Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ringo Starr's house is coming down

You know, I might have given the impression over the last few years that I believed the "saving" of Ringo Starr's house by Flo Clucas wasn't really ever going to happen.

To be honest, the thought occurred to me more than once that the "decision" to rebuild Ringo's house in a museum was little more than a way of getting the Beatles fans battling to save the houses in Madryn Street to shut up and let the council get on with the demolition. After all, there were plenty of people who were saying the buildings didn't really need to come down. There were underwater rivers which caused damp problems, but those same rivers ran beneath more expensive properties in Aigburth and, strangely, they were solved there without the destruction of those houses. And Urban Splash were demonstrating elsewhere that Victorian terraces were so well built, you could turn them into modern homes with less financial investment and a much greener approach. Having a Beatles house in the mix, too, might scupper the bid to flatten an area and hand it over to developers. So saying 'oh, we'll save the house' was an easy way to head off any international campaign to stop a lucrative but wasteful destruction of 427 buildings. And then you just quietly knock the house down anyway. That thought. That's the one that had occurred to me.

Especially a couple of years later, when it turned out when Flo Clucas was telling the press about the plans to save the house that she wasn't really talking as a councillor.

Imagine our surprise, then, to discover that the thought wasn't a million miles wrong:

When asked if he thought there was any merit to saving Starr’s house, Liverpool council leader Cllr Joe Anderson said: “My own personal view is no.

“If it was next door to Paul McCartney’s house or something you could make the argument, but given that it’s stuck in the middle of a block of terraces that have to be demolished, that has to be taken into account.”

A Museums Liverpool spokesman said discussions about saving the house “were some time ago, and we are unaware of any current plans for the house.”
That's funny, that. I hate to keep banging on about the email Clucas sent to us in January 2006, but it's worth repeating:
The exisiting houses, according to English Heritage, are of no historical significance and we have been asked to supply only photographs of the properties before demolition. Number 9 Madryn Street does , however, have a cultural significance, Although that the house where Ringo spent most of his life in Liverpool is only a few minutes distance from Madryn Street, is still occupied and will remain so for many years yet, we have endeavoured to find a new home for this, his early years home. This has been done.
That was sent from her council account, as an official response to my questions about Starr's house.

Clearly, the finding of a new home for 9 Madryn Street has been done - it's going to be in a pile of bricks in a skip next to Madryn Street. Well done, everybody.

What's puzzling, though, is what has happened to reverse the council's position (again) from the house being of cultural significance to being of none?

None of this should come as a surprise, though, from the Liverpool Town Hall team, who have spent the last few years trying to remove the last few bits of the city that Thatcher and Hatton had left intact. It's only a couple of months since they ripped up the cobbles at a World Heritage Site to make room for some tarmac.

Anyone who has walked around Anfield in the last couple of years knows that there's no respect for the built environment in the city of Liverpool. It's a miracle they're not knocking down Lennon's house to make way for a road.

[Thanks to James M for the tip]


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