...information from the episodes - childhood and school
John Steed was possibly born on 6th February in 1922. He tells the barmaid Myrtle in Warlock that he is an Aquarius, which means he was born between 21 January and 19 February.
But for some unknown reasons, he celebrated his birthday at least twice in summertime or late spring during The Avengers (TNA - The Last of the Cybernauts...??).
one of Steed's birthday cakes in
TNA The Last of the Cybernauts...??
Fanart: Young John Steed at Christmas, at the age of 21
But it's common knowledge that Steed also celebrated Christmas in December (Too Many Christmas Trees) and in February (Take Over), so it's not that unusual for Steed to have a party a few months after his birthday.
Almost nothing is known about that.
Mark Clifford (killed in TNA Faces) was Steed's oldest friend, he knew him since he was a little boy.
Another close childhood friend was Mark Crayford. The boys grew up together, obviously attended the same school (TNA Dead Men Are Dangerous), were trained together and became both British agents. But in the early 70ths Crayford changed sides, became a traitor to his country. He was shot in the heart by Steed in self-defense when he tried to kill Steed near Berlin (TNA Dead Men Are Dangerous).
The safe house in Requiem, called 'Fort Steed', could belong to the Steed family. The mansion is obviously not an unoccupied house, but it's not clear who exactly lives there. Is it probably Steed's heritage, his family's home? Is it fair to say that we look here at Steed's nursery, his play room in the Steed family mansion? Tara says in Requiem, that Steed once saw a house, a big one, an old one, that reminded him of a similar house, a "house he used to live in" near the river. The safe house is about a "mile away from the river" and Tara is quite sure that Steed meant the river Thames. And John Steed says: „Used to play here as a kid“.
At the end of the episode, he deals with genealogy. It could be a clue one did get information about Steed's family in Requiem.
Another place where Steed spent "most of his childhood playing" games such as Cowboys and Indians, "Doctors and Nurses", where young Steed was "running through the shrubbery, whopping and jumping, climbing and falling, the tree huts", appeared in Legacy of Death, when he hides the dagger inside a small pavilion.
And the house where Steed grew up has to be not far away from his mansion in TNA, Steed's Stud. When he realizes that Mark Crayford is holding Purdey in the Victorian folly, it is 16.45 and Crayford is going to kill Purdey at 5 pm, so it takes Steed 15 minutes to reach the folly by car, where he used to play with Crayford when they were boys.
Driveway to "Fort Steed", the mansion where Steed is hiding with a key witness in Requiem, the inside of the pavilion from Legacy of Death on the right.
Eton memories in Dead Men are Dangerous
On set photo Silent Dust
Steed wearing Eton clothes and Mrs Peel an Eton Boater in
He once told Mrs. Peel about his college days in The Master Minds:
„Recapture my college days. The tea and crumpets. The proctor and his bullfrogs…larking about in a punt. The moments of triumph on the rugger field". It looks like Steed was very busy at that time.
He must have been a pupil at another school too, as the school building in TNA Dead Men Are Dangerous definitely is not Eton College. As a boy, he played in the cricket team of his school opening batsman (TNA Dead Men Are Dangerous) and he was a winger at rugby. Photos of a rugby game can be seen in his living room at Steed's Stud (set 3).
Steed mentioned his school time again in The Master Minds: "Always breaking windows at school I was", when he shot the arrow through a window after Leeming ruined his aim.
And Steed was All Amateur Hopscotch Champion in his youth (Castle De'ath).
School / College
At the age of ten Steed showed a flair for sporting activities, as his former teacher Mr. Perry, who tried "to brings out the boys sportive instincts', tells Mike Gambit in TNA Dead Men Are Dangerous. Young Steed won the school's house trophy and became "Victor Ludorum", while his friend Mark Crayford was always second. Therefore he started to hate Steed for being the better one.
Obviously, John Steed was an Eton man (TNA The Last of the Cybernauts...??) at Young’s house as his capturer Shelley realizes in The Mauritius Penny and it’s confirmed in The Charmers when he is again wearing an Eton tie.
Olga has been tied up with an Eton tie in The Correct Way to Kill and more Eton clothes also appear in Silent Dust and Dead Men Are Dangerous.
A further information is that the scientist Richard Davies, who committed suicide in School for Traitors, was a schoolmate of John Steed, maybe in Eton.
Steed is going to an annual (Eton?) cricket match every year. He reminds his friend Mark Clifford (or the double) not to forget "the old school cricket match" in TNA Faces.
According to the 1971 stage version of "The Avengers", Steed's full name was "John Wickham Gascoyne Berresford Steed, a name never mentioned in The Avengers series
It's also mentioned in a fictionalised biography by Roger Davies in fanzine On Target Volume 2, Issue 4, page 3.
Tim Heald named him in the fictional biography "John Steed. An Authorised Biography. Volume 1. Jealous in Honour" John Henry Wickham de Trafford Steed
That however does not match his name from the series where he is called "John Steed".
His friends Mark Clifford, Hal Anderson and Mother call him by his Christian name "John", Steed introduced himself several times as John Steed, only the name "Jonathan" Steed is mentioned once in episode Quick-Quick Slow Death.
Photo from the Steed family album
John, a few months before his 18th birthday