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John Lennon’s lyrics and letters gifted to the nation through our Cultural Gifts Scheme

  • Date: 22 May 2013
  • Area: National

Lyrics to The Beatles hits Strawberry Fields Forever, She Said She Said and In My Life, handwritten by John Lennon, have been donated to the British Library under the new Cultural Gifts Scheme, administered by Arts Council England.

The scheme allows owners of pre-eminent items, or collections of items, to donate them during their lifetime, rather than after their death, as with the Acceptance in Lieu Scheme.

Reduction in income tax or capital gains tax liabilities

Through the scheme, individuals can receive a reduction in their income tax or capital gains tax liabilities of 30 per cent of the value of the object, while companies will be able to receive a reduction in their corporation tax liabilities of 20 per cent of the value of the object.

Hunter Davies, Beatles biographer and current owner of the documents, had loaned some of the items to the British Library in the past - and these, together with some previously unseen material, are to be formally handed over to the nation at an event at the British Library later today.

British Library 'the perfect home' for the manuscripts

Speaking ahead of the event, Hunter Davies said:

'I want my Beatles collection to be kept together, in one place, and on public display, and the British Library is the perfect home for it. I have always been pleased to see them in the Treasures Gallery, next to the Magna Carta, and works by Shakespeare and Beethoven, because that's where I honestly think they belong.

'Working on a new book about the Beatles lyrics made me determined that the British Library should have the world's best public collection of Beatles manuscripts - I'm really pleased the Cultural Gifts Scheme has helped me make this a reality.'

Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair, Arts Council England, said:

'The Cultural gifts scheme is a great way of growing our nation's wonderful collections. These items from arguably one of the two greatest songwriters of the 20th century are an excellent start - as I'm sure Beatles and Lennon fans across the world would agree.

'I would urge anyone with a gift to donate to contact us about this as we want to see this scheme grow and flourish, much as Acceptance in Lieu has over the past century.'

Learn more about the Cultural Gifts Scheme and how to apply.