LONDON, June 1 (Xinhua) -- For decades they were just a set of gates at the entrance to a children's orphanage in Liverpool, until the Beatles recorded their smash hit Strawberry Fields Forever, transforming the bright red gates into a site fans from across the world could visit.
Fifty years on from the UK release of the song, the original iconic red gates returned to Liverpool Thursday to go on public display at The Beatles Story museum.
After the gates became famous, the originals were taken into "protective custody" at a secret location. Since 2011, fans have snapped keepsake photographs of replica gates close to the childhood home of Beatle John Lennon.
The display of the original gates forms part of fundraising plans by the Salvation Army charity to redevelop the iconic Strawberry Field site, which finally closed in 2005 as a children's home.
The Salvation Army has unveiled a new plan for the site, which will include a training and work placement hub for young people with learning disabilities and a new exhibition on John Lennon's early life around Strawberry Field.
A spokesman for the Salvation Army said: "Strawberry Field holds a special place in the history of The Beatles, with John Lennon's experiences in and around the children's home providing inspiration for the unforgettable song. He grew up with his Aunt Mimi just a stone's throw away from the site, and was said to find peace and refuge in the grounds."
Martin King of The Beatles Story said: "The gates are a real piece of Beatles' history, and it's a privilege to display such a special exhibit at The Beatles Story...We hope that by displaying the gates here it will help raise awareness for the project."
Major Drew McCombe of the Salvation Army said: "Strawberry Field has a very special history, both for its connection to John Lennon and the song Strawberry Fields Forever, and for its history as a place for solace for Liverpool's most vulnerable people."
The replica gates were built by Jim Bennett, 60, who spent five years creating them. Bennett used to drive past the gates every day and decided to create the gates as a passion project and to help conserve the originals.
The iconic red gates stood at the entrance of Strawberry Field for more than 100 years. Unlike the replica gates, which are welded to make them stronger, the originals are held together with rivets, but some sections were missing.