Reasons for this site

From Maypoleman . . . . .

I had intended writing a book - and still do. However with the advent of the internet this is a first step. Some friends and I have created a cyber-community on the web where neighbours and friends - past and present - can meet / reunite and share memories / stories etc. We look forward to as many people as possible visiting / contributing to the site. Please see the below which was to have prefaced my intended publication !

Firstly, I am not a trained historian. This document is not a basis of absolute proven fact. There are occasions when I have deduced, rather than proven, a state of affairs. This will be made clear by the text. I have attempted to acknowledge fact, where I can. As a result it can be said that most of the contents surround fact, but some may just be a well based assumption. This is a trap which most amateur researchers fall into !

My family moved to Beaconsfield Road in May 1955 from Dartford. I was 2 yrs old. 27 years later, in 1982, I moved out of my parents house, and away. Until recently, I had always believed that my formative years on the estate had been very happy. 45 years, or so, later on - and with a wealth of proof of how some other kids grew up - I now know how happy I was !! This must have been the same for most, if not all, of the other Maypole fledglings who are now flung world wide.

I have to thank the late, and very sweet, Miss Winnie BLACKMAN for the inspiration to go ahead with my labours. It was in 1990 that I went to her house at 17, Denton Terrace and spoke with her. She had lived there since c1912. She showed me some old sepia coloured photographs of other happy children from the estate back in the early 1900s. Luckily, I have now managed to date and validate them - naming virtually all the children and adults shown. She told me about 'Dick Turpin's Cave', the 'First’, ‘Second’ and ‘Third Valley', the 'Camp hole', the 'Daisy Meadow', the 'Green', the 'Penny Royal', the 'Moles Hole', The 'Glory Bumps' and so on. These were names that, in my opinion, were now confined to memory and about to pass without record.

Bexley Hospital, the reason for the estate's existence, was being run down to nothing and all of the old various substantial houses were either gone or about to go. Original family names had all but disappeared from the estate. The older rituals such as the 'Children's Procession', the annual 'Maypole' dance, the Sunday outing to 'watch the traffic on the Rochester Way' and the ‘Estate Bonfire’ on 'Bonfire Night' had already gone.

Before yet another new generation put it's stamp on the estate I felt that someone had to write about the previous ones. I have set out to put down a prehistory of the immediate local area before the estate was built. I have embarked upon the more complex task of recording individual memories from those who made the estate what it was, what it is and how it developed. Time is running out to interview any more of thedescendantsof any original families who can remember vividly what they were told about the early years of the estate. I would welcome any more contributions that readers / browsers would like to make to enhance the experience of others wishing to know all about the area. Over a hundred years have now passed since the plans were drawn up for the little Maypole housing estate. The world has advanced beyond the limits of even the most imaginative mind living at that time. Global events such as two World Wars, The Depression, The Moon Landing; national events such as the death of Queen Victoria, the General Strike, the abdication of Edward VIII and the 'Big Freeze' of 1947 have all gone to shape the lives of those living on the estate at the time. It is the stories of those who lived through these times that I am now researching.

I have no intention of embarrassing any individual or family and to this end I will devote my most earnest attention. I intend to compile a written record for posterity. As a document I would like to make it as enjoyable and as factual to read as I can - however, with regards the latter and relying upon the memories of others, it may not always be possible! So - in advance I make no apologies for the shortcomings or the inaccuracies that some of you may impart to me in your efforts to tell me 'how it all really once was'.

More pages