National Trust deems Lennon's childhood home 'not as significant' as McCartney's

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The house in which John Lennon grew up is on sale for the first time in 30 years and is expected to fetch up to £300,000 ­ double the usual asking price ­ purely because of its connection with the Beatles.

Mendips, at 251 Menlove Avenue, was the semi-detached, yellow and brown painted home in Woolton, Liverpool, where Lennon lived with his aunt Mimi after his parents separated in 1945.

Ernest Burkey owned the four-bedroom property until he died of a heart attack last month aged 88. His son, Roy, the present inhabitant, said: "The house did become a bit of a burden to my dad because some of the fans who visited were very intrusive." Now he is hoping to exploit that interest. He aims to double the local estate agents' £150,000 valuations by advertising the house for sale on the internet.

An oval plaque, unveiled on the 20th anniversary of Len-non's death, hangs above the porch where he used to play his guitar with his fellow Beatles, Sir Paul McCartney and George Harrison. It was where he first learnt to play the guitar and wrote early hits for the Beatles, including Please, Please Me.

Mr Burkey said: "On the few occasions he [my father] did decide to let people look around, something always went missing. But it's a lovely house and holds fond memories for me. I lived there for 10 years and it was a very happy home."

The late Mr Burkey had been offered £85,000 for the house, but refused. He said in 1995: "Over the years, we have been besieged by tourists." A private property sign warned visitors that they were unwelcome, but this did not deter up to 250 people arriving daily to look at Mendips ­ which is listed on several tours of Liverpool.

A spokesman for the National Trust said of Sir Paul's former family home, which it bought: "It is the place where Love Me Do and I Saw Her Standing There were written, and there are fantastic photographs of the group performing there. We have no intention to buy any of the other former homes of the Beatles, since they do not have the same significance."

A dispute erupted in December when America's NBC network auctioned 150 bricks from an internal portion of the house on the internet. They were removed by NBC to make way for cameras and equipment for filming a movie about Lennon's early adult years. Enthusiasts were outraged that the television channel was selling part of the band's heritage.

Bob Dylan's childhood home in Duluth, Minnesota, is also for sale on the internet ­ on the auction website ebay.com. The three-bedroom duplex is attracting bids of about £60,000, with 11 days remaining.

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