An anonymous benefactor has stepped in to save the former Wirral home of ‘eccentric’ local artist Ron Gittins that he had transformed into an ‘ornate classical villa’. Tony McDonough reports
When eccentric local artist Ron Gittens died in 2019 aged 80 there were fears his lavish adornments of his Wirral home would be lost.
Ron lived in a rented flat in a large house in Silverdale Road in Oxton for 33 years. His tenancy agreement allowed him to decorate the interior of the property as he wished. And he took that and ran with it.
He transformed the flat into an ornate classical villa based on the wonders of Ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt. It contains three decades of personal artworks, sculpture and more, covering the floors, ceilings and walls.
Local campaigners set up a fundraising group to preserve the property. However, it was feared the interior would be lost when the property, which is split into four flats, was featured in the latest Smith and Sons auction.
It was only on the morning of the auction that a last minute benefactor stepped in to help fund the purchase.
Chris Johnson, auctioneer at Smith and Sons, said: “Ron’s Place was inevitably the most talked about lot in the auction, attracting extensive media coverage from local and international press.
“Ron Gittins had passed in 2019 and his home, along with other apartments in the building, was owned by the landlord who eventually decided to sell the property using the auction room for a transparent and straightforward sale.
“We were really pleased to see Ron’s Place saved when an anonymous benefactor stepped in to help make the purchase happen and retain the building and its amazing content. The building sold for £335,000 against an original guide of £325,000 to £350,000.
“Bringing properties to auction focuses the mind and brings a sense of urgency which is often helpful to both buyers and sellers.
“This was definitely the case here and we’re pleased supporters and campaigners were able to save this property, showcase this important work and utilise the rest of the building.”