My connection with Chislehurst began when my grandparents moved here from Bow, East London. They moved into Westhurst Drive in the 1930’s. They became members of the Chislehurst Residents Association (the forerunner to the Chislehurst Society) and lived here for the remainder of their lives. My grandfather despised anything that threatened ‘village’ life.
When Sainsburys applied for planning permission in the 60’s for their current store he, along with many others, vehemently objected. After building work started he continued to object by, on one occasion, lying down on site in front of the machinery. He stopped work there and had to be forcibly removed! He was inevitably right as Sainsburys arrival meant that other small shops, which some might remember: Belmont Fisheries (Luigi Etere); Coolings (Mike Cooling) the newsagent; and Uridges the greengrocer on Royal Parade; were forced to close.
My mother went to school at Coopers when most, if not all, were taught in the Georgian building fronting Hawkwood Lane. I often think of her when I see the hundreds of pupils swarming across the village today. During the Blitz she showed her defiance to the Luftwaffe by hanging a Union Jack out of her window before escaping down to the air raid shelter. A couple of houses in her road were bombed and some were killed.
As a child I remember staying with my ‘Chizzy’ grandparents. During the day we would walk down to Belmont Parade, popping in to my Dad’s office (now Welham Jones) to say hello before going from shop to shop buying whatever was necessary. The walk normally culminated in a visit to the Cockpit where I played. I also remember kite flying with my grandfather up at the cricket green. My first school was ‘Wardley’ in Bull Lane where retirement homes now stand.
In 1979, I was twenty and took my first job in an estate agency working closely with my father at Colin Gray & Co. This was a subsidiary of my father’s business, Alan de Maid & Co. I took to the business immediately, enjoying the diversity of property and, more importantly, of people. I made good friends and met some fascinating people. Whilst at Colin Gray & Co I met my wife, Margaret. She has been at my side ever since and an enormous strength to me both personally and in business. I think one of our first dates was at Foxes (now Cote), next door to our jdmoffice today.
Since I am an estate agent, it is fitting that I recount the places in Chislehurst that I have lived. As a baby I lived in Ingleby Way then as an adult, the first house I bought was in Adelaide Road, which was followed by a flat in Manor Park Road. I lived in Blackhealth for a short while then returned to Denbridge Road in Bickley. Our penultimate home was in Church Row, a beautiful Regency, four-story house. I’ve always been equally drawn to period properties as to modern and architecturally interesting properties and have been fortunate to enjoy both. The house in Church Row was our favourite. We lived there for ten happy years enjoying a way of life that glimpsed back into history. The accommodation was on four floors, lots of flights of stairs and eventually, due to the onset of MS we moved to our current home in Kemnal Road.
In 1988 my father sold Alan de Maid & Co (name and all) to TSB. My family all worked out their contracts at Alan de Maid and had left the company by 1995.
The following September, despite my MS, Margaret, brother Jeremy and I established jdm at 41 High Street, Chislehurst. Our aim was to emulate my father’s high standards and offer the fullest service possible to our clients, which is an ethos we still work to today. Yes there was, and still is, some confusion over the names jdm and Alan de Maid but fortunately they appear to share our principles and we therefore have mutual respect for one another.
I enjoy my career enormously but perhaps what has fulfilled me most was when I served as a governor at the Marjorie McClure School. The students overcome daily challenges that most of us would be unable to comprehend. Being associated with them and the high calibre group of teachers and governors at the school was a great privilege.
On fine days I regularly come to the village, or historic golf club, for a coffee at one of the cafés and meet clients, members of my team from jdm or friends. On my visits to the village, what has struck me most, is the fantastic group of organisations, which have come together to enhance and, like my grandfather, support the village.
People choose to come and live in Chislehurst for a variety of reasons: the Commons; high quality schooling; convenience for commuting to London; the rural atmosphere; the mixed age housing stock (the estate agent in me never dies!) and my business is entirely focussed on our village as a community and a place to live.
At jdm we already support the active bodies that care for our local environment and now we want to also show our support for the High Street, Royal Parade and the other shopping areas.
As a result we have introduced the ‘Buy Chislehurst’ voucher scheme for sellers and purchasers when they complete on a property transaction through jdm Chislehurst. These vouchers can be redeemed at any of the participating retailers in our village. We want to support the fabric of Chislehurst, which makes our village such an attractive place to live. I hope that this would please my grandfather.
(For more information on the ‘Buy Chislehurst’ voucher scheme please go to www.visitchislehurst.org.uk/jdm)
Written by Jonathon de Maid – jdm Estate Agents
If you would like to write our next My Chislehurst, telling us why you love visiting or living in Chislehurst – please contact us.
Photographs courtesy of the Chislehurst Society Ribbons Collection. Cockpit by Adam Swaine. Pond by Nicholas King