The childhood homes of former Beatles John Lennon and Paul McCartney have become listed buildings, it was revealed today.
Heritage Minister John Penrose made the announcement from Mendips, the house at 251 Menlove Avenue in Woolton, south Liverpool, where Lennon first learned to play guitar.
The terraced house where Sir Paul lived for nine years at nearby 20 Forthlin Road, and where the Beatles rehearsed and wrote some of their most famous songs, was also listed a Grade II building.
Mr Penrose said: “I think they (The Beatles) are tremendously important, not just to Liverpool and Britain, but the worldwide music scene owes them a huge debt and you still get bands in all kinds of music and in all countries citing them as one of the things that was a formative influence even after all these years.
“This means they (the houses) are legally protected from being bashed around or altered in future and that means they will be preserved for future generations to come and enjoy just the same as people can today.”
Lennon lived at Mendips, a semi-detached 1930s home, from 1945 to 1963 with his aunt Mimi and her husband George Toogood Smith after his parents separated when he was five.
The Forthlin Road building in Allerton, south Liverpool, was McCartney’s home for nine years after his family moved there in 1955.
It was at these houses that Lennon first started to play guitar, and where he and McCartney, now 69, had the early practice sessions for their first band, The Quarrymen.
Although Lennon’s aunt Mimi is said to have forced the boys to play in the tiny front porch, Mendips is where Lennon and McCartney wrote Please Please Me, The Beatles’ first number one hit.
Both properties have been restored by the National Trust to look as they would have done when Lennon and Sir Paul were growing up.
In a statement, Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono said: “Mendips always meant a great deal to John and it was where his childhood dreams came true for himself and for the world.”
Listed buildings cannot be demolished or altered without special permission from the local planning authority.
Grade II buildings are described by English Heritage as “nationally important and of special interest”.
Applications to list the childhood homes of Beatles lead guitarist George Harrison and drummer Ringo Starr were turned down by English Heritage, the public body which advises Government on listing buildings.
Speaking outside Mendips, Emily Gee, head of designation at English Heritage, said: “Listing is about special interest in a national context and we have to be highly selective when making assessments.
“These two particular houses had long-lived and intense connections with Lennon and Paul McCartney.
“They were scenes of huge amounts of rehearsal, of composition of songs, really intense creative hubs. That is why they merit listing.”
Liverpool City Council is planning to demolish Ringo Starr’s former home at 9 Madryn Street, Dingle, and replace the terraced streets with new social housing.
The Beatles’ drummer was born and lived in the house until he was three months old. A nearby home, 10 Admiral Grove, where Starr, now 71, lived for 20 years, will remain standing.
Local campaigners have voiced concerns about the Madryn Street demolition and last year Housing Minister Grant Shapps wrote to the council calling for a temporary reprieve.
Other listed sites associated with The Beatles are the basement of the Casbah Club in West Derby, Liverpool, Abbey Road studios in London, and the famous zebra crossing outside Abbey Road studios.