Saturday, 22 February 2020

The Saturday List #253 - My Top Ten Mill Hill Characters of the 1960's by Richard Wilkinson

I was speaking to Roger on Monday and suggested compiling a list of Mill Hill Characters. The first five are ones you will all know. The second are larger than life local characters you would have most likely come across if you were living in Mill Hill in the 1960's

1. Patrick McGooghan - Star of The Prisoner, famously bought everyone in a drink in the Mill Hill Services Club when he got paid for it. Used to live on the Ridgway.

2. Roger Moore - Former James Bond. Had a house in Millway with Dorothy Squires, moved out tp Denham when he got tired of finding fans in his front garden.

3. Graham Hill - Former Formula One racing champion. Died piloting a plane from Elstree Aerodrome in thick fog, crashing on a golf course in Arkley. Lived in Parkside Mill Hill.

4. Don Black - Grammy winning song writer - wrote the theme tune for the Man with the Golden Gun, which his former Millway Neighbour Roger Moore starred in. Happily, unlike the first three former residents is still very much alive and well.

5. Bruce Forsyth - TV Presenter. Lived in Mill Hill and his daughters attended St Marys Abbey school on the Ridgeway.

6. Robin Elliot - Former WWII submarine commander and former chairman of the Mill Hill Services club. An interesting character and very much a gentleman. A good man in a crisis and an even better man to have a drink with.

7. Charlie Dawson - Local Policeman. He was the local bobby, a large man who commanded huge respect and dealt with matters with common sense and a clip around the ear for any local herberts, in the days before paperwork was the top priority. Used to provide the security for the drinking club at The Sacred Heart Church social club, ensuring good order at all times,  until it was closed on orders of the Parish Priest in 1972. You didn't mess with Charlie.

8. Rex Godwin - local shoemender and pools agent. Back in the days when people had shoes repaired Rex owned the local cobbler service on the Broadway. Acted as the local agent for the pools, and so knew all the Mill Hill gossip. The Godwins were a Mill Hill institution, his son David ran the large plumbing supplies company before passing away.

9. Bunny Ennis - colourful character who used to prop up various bars, including Hendon and Edgware cricket club in Mill Hill Park. Was involved in the car trade, rumoured to be an inspiration for the Arthur Daley character in Minder, as there was a rumour that he sold Leon Griffiths, the writer a dodgy motor, with a no money back guarantee, but this is probably a tall tale! If you knew Bunny you treated his tales with several pinches of salt, but they were alll highly entertaining.

10. Derek Tyne - TV salesman. Derek ran Mill Hill Television in the Broadway in the 1960's and 70's, an entrepreneur who always had a good eye for a business opportunity. Turned the back of his shop into a record store, being very popular with the local teenagers in the 1960's. Had a big stroke of fortune around 1970, when an Irish lady lost control of a newly purchased automatic car, which ploughed through is shop, fortuitously destroying every single black and white TV in stock, at a time when everyone was switching to colour TV's. The unexpected windfall when the insurance payment was made meant he was able to make a killing as everyone upgraded their old sets. Famously Derek bought a plane and would buzz his friends as they mowed their lawns in Mill Hill on sunny sunday afternoons.

There is a full list of famous Mill Hillians on the Mill Hill Preservation website.

I must also mention my favourite Mill Hillian, who will forever be with us. Billy Fury, who is buried in Mill Hill cemetery

Richard Wilkinson is a born and bred Mill Hillian and a great friend of this blog. Guest lists are always welcome at the Barnet Eye. 

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