BEATLES HERITAGE UNDER THREAT
The Beatles are arguably Liverpool's biggest tourist attraction and are hugely important to its economy.
But with The Cavern levelled in 1973, Strawberry Field set to close in 2007 and Ringo Starr's birthplace now under threat of demolition, Inside Out asks if Liverpool's heritage is being wrongly sacrificed in the name of progress?
Number nine Madryn Street, Dingle, was the birth place of Ringo Starr, who replaced Pete Best as the Beatles drummer in 1962.
Since the fab four shot to fame in the '60s, their former homes have become a destination for thousands of Beatles fans from all over the world.
Now the birthplace of Ringo Starr is under threat.
New plans involving the regeneration of eight streets look set to involve the demolition of his childhood home.
Whilst some view it as progress, others argue that Liverpool's Beatles heritage should be treasured if an event such as the destruction of the Cavern, which fans dubbed 'cultural vandalism', is to be averted.
You can't stop progress
"These houses were built 125 years ago, they're damp and they're falling down," insists resident Mary Huxham.
With many of the houses in the Madryn Street area considered below standard, a significant government investment plans to renovate some, and re-build others.
|Number nine Madryn Street - birthplace of Ring Starr|
"Substantial amounts of money are being brought in by the government to revitalise these areas," says John Glester, Chairman of the project called New Heartlands.
But with the prospect of a Beatles legacy being levelled in the process, not all are happy with the proposals.
"They say a lot of the houses are damp and past their sell-by-date - that's the official line," says resident Marilyn Williams.
"But I can't believe that all of them are in a bad state. Some people have got beautiful houses, they've spent a lot of money doing them up, they're elderly people and they are reluctant to leave."
Marilyn's not the only one unhappy with the proposals; Beatles Story manager Mike Byrne insists that the Beatles are not only part of the city's heritage, but play a vital part in Liverpool's economy too.
|"They're probably the most important tourist attraction we have."|
| Mike Byrne, manager of the Beatles Story|
"Any of the Beatles' homes should be kept, for the fans, for the city - it is part of our heritage,
Mike continues; "they're probably the most important tourist attraction we have."
In defence of the redevelopment proposals, John Glester argues, "it wasn't the only place he lived, there's Admiral Street around the corner with the blue plaque, which is a key part of the Magical Mystery Tour."
The first of a kind
Already two of the groups former homes have been cemented as part of Liverpool's heritage by becoming National Trust properties.
Sir Paul McCartney was the first Beatle to have his boyhood home turned into a national treasure in 1998.
|The Beatles - The Facts|
The Beatles are the best-selling group of all time, estimated to have sold over one billion records worldwide.
The Beatles have had more number one singles and albums than any other musical group, and had the fastest selling single and of all time with, 'I Want To Hold Your Hand,' and '1' respectively.
They also spent the highest number of weeks at number one in the album charts - 174 weeks in the UK and 132 weeks in the US.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney are the most successful songwriters in history in terms of chart positions.
"Yesterday" is the most covered song in history, appearing in the Guinness Book of Records with over 3,000 versions recorded to date.
It is also the most-played song in the history of international radio.
Number 20 Forthlin Road in Allerton, was bought and restored to its former 1950s glory by the National Trust.
Historically, Forthlin Road was the first 20th Century building to be acquired by the National Trust because of its significance to popular culture.
Helped by a £47,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the National Trust spent thousands restoring the three-bedroom terraced house, which has become a must see for thousands of Beatles fans.
Following in Sir Paul's property footsteps, the childhood house of John Lennon is now also a National Trust property.
The semi-detached in Menlove Avenue, where Lennon lived with his Aunt Mimi from the age of five, was gifted to the National Trust by his widow Yoko Ono.
But Ringo's childhood home is not the only Beatles site to have been threatened with the bulldozers.
In 1973, the legendary Cavern Club, where the Merseybeat scene burst into the fore and the Beatles held centre stage, was earmarked for demolition.
Roy Adams was the owner of the Cavern when it was closed its doors forever.
"It was taken over by British Rail who wanted to put a ventilation shaft in underneath so it was demolished," explains Roy.
|The Cavern was re-built next to the original site|
"It was a disaster at the time."
In 1984 a replica Cavern was built next door to the site of the original.
The Cavern Club, Ringo's Childhood home, now another Beatles heritage site looks set to follow suit.
Strawberry Fields forever?
The Strawberry Field children's home immortalised by The Beatles is set to close its famous gates forever in May 2007.
The site in Woolton, was made famous when John Lennon wrote the song Strawberry Fields Forever after playing there as a child.
Owned by The Salvation Army, they insist that by closing Strawberry Field the Salvation Army is "responding to change in the approach to looking after children in local authority care".
|John Lennon wrote Strawberry Fields Forever after playing there as a child|
As yet, there are no plans for the site.
With job cuts recently announced by The National Trust, the organisation are not considering purchasing Ringo's house, and neither is the star himself.
It is uncertain what fate awaits number nine Madryn Street and Strawberry Field - the could simply disappear into the annuls of history along with the original Cavern.
So is this a sign that the European Capital of Culture 2008 is opting to let go of the past in favour of progress, or is this an oversight Liverpool will live to regret?
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