Ringo's derelict birthplace could be listed building

Such is the power of celebrity. Ringo Starr's birthplace is little more than a shack: corrugated iron covers the doors, the roof leaks and the toilet is smashed - but English Heritage said yesterday the derelict Liverpool terrace house could become a listed building.

For the rundown former home of the Beatles drummer (right, with his wife, Barbara) at 9 Madryn Street could be considered to be of special "historic interest", according to officials.

An application would be considered "very seriously" and, if successful, would make it the first birthplace of a living person to be listed. The house in Toxteth was bought for pounds 13,200 at an auction in March and the new owner, Cliff Cooper, said he wanted it as a lasting tribute to the band.

Mr Cooper, who had not seen the house before he bought it, said: "It's in a terrible state, the ceiling is falling in, and it's quite a sight, but the aim is to get it listed."

English Heritage, which assesses listings claims, said Ringo's house was likely to be a ground-breaking case.

"The impact of the Beatles on late 20th-century British culture is so huge, I would have thought it was an interesting case and we would look at it very, very seriously indeed," said Martin Cherry, head of listing. "Since it raises a particular issue, to commemorate people who are still alive, we would probably take it to one of our internal committees."

The Secretary of State for Heritage considers a building for listing if it displays "important aspects of the nation's social, economic, cultural or military history", according to English Heritage.

The auction catalogue claimed that baby Ringo was hidden in a cupboard under the stairs during an air raid.

Mr Cooper, managing director of World of Music shops, said the house would be let. He hoped to have a plaque on an outside wall showing its significance, but promised not to increase the rent because of its past.