Hidden London

Mill Hill East

Latest addition
Index of places
Clickable map
About this site
London football
London lyrics
London proverbs
London quotes
London statues
London images
Contact us


An ‘intensification’ site for north London housing, situated midway between Finchley and Mill Hill proper. The fields here belonged to All Souls College, Oxford from 1442. The medieval manor of Frith and Newhall lay to the north-east and was divided into Dollis, Frith, and Partingdale Farms by the mid-18th century. The modern era came early to Bittacy Hill when the Great Northern Railway opened Mill Hill (later Mill Hill East) station and the North Middlesex Gas Company built a gasworks in the 1860s. A pub and a few gasworkers’ cottages appeared nearby but the railway service to London was slow and indirect so commuters were not interested and the surrounding area remained as farmland. In 1909 the Middlesex regiment moved into the Inglis barracks, which replaced Bittacy Farm. A council estate, including flats, was built at the foot of Bittacy Hill in the mid-1920s. South of the station, Mill Hill Homesteads bought Devonshire Farm in 1933 and laid out an estate. Further up the hill and over on the Frith manor lands, roads were laid out in the years before and after World War II. The barracks later became the base for the British Forces Post Office, which has recently moved to RAF Northolt. By 2016 it is planned that 2,000 new homes will have been built on the 94-acre site between Bittacy Hill and Frith Lane, but several controversies have impeded progress. These have included the discovery of low-level radioactive contamination, the excessive scale of some proposals and objections from local residents that “the concept of ‘social’ housing does not match the character and profile of the whole of Frith Lane.” Meanwhile, Crest Nicholson have redeveloped the disused gasworks site with 250 homes, a supermarket and a health club.

The Inglis barracks were named in honour of Lieutenant-Colonel William Inglis of the 57th infantry regiment, who was killed at the battle of Albuhera in 1811. Inglis coined the phrase ‘die hard’, which was his last order to the troops. The 57th were afterwards nicknamed the ‘diehards’.
click for area map (opens in a new window)
The discovery of low-level radioactive contamination delayed new housebuilding at Inglis barracks

In 1988 23-year-old soldier Michael Robbins was killed and nine others were injured by an IRA bomb at the barracks.

Postal district: NW7
Station: Northern line branch terminus (zone 4)

Brewer's London Phrase & Fable

Text and selected images are reproduced with the permission of Chambers but may differ from the published versions
All content 2005–2010