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Paul McCartney’s childhood home stars in exciting new BBC Series

1 year ago

Paul McCartney’s childhood home stars in exciting new BBC Series
The front of Paul McCartney's childhood home, 20 Forthlin Road, Liverpool

Paul McCartney’s Childhood Home and the Hardmans’ House take centre stage in brand new BBC TV Series.

Airing on 26 May, 20 Forthlin Road, Paul McCartney’s childhood home, and the photographic collection of Edward Hardman, the celebrated Liverpool photographer, will be two of the central stories in a brand-new BBC Arts TV Series: Hidden Treasures of the National Trust

Scheduled for 9pm on BBC2, the programme will shine a light on the often-hidden work done by conservators and curators in the National Trust to look after items in the Trust’s care. With many objects still housed in the places they were made or bought for, they help to tell the stories of and reflect the national scale and importance of the many properties the Trust cares for.

Hidden Treasures of the National Trust follows the conservators and other experts at work, as they breathe new life into fragile marvels, uncover hidden stories, and strive to keep the past alive. The series introduces audiences to some of the volunteers and staff revealing their passion, dedication and affection for the places and collections they help to maintain.

The Developing Room at the Hardmans' House, Liverpool
The Developing Room at the Hardmans’ House, Liverpool

Liverpool properties, The Hardmans’ House on Rodney Street in the city centre and 20 Forthlin Road, Paul McCartney’s childhood home in Allerton, will be principal locations featuring in episode three. Viewers will get to go behind the scenes while staff look to replicate a key section of wallpaper in the living room at Forthlin Road. 

Katie Taylor, a Cultural Heritage Curator at the National Trust explains, ‘The wallpaper on the fireplace wall was here when we acquired the property. We know it is wrong because Paul’s brother Mike took photographs and documented those early Beatles moments in the house. For years, the National Trust has been trying to find this wallpaper. We’ve looked in wallpaper archives and it doesn’t exist in any of those. So, our next step was to work with a wallpaper producer to design our own wallpaper from a pattern that appears in Mike’s photographs.’ 

Mike McCartney added, ‘To me, the false brick wallpaper is like a dominant memory. That’s what’s great about Forthlin. The importance of Forthlin Road was that it was before Beatlemania, before the fame, and the false brick wallpaper was very much a part of all those years.’ Mike McCartney.

Meanwhile, over at the Hardmans’ House, we join Archivist and Project Manager, Lindsey Sutton, and Conservator, Alex Koukos as the team attempt to save and restore the images and negatives of the Hardmans’ collection. Explaining the project, Lindsey said, ‘Every single photograph in the collection has a story to tell, whether that be the story of the history of photography, or the story of a person’s life. I think Hardman would be thrilled with the work that is happening…it’s making sure that his photographs have longevity.’ Alex adds, ‘When the treatment is successful, it is really an exhilarating moment for the conservator. It is sheer happiness that you have completed your task so now the objects are safe.’

Simon Osborne, the National Trust’s General Manager of both places, said “It was a privilege to showcase the care and attention that goes into the work of the teams behind the scenes to care for the Hardmans’ priceless collection and to accurately portray Paul McCartney’s childhood home as was in the late 1950s and early 1960s.”

“The conservation and archiving of the Hardmans’ collection is a major task, involving over 100,000 prints and negatives. The work Lindsey, Alex and the team do is an oft-hidden contribution to the protection of the precious cultural heritage of Liverpool. Equally, the meticulous efforts to replicate the interior of 20 Forthlin Road as it would have been in Paul’s day, to the extent of involving Mike McCartney’s approval, shows the effort our teams go to in their roles behind the scenes.”

Forthlin Road - December shoot with Mike McCartney - Mike McCartney with curator Katie with rolls of wallpaper
Forthlin Road – December shoot with Mike McCartney – Mike McCartney with curator Katie with rolls of wallpaper

The six-part series will visit some of the National Trust’s most well-known locations including Churchill’s home – Chartwell in Kent, as well as lesser-known treasures such as Hardman’s House in Liverpool, home to a nationally significant collection of photographs.

Alistair Pegg from BBC Arts said: “Almost six million of us are members of the National Trust, but, in this series, we wanted to offer viewers a chance to discover something that visitors don’t normally see – the efforts behind the scenes to care for the wonderful gardens, the houses and their treasures, that together tell a story about us all.”

Tarnya Cooper, Curatorial and Conservation Director for the National Trust said this about the series “We to look after over 500 places for the benefit of the nation, and trying to convey the scale of that responsibility, is not easy. However, this series beautifully brings to life the quantity and diversity of the objects and places in our care, and the incredible skills of our staff, volunteers, and the specialists we work with. 

“We will be spending £360m on conservation projects across our buildings, collections and gardens over the next three years and viewers will be get a sense of the fact that on any one day we could be repairing a puppet from the Second World War, through to 2,000 year old Roman sculptures, and everything in between.”

The Beatles’ Childhood Homes, where visitors can see the newly-installed wallpaper and step into the early days of the Beatles, are open Wednesday to Sunday in May, and every day of the week from June to November; tickets can be booked online here. The Hardmans’ House, for which tickets can be bought here up to two weeks in advance, is open every Friday and Saturday until 24 June and again in September and October.

For more about Paul McCartney click here.

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