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Listed protection for Wirral's Ron's Place

A unique Wirral home has been awarded Grade II listed status by the DCMS.

Ron’s Place, an artistic wonderland created within a Birkenhead Victorian villa, has been described as 'a hidden gem of Outsider Art' by heritage chiefs.

The artwork – inspired by Greek mythology and Ancient Rome, and complete with wall and ceiling murals and stunning hand-crafted concrete fireplaces – was created by Ron Gittins at his rented ground floor flat home in Silverdale Road, and only discovered after his death in 2019.

With the future of the flat uncertain after the flamboyant 80-year-old died, the Wirral Arts & Culture Community Land Trust (WACCLT) was formed to safeguard and share his artistic legacy. And with the support of the Muller Wimhurst Trust, WACCLT managed to buy the flat – named Ron’s Place - at an auction last spring.

DCMS has now made the listing decision after advice from Historic England, which describes Ron’s Place as ‘testament to the unique artistic achievements and vision of Ron Gittins over four decades’ and a ‘remarkable project’ which has fired the enthusiasm and support of the local community.

Ron Gittins’ niece Jan Williams, who chairs WACCLT, said: "I believe Ron would be made up and very proud at all the attention he's receiving, and thrilled his work is being recognised and appreciated - he only kept it secret because you're not really supposed to turn your rented flat into a Roman villa complete with epic concrete fireplaces are you?

Above: Ron Gittins (right) created his unique world behind the door of an anonymous Birkenhead semi-detached Victorian villa. Photos courtesy of WACCLT. Top: Inside Ron's Place. Photo by Historic England.

"When I was sorting through Ron's possessions following his death, I discovered an incorrectly addressed postcard he'd tried to send me. He said he couldn't wait to show me what he'd been working on next time I was home.

"I feel sad to have missed out on so much of my Uncle Ron's complicated but intriguing story in the past but it's good to know his creativity will inspire future generations."

Meanwhile Ron’s Place patron, Pulp singer and artist Jarvis Cocker, added: “A small number of people on this planet have known for a while that Ron’s Place is a very special place. But from now on, it’s official – Ron’s Place has been given listed status.

Above: A gallery showing the artistic wonderland that is Ron's Place. Photos courtesy of Historic England.

“The work of one unique gentleman in the north of England has been recognised nationally. Globally even. Hallelujah!”

Ron’s Place is an example of what is described as Outsider Art, an internationally recognised creative phenomenon that often transcends genres and goes under a variety of umbrella terms, including Art Brut (raw art), Folk art, Intuitive art or Visionary art and Naïve art.

WACCLT plans to use Ron's Place as an ‘artistic haven’ to ignite creativity, elevate well-being, and empower local communities, with an advisory board of experts in arts, community engagement and heritage has been assembled to support these goals.


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