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John's sister shares Aunt Mimi's secrets on Liverpool tour

by Katie Hickox

Julia Baird, John Lennon's half sister, gave an exclusive guided tour of Beatles sites in Liverpool for Liverpool Tours' last Friday morning, August 24th. After visiting John's house on Mendips where he was raised by his Aunt Mimi from the age of 6, Julia reveals that the "austere aunt mimi was having an affair with a student who lived there for 8 years and was only 7 years older than John."

Mimi was 50 in 1956 and still a virgin when she started the affair with then 24 year old student boarder after her husband had died. The affair ended when the student moved to Australia in 1960.

Julia says the student came forward with this revelation just a few years ago after she had heard a rumor from her great aunt that Mimi had been having an affair with someone but her close relative wasn't sure with whom. Julia then contacted the former boarder and he met with Julia and confessed he and Mimi had been having an affair while John lived in the house. Julia suspects that their affair started earlier before Mimi's husband died in 1955 because the former boarder told her they grew very close before her husband died. The boarder found out that Mimi was a virgin because she told him. For more details, pick up a copy of Julia's newly published book 'Imagine' currently only available in the US from Amazon that sets the record straight about how her mother, Julia Lennon, fought her sister Mimi to keep John.

Julia Baird at Strawberry Field

Jean Catha who maintains the Liverpool Beatles Scene website, also came along and provided additional information on the Beatles sites visited.

Some of the other places visited were the former registry office where John and Cynthia got married, Oxford Street Maternity Hospital where John was born, John's house on Newcastle Street where he lived with his mother Julia until he lived with Aunt Mimi, the flat on newcastle road where john spent the first 5 years of his life, the flat that John and Cynthia used after they got married which Brian Epstein loaned them, George Harrison's childhood home on Arnold Grove where lived until the age of 7 and Brian Epstein's family home on Queen's Drive.

Another highlight of Julia and Jean's guided tour was a visit to St. Peters' church hall where John met Paul on july 6th 1957 at the Woolton parish church fete that John's Quarry Men skiffle group was playing. The church hall is not always open to the public. Dave Peters, a volunteer with St. Peters, was there that day and remembered. "I was also 15, the same age as Paul. I remember the meeting (between John and Paul) didn't go well because there was a 2 year age gap between John who was 17 and Paul who was 15, and that was huge in teenage years. So after John had finished playing the first performance, Paul grabbed a guitar and tuned it and played the song Twenty Flight Rock and Be Bop but didn't play with John's group that day. By all accounts the meeting between John & Paul took about 20 minutes."

Published August 28, 2007

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