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Tag Archives JULIA BAIRD


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A painting of the Beatles by artist Jonathan Hague is unveiled at the Beatles Museum in Liverpool by Julia Baird, the half sister of John Lennon, and Roag Best, the half brother of former Beatles drummer Pete Best.

A Beatles portrait created by a Welsh artist, and one of John Lennon’s best friends in art college, has gone on display.

The figurative painting of the Fab Four in their Sgt Pepper uniforms was created by Jonathan Hague in 1984 and is similar to another of his works which was bought by Lennon in 1967, but has never been seen since.

The painting was unveiled by Lennon’s sister Julia Baird at the Liverpool Beatles Museum on the city’s Mathew Street on Thursday.

Ms Baird said her brother and Hague, who were known as “the two Johns” at the Liverpool College of Art, had maintained their friendship after the Beatles found success.
Lennon even bought a house for his college friend, who went on to become an art lecturer.

She said: “Some of Jonathan Hague’s paintings were Beatles-inspired and John did sponsor him.

“John and Paul (McCartney) together sponsored his exhibition in 1967 at the Royal Academy of Arts and John bought the original, if you like, the sister painting to this, and nobody knows where that is.
“It might turn up now.”
She said Lennon was a fan of the figurative art style and was believed to have paid £50,000 for the original work.

Hague, born in Llandudno, North Wales, painted the second piece for himself after John Lennon was fatally shot in New York in 1980.
Museum owner Roag Best, brother of the original Beatles drummer Pete Best, said the work had been donated by the family of Hague, who died in 2015.

He said: “Jonathan Hague was a country boy so when he came to Liverpool, John Lennon took a soft spot to him and showed him how to become streetwise, showed him how to dress, showed him how he should do his hair.

“It became a bond that continued right through their lives.”

The painting joins hundreds of exhibits of Beatles memorabilia in the five-storey museum, which opened in 2018.



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Julia Baird, 73, spoke of their childhood in Springwood in Liverpool with their mother Julia. Told that John and Paul McCartney had a ‘determination’ that other teens didn’t.

She told how their mother, who was also called Julia, always ‘encouraged’ the singer’s dreams, despite other parents they knew deterring their children from pursuing a career in music.
John’s sister told how their mum would play the ‘washboard and the banjo’ as her son practised in their Springwood home, and that her brother and pal Paul McCartney had a ‘determination’ that other young musicians didn’t.

‘We didn’t know any differently,’ said Julia. ‘John was our brother, we were always together. It was a very close knit family for the youngsters.’
When asked whether she always knew that John was special, she admitted that having a brother in a band was nothing special in their local community.

‘Everyone had a brother that was in a group,’ she told. ‘But they all dropped off as they got to 15, their parents got them out, [they] went to university, they all wanted to do different things. But John and Paul had a determination the others never had.’
Speaking of her late mother she went on: ‘In our kitchen in Springwood in Liverpool, is where our mother not just encouraged and said you can have the kitchen to rehearse, it but joined in.

‘She played the washboard and the banjo, my mother wanted to be in the group herself I think.’
Julia described her brother as ‘ a bit bossy’ but reminisced about memories of trips to the cinema and John helping her with school work.
She said: ‘He’s six and a half years older than me, very much the older brother – a bit boss. He played with us, drew with us, practised our time tables with us, took us to the cinema to see Elvis and then the little picture and then Elvis again.’

John’s family always held a place in his heart, with Julia revealing he picked them out of the crowd ahead of the Liverpool premiere of the band’s 1964 film A Hard Day’s Night.

‘The real premiere was in London with Princess Margaret,’ explained Julia. ‘But he said the real premiere was in Liverpool the next day and the whole family went and John came out and chatted and said: “Where’s my family?”.’

Following the band’s breakup in 1970, John released his debut solo effort John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band in the same year, releasing Imagine less than a year later.
Julia revealed that in 1973 John came home to Liverpool from the US looking for his family:  ‘We didn’t lose John until he went to America, and it wasn’t only us that lost him then, everybody lost him physically. ‘But in 1973 when John came back he was looking for his family and we said, “We’re all here John, we haven’t moved anywhere…”. We started getting letters and phone calls and until he died we were in touch.’

Following her brother’s death, Julia was unable to listen to his songs, but over the years has managed to find comfort in the memory of her late brother.
Julia confessed: ‘It was terrible at first, none of the family could listen to anything. And even now, if an interview comes on, and it’s likely now, and I hear his voice, and it’s like “oh”.
‘I actually only watched Above Us Only Sky for the first time ever last week because of the piano at Strawberry Field. But I watched it and it was quite hard, but by the end I was enjoying it. It’s a weird thing. And that film almost felt personal.’

Julia told that the family will celebrate the birthday of John, who was shot dead aged 40 in New York in 1980, by having a meal together as a family.
Explaining more about the community project Strawberry Field, Julia said, ‘He [John] called the song Strawberry Field his only psychoanalytic poem.
‘I see John as a poet, very much so. And he said that was his favourite song. And Strawberry Field is a very special sanctuary and now it’s reopened.’


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On 15 July 1958, when John was 17, Julia died on Menlove Avenue shortly after leaving Mimi’s house, while crossing the road to get to a bus stop. She was struck by a Standard Vanguard car driven by an off-duty policeman, 24-year-old Eric Clague.

Contrary to some reports, Clague was not drunk at the time, and he was driving under the 30mph speed limit. He was, however, a learner driver who was unaccompanied:
“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.”- Eric Clague, 1998

John’s childhood friend Nigel Walley later recounted what happened:

“I went to call for John that evening but his Aunt Mimi told me he was out. Mimi was at the gate with John’s mum, who was about to leave. We stood chatting and John’s mum said ‘Well, you have the privilege of escorting me to the bus stop!’ I said ‘That will do me fine. I’ll be happy to do that.’ We walked down Menlove Avenue and I turned off to go up Vale Road, where I lived. I must have been about 15 yards up the road when I heard a car skidding. I turned round to see John’s mum going through the air. I rushed over but she had been killed instantly”.-Nigel Walley.

Julia is buried in the Allerton Cemetery in Liverpool.


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Strawberry Field opens its gates to the public for the first time next month, with a new heritage attraction, cafe and training hub .

The site immortalised by Beatles hit Strawberry Fields Forever will offer visitors a tranquil experience, following in John Lennon’s footsteps through an interactive exhibition.

The exhibition will be available in multiple languages, featuring stories old and new about the site’s history and heritage, John Lennon’s childhood, and the writing and recording of the famous song as told by John’s close friends and family.
Visitors can also enjoy a break at the Imagine More Cafe, which will be serving light refreshments, lunch and early dinner menus.  At the centre of the new attraction are the gardens, where Lennon played as a child, so visitors will be able to trace John’s steps. Tours through the gardens will encourage visitors to take the time to reflect and think, in a space John Lennon knew and loved.
Julia Baird, John Lennon’s sister and honorary president of the Strawberry Field project, said: “I am sure that John would have been thrilled that Strawberry Field is to become a bastion of hope for young adults as well as an inspirational Visitor Experience.”Also on-site will be Steps to Work, a training centre for young adults with learning disabilities and other barriers to employment, in the effort to provide new skills and work experience.
Julius Wolff-Ingham, fundraising and marketing director for The Salvation Army, said: “Strawberry Field will weave together educational, cultural, heritage and spiritual exploration in one bold, imaginative site.
“It’s going to be a vibrant visitor experience, which we hope will inspire people today as much as the place inspired the young John Lennon.”