Mom Cleavage Biography
Cynthia Lillian Lennon (née Powell, born 10 September 1939) is the former wife of musician John Lennon, and mother of Julian Lennon. She grew up in the middle-class section of Hoylake, on the Wirral Peninsula in North West England. At the age of twelve, she was accepted into the Junior Art School, and was later enrolled in the Liverpool College of Art. Lennon also attended the college; a meeting with Powell in a calligraphy class led to their relationship.
When Lennon was performing in Hamburg with the Beatles, she rented Lennon's bedroom from his aunt and legal guardian, Mimi Smith. After Powell became pregnant, the Lennons were married on 23 August 1962, at the Mount Pleasant Register office in Liverpool. In 1964, the Lennons lived at Kenwood, in Weybridge, where she kept house and participated with her husband in a London-based social life. In 1968, Lennon left her for Yoko Ono; the couple's divorce was legally granted on 8 November 1968.
She married Italian hotelier Roberto Bassanini in 1970, divorcing him in 1973. In 1976, she married John Twist, an engineer from Lancashire, but divorced him in 1983. After her divorce from Twist, she changed her name back to Lennon by deed poll and met Jim Christie, her partner for 17 years. She published a book of memoirs, A Twist of Lennon, in 1978, and later was married to Noel Charles, a night club owner, from 2002 until his death in 2013. In 2005, she published a more intimate biography, John. Over the years she staged several auctions of memorabilia associated with her life with Lennon. In 2006, she and her son attended the Las Vegas premiere of the Cirque du Soleil production of Love, which was her first public appearance with Ono. She lives in Majorca, Spain.
1 Early years
2 Art college
2.1 Relationship with Lennon
3 Marriage and Julian
5.1 Domestic life
5.3 India and Ono
6 Later life to present
9 External links
Cynthia Lillian Powell was the youngest of three children born to Charles Powell and his wife Lillian (née Roby) who already had two sons named Charles and Anthony. Charles Powell worked for the GEC company. In 1939, Lillian Powell was sent to Blackpool after World War II had been declared, and lived in a small room in a bed-and-breakfast on the Blackpool seafront. After the birth, the Powell family moved to a two-bedroomed semi-detached house in Hoylake; a middle-class area on the Wirral Peninsula that was considered "posh" by those in Liverpool.
At the age of 11, she won an art prize in a competition organised by the Liverpool Echo. One year later she was accepted into Liverpool's Junior Art School, which was also attended by Bill Harry, later editor of Liverpool's Mersey Beat newspaper.
When Powell was 17, her father died after a long battle with lung cancer. Before he died, he told his daughter that she would have to get a job to support her mother, and would not be able to go to art school. As her mother wanted her daughter to receive an education, she rented out a room to four apprentice electricians. In September 1957, Powell gained a place at the Liverpool College of Art. She was told she had to wear glasses at the college, but disliked wearing them, which often resulted in misreading notices in college. Although studying graphics, she also took lettering classes, as did Lennon. He never had any drawing tools with him, so he constantly borrowed pens and pencils from Powell, who found out that he was only there because other teachers had refused to instruct him. She had an air of respectability and moved in different social circles to her future husband; Lennon and an art school friend, Geoff Mohammed, used to make fun of her by stopping the conversation when she walked in the room, saying: "Quiet please! No dirty jokes; it's Cynthia".
Powell once overheard Lennon give a compliment to a girl with blonde hair in the college, who looked similar to Brigitte Bardot. The next Saturday, Powell turned up at the college with her hair several shades blonder. Lennon noticed straight away, exclaiming, "Get you, Miss Hoylake!" (Lennon's nickname for her, along with "Miss Powell" or "Miss Prim"). Dressed like a Teddy Boy, he sometimes brought a guitar with him into class, and once sang "Ain't She Sweet" directly to Powell.
Lennon and Powell in the late 1950s. Lennon's clothing and hairstyle reflect the Teddy Boy style and attitude which was popular at the time
Relationship with Lennon
After a college party to celebrate the end of term, Lennon asked Powell if she would like to "go out" with him. She quickly replied that she was engaged to a young man in Hoylake, so Lennon stormed off, shouting, "I didn't ask you to fuckin' marry me, did I?" He later approached her and asked if she would go to the Ye Cracke pub. She was confused when Lennon ignored her all evening, but as she was ready to leave, he grabbed her hand and they went to a room that Lennon's fellow student, Stuart Sutcliffe, was renting, where they had sex for the first time.
The Ye Cracke public house
They began dating, with Lennon now referring to her as "Cyn". In the autumn of 1958, she ended her engagement to be with him, and he ended his relationship with another art student, Thelma Pickles. During the beginning of their relationship, they often had intercourse in alleyways or shop doorways if Sutcliffe's room was not available. Powell had to be careful of Lennon's angry reactions at the time, because of his "jealous anxieties that made him turn pale, clench his fists and make exasperating scenes", if she greeted another art student. His jealousy could also manifest itself in violent behaviour towards her, as when he slapped her across the face (causing her head to hit a wall), after watching her dance with Sutcliffe. After the incident, she broke up with Lennon for three months, but resumed their relationship after his profuse apology. Another time a cleaning woman at the college caught Lennon hitting her and suggested that she stay away from him.
Her work at art school began to suffer, and teachers told her that the relationship with Lennon was doing her no good. Lennon continued to be casually inconsiderate towards her, later saying, "I was in sort of a blind rage for two years. I was either drunk or fighting. It had been the same with other girl friends I'd had. There was something the matter with me." Tony Bramwell—a friend of Lennon's since his youth—later said: "Cynthia was beautiful, physically, and on the inside. Although she knew he [Lennon] was apt to find love on the road, she was totally dedicated to his success... and extremely influential. He was insecure and Cynthia was there to pump him up, to buttress, sort of, his weak side."
The Beatles' first Hamburg residency took place in 1960, with Lennon writing frequent and passionate letters back home to Powell, but after returning home, Lennon's aunt and legal guardian, Mimi Smith, threw a hand-mirror at him for spending money on a suede coat for Powell. Smith later referred to her as "a gangster's moll", and was often unpleasant towards her. The Beatles went to Hamburg for a second time in 1961, and both Powell and Dot Rhone (Paul McCartney's girlfriend at the time), visited them two weeks later, during the Easter holidays. They had to stay up all night because of the long sets, with both taking Preludin to stay awake, which the group were also taking. Lennon and Powell stayed with Sutcliffe's girlfriend, Astrid Kirchherr, at her mother's house. After the trip to Hamburg, Powell's mother said that Powell's cousin and husband were emigrating to Canada with their new-born baby, and that she would be going with them while they studied to become teachers. Powell waited until Lennon came back from Hamburg before she asked Smith—who had taken in lodgers before at 251 Menlove Avenue—if she would rent a room to her. Smith rented out the box-room above the front door (which had been Lennon's bedroom), but insisted that she also do chores around the house. To pay the rent, she took a job at a Woolworths store in Liverpool, after her student grant had run out. In the same year, when Lennon was 21 years old, he received £100 from his aunt Mater who lived in Edinburgh, and went to Paris with McCartney. Powell could not accompany them as she was studying for her final exams.
When Lennon went to Hamburg again in April 1962, she found a bedsit in a terraced house at 93 Garmoyle Road, Liverpool. Shortly after having failed her art teacher's diploma exam, in August 1962, she found out that she was pregnant with Lennon's child. She later explained that she and Lennon had never used contraception, had never talked about it, and didn't think about it at the time. When she told Lennon he said, "There's only one thing for it Cyn, we'll have to get married".