Monday, 30 March 2020

Memories of the M1 coming to Mill Hill - A Guest blog by Chris The Millhillian

Bunns Lane station car park site 1968
I was informed that you had recently posted pictures of Mill Hill and made reference to the days when the motorway came to town, I remember it well. It certainly changed our small town for ever and that peace that went with it at the time when the six lanes suddenly started appearing aloft on huge concrete pillars and beams constructed at the end of the Broadway. This certainly marked a noticeable change in the character of the town.

The old Midland Railway Cottages. Hunt’s boilers Merchants, the florist shop and several small shops in station Road were demolished very quickly as well as the railway bridge to make way for a huge hole which was dug in the ground. The best thing about it was that there was no more flooding under the old circular arch Victorian railway bridge and double decker buses could then travel on to Edgware, rather than turning around at Mill Hill.

I played on the motorway site with the other local boys who lived up a few doors from you in Millway. We accessed the site from the end of their garden and watched as the old allotments disappeared. I remember when the lanes were just laid with a gravel surface waiting for the concrete road surface to be poured. There was a huge pile of sand by Lilley Lane Foot Bridge and I was told that some kids jumped off the bridge onto it and sustained injury for their efforts.

My brother and I used to look at the futuristic picture placed under the emerging motorway bridge showing the modernistic bus station and supermarket soon coming to town in what is now the M&S supermarket car park. Your Dad’s MacMetals yard was also affected by the new motorway as it ran alongside and the old coal depot was used to house motorway construction workers in big grey sheds.

My brother took quite a few cine pictures of Bunns Lane and the Broadway and filmed a journey he made with in a truck travelling along the new motor ay,  passing behind your house whilst riding on the gravel surface,  proceeding to tip hard core for free as all local builders were invited to do that.

I attach a picture taken around 1968 of Fanning builders yard with its Thames Trader lorry parked outside. I hope that the Hendon Times will  at some point upload the picture of your family in January 1963 building an igloo in the back garden.
Guest blogs are always welcome at The Barnet Eye. Chris the Millhillian was born and raised in Mill Hill.

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