Cyril Maidment interview: Background

Please give your name and date of birth:

Cyril Ernest Maidment. 18 October 1933. It should have been 28 Nelson Road but my mother was 44 years old and that was a bit unusual in those days so I had to be born in Kingston Hospital (which I have never forgiven her for!)

What were your parents’ names, their backgrounds and how big was your family?

My mother had one sister and one brother. They lived I think off Haydons Road, then they moved to Toynbee Road. When they lived in Nelson Road my maternal grandfather was a schoolteacher in Mitcham at the school opposite the parish church. He taught in the state school close to the parish church. My mother did just ordinary jobs. She met my father when they were both working in a butcher’s shop in Tooting Market. My father was a butcher – what was called at the time a shop-man cutter.  He was of an age where he served in both wars. He was born in 1900 and he was called up in the First World War and he went to Germany much towards the end of the war. Then in the Second World War his catering skills meant he had to spend the whole five years in Catterick army camp in Yorkshire. So I saw my father during those five years once or twice a year, that was all, and my mother had to work. I was never evacuated. I had the most marvellous war collecting shrapnel. In those days children could wander anywhere and get on a tram and go up to London – Wimbledon Common, Tooting Common, Clapham Common and the swimming baths at Tooting and Wimbledon – Latimer Road – so it was a wonderful childhood.       

Can you tell us your parents’ names?

My paternal grandfather, like my father, was George Ernest Maidment. He was an auctioneer and he lived in Winthorpe Road, Putney, and indeed the family still live there. I knew both of my paternal grandparents and they survived until some time in the early 1950s, I think. My maternal grandfather who lived in Nelson Road and taught school in Mitcham, he died before I was born so I never met him. But I can picture him because in the Museum one of our favourite photographs is of the Pickle Path, a path alongside the Pickle taken about 1910. The Pickle is an offshoot of the Wandle and they both come together just by the bridge across the Wandle between Merton and Mitcham. So he would have been going along this footpath and then along Church Road to his school every day. My mother’s name was Olive Kirkby. I’ve never heard of that as a Christian name before but that was her name. How it came about I don’t know. She didn’t get married until later in life and I was a kind of surprise but she was a very kind and loving mother and very special to me of course. Especially with my father being away in Yorkshire for all of the war period and these were important periods because I was born in 1933 and the war started before my sixth birthday.  I was an only child.