A Home On Panorama Road

During the summer months of the late 60’s my mum and dad would trundle us all off to Bournemouth for a two-week holiday. I loved Bournemouth: especially my walks through the Chine’s to the sea. Durley, Middle and Alum: Alum being my favorite. In the town there were huge department stores in which on could get completely lost. Bobby’s of Bournemouth and Beales with Bealesons, the latter sounding so much like Beatles it surely had to be good! Just around the corner from Bournemouth is Poole, famous for its harbour, pottery and the last address of a woman who helped raise John Lennon. Mary Elizabeth ” Mimi” Smith had lived at Harbour Edge, 126 Panorama Road, Sandbanks, Poole in Dorset until her death on  6th December 1991. Lennon’s success caused problems for her and she was constantly being  pestered by fans at her Liverpool home, Mendips, which she consequently sold  for £6,000 in 1965. John then bought her Harbour Edge for £25,000  which was to be her home for the rest of her life. 

A receipt for a delivery of furniture from Beale's of Bournemouth to Harbour Edge: 1967. It was signed by John (bottom right).

Previously Unseen 1967 photograph of John Lennon on holiday with Son Julian, then four, and his Aunt Mimi Smith. The photo was taken by a family friend only known as Aunt Betty. She was an amateur photographer, and when she died she left her negatives to her family.

Richard Oliff on the Sandbanks Ferry: July 1978

Lennon later gave his aunt his MBE medal, but later asked for it back so that he could return it in protest.Incidentally, Mendips in Liverpool, was later donated to the The National Trust. Much has been published about John’s formative years yet little is known of this ‘hideaway’ place that John used to visit quite regularly with his son Julian and his wife Yoko Ono. Sadly the bungalow was bulldozed in 1994. On Tuesday 2nd June 2009 it was reported that a piece of Beatles history had gone under the hammer in Bournemouth and was thought to have sold for £750. A wrought iron balustrade said to have been commissioned by John Lennon for his Aunt Mimi’s Sandbanks home was auctioned by House and Sons auctioneer. They told the newspaper concerned, the Daily Echo,  that the purchaser didn’t wish anything to be made public, but they confirmed the railings did sell.The lot was accompanied by a newspaper clipping from the letters pages of the Daily Mail, from a woman who bought the railings. She said Lennon decided to create a balcony for his aunt “to watch the boats go by”, and commissioned the balustrade with a design incorporating seven hearts “to show how much he loved her”.

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One response to “A Home On Panorama Road

  1. Hi Richard
    Enjoyed reading your post and wondered who’s in the photos of Mimi. Also fascinated to see the Bealesons receipt.
    My book, Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth, has some other photos of Mimi and various anecdotes about Harbour’s Edge – including its peripheral part in The Ballad of John & Yoko.
    I’d love to post some of the photo on the book’s blog – http://beatlesbournemouth.blogspot.co.uk/ – with links etc.
    Best regards
    Nick Churchill

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