by Mike Chitty
We were very sorry to hear of the death of Desmond Ross, who passed away on Christmas Eve at the age of 90. For over twenty years he had been painting scenes of Wavertree in a very distinctive and colourful style of his own.
I first met Desmond Ross in 2005. He had bought a copy of 'Discovering Historic Wavertree', and invited me to his home to see some of the paintings which he said the book had inspired him to produce. I could hardly believe what I saw. There were paintings everywhere, and it was quite clear that his inspiration was what he saw around him in Wavertree, and a deep affection for the area and its people, rather than just reading about its history in a book. Painting was, he said, "a hobby which has now developed into a passion". He saw Wavertree in, literally, a new light - a colourful place full of colourful characters.
Desmond Ross had been born in Garston, Liverpool, in 1931. He left school at the age of 14, and served an apprenticeship as a poster artist and sign-writer. He later set up his own business in this field. He told me that some of the placards and posters featured in his paintings were ones that he himself remembered creating many years previously. Sometimes he painted from observation, sometimes from memory, or by reference to old photographs and postcards - but on occasions he strayed into pure fantasy. His graffiti-enriched version of the Penny Lane street nameplate, featured in the Wavertree Society's 2022 calendar, showed not only his artistic talent but also a great sense of humour.