Julia Baird

Julia Baird

Infobox Person
name = Julia Baird (née Dykins)

image_size = 150px
caption =
birth_date = birth date and age|1947|3|05|df=yes
birth_place = Liverpool, England
death_date =
death_place =
occupation = teacher, educational psychologist and special needs teacher
spouse = Allen Baird (divorced)
Roger Keys (partner)
parents = Julia Lennon, John Dykins
children = Nicholas (b. 1971) Sara (b. 1972) and David (b. 1980)

Julia Baird (née Dykins) (born 5 March 1947) is the eldest daughter of John 'Bobby' Albert Dykins (1918 - December 1965) and Julia Lennon (12 March 1914 – 15 July 1958). Baird had an older half-brother, John Lennon (9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980) who was born during her mother's marriage to Alfred Lennon, and an older half-sister, Ingrid Pederson (born Victoria Lennon, 19 June 1945, after Julia's affair with a Welsh soldier, but who was given up for adoption in 1945) and a younger sister, Jacqueline 'Jacqui' Dykins (born 26 October 1949).cite web |url=http://www.lennon.net/familytree/sub/jacqui_dykins.shtml |title=Family Tree |publisher=The official site of the Liverpool Lennons|date=2004|accessdate=2007-12-23] Cynthia Lennon – “John” 2006 p61]

Lennon started visiting the Dykins' house in 1951. After the death of Julia Lennon in 1958, Harriet and Norman Birch were appointed guardians of Julia and Jacqui, ignoring Dykins' parentage, as he had never legally married their mother. Lennon invited the Dykins sisters to visit after the success of The Beatles, when he was living in Kenwood, Weybridge, with his wife, Cynthia Lennon.

Julia Dykins (Baird) married Allen Baird in 1968 and moved to Belfast. They had three children together but were divorced in 1981. Baird worked as a special needs teacher, and after Lennon's death she wrote "John Lennon, My Brother" (with Geoffrey Giuliano) and gave up working in 2004 to write "Imagine This - Growing up with my brother John Lennon". She is now a director of Cavern City Tours in Liverpool.

Early years

Baird's mother, Julia Lennon, was the fourth of five children in the Stanley family: Mary, known as 'Mimi' (1903-1992), Elizabeth 'Mater' (1908-1976), Anne 'Nanny' (1911-1988), Julia 'Judy' (1914-1958), and Harriet 'Harrie' (1916-1972).cite web |url=http://www.lennon.net/reflections/s_parkes.shtml |title=An interview with Stanley Parkes |publisher=The Liverpool Lennons |accessdate=2007-12-24] Spitz 2005 p19]

Lennon was Julia's first child by Alfred Lennon, although she later had a daughter called Victoria (renamed Ingrid) after an affair with a Welsh soldier while Alfred was at sea.cite web|first=Glenys |last=Roberts |url=http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=430700&in_page_id=1770&ct=5 |title=All you need is love: The John Lennon story |publisher=Daily Mail|date=2007-01-24|accessdate=2007-12-23] Julia was forced to give up the child for adoption after intense pressure from her father and her sisters. Spitz 2005 p27] [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/157276.stm Peder and Margaret Pedersen - 24 August 1998] news.bbc.co.uk - Retrieved 26 January 2007 ] Although they had known each other previously, Julia started dating Dykins while working in a café near Mosspits, which was Lennon's primary school.cite web |url=http://www.britishbeatlesfanclub.co.uk/features/2007/0821_book_imaginethis.html |title=Imagine This - Growing Up with My Brother John Lennon |publisher=British Beatles Fan Club |date=2007|accessdate=2007-12-23] Spitz 2005 pp27-28] Dykins was said to be a good-looking, well-dressed man who was several years older than Julia and worked at the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool as a wine steward. Spitz 2005 pp27-28] Julia later moved into a small flat in Gateacre with Dykins, who had access to rationed goods like alcohol, chocolate, silks and cigarettes. Spitz 2005 p28] The Stanley sisters called Dykins a "Spiv", because of his pencil-thin moustache, margarine-coated hair, and pork-pie hat, but the young Lennon called him "Twitchy" because of a physical tic and nervous cough Dykins had. Spitz 2005 p28] Although Julia never divorced Alfred Lennon, she was the Common-law wife of Dykins, although Paul McCartney admitted to being sarcastic to Lennon about his mother living in sin while Julia was still married. Miles 1997 p32] Julia's sister, Mimi, called Julia and Dykins' home—at 1 Blomfield Road, Liverpool—"The House of Sin" and her own house (where Lennon lived) "The House of Correction". When Jacqui was born prematurely on 26 October 1949, Julia went back to the hospital everyday to see her, although she was often not allowed (by Mimi) to visit Lennon.

Dykins later managed several bars in Liverpool, which allowed Julia to stay at home at Blomfield Road, to look after Baird, Jacqui, a cat named "Elvis", and the 11-year-old Lennon, who had started to visit and occasionally stayed overnight. Baird would give up her bed to Lennon, and share Jacqui's double bed. Spitz 2005 p145] Cynthia Lennon– “John” 2006. p57.] cite web |first=Feira |last=Segunda |url= http://pocketcat.blogspot.com/ |title=John Lennon's Cats |publisher=Pocket Cat |date=2006-05-06|accessdate=2007-12-24] Dykins used to give Lennon weekly pocket money (one shilling) for doing odd jobs, such as collecting golf balls on the local course, on top of the five shillings that Lennon's Aunt Mimi gave him. Miles 1997 p48] During Lennon's visits, he would climb trees with Baird and Jacqui, test Baird's spelling, and once gave Baird half-a-crown to leave him alone when he wanted to kiss his first girlfriend. Baird remembered that after Lennon had visited them, her mother would often play a record called, "My Son John, To Me You Are So Wonderful", "by some old crooner, and sit and listen to it".cite web |url=http://www.lennon.net/reflections/index.shtml |title=Reflections |publisher=The official site of the Liverpool Lennons|date=2004|accessdate=2007-12-23] "My Son John"—sung by David Whitfield—was released in 1956. Although Mimi sent Lennon to his Aunt's croft in Sango Bay, Durness, Scotland, for his holidays, he later persuaded Mimi to let him take short holidays in North Wales with the Dykins' family. Julia took Baird and Jacqui to Rosebury Street, Liverpool, to watch Lennon play with The Quarrymen on the back of a flatbed coal truck on 22 June 1957. Baird was allowed to sit on the back, but as the music was too loud she asked to be taken off. The Quarrymen played twice that day as part of a celebration to mark the 750th anniversary of the granting of Liverpool’s charter by King John.cite web |url=http://www.lennon.net/reflections/julia_baird.shtml |title=An Interview With Julia Baird |publisher=Liverpool Lennons |accessdate=2007-12-27] Lennon and McCartney would later rehearse in the bathroom of Blomfield Road because they said the acoustics "sounded like a recording studio". Cynthia Lennon “John” 2006 p41]

Legal guardian

Baird's mother was struck and killed on 15 July 1958, just outside Mimi's home, by a Standard Vanguard car driven by an off-duty constable, PC Eric Clague, who was a learner-driver. Cynthia Lennon - “John” 2006. p59.] Clague later said: "Mrs Lennon just ran straight out in front of me. I just couldn't avoid her. I was not speeding, I swear it. It was just one of those terrible things that happen."cite web |url=http://www.beatles-bootlegs.com/pageID_3860687.html |title=1958 - Clague’s testimony |publisher=Beatles Bootlegs |accessdate=2007-12-24] Baird and Jacqui (aged eleven and eight respectively) were sent straightway to stay in Edinburgh at Aunt Mater's, and were not allowed to attend the funeral. They were told two months later by Norman Birch (Lennon's uncle) that their mother had died. Cynthia Lennon– “John” 2006. pp60-61.] Lennon's Aunt Harriet and Uncle Norman Birch were made legal guardians of the girls—ignoring Dykins' parentage, as he had never legally married Julia.cite web |first=Louette |last=Harding |url=http://www.you.co.uk/pages/you/article.html?in_article_id=433367&in_page_id=1908 |title=John Lennon's forgotten sister |publisher=YOU magazine |date=2007-02-02|accessdate=2007-12-24] Julia was buried in the Allerton Cemetery, in Liverpool. Cynthia Lennon– “John” 2006. p60.] Her gravesite is unmarked, and over the years its location was forgotten until it was recently identified by Jacqui as "CE (Church of England) 38-805". [ [http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/allertoncemetery/index.html Allerton Cemetery] wanadoo-members.co.uk . Retrieved 13 April 2007 ] [ [http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/allertoncemetery/allertoncemeterymap.jpgGraveyard map] wanadoo-members.co.uk. Retrieved 13 April 2007 ]

Baird and Jacqui were taken to live with the Birch's and their son at "The Dairy Cottage", which was owned by Mimi's husband, George Smith.cite web |first= |last= |url=http://homepage.ntlworld.com/carousel/pob40.html |title=John Lennon's homes |publisher=Ntl World |accessdate=2008-05-24] cite web |first= |last= |url=http://wooltonvillageuk.tripod.com/VisitingWoolton.htm |title=Visiting Woolton? |publisher=Woolton Village UK |accessdate=2008-05-24] At 14-years-old Baird was allowed to go into Liverpool city centre by herself, where she drank cappuccino coffee in the Kardomah Coffee House, although Baird and her friends called it "frothy coffee".cite web |url=http://news.scotsman.com/thebeatles/Julia-Baird-My-brother-the.3357345.jp |title=Julia Baird: My brother the Beatle |publisher=The Scotsman newspaper |date=2007-03-26|accessdate=2007-12-24] At 16, Baird started to hitch-hike to London, although her Aunt never knew, as she would never have allowed it. Baird talked about the trips to London, and how relatively safe they were: "Hitching was easy then. It was a way of life. Everything was becoming more free. We'd start chatting to people in the Tube station and get invited to parties. People always gave us a place to stay - we were never harmed."

Baird and Jacqui were asked to visit Lennon at Kenwood which was his home in Weybridge in 1964. Cynthia Lennon—Lennon's wife at the time—took them both out shopping in Knighstbridge, buying them expensive clothes. Giuliano “The Lost Beatles Interviews” 2002 p317] During the same visit, The Beatles played at the Finsbury Park Astoria, and the sisters asked to be allowed to stand near the front, but had to be pulled out of the audience by security guards because of the crush. In December 1965, Dykins was killed in a car crash at the bottom of Penny Lane. Lennon was not told about his death for months afterwards. Dykins had married again, but Baird acknowledges that she and Jacqui had very little contact with his wife, and did not attend their father's funeral.

In 1968, Lennon was told "The Dairy Cottage" was too cramped for them all, so he told Birch to buy a house, and he found a 4-bedroomed house in Gateacre Park Drive, Liverpool. Lennon told Birch to furnish and decorate it, and to send all the bills to him. Harry “John Lennon Encyclopedia” 1990 p121] The Dykins heard nothing from Lennon for years, until he phoned Baird in 1975, and asked for mementos of his childhood life, such as his school tie and photographs. He sent £3,000 to cover the cost of shipping and as a gift, but wrote, "Don't tell Mimi". Lennon continued to call Baird until 1976, when the calls stopped. Jacqui worked as a shop assistant during the 1970s, but battled against a heroin addiction. In the 1980s, and fully recovered, Jacqui gave birth to her son, John, later working as a hairstylist.cite web |first= |last= |url=http://darksweetlady.tripod.com/beatleskids/family.html |title=Additional Family Members (Jacqueline Gertrude Dykins) |publisher=Dark Sweet Lady (Tripod) |accessdate=2008-07-30] After Lennon's death and Harriet died, Yoko Ono wanted to sell the house—as it was still in Lennon's name—but later gave it to the Salvation Army on 2 November 1993, even though Lennon had once written: "I always thought of the house he's in [Birch] as my contribution towards looking after Julia [Baird] and Jacqui. I would prefer the girls to use it."

Later years

Baird married Allen Baird in 1968 and moved to Belfast, but kept her family history a secret.cite web |first= |last= |url=http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/misc/print.php?artid=1168854 |title=I wish John had never been famous |publisher=The Northern Echo |accessdate=2008-01-21] The Bairds had three children together: Nicholas (b. 1971) Sara (b. 1972) and David (b. 1980) but got divorced in 1981.cite web |url=http://www.thisisthenortheast.co.uk/features/leader/display.var.1168854.0.i_wish_john_had_never_been_famous.php |title='I wish John had never been famous' |publisher=The Northern Echo |date=2007-02-05|accessdate=2007-12-28] Baird went to university and gained an MA in Philosophy of Education, and during her time there she spent a year out in France, hitch-hiked around Europe, and protested against the war in Vietnam in Paris alongside Simone de Beauvoir. Baird later taught French and English before working as a special needs teacher with teenagers in deprived areas of Chester, until she retired to write books and become a director of Cavern City Tours.cite web |url=http://www.hodder.co.uk/author_details.asp?author=26893 |title=Writer's CV |publisher=Hodder & Stoughton |accessdate=2007-12-24] cite web |url=http://www.cavernclub.org/mystery_tour.php |title=Magical Mystery Tour |publisher=The Cavern Club |accessdate=2007-12-24]

Baird and Jacqui later met their half-sister Ingrid Pederson for the first time when they were present at the ceremony to place a Blue Heritage plaque on Mimi's house, commemorating the fact that Lennon had lived there. Baird and Jacqui had only recently found out who Pederson was, after being told by journalist Bill Smithies of the Liverpool Echo newspaper. Baird was shocked that Pederson did not look anything like the Stanley or the Lennon family, as she had pale blue eyes and fair hair.

After releasing the book, "John Lennon, My Brother"—written with Giuliano, and a foreword by McCartney—Baird travelled to New York during 1989 to appear at a Beatles' convention, and was asked if she could prove she was really Lennon's half-sister. Baird declined, saying that she was not going to produce her passport, and the audience would just have to take her word for it.cite web |first=Scott |last=Wheeler |url=http://members.aol.com/scottwheelerband/julia.htm |title=Interview: Julia Dykins Baird (half-sister of John Lennon) |publisher=The Sunday Enterprise newspaper, Brockton, MA. |date=1989-03-26|accessdate=2007-12-24] In 2000, Baird was present at the unveiling of six road signs, erected on major routes into Liverpool, saying, "Liverpool welcomes you - to the birthplace of THE BEATLES", and in October she planted a tree in Liverpool's Peace Gardens to commemorate Lennon's birthday.cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/697089.stm |title=Beatles put on the map |publisher=BBC News |date=2000-03-31|accessdate=2007-12-23] cite web |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/963267.stm |title=’Happy Birthday’ Lennon |publisher=BBC |date=2000-10-09|accessdate=2007-12-27]

Baird stopped working and retired in 2004, and published a book called "Imagine This - Growing up with my brother John Lennon", in February 2007.cite web |first=Margaret |last=Chrystall |url=http://www.highland-news.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/2607/Lennon_fans_come_together.html |title=Lennon fans come together |publisher=Highland News |date=2007-09-22|accessdate=2007-12-24] Baird and Jacqui have both publicly said that they wished Lennon had "never seen a guitar", and Baird can not listen to Lennon's music, as she finds it too upsetting.cite web |url=http://members.tripod.com/~holysm0ke/Smith.html |title=Aunt Mimi Smith, Bournemouth, 1970 |publisher=Tripod |accessdate=2007-12-23] cite web |first=Matt |url=http://beatle.wordpress.com/2007/09/20/lennon-fans-come-together-in-scottish-highlands/ |title=Lennon fans come together in Scottish Highlands |publisher=I Read the News Today|date=2007-09-20|accessdate=2007-12-25]

From 28 to 30 September 2007, Durness held the John Lennon Northern Lights Festival which was attended by Baird (who read from Lennon's writings and her own books) and Stanley Parkes (Lennon's Scottish cousin). Parkes said, "Me and Julia [Baird] are going to be going to the old family croft to tell stories". Musicians, painters and poets from across the UK performed at the festival.cite web |first=John |last=Ross |url=http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scotland/Village-strikes-a-chord-with.3287730.jp |title=Village strikes a chord with Lennon festival |publisher=The Scotsman |date=2007-05-19|accessdate=2007-12-25] cite web |url=http://www.scotland.com/blog/john-lennon-northern-lights-festival-in-durness |title=John Lennon Northern Lights Festival in Durness |publisher=Scotland blog |accessdate=2007-12-25] Baird now lives in Chester with her partner, Roger Keys.cite web |first=Laura |last=Davis |url=http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/liverpool-news/regional-news/2007/02/05/so-i-sing-a-song-of-love-for-julia-64375-18577627/3/ |title=So I sing a song of love for Julia |publisher=Liverpool Daily Post |date=2007-02-05|accessdate=2008-01-20]



*cite book | author=Baird, Julia and Giuliano, Geoffrey | title=John Lennon, My Brother | publisher=Grafton| year=1988 | id=ISBN 978-0246133151
*cite book | author=Baird, Julia | title=Imagine This: Growing Up with my Brother John Lennon | publisher= year=2007 | id=ISBN 9780340839249
*Giuliano, Geoffrey
| title=The Lost Beatles Interviews| publisher=Cooper Square Press | year=2002 | id=ISBN 9780815412267
*Harry, Bill] | title=John Lennon Encyclopedia| publisher=Bargain Price (Paperback)| year=1990 | id=ISBN 0753504049
*cite book | author=Cynthia Lennon!Lennon, Cynthia | title=John| publisher= year=2006 | id=ISBN 0340898283
*Miles, Barry
| title=Many Years From Now | publisher=Vintage-Random House | year=1997 | id=ISBN 0-7493-8658-4

External links

* [http://www.lennon.net/familytree/familytree.html Lennon family tree - Lennon.net]
* [http://archive.dailyecho.co.uk/2000/10/3/82892.html Ingrid Pederson and Chapman]
* [http://www.daytrippin.com/articles.htm#juliabaird Interview with Baird]
* [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=430700&in_page_id=1770 Baird's book - Daily Mail]

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