Not far away from Madryn Street lies Rodney Street. It is where posh doctors have their consulting rooms, and, while it has seen better days, it is still a fine, late 18th-century terrace. On 29 December 1809 one of Britain's most outstanding prime ministers was born at number 62. There is a commemorative plaque on the wall but it is so grimy that, if you did not know, you would have to look hard to see it was William Ewart Gladstone. A glance at the facade tells you that - relatively - the Grand Old Man is not valued nearly as highly as Sir Paul McCartney. How wrong. We could have endless debate about who was the greater Liverpudlian, but we have no doubt that the National Trust is up the wrong street.
The house at 9 Madryn Street in the Dingle in Liverpool where the Beatles drummer Ringo Starr was born may well fetch half as much again as other houses on a run-down inner-city block, but not as much as Sir Paul McCartney's birth certificate. This historical document has been given a reserve price twice as high as Ringo's birthplace at a Bonham's auction of Beatles memorabilia in Tokyo next weekend. Even if it is a bargain, the National Trust is unlikely to bid for Ringo's birthplace to add to its Liverpool collection, begun two years ago with the purchase for pounds 50,000 of 20 Forthlin Road in Allerton, where Sir Paul was born and the Fab Four wrote their first single. (It was "Love Me Do".) The trust's preference for Paul over Ringo is a good example of relative values.