As our beloved charity shops hit the BBC for running out of stock, it’s time to have a quick look at a locale which didn’t offer me anything when I visited. Not that that’s really a problem – sometimes it’s nice to just pootle around – but it seems only appropriate.
Mill Hill is one of these confusing, sprawly suburbs, developed at separate times and leading to distinct local characters within the remit of what’s technically Mill Hill. Therefore, we have the ancient centre, Mill Hill Village – a narrow strip along the Ridgeway, tucked away from the A1 and M1, home of the rather posh Mill Hill School, yet not stretching as far as the newer developments at Mill Hill East, subject of more modern appropriation. Witness the mega Waitrose and the huge gym, as well as rolling swathes of identical suburban semis. Finally, and most pertinently for our requirements, Mill Hill Broadway, an Edwardian development with overground station (as opposed to the strange and incongruous Mill Hill East extension) and a nice little parade of shops.
It was approaching evening as we parked up outside the Marks near the station, and as such, the place was winding down. Mill Hill Broadway has more in common with sleepier, residential towns than the rest of this bustling metropolis. 5pm and everything was tucking itself in for the night, save the handful of very local restaurants: you know the sort, you may not make any sort of mission for them but you know that if you swing by there’s a table and a reliable, if far from bold meal awaiting you.
There’s just the four charity shops here, if my memory and the internet serve me correctly. Typically, Oxfam is the expensive option, but as usual, it’s the classiest of the bunch. Cancer Research houses the standard array of children’s goods and mass-manufactured tat that CRUK seem to excel in these days, and Marie Curie provides solid charity shop ground. All Aboard, as seems to be typical, is closed.
I’ve no burning desire to return to Mill Hill, but then, as a stop on a longer route it’s no bad thing. It could certainly be incorporated into some sort of Finchley Road themed run later on, as it’s close enough to Hendon, Golders Green, Finchley, West Hampstead et al. Chalk another day out up for ‘not on a Saturday’, then.
Find: Mill Hill at Google Maps
Transport: Mill Hill Broadway station, or the mythical Mill Hill East
Consume with: into shop, out with a tube of Pringles, back in the car. For the lingering guest, Costa lives just over the road.
Visit: How about the UCL Observatory, just south on the A1.
Overall rating: three bagfuls of Dan Brown