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Music

The disappointing story of how the National Trust snubbed The Beatles drummer Ringo Starr

@josephtaysom

The Beatles are national treasures and you would struggle to walk around their native home of Liverpool without being reminded of their favourite sons. However, despite his impact, drummer Ringo Starr has always unfairly been the brunt of the joke in the years that followed the band’s meteoric rise. While today Ringo is hailed as one of the all-time greats, his contribution to the group was vastly overlooked by the National Trust in 2018 in what proved to be a bizarre snubbing of an iconic musician.

The National Trust, a charity organisation in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales, was founded in 1895, devoted to conserving historical locations with cultural value. They set a precedent in 1995 when they purchased the council house that Paul McCartney grew up in, and now that is famously a tourist attraction that fans can pay to visit.

When John Lennon’s childhood residence became available to buy in 2002, the National Trust initially refused to purchase the property despite its English Heritage blue plaque. In their defence, they claimed that no songs by The Beatles were written there, but McCartney refuted this by revealing ‘I’ll Get You’ and ‘Please Please Me’ were both penned at 251 Menlove Avenue.

When the house went to auction, Yoko Ono honourably bought the home and donated it to the organisation. At a press conference, she explained the reasoning behind her decision: “When John’s house came up for sale I wanted to preserve it for the people of Liverpool and John Lennon and Beatles fans all over the world”.

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In 2010, it was first revealed that Ringo Starr’s birthplace at 9 Madryn Street would be demolished despite resistance from locals. Towards the end of the decade, PlaceFirst began work on the project, and they even offered the property to the National Trust.

Staggeringly, they declined to make an offer on the property and claimed they didn’t have the resources to purchase everything they’d like to own. They also pointed towards Starr only living there while he was extremely young.

A spokesperson said, “The trust can only take on those properties where funds are in place to pay for the up-front purchase price and where it is confident that the property can generate sufficient funds to cover all the costs of looking after it in future. None of these criteria apply in the case of No. 9 Madryn Street.”

One of those upset by the decision was Liverpool Beatles Appreciation Society president John James Chambers. He claimed, “In the ’70s they laughed and at the thought of Beatles tourism and demolished the Cavern, but then they had to rebuild it,” he said. “Now they are gutting Ringo’s house and leaving it sealed up. It’s history repeating itself and hard to believe they can be so stupid.”

While both the childhood homes of Lennon and McCartney are now Grade II listed buildings, meanwhile, Starr’s birthplace has been allowed to be evaporated from history.

Although the drummer doesn’t hold any strong attachment to the house, it is about the cultural significance trapped inside those four walls. For generations to come, The Beatles music will continue to live on when all the members have passed, making the preservation of historical artefacts relating to ‘The Fab Four’ of rich importance.