For The Benefit Of Ringo’s Childhood Home

Beatles fans have found an ally in the ongoing debate over the demolition of Ringo Starr’s childhood home. The housing minister has asked the Liverpool city council to postpone the terrace’s date with the wrecking ball.

The drummer, born Richard Starkey on July 7, 1940, lived at a Victorian terrace at 9 Madryn Street in Toxteth, an inner city area of Liverpool, England, for the first three months of his life.

In August BBC News reported that official demolition notices had been re-posted at Madryn Street with a demolition date of March 2011.

The Liverpool City Council has been talking about demolishing the terrace, along with hundreds in the Welsh Streets area, for over five years. The council plans to replace the properties with residential developments with “affordable homes for sale and socially-rented housing,” according to a statement by the council.

Housing minister Grant Shapps is asking the Liverpool city council to put off demolition a little bit longer.

“Any regeneration project will generate strong feelings,” Shapps said, according to the Guardian. “But when what many people consider to be a culturally important building, such as the birthplace of the drummer in the world’s most famous band, is at risk then feelings are going to be even stronger. That is why, before a single bulldozer rumbles along Madryn Street, I want to ensure every option has been considered. In particular, I want local community groups to have the opportunity to put forward viable proposals to preserve this historic house.”

The Guardian noted that, “if the council ignores Shapps’ request, his department has the power to step in to halt the project.”

Photo: AP Photo
John Lennon tribute concert, Reykjavik, Iceland

Liverpool’s planning committee is set to meet this month to go over the details for the demolition.

A spokesman for the Liverpool city council has released his own statement in response to the housing minister.

“Grant Shapps may not be aware of the fact that we have consulted extensively with local residents over these plans and the overwhelming majority are in favour of them. Residents have been fully involved in developing the proposals and have shown they want decent homes to replace houses which have long passed their lifespan.

“They are telling us that they are absolutely sick of the delays and the conditions they have to live in. They want the city council to demolish these properties as soon as possible so that they can get on with their lives.”

In late December officials at English Heritage denied a request to grant Starr’s former home with listed status.

A spokesperson for English Heritage told BBC News the decision was made because the drummer lived in the residence for such a short period of time, the house isn’t associated with The Beatles’ success as a group, and the terrace is not architecturally or historically significant.

“No one has ever suggested that Number Nine is of particularly great architectural importance,” Phil Coppell, Liverpool Beatles tourism guide and chairman for the Save Madryn Street (SMS) campaign, said according to the BBC News. “But what English Heritage have failed to understand is that it has enormous significance in terms of tourism and Beatles heritage in Liverpool.”

A group of Beatles fans formed the SMS campaign to convince authorities to preserve 9 Madryn Street.

Click here, here and here for the BBC News stories.

Click here for the Guardian story.