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Tenant's jaw dropping makeover listed after pop star's campaign

rented property

A rented house which was transformed into a highly ornate classical ‘villa’ by its former tenant has been granted a Grade II listing.

Amateur artist Ron Gittins (pictured) carved fireplaces in the shape of a minotaur’s head, crafted a Roman altar in the kitchen and painted Egyptian, Greek and marine murals across the ceiling during his 33-year stay at the semi-detached house in Oxton, Wirral.

However, the unorthodox artwork was evidently tolerated by, or unknown to, his landlord, and a successful campaign by art enthusiasts and volunteers to save it following his death in 2019 means it is the first example of “outsider art” – a term used for work done by those without conventional training – to be granted Grade II listing, reports The Independent.


The Birkenhead property was put up for auction in 2022 prompting a campaign led by the Saving Ron’s Place group, which includes Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker. Wirral Arts and Culture Community Land Trust received a donation last year and bought the home, before making the application to get the property listed.

Gittins only allowed a handful of people inside his home, according to niece Jan Williams, where he had created a fantasy world, decorating almost every available surface.

“You hear of people whose landlords won’t return the deposits because they’ve left a Blu Tack mark on the wall, and he had created a whole minotaur fireplace!” Williams told PA news agency.

“The work of one unique gentleman in the north of England has been recognised nationally. Globally even. Hallelujah!” added Cocker. “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 is official: Ron’s Place has been given listed status.”

Watch a video about the interior.

Pic credits: BBC/#savingsronsplace


Private rented sector