The iconic gates to Liverpool’s Strawberry Fields, immortalised in The Beatles’ masterpiece ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, have been removed by the former children’s home owners, the Salvation Army. The owners aim to prevent “further damage” to the music icons from the vagaries of Liverpool’s gloomy weather and fans’ overzealous attempts to nab themselves a piece of the gates while on pilgrimages to the site.

The gates to the former Strawberry Field Salvation Army Children’s Home are 100 years old and have been taken in to storage for “safe keeping”. They’ll be replaced by handcrafted replicas which have been made and donated to the Salvos by local expert Jim Bennett.

The director of social services for the Salvation Army, Major Ray Irving, said: “Although care has been taken to ensure the original gates to the site have remained in good condition, inevitably time has taken its toll. He added: “When Mr Bennett got in touch with us in 2010 and explained that he was creating a set of replica gates as a project, we were very interested. This means that the original gates can be kept safe from further deterioration and, with the replica gates in place, allow for an authentic experience for the many thousands of people who come on a musical pilgrimage to Strawberry Field. We are very grateful to Mr Bennett for his work and for very generously allowing us to install the replica gates.”

The Salvation Army demolished the original building in the early 1970s, replacing it with a smaller purpose built children’s home which closed in 2005. The Salvation Army are currently considering what to do with the location, of which childhood memories were immortalised by John Lennon in 1967.