Blue Plaque honour for ‘Quiet Beatle’

The childhood home of the “quiet Beatle” has been marked with a permanent honour.

For the first seven years of his life, George Harrison called 12 Arnold Grove in Wavertree his home. Beatles fans lined the streets around the small cul-de-sac this morning as Historic England unveiled a lasting memorial to his birthplace for one of the first publicly submitted locations outside London.

The blue plaque – which is synonymous with landmarks across the capital – was unveiled by George’s wife Olivia in the presence of family and dignitaries.

The Victorian terrace was honoured to celebrate George’s contribution to culture through film, music and humanitarian work.

Born on 25 February, 1943, George was the youngest of four children whom he shared the home with. His parents were born and grew up in the area while his maternal grandparents lived in the adjacent road, Albert Grove.

He later wrote of the house, “To look at, it is just like ‘Coronation Street’: no garden, door straight on to the street … It was OK that house, very pleasant being little and it was always sunny in summer.”

Addressing the crowds, Olivia Harrison, said, “Pride is not always a thing I would attribute to George but we’re so proud of him and I know he’d be proud. There are some honours you can imagine but nobody imagines their birthplace would be marked in recognition of who they were.”

“He left a footprint on this world, on this country, in this city and on this street.”

The youngest member of the Beatles, George was just 17 when the band embarked on their famed trip to Hamburg in 1960, staying with the band for a decade. He met and befriended the Indian composer Ravi Shankar in 1965 and became influenced by eastern music and philosophy.

After the Beatles split, Harrison went on to achieve great success as a solo artist, producing the highly acclaimed triple album All Things Must Pass in November 1970, with hits including ‘My Sweet Lord’. As co-founder of Handmade Films, George was also involved in pictures such as Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979), Time Bandits (1981) and Mona Lisa (1986).

He was the first Beatle to score a number one single in the UK music charts after the band split up.

Broadcaster Samira Ahmed opened the ceremony for George Harrison and spoke of how the “dreamland of Liverpool” inspired the artist, the Beatles and people around the world.

Linda Easton

Linda Easton from Gateacre has been a Beatles fan since she was seven and came out to the unveiling this morning. She also volunteered at Strawberry Fields and ran Beatles tours.

She said, “George often gets left out, this has been a campaign for a long time, it’s brilliant.” Paul Jones of The Cavern Beatles band warmed up the crowd by playing some of the original hits and George’s solo work.

The new plaque bears the inscription: “GEORGE HARRISON / 1943–2001 / Musician and Songwriter / was born here.” The national blue plaque scheme is run by Historic England on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

David Cushen has lived opposite the house for two decades and said it was “nice to remember where George came from.” He added, “We get three coachloads a day coming down here and the Magical Mystery Tour is great too.

“He had humble beginnings and never forgot his roots. It’s good for the city and brings money in.”

The plaque is the third of its kind to recognise members of the Beatles, with sites at 34 Montagu Square, Marylebone, London and the other is at 251 Menlove Avenue, Liverpool carrying inscriptions for John Lennon.

Lead image: The crowd in Arnold Grove before the unveiling. Credit: Elke Weissmann
Other images credit: David Humphreys

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