In an effort to reduce their housing costs Elsie moved with her son Ringo to 10, Admiral Grove in 1944. It’s a two-minute walk from their former home 9, Madryn Street. You come out of number nine, turn right and cross the road diagonally and you arrive at Admiral Grove. Ringo lived here for about twenty years before he became a Beatle.
It was here where Ringo learnt to play the drums. Though Ringo’s mum remarried and life became stable he was a sickly lad. Aged six he was in hospital having his appendix removed and contracted peritonitis. He fell into a coma for a few days. Recovery took a year and Ringo spent months in a children’s hospital on Myrtle Street. He was discharged in May 1948 and Elsie allowed him to stay off school.
By eight years old he couldn’t read very well and he felt so alienated from school peers he regularly playing truant at Sefton Park. With some private tutoring from his surrogate sister and neighbour he soon caught up. However ill fate struck again and aged 13 he contracted tuberculosis and was admitted to a sanatorium. He remained here for two years. To minimise boredom staff encouraged patients to learning a musical instrument and Ringo started drumming cabinets next to his bed with a cotton bobbin. Someone bought him a book "Bedtime for Drums". At this time Ringo’s mum married Harry Graves who was a big fan of big band music. When Ringo returned home from the sanatorium he didn’t return to school but spend endless weeks listening his step-dad’s records featuring Dinah Shore, Sarah Vaughan and Billy Daniels. Ringo started banging biscuit tins with sticks to join in.
The other Beatles didn’t have to get proper job but Ringo did. He briefly worked for the railways but failed the physical medical and was soon unemployed. He got a job serving drinks on a day boat that travelled from Liverpool to North Wales and then became an apprentice machinist. They began rehearsing songs in the factory cellar. The pair were joined by Ringo’s neighbour and a skiffle group was formed. On Christmas Day 1957 Ringo was given a second-hand drum kit which allowed the band to do a few local gigs. Aged 19 Ringo joined local group Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. About this time he adopted the name Ringo from the rings he wore and “Starr” as it had a country and western feel to it. The group did well, accepting a three-month residency at a Butlins holiday camp in Wales. This led to an offer of a residency in Hamburg and they joined a band called The Beatles which was already there. Ringo was 20 years old when John Lennon ask him to join the band.
Brian Epstein fired their drummer Pete Best who was told by Brian Epstein, “The boys want you out and Ringo in.” Back at The Cavern Club in Liverpool Ringo wasn’t in favour. Fans at the club shouted "Pete forever! Ringo never!" George Harrison received a black eye from one of the upset fans and Epstein had to hire a body guard when his car tyres were flattened. By 1962 Ringo had been accepted by Beatles fans and stacks of fan mail starting arrive at 10, Admiral Grove. Aged 23 Ringo moved out of the house to get married. He bought his parents a house in the Gateacre district of Liverpool. In 2016 the house was bought for £70,000 at auction by an ardent Beatles fan who already owns two Beatles properties.
As I took some photos of the street a woman sat on a doorstep shouted, “Don’t take photos of our street!” They must be sick of geeks like me.
Ringo’s UK home (now sold)…