richard davies

"Santa Isabel", "casa Balmas" or "Casa de la Torre" are some of the names with which people know this emblematic building placed in Villablanca´s neighbourhood in Almería.

 

Firstly, according to historian Mr Francisco Verdegay Flores in his essay "estudio Histórico Casa-Granje la Torre" this house was the home for the owners of that big plot of land called "Santa Isabel", land that was growing throught the years from 1866 to 1927 by adding the former to other eleven surrounding pieces gradually acquired by the family.

Casa de la Torre in the 70's after years of neglect 
Santa Isabel as the property is now known today 
Santa Isabel has been refurbished and now stands as a museum to all who lived there

By the end of the 1970´s, Santa Isabel sank into oblivion. It was not until 1991 when the town hall of Almería acquired it with the premise of achieving a complete rehabilition, to latterly convert it into La Casa de Cine, Almería.

John Lennon in Almeria filming 'How I won the War' in 1967

Prior to the recording of Sgt Pepper, John Lennon headed to Almeria in 1967 to complete the filming of a black comedy called How I Won the War.

During his stay in Almeria, Lennon rented a villa called Santa Isabel. The wrought-iron gates and surrounding vegetation bore similarities to Strawberry Field, a Salvation Army garden near Lennon’s childhood home. Lennon wrote the song Strawberry Fields Forever, while filming in Almeria.

John Lennon recorded the first demos of Strawberry Fields Forever here, at Santa Isabel. It had a wild garden and a fence. It was abandoned for 30 years until journalist Adolfo Iglesias and the association "John Lennon Almeria Forever" discovered its story.

 

Today it has been restored by Almeria Town Council and is a public cultural centre.

Click the links below to explore Almeria