HAMPTON — The former home of late Beatles legend George Harrison, at 25 Upton Green in Speke, Liverpool, now belongs to a Hampton man – not England, but New Hampshire.
“I didn’t envision myself being now in the Beatles industry, if you will,” said Ken Lambert, who lives on Alexander Drive.
It was a purchase he made on a whim last November in an online auction, and he has since been preparing the former Harrison home as an Airbnb rental to fans looking to spend a night where the Beatles rehearsed in their younger days.
Lambert’s online listing advertises the townhouse available for rent at $210 a night.
“Beatles and George Harrison superfans!” the listing reads. “There is much in Liverpool to help you experience the Beatles, but nothing quite like this.”
Harrison’s family lived in the home from when he was 6 years old until 1962. Lambert says the band rehearsed in the front room and bedroom, first under the name the Quarrymen, then as the Beatles.
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Lambert purchased the home for £171,000, which is approximately $223,000. It seemed like a modest investment for a piece of hallowed ground in Beatles lore, which was an important consideration for “just a normal person” with a family and mortgage, as he described himself.
“I had to make sure that it was reasonable,” Lambert said. “I thought it was not a crazy number, and I’m a big Beatles fan.”
George Harrison is his favorite
Lambert said he became a serious Beatles fan in college. As a fan, he said, you have to have a favorite, and he always liked George, less famous than Paul McCartney and John Lennon, but still known for some of the bands greatest songs like “Something” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”
Lambert also loves Harrison’s solo catalog, including the 1970 album “All Things Must Pass,” the 50th-anniversary edition of which received a Grammy this week for “Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package.” Lambert has an original print copy of the album, a little frayed over time.
“I’ve always been a big George fan,” Lambert said.
Harrison died in 2001 at age 58.
Last November, Lambert saw news feeds reporting that Harrison’s childhood home would be up for auction. He looked up the auction house Omega Auction’s website out of curiosity.
“I looked at it, put it away, didn’t think about it,” Lambert said. Then, he saw the auction was about to start online on Nov. 30. The day before, he felt the urge to preregister.
“The next morning, I decided to place a bid on it,” he said. “And I won.”
Lambert has since been to Liverpool to prepare the house for its upcoming use as a rental, working closely with a property manager who watches the place while Lambert remains stateside. When he first arrived, there was nothing inside the home, not even a refrigerator.
“I had a lot of stuff to do, and to buy,” Lambert said.
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Restoring home to its former glory
Lambert said his focus was on the front room, as the living room is known in England. He examined old photographs to match the wallpaper and recreate the furnishing so guests could feel like they were in the Harrison home. In the corner is a record player he placed with Beatles LPs and 45s available to play. He also left an acoustic guitar on a stand for people to pick up and strum.
“I wanted to do it for myself, to play the guitar and play the Beatles in the room the Beatles played guitar,” Lambert said. “I thought, that really is a cool thing for people to experience.”
Lambert also found the attic still had a significant amount of the house’s original trim stored away – old baseboards and door frames that have since been replaced. He bought a $10 hand saw and cut off a piece from an old door frame to bring back to Hampton as a souvenir.
Opening ‘George’s house’ to the fans
Lambert said he is the third owner since the Harrison family left, as well as the first person to use the house as an attraction.
Previously, a family lived there for about 40 years, staying there until their old age, he said. The home was then sold in 2014 and rented to regular tenants without any Beatle fanfare. Lambert said the previous owner told him there were occasionally Beatles tours that requested to come in, which they allowed. Compared to the childhood homes of Lennon and McCartney, which are now owned by the National Trust in the United Kingdom as public attractions, Lambert said Harrison’s childhood home has flown under the radar.
“The fun thing about this is that I’m trying to open up George’s house a bit to fans,” Lambert said, “That before now wasn’t available at all.”