History and Early Years
father Fred Lennon grew up without any parents. Fred
never knew his mother and his father Jack Lennon died
in 1921 when Fred was only nine years old. Jack Lennon
was born in Dublin but lived for a long period in America
as a professional singer in Kentucky Minstrels. Jack
Lennon went back to England in 1910 and got soon after
married and started a family in Liverpool. Their first
and only child Fred Lennon, was born in 1912 and his
mother died shortly after. In 1921 when his father died
he was put in the orphanage Liverpool Bluecoat School.
By the age of 15 Fred left the orphanage with two new
suits and, according to Fred, a good education. Fred's
first job was as an office clerk.
Julia Elizabeth Stanley
mother Julia Elizabeth Stanley was born 12 March 1914
just five months before First World War. Liverpool was
then a big and growing city with a huge harbor. Julia
Stanley was child number four out of five children of
George Ernest Stanley and Annie Millward. George Stanley
who also was called POP was born in 1874. He started
his career at sea but settled later down in Liverpool
to be an insurance inspector. He married Annie Millward
around 1904. Their first two children died before they
reached three years. In 1906 Mary Elizabeth Stanley
(called Mimi) was born who later became like a mother
for John Lennon. Elizabeth Stanley was born in 1910,
Anne Georgia Stanley was born in 1912 and finally Harriet
Stanley who was born in 1916.
Stanley got married with George Smith but they never
had any children of their own.
Lennon and Julia Stanley
first time Fred Lennon ever met Julia Stanley was only
one week after had left the orphanage. The meeting took
place in Sefton Park. Fred was sitting on a bench with
a friend who was showing him how to pick up girls. Fred
had bought himself a cigarette holder and a bowler hat
to impress the girls. They had their eyes on a little
girl and as they walked past her she said "You
look silly" and Fred answered "You look lovely."
The girl was Julia Stanley.
Fred had been working in an office for some time he
left the job to become a bell boy on one of the many
ships that sailed from and to Liverpool. It didn't take
long before he was promoted to cook. Every time he was
ashore during approximately ten years he would date
Julia. One day Julia proposed to Fred. In Hunter Davies
book Fred tells: 'Me and Julia used to play and sing
together. We'd have been the tops today. One day she
said to me, "Let's go and get married." I
said we had to put the banns up and do it properly.
She said, "I bet you won't." So I did, just
for a joke. It was all a big laugh, getting married.'
Stanley family didn't think it was any fun at all though.
Everybody agreed that Fred was a good-looking man but
they also thought that he was no good for Julia. The
wedding took place on Mount Pleasant Register Office
on 3 December 1938. They had planned to meet outside
the Adelphi Hotel at ten o'clock. When Fred arrived
there, Julia was not in sight. After he had been waiting
for a while he called Trocadero cinema, where Julia
usually spent most of her time. Nobody there had seen
anything to Julia. Just when Fred was about to give
up waiting for her, she finally came. No family was
present during the wedding and after a short honeymoon
at the Trocadero cinema Fred left for a three-month
trip to West India.
Lennon lived at home in the next two years and when
Fred Lennon was ashore he also lived there. During the
summer of 1940 Julia discovered that she was pregnant.
Liverpool was being bombed heavily by the Germans and
nobody knew where in the world Fred was. On the 9 October
1940 Julia was brought to Maternity Hospital in Oxfortstreet
where she had John Winston Lennon at 6:30. It was Julia's
sister Mimi Smith who gave him the name John Winston.
The Winston part was inspired by Winston Churchill.
month for the last two years Julia had collected some
of Fred's salary at the shipping office. Eighteen months
after she gave birth to John Lennon, she was told that
Fred no longer worked for the company he used to. Nobody
knew where he was and therefor she could get no money.
It wasn't until many years later that they heard anything
from him. One year later (when it was possible for Julia
without Fred being home) Julia and Fred got separated.
Fred's story about what happened is like this. He was
in New York when USA got into the Second World War.
He was therefor told that he would be transferred to
a Liberty Boat. This was OK for Fred but when he found
out that he would loose his rank he refused. Fred demanded
to be a waiter at Queen Mary and was therefor arrested
and sent to North Africa. When he arrived, he was sent
to jail for three months. According to Fred he had been
sending lovely letters to Julia but she never received
the separation Julia continued to live at home but had
a rather wild nightlife. In 1944 two years after her
separation she met a young military man with whom she
fell in love. Shortly after they separated and once
again she was pregnant. The child, who was a girl, was
after George Stanleys advice adopted shortly after the
birth on 19 June 1945. Nobody knows today where this
child grew up other than it was somewhere in Norway.
After the adoption Julia got a job at a cafe on Penny
Lane. It was here that Julia in 1945 met John Dykins.
They fell in love and moved in together in a small apartment
in Gateacre, Liverpool. The Stanley family was also
against this relationship.
Lennon, Fred Lennon or Mimi Smith
Smith didn't think that Julia was capable to raise a
child and went to Julia to tell her that she wanted
to have John to come and live with her but Julia didn't
want to let go of him. Then Mimi got hold of a social
adviser, together they went home to Julia. Because the
apartment was so small that John couldn't have his own
room, Julia was told that she either should get a bigger
apartment or let John live with Mimi and George. Julia
and John Dykins could not afford a bigger apartment
so John moved in with Mimi.
long after John had moved in with Mimi and George Smith
John's father Fred Lennon called and said that he wanted
to have John with him on a vacation to Blackpool. What
he didn't tell was that his real plans were to immigrate
to New Zealand with John. Mimi could not refuse that
he wanted to spend a weekend with his son so she let
him go. But as soon as John's mother Julia Lennon heard
that Fred had picked up John she knew that something
was wrong. She rushed down to Blackpool found Fred and
demanded that she got John back. Fred then asked John
with whom he wanted to stay. At first he chose Fred
but just as Julia was about to walk a way he ran over
to her. Julia did however not keep John but send him
back to Mimi. This was the last time until 1968 when
John had been famous for six years that Fred spoke to
Lennon and Mimi Smith
upbringing that Mimi Stanley gave John was strict and
firm. Mimi never used violence, which she thought was
a weakness, but would rather shout at or ignore him.
John hated to be ignored and would do anything to avoid
coming into that situation.
thought that children should not have too much fun so
the only time she went out with John was in December
when they went to watch a Walt Disney film. And in the
summer when they went to Strawberry Fields for the annual
garden party at the Army Children. If John wanted anything
besides from these two events he had to go to his Uncle
George Stanley. Until he aged 14 he would get 5 shillings
a week but he could earn some more if he worked for
Mimi in the house or for George in the garden.
did all she could not let John and his mother meet each
other. She thought it was best for him not to be confused
by the rather strange settings he growing up in. She
therefore arranged it in such a way that John's mother
Julia Stanley would visit while John was at school or
out with his uncle. But John had an idea about what
was going on. He could remember some of the time he
spent with his mother and the few times Julia would
visit while John was at home he would be sent to his
from a early age John loved singing and spent much of
his time listening to the radio. He had problems memorizing
the words of the songs that he heard but would instead
make up his own something he continued to do until he
met Paul McCartney. His favorite songs when he was little
were "Wee Willy Winkie" and "Let Him
Go, Let Him Carry".
John later looked back on his life he found his years
with Mimi and George, as some of the best years of his
life despite of Mimi's rather untraditional child upbringing.
Lennon at Dovedale Primary
first school John ever went to was Dovedale Primary.
It was the same school that George Harrison some years
later also attended. After just five months he had with
a little help from his uncle George Smith learned to
read and write. He soon began to write small stories.
It evolved to small books. A series of books was called
"Sport, Speed and Illustrated. Edited and Illustrated
by J. W. Lennon." They each ended with "If
you liked this one, come again next week it'll be even
better." He would also write a lot of crazy poems.
When they got too personal he would write them in handwriting
that only he could read. He would later write two books,
which was a development of these early poems. His own
favorite book was Alice In Wonderland.
first days John went to Dovedale Primary Mimi Smith
insisted to follow him to school but it didn't take
long before John insisted to go alone. For a long time
she would spy on him when he went to school. She was
very protective and didn't want him to play with common
boys. One day when Mimi was walking down the street
she saw a group of boys gathered around a fight. Mimi
thought "Just like those common scruffs."
As the fight ended, she saw that one of the fighting
boys was John. Mimi didn't like the character that John
got in school. He always wanted to be the boss, had
his own gang and was always involved in fights.
Hunter Davies book John tells:
sort of gang I led went in for things like shoplifting
and pulling girls' knickers down. When the bomb fell
and everyone got caught, I was always the one they missed.
I was scared at the time but Mimi was always the only
parent who never found out.'
he was fighting a lot he always knew when he had a chance
to win or when he had to use other means. When he thought
that a competitor was too big he used psychological
means instead. Through all of his life John had a way
with words which could hurt any opponent much more that
he could with his fists. It was seldom easy for people
to get John against them. For most people the only thing
to do was either not to confront him or just to turn
the other cheek.
Vaughan and Pete Shotton were full-time members of John's
gang and his best friends. Pete and Ivan were also the
only friends that Mimi accepted and wanted in her house.
he went at Dovedale Primary he also went to Sunday school
and continued until he became a teenager. He was confirmed
when he was 15. He also for a brief period of time sang
in the church choir of St. Peter in Woolton, Liverpool.
reunion of John and Julia Lennon - The first guitar
uncertified marriage with John Dykins continued happily
while John was living with Mimi and in 1946 Julia was
again pregnant. Because of the limited space in their
apartment they moved back in with Julia's father who now
lived alone. The child was born on March 5th 1947. It
was a girl and she was named Julia Dykins after her mother.
Julia's farther George Stanley died just when she was
pregnant with her fourth child (the second with John Dykins)
in 1949. John Dykins and Julia could not afford to continue
to live in the big house and it had to be sold. They then
moved into the somewhat smaller house in Springwood Estate,
Liverpool very close to Mimi and George Smith's house
where John lived. Julia's fourth child was born on October
26th 1949 it was a girl and she was named Jacqui Dykins.
John found out that Julia was his real mother and where
she lived. Without Mimi knowing of it John began re-establishing
his relationship with his mother. He saw here not like
a mother but rather like a really good friend. When
Mimi found out that John spent most of his spare time
at Julia's house she didn't like it but now when John
was almost 10 years old she didn't feel it was right
to interfere. The relationship between John and Julia
was perfect. Julia was very young at heart and had much
the same sense of humor as John. Julia was also very
fond of music. John's father Fred Lennon had taught
her to play the banjo and now she taught John. The first
song John learned on the banjo was Buddy Holly's That'll
Be The Day. Julia was a perfectionist and didn't stop
until he had learned all chords and would help him write
the correct words down.
some time it was not only John that enjoyed to be together
with Julia. Soon after also John's best friends Pete
Shotton and Ivan Vaughan spend most of their time with
didn't take long before John wanted a guitar. Because
Julia wouldn't interfere too much in the life that Mimi
wanted John to lead she wouldn't give him a guitar but
encouraged him to ask Mimi to get him one. John knew
if there should be any chance that she would give him
one he would have to go to his Uncle George first. George
had for many years ago given him a cheap mouth organ.
On a bus trip to Scotland he drove everybody mad with
it but the bus driver told him that he could hear he
had talent and said that if he would come to the bus
terminal the next day then he would give him a brand
new one. John was at the bus terminal early the next
morning and collected his brand new mouth organ. John
played mouth organ regularly for many years and also
on some of the first The Beatles recordings.
didn't take John long to convince George that he needed
a guitar and in the end Mimi and John went out to buy
a used guitar.
Lennon at Quarry Bank High School 1952-1957
started in September 1952 in Quarry Bank High School.
The school was founded in 1922 and was rated just as
highly as The Liverpool Institute where Paul McCartney
and George Harrison started a few years later. Of John's
best friends from Dovendale Primary Pete Shotton and
Ivan Vaughan only Pete started on Quarry Bank High School.
Ivan went to Liverpool Institute. It wasn't because
his parents thought it was a better school that Quarry
Bank but because they wanted him to get as far away
from John as possible so he could concentrate more on
his studies. At Liverpool Institute Ivan met Paul McCartney
and later introduced him to John.
was not at all glad that he had to go to high school.
He had just fought his way to the top on Dovendale Primary
and now he was the little one once again. It didn't
however take him long to become the leader of a new
little gang. It didn't take him long to get in trouble
with the teachers either and soon after he was well
known at the office of the headmaster.
Pete and John were best friends, they was not completely
alike. Pete was good at mathematics, which John hated
and John was good in art class. John didn't like that
Pete was better than him and tried to ruin it for him
by sending obscene drawings to him in the class room
which would make Pete laugh and get him sent to the
home John tried to conceal how things were going. He
went from home in the clothing that Mimi wanted him
to wear but he always changed a few blocks away. When
John first fell down on B-level and then down on C-level,
Mimi knew that something wasn't right. John himself
was happy with B-level because the he wasn't a mummy's
boy but he didn't like to be called stupid either.
his grades became worse and worse Mimi became harder
on him. When Mimi was really angry with him John could
always find comfort at his Uncle George or his mother
Julia. Although George wasn't his father he looked upon
him as one. It therefore came as a big shock for John
when George Stanley suddenly died on June 5, 1955 following
a liver disease.
John's fifth and last year at Quarry Bank High School,
John got a new head master Mr. Pobjoy. Mr. Pobjoy quickly
saw how big a troublemaker John was but he could also
(as the only one) see what John was good at. He therefore
decided to do all he could to get him into Liverpool
Art College after high school but when he flunked all
his O-levels John could get directly into art college.
It was only because Mr. Pobjoy made a special recommendation
after he had talked to Mimi that he was accepted.
was also during John's years at Quarry Bank High School
that he formed his first band The Quarry Men.
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