Couldn’t resist that headline from today’s BBC Liverpool report of the National Trust’s survey of the wealth of wildlife found in the garden at Mendips, Lennon’s childhood home. Here’s the story:
Four beetles were among the wealth of wildlife uncovered in a survey of the garden at John Lennon’s childhood home. The National Trust, which owns the house known as Mendips in Woolton, Liverpool, carried out the survey on the 100ft-long (30m) garden. A wasp beetle, which mimics wasps, three species of ladybird, as well as wildflowers, frogs and wood mouse were among the discoveries. Lennon lived at the house from the age of five to 23. Ecologist Peter Brash, who carried out the survey, said: “This wildlife survey at Mendips uncovered a garden which has been undisturbed for years with lots of nearby green spaces including Strawberry Fields, creating ideal corridors for wildlife.
We can only speculate on the wildlife that would have occupied the garden in the 1950s when John Lennon lived with his aunt and uncle. But it’s clear from the lush green surroundings of the Woolton area of Liverpool that bird song and butterflies would have been an everyday part of his life.”
The survey team turned up wildflowers including lesser trefoil and common cat’s ear in the lawn, which Lennon used to mow to get his five shillings pocket money. Birds seen or heard in the garden included wrens, swifts, goldfinches, swallows, housemartins and dunnock. The Trust’s biological survey team examined the wildlife in the garden of Mendips as part of its work surveying species and habitats of National Trust properties.
Early Beatles songs were written at Mendips. The three-bedroom semi-detached house was bought by Yoko Ono in 2002 and donated to the National Trust. The Trust restored it to how it would have looked when it was Lennon’s home and opened it to the public in 2003.
With my daughter, I joined the NT guided tour of Mendips and 20 Forthlin Road, Paul McCartney’s childhood home, last summer.
It’s a tremendous experience – due not only to the superb NT restoration of the properties, but also to the enthusiasm of the two guides: contrasting personalities, but both extremely knowledgeable. Mendips was John Lennon’s boyhood home from 1948 – 1963. John’s Aunt Mimi and her husband George were a childless couple and so they were very happy to raise John here (from the age of almost 6) as their own. Menlove Avenue is a wide and busy boulevard scattered with trees and parks with simple semi-detached houses lining both sides of the suburban road.
20 Forthlin Road was built by the council in the 1920s and has been in the ownership of the National Trust since 1995. It is perhaps one of the most important houses in the history of popular music, since the Beatles composed and rehearsed some of their earliest songs there. It was also the birthplace of the group The Scaffold, of which Michael McCartney was a member.
It’s authentically furnished as it would have appeared during the 1950s and early 60s and there is a display of family photographs taken by Michael McCartney.
- Mendips virtual tour (BBC)