A recent feature in the Liverpool Echo details how the U.K.’s National Trust restored the dwellings where Beatles songs like “Please Please Me” and “I Saw Her Standing There” were written. The childhood homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney have been warped back to the ’50s, using “photographs and eyewitness accounts” as a guide to restoring fixtures and sourcing identical furniture.
Both homes are located in Liverpool, and are currently owned by the National Trust, which operates public tours four times a day. Lennon’s house, called Mendips, was purchased by Yoko Ono in 2002, who donated it to the Trust, requesting they “restore the house to what it once was, and tell John’s story.” (Paul’s has been owned by the Trust for 16 years.) Today, Mendips still has the creaky floorboards that Lennon once had to tiptoe around when returning from late night gigs. There’s also a replica of his bike leaning by the side of the house.
Notable details in McCartney’s former home include a replica of his first guitar and a stack of eggs tray in the kitchen, which his father used for noise insulation when the boys rehearsed in the dining room.
From what I have gathered in reading over the years, these homes aren’t terribly different from many homes in Britain after World War II. The Beatles came from working-class to middle-class families who cast normal aspirations for their sons. Of course, the Beatles moved beyond those aspirations though there was an interesting period between the start of their musical careers and before they hit it big when it wasn’t clear whether they were going to be stuck in normal lives. While it is hard to imagine a Paul McCartney or John Lennon living mundane lives in office jobs or manual labor or hustling to get by, this could have happened.
I suspect one question that people would ask when walking through these homes is how such music could have been developed in such settings. Perhaps it even helps drive home the point about the unusual success of the Beatles compared to many others.