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Saturday, 26 March 2011

There are places I remember ...

I love the Beatles' music, so I was sorry to hear that Liverpool City Council has decided to go ahead with the demolition of 9 Madryn Street in the Dingle area of Liverpool, the house where Ringo Starr was born.  The full story is here.  Campaigners to save Madryn Street compare this decision to the one to demolish the Cavern in the 1970s, pointing out that the childhood homes of Paul and John are preserved by the National Trust, so why not Ringo's? 

But is this a fair comparison?  There are some who regard anything with a Beatles connection as being almost sacred, but there must be a limit to what can be preserved.  Ringo left this house when he was three months old, so it played no part on his musical development, unlike the homes of John and Paul; you can't point to a room and say, "That's where he learned to play the drums."

There is also the important point as to who will pay for its preservation and maintenance in perpetuity.  With public finances as they are now, Liverpool council would be severely criticised if it committed itself for years ahead to spending public money for such a purpose, while at the same time cutting back on essential public services.  As far as I know, the National Trust has shown no interest in taking it on, so I don't see any help coming from that direction.

Campaigners describe the house as "a priceless tourist resource that the city would be mad to destroy" (you can read more of what they say here), but the question of who pays to maintain it still needs an answer.  I really think it would be a shame if it goes, but being realistic, I don't see that the council has any choice.

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