Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Beatles in Liverpool: Mendips

The crown jewel of the Beatles sites in Liverpool is Mendips - the home owned by George and Mimi Smith, John's aunt, where John Lennon grew up.  It is located at 251 Menlove Avenue in Liverpool.  Here is my wife in front of Mendips.
 John's mother Julia ceded care of John to Mimi when John was 5, in 1945.  John continued to live here until 1963 when he was 22, though he did live in an apartment near the art school for awhile.  John's bedroom is located directly above the foyer.  George and Mimi's bedroom is the larger window to the right.  The foyer has quite an echo, and the guide told us that this is where John learned to love the way his voice sounded with an echo added.
 as you will see at the bottom of this post, this home looks virtually identical to the way it did in the 1950s.  There is a third bedroom towards the back of the second story that George and Mimi rented to male college students.  There were several beds in the room and Mimi would make breakfast and dinner for them downstairs.
 The National Trust has been working hard to restore the original plantings that were here during John's time at Mendips.  The house was named Mendips by the developer - each new home built by the developer was given a name prior to sale.
 George died on the stairs in Mendips in 1955, while John was away visiting relatives in Scotland.  John, 14 at the time, learned of the death upon his return.  This made it even harder for Mimi to make ends meet, she she rented out her bedroom to additional college students and took to sleeping downstairs.  There were so many students that breakfast and dinner were done in shifts.
 The front yard in Mendips, just to the side of the driveway.
 The other side of the front yard.
 House just south of Mendips.
 Looking south down the street from Mendips.  On July 15, 1958 John's mother Julia was in the center divide which was covered with hedges to cover unused tram tracks.  She stepped in front of a vehicle driven by an off-duty constable who was learning to drive and died instantly.  John was 17.
 Looking north from Mendips.
 Mendips came up for sale in 2002 and was offered to the National Trust, who refused purchase.  Yoko Ono then purchased Mendips, restored it, and donated it to the National Trust.  Thank you, Yoko!  I can't imagine losing this gem.
 The exterior of Mendips is now painted.  I suspect it was not painted when John lived here - it was likely done in exposed stone as are many of the homes in liverpool, like this one.  See an old photo below for John standing in front of Mendips.

 Aunt Mimi in the living room - probably in the 1960s or 1970s.
 Yoko Ono in the restored living room.
 The restored kitchen at Mendips.

 John's bedroom over the foyer.

 George and Mimi's bedroom.
 The only bathroom in the house.
 John in front of Mendips.  See the exposed stone exterior on the house?
 John and Aunt Mimi.
 Stan and John.
 Aunt Mimi and John.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I believe the photo captioned 'John and Aunt Mimi' is actually John with another aunt – Mimi's sister Hattie.