John Lennon and
By Bill Harry
During my researches I’ve uncovered John Lennon’s associations with the Blackpool area. Blackpool is Britain’s premier seaside resort, particularly for the people in the north of England.
Contrary to what a number of writers have asserted, John Lennon actually had a happy early life because he was part of an extended family. Many of his happy experiences were of his regular holidays in Fleetwood and Blackpool.
Although his mother Julia became estranged from his father Alfred and went to live with John ‘Bobby’ Dykins, with whom she had two daughters, John received a lot of love and attention.
From the age of five he lived with his Aunt Mimi and Uncle George.
It was a matriarchal situation John found himself in, as the five Stanley sisters were strong women who were a close-knit family group.
There was John’s mother Judy (often called Julia), and her sisters Mary (known as Mimi), Elizabeth (known as Mater), Anne (known as Nanny) and Harriet (known as Harrie).
Elizabeth had married Charles Parkes and they had a son, Stanley, who was to become the equivalent of a ‘big brother’ to his cousin John.
Stan is now the eldest member of Lennon’s family in Britain and was able to relate to me details of John’s early life and his love of the Blackpool area.
Incidentally, Stan was the toddler who Julia and Alfred, John’s parents, used to wheel around in a pram in Sefton Park, Liverpool, during their courting days.
When Stan was nine his parents enrolled him in Rossall, a public school in Fleetwood, Lancashire.
After the death of his father, his mother Elizabeth couldn’t afford to keep him on as a boarder, but enrolled him as a day pupil and they settled in Fleetwood.
Stan recalls that the first accommodation was at 33 Galloway Road, Fleetwood. “My mother and I lived at a Mr Hodson’s home in Fleetwood. He was a solicitor who’d had a special extension built onto his house for a professional-sized billiards and snooker table to be installed.
He was a great friend of Joe Davies, the world famous snooker champion. Davies would come to his house and stay a few days and play snooker.
“John and I would watch him.
“Mr. Hodson taught John and I snooker and billiards on this super table.
“He would let us play on it by ourselves and how the cushions weren’t ripped to ribbons I don’t know!”
Stan would regularly return to Liverpool in the school holidays and bring John and their cousin Liela, Harriet’s daughter, back with him to Fleetwood for part of their holidays. They would visit the stars who performed in the shows at Fleetwood and Blackpool.
John, Stan and Liela would go up to Blackpool on the tram two or three times a week during their summer holidays to see separate shows. They would visit the Blackpool Tower Circus and see artists such as Dickie Valentine, Arthur Askey, Max Bygraves and Joe Loss and his big band.