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Friday, 31 March, 2000, 13:43 GMT 14:43 UK
Beatles put on the map
The Beatles
Liverpool's most famous sons
John Lennon's half-sister has unveiled the first road sign to call Liverpool the "birthplace of the Beatles".

Julia Baird, 54, launched the first of six signs, which will appear on major routes into the city.

It follows a tussle with transport officials who had opposed the scheme.

The signs feature the band members' faces, with the motto "Liverpool welcomes you to the birthplace of the Beatles".
Julia Baird, John Lennon[s half-sister
Julia Baird with the new sign
Unveiling the first sign on Derby Road, north of the city centre, Baird, 54, said her half-brother would have been "amused" by the sign.

"I have very fond memories of John and everyone in my family is understandably very proud of him.

"I think John would have been highly amused with the sign but also proud.

"People come to Liverpool from all over the world because of the Beatles.

"I think it's a fabulous idea that the city council has sought to remember and celebrate its famous sons in this way."

Distracting

The council's plan hit trouble when transport officials blocked proposals for a version of the sign to appear on motorways, fearing drivers would be distracted by them.

But Liverpool City Council appealed to Culture Secretary Chris Smith, and Transport Minister Lord Whitty is expected to give formal approval to the signs next week.

Liverpool councillor Frank Doran said: "We are pleased Chris Smith has intervened, because it was so important to have a separate sign honouring the Beatles.

"This city's tourism owes a great debt to the Beatles, besides the musical legacy.

"They are part of our heritage and we are proud to remember and acknowlege their importance to the city in this public way."

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19 Jan 00 | Entertainment
Liverpool's Beatles signs blocked
18 Feb 00 | Entertainment
Imagine owning Lennon's piano
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