Saturday, 12 May 2018

The Saturday List #174 - My Top Ten Mill Hill Memories!

I've lived in Mill Hill for most of my life. Many amazing things have happened in the time I've lived here. I thought I'd try and make a list of the most memorable and most amusing.


Here's my top ten (whilst I can still remember them).



1. There are many fantastic musical memories I have of Mill Hill, through the music festival and other gigs  I've seen/performed/organised etc, but without this memory none of it would have happened.





2. I've also been involved in many community events, but the first one was the annual St Josephs College Garden fete's at St Jospephs college on Lawrence St. This was usually held on the second Saturday in May. Local people from around Mill Hill would volunteer to run stalls etc. The money was used to help pay for the upkeep of the grounds and buildings. It was an amazing chance to see the beautiful settings. The college also had a working farm, so you see the pigs and cows close up and some years there were tractor rides etc, until the health and safety police banned them. The Fete's ran from around 1966 to the mid 1970's as I recall. Like many old Millhillians, I have a great affection for the College tower and the fields.



3. I don't have a picture of this, but in 1973, there was huge excitement locally when Radio 2 DJ Terry Wogan turned up to open Budgens Supermarket (where M&S now resides). There was much excitement, long queues and many an autograph given.My missus still has hers. Lots of old ladies were heard to mutter 'He's a very nice man' after meeting him. 

4. Another event etched in my mind, but I can't find any pictures of was when Adam Faith, who was a superstar in the 1960's and 70's turned up to film an episode of Budgie. I saw this episode on UK Gold a few years ago, there are some lovely shots of the "New China Garden" chinese restaurant (recently Hee's takeaway) and the Laundrette. There was also some filming on the M1 footbridge linking Millway with Maxwelton Ave. If anyone can point me at the episode, I'll add it.

5. When I was very small, a highlight of the year was the Hendon Aerodrome Air display. I can still recall the Red Arrows flying Mill Hill trailing red, white and blue over for the last ever show. As we have the RAF Hendon museum, we still have a few links, but not the show. If anyone has any memorabilia for the show, please let me know or send me a scan!


6. My father ran a crash repair business. One of my very best memories was when he had to repair the Batmobile (Bruce Wayne era). I'm not sure whether it was the real one or just one which a car enthusiast had put together, but he took me to Kentfields (the toy shop in the Broadway), bought me a Batman outfit and drove me all around Mill Hill as fast as he could. It was  a very special moment. He then drove me to Burnt Oak to buy an Ice cream at Tonibells. A gaggle of local kids gathered around to gawp at it and he let a few have a sit in the drivers seat. Can you imagine that today? Sadly we had no mobile phones to record for posterity, so it is all just a special memory.


7. Perhaps one of the most surreal experiences I had was around 1976, coming back from school. A couple of horses had broken free from a local farm and were running up and down Mill Hill Broadway. They were being persued, Keystone cops fashion by the local constabulary, to mush hilarity of locals. My Dad, who had been raised in Australia with horses took charge of the situation, grabbing some carrots from Mayers and tempting the horses over. With a few tasty treats, he managed to get them to follow him to St Josephs College fields, where they were safely penned up until the owners arrived. He was rather scathing about the training of the local Police, until my mum pointed out that it wasn't really a situation the Met have to deal with very often.


8. One very fond memory I have of Mill Hill was meeting Mike and Bernie Winters as they were leaving the Day of The Raj restaurant by the former Lloyds Bank building. My then best friend, Paul Hircombe, had a pet Jack Russell that went by the name of Reg. We were walking Reg up the Broadway when we met the Winter brothers. Bernie was well known for his St Bernards dog named Shnorbitz, at the other end of the size scale. Bernie made a beeline for Reg and made a big fuss of him, giving him a treat from his pocket. We had a brief chat about doggy things. Bernie was a lovely bloke, as was Mike. 


9. Another fond memory of Mill Hill was meeting Paul Gascoigne (then of Spurs) in Anstee's bakery (where Costa Coffee now resides). Spurs training ground was in Chase Lodge and the players were often seen in the Broadway. I was behind Gazza in the queue and as he was about to be served I quipped "Leave a few pies for me mate". Gazza had been being teased on the terraces about his weight at the time. He said nothing to me, but then when asked what his order was "I'll take ALL the pies please". The girl looked at him nervously, and he laughed and then said "oh no, leave seven for him, he's a big lad". He clearly enjoyed a bit of banter, and I saw him a few times, we'd always exchange a laugh. The thing I really liked about Gazza was he'd always make time if any local kids approached him for an autograph. He was by far the most approachable of any of the then Spurs players.

10. And so we come to our final memory. On Mill Hill Broadway Station, there is a tea hut, which has been run by a number of people over the years. One of the most successful was "Jack". He was a no nonsense chap, not really very chatty, but made sure as many people as possible got their paper an cup of tea before the train came as possible. As regular readers will know, I'm a bit of a music nut. As I didn't really know too much about Jack, I didn't discuss music with him. One day, I missed a train and so I went for a tea. Jack was in a better mood than usual and asked what I was doing for the weekend. I replied "I'm going to see a band at the Marquee tonight". Jack smirked and said "Who?" I replied that there was a top Mod band from the 1960's called The Creation who were reforming and releasing a new album on Creation Records and a few of my Mod mates were going along with me. Jack smirked even more and said "I know, I'm the drummer!". I was literally gobsmacked. After that, We'd always have a chat about music.

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