Maypole House memories of Janet Cushion (nee Winter)


Harold and Constance Winter owned Maypole House from c. 1937. I understand he was a jeweller in Birmingham, where my father Harold Oscar (Bunny) was born. I am not sure at what point he started up the UK arm of Rolex with a chap called Wilsdorf. They brought up four children: Margaret, Robert, Richard and Harold Oscar. Richard was also a Director of Rolex. All four children pre-deceased their parents. Margaret had a daughter Janice who lives in the Midlands. Robert had epilepsy and lived much of his life in a Leonard Cheshire Home. Richard and Dorothy had three children: Richard Anthony, Michael and Christine. Bunny had four children: Janet, Colin, Peter and Derek.

Christine now lives in Norfolk, and Richard Anthony (Tony) lives in East Sussex. Michael suffered a tragic accident at a party when he was 17. I do not know the circumstances. Margaret died in Belgium; Robert had epilepsy and finally died of cancer in his 50's; Richard died in the grounds of Maypole House, and my father died of leukaemia aged 51. Dorothy died in 1997. She was living in Bexley having left Maypole House prior to its demolition.

My knowledge of Maypole House is sketchy, because my father took us to America twice - 1949 to 1951 and 1955 to 1962 and our visits in between those times were confined to Christmases and other family occasions. I did however find my name on the Maypole School register c. 1951 - just after we returned from America the first time. Tony went to school in Kent but also went to Maypole School in 1947. When we returned from America in 1951 we very briefly lived in the flat above what were originally the stables at Maypole House. Most of my memories are of greenhouses smelling of tomatoes, the cricket pavilion and the orchards. My father married Valerie Kennard, and her brother Derek was for many years the Sales Director at Rolex. My father's work at the Foreign Office took us to America in 1949 and then to the Cotswolds and GCHQ in c. 1953. Then we emigrated to California in 1955, returning to England in 1962. I still have a framed photograph of Maypole House on my wall and in its heyday it was a magical place. Maypole House is a very mixed bag of emotions and memories.

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