Is Ringo Starr’s birthplace of cultural significance? To some, certainly. But to some an alleyway where Ringo once urinated would probably be deemed of significance.
Are the houses in Liverpool where I lived significant? To me, perhaps. Are the houses where Ian McCulloch, Pete Burns, John Power or Rebecca Ferguson were brought up worth saving from the bulldozers when their time comes?
What about the buildings that were home to Adrian Henri, Alan Bleasdale or Jimmy McGovern? Or Tom Baker and the McGanns? Or John Aldridge and Steven Gerrard?? The list goes on. You can probably make a case for saving houses on most streets on Merseyside when the bulldozers are moved in. But is there any point?
Liverpool certainly has poor form when it comes to looking after its heritage, its Beatles heritage particularly – just look at how it treated the Cavern.
But National Heritage believes that Ringo’s former house on Madryn Street simply isn’t significant enough to be worth preserving.
You could question the significance of Mendips to the Beatles – run by the National trust – using that logic; or any of the other Beatles locations around the city.
And do pop culture locations really come under the remit of English Heritage? And having dipped its toe in the genre with the preservation of the Abbey Road zebra crossing and whacking blue plaques on everywhere Lennon visited, it’s a bit late to get all sniffy about Madryn Street’s supposed lack of significance.
Certainly people will probably show an interest in seeing these Beatles buildings, but does that make something innately valuable? And how exactly would you preserve a Victorian terrace in the middle of a brand new development?
The demolition of the Welsh streets at all seems rather sad, but what’s the point of preserving something simply for preservation’s sake? No-one appears to want to live there; although it’s not clear who is likely to redevelop the area.
All sorts of barmy solutions seem to be springing up: moving the house brick-by-brick among the most ridiculous. A more obvious solution might be to redevelop the existing buildings; then few, if any, houses would have to be demolished.
Here’s what English Heritage made of it:
“We did not recommend 9 Madryn Street for listing, however, as it lacks the undeniable Beatles connection of other sites, and is an otherwise unremarkable building historically and architecturally.”
What do you think?