The British Library has become the first institution to benefit from the Government’s new “lifetime giving” scheme after receiving manuscripts of the lyrics to The Beatles’ hit songs “Strawberry Fields Forever”, “She Said She Said” and “In My Life”, handwritten by John Lennon.
The manuscripts and other Beatles rarities were donated to the Library by Hunter Davies, The Beatles’ biographer, under the new Cultural Gifts Scheme.
The scheme allows individuals or companies to donate “pre-eminent” items to the nation during their lifetime in return for a reduction in their UK tax liability.
Davies, who had loaned The Beatles items to the Library in the past, 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.”
Ed Vaizey, Culture minister, said: “Incredibly generous donations like these are testament to the strong culture of philanthropy that exists in Britain today, and I look forward to seeing what other treasures may soon find a home in our national collections as a result of this scheme.”
Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library, said: “We’re delighted to receive these iconic items on behalf of the nation. The case devoted to The Beatles is one of the most popular in our Treasures Gallery; visitors from all over the world are thrilled to see such legendary lyrics in their very earliest draft form.”
Under the Cultural Gifts Scheme, individuals will be able to receive a reduction in their income tax or capital gains tax liabilities of 30 per cent of the value of the objects. Companies will be able to receive a reduction in their corporation tax liabilities of 20 per cent of the value of the object.