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Toxteth’s Welsh Streets should be saved, but not because of Ringo…

December 30, 2010

One of the Welsh Streets, Toxteth

A campaign to save Toxteth’s historic Welsh Streets from demolition has been dealt a blow after English Heritage refused to put a preservation order on 9 Madryn Street, the house where Ringo Starr was born.

The 11 streets of Victorian terraced houses were built by Welsh workers to house local dockers and their families. The area was also infamous for its radical political tradition.

Lack of central heating and persistent rising damp have driven the most recent residents out, but preservationists argue that modern restoration methods can make the homes habitable again. This is obviously an idea that the property developers don’t want to see gain traction, as simply restoring the houses would not justify massive asking prices.

While residents were offered just over £60,000 for their homes, the properties that will replace them will have a reported starting price tag of more than £120,000.

When developers and local authorities use modern jargon such as regeneration and housing market renewal, what they really mean is cleansing communities of their working-class character and making a shed load of money in the process.

The Welsh Streets should be spared the bulldozer and restored, not because a Beatle used to live in one of the houses, but because they are part of our local working-class heritage.

Visit the Save Madryn Street campaign website here.

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6 Comments
  1. purplepooka permalink
    December 30, 2010 3:17 pm

    Or perhaps just because people need houses to live in?

    • Mike permalink
      December 30, 2010 6:52 pm

      Yeah, that too obviously, but the property developers would argue that they will be providing homes for people to live in, albeit very expensive ones. The implication of the article is that the properties should be structurally preserved because of their cultural value, refurbished and made available to people at affordable prices.

      • Emma Pooka permalink
        January 1, 2011 7:30 pm

        Yeah, fair enough. It’s just that if you’re arguing that Ringo’s old house has nothing to do with it, it seems a bit contradictory to start bringing heritage into the question. Not that the two contradict in any way – there are practical and historical arguments for refurbishing and preserving the streets.

        • Mike permalink
          January 9, 2011 6:04 pm

          There is no contradiction. Use of the Ringo connection is focussed on saving Madryn Street. I’m arguing that the Welsh Streets should be saved in their entirety as they form part of our working-class heritage and to continue meeting the housing needs of working-class people locally.

          • JimmyJones permalink
            January 26, 2011 6:22 pm

            Isn’t this all a little one-sided against the property developers?

            After all, if the residents didn’t want to sell their homes, then they wouldn’t have to were it not for power of the state bullying people out of their homes with compulsary purchase orders.

            I don’t want to see Ringo Starr’s house turned into a block of flats more than anyone else, but if the state is forcing people out to free up real estate for development, then of course there’ll be property developers interested in doing what they do – develop property. But if the government are the ones proving the muscle to make it happen, then shouldn’t we be blaming them?

            Speaking of which, where is Ringo anyway? Is he gonna get involved to save his old stomping ground?

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