favourite photo opportunity.
I visited the new Magical Beatles Museum, The Cavern and caught the Double Fantasy exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool.
I also had a behind-the-scenes preview of the August re-opening of Strawberry Field, the former Salvation Army children’s home, which was made famous in 1967 Beatles song.
The famous red gates [pictured above] will be open again for a new generation of dreamers looking for a place where:
“Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about.”
Look out for the full story in the June-July issue of Discover Britain magazine.
My latest article for Independent Travel is a guide to the best hotels in Liverpool.
It’s a timely piece to plan a visit to the area for the forthcoming Liverpool Dreams event, the street performance by French giant-puppet troupe Royal de Luxe over the weekend of October 4-7.
Featuring the likes of the Hope Street Hotel and 2 Blackburn Terrace, here’s a preview:
The city on the Mersey is celebrating 10 years since its successful tenure as the European Capital of Culture and has continued to boom since. Based in the Northwest, I’ve seen Liverpool’s fortunes ebb and flow with the tides of the Mersey estuary. Today, it’s a vibrant city with a strong cultural scene and a hedonistic nightlife. But it also has a rich heritage of classical architecture, notably the Unesco World Heritage-listed sweep of the waterfront.
I’d tried pitching a story before about Western Approaches, the secret wartime bunker under an office block in Liverpool. It didn’t work out.
But with Darkest Hour cleaning up at cinemas and Mr Oldman tipped for an Oscar on March 4, Winston Churchill is writ large on screen once more.
Good timing then to try the story again with a new angle. After all, Winnie was a bit of regular at the nerve centre for the Battle of the Atlantic.
The timing was right for a feature timed for February half term. Here’s a preview:
Western Approaches HQ houses the original Gaumont Kalee Dragon projector [pictured above] Churchill used to watch secret war footage. Newsreel controlled by the Ministry of Information was then shown to the public in cinemas to boost morale.
I even managed to tie a Liverpool trip into the press preview of the new Terracotta Warriors exhibition at the World Museum.
Just don’t ask how many warriors made it across the Mersey.