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20 Forthlin Road, Liverpool

Description: 20 Forthlin Road

Grade: II
Date Listed: 28 February 2012
English Heritage Building ID: 1405225

OS Grid Reference: SJ4035486245
OS Grid Coordinates: 340353, 386246
Latitude/Longitude: 53.3697, -2.8979

Locality: Liverpool
County: Liverpool
Country: England
Postcode: L18 9UA

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Listing Text


A terraced house built in 1949, the childhood home of Paul McCartney.

Reason for Listing

No.20 Forthlin Road, constructed in 1949 and the home of Paul McCartney from 1955 until c1964, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Historical association: as the childhood home of the internationally significant British musician, (Sir) Paul McCartney from the ages of 13 to 22

* Architectural interest: an extremely modest yet typical example of a post-war local authority terraced house, which has been much restored, but which retains its essential form and character and illustrates the extraordinary output and achievements of this major musician and The Beatles within its walls

* Cultural interest: the house was used as a place of composition and as a place of practice and rehearsing by The Beatles in their early years as a group; up to 100 songs are believed to have been written here


20 Forthlin Road was constructed in 1949 and from 1955-c1964 it was the home of the musician and songwriter, Paul McCartney (b.1942), member of the 1960s pop phenomenon, The Beatles. The house was owned by the Local Authority and was rented to Paul's parents, Mary and Jim McCartney with whom Paul lived along with his younger brother, Mike. The house was chosen by his parents because it had a telephone, which was invaluable to Mary's job as a midwife. Sadly only a year after moving in Paul's mother, Mary died.

Paul McCartney's music was actively encouraged by his parents and he first played the trumpet, but following his mother's death his father gave him a guitar. The house was later used by The Beatles to compose songs and practise, and over 100 songs are believed to have been written in the house.

The house was bought by the National Trust in 1995 because of its connection to Paul McCartney, but also as an example of Post-War social housing. The house has been decorated and furnished in late 1950s style to represent the era in which Paul lived at the house, and is open to the public for pre-booked tours run by the National Trust.


20 Forthlin Road is located on the north side of Forthlin Road and forms part of a terrace of eight houses. It is a 2-storey house constructed of brick with a tiled roof and a central ridge stack. All the windows have been replaced by the Trust to be more in keeping with how the building would have looked originally; those to the front came from a house on the opposite side of the street. The 2-bay front elevation has a doorway to the ground floor right with a replaced, partly-glazed door and a flat hood above. To the first floor is a 6-over-6 sash window. To the left bay are tripartite, multipaned sash windows to both floors and to the far left is an alleyway shared with the house to the left. The rear elevation has a mixture of multipaned casement and sash windows to both floors and a replaced back door to the left of centre. Projecting from the right side of the rear wall is a high brick wall and plank and batten door, which provide access to the alleyway. Attached to this wall is a small, L-shaped, brick outbuilding containing an outdoor toilet and storage facilities.

Internally, the entrance hall contains the main stair flight, which has a closed string, plain newel post and stick balusters. There are 4-panel doors throughout, composed of four large square panels, but only one or two are original, with the rest having been installed by the Trust. The front ground floor room was used by The Beatles for composing songs. It has a glazed tile fireplace installed by the Trust and is partly decorated with Chinese-style wallpaper that was recreated from a surviving fragment. Double doors lead into a smaller rear room, which was used by The Beatles for rehearsing. The kitchen is set to the rear right of the ground floor and has an original quarry tiled floor. One of the cupboards is also original, but the rest of the units and a sink are later insertions installed by the Trust. The first floor has three bedrooms, a toilet and bathroom. The main front bedroom belonged to Paul's parents and has a built-in wardrobe, whilst an adjacent and much smaller front room belonged to Paul. Paul's brother, Mike had the larger rear bedroom containing a built-in wardrobe so he could also use it as a dark room. Both Paul and Mike's former bedrooms have a patterned linoleum floor that is possibly original. The bathroom and toilet have modern fittings.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.