History

The Mill Hill Park Conservation Area in Acton, London W3 covers an early garden suburb, the Mill Hill Park Estate, laid out in the 1870s by two famous father-and-son builders, both called William Willett. Their high-quality, desirable mansions can also be seen in Chelsea and Mayfair. Apart from being a builder of beautiful houses, the younger William Willett is now more famous for promoting the Daylight Savings Act, which created British Summer Time.

Signs of life and residency on the piece of land where Mill Hill Park now lies have been traced by Museum of London archaeologists back through medieval, Saxon and Roman times through the Bronze Age to the prehistoric era.  See the item below on the ancient Roman bowl.

For a history of the area from the Bronze Age up to the present time, click here.

The old Mill Hill Tavern

Still there... the very large house - small castle, some say - at the 'dog leg' corner at the eastern end of Avenue Gardens

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long gone …. the billiard hall on Gunnersbury Lane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ancient Roman bowl found in Mill Hill Park

In 1981, excavations were carried out in Avenue Gardens, in the front garden of where number 51 Avenue Gardens was later built, and an almost complete, very finely decorated Roman bowl, dating from between 100 and 125 AD, was discovered – by far the most exciting archaeological ‘find’ ever made in the Mill Hill Park area.

It has been in the Museum of London ever since then, but is usually kept in store, as they already have many other splendid Roman artefacts from central London and there is not enough room to show them all, permanently. The bowl was, however, on temporary display at the Museum in 2013.

It’s a fairly small but splendid object, in shiny red pottery (known as Samian ware or ‘terra sigillata’) with fascinating designs on it, depicting:   the god Jupiter, seated and  holding a thunderbolt; a lion being ridden or teased by a small ‘cupid’; and a figure of Victory wearing voluminous drapery and holding a wreath. Experts can tell that it was imported from Gaul (France), and was made at a place now called Les-Martres-de-Veyre in central France. As some of the other pottery made there at the same time, and in exactly the same style, is actually signed by the potter: they even know his name: Donnaucus.


Roman bowl found in Avenue Gardens

 

Last Days of the Mill Hill Pub

The Mill Hill Pub (formerly known as the Mill Hill Tavern) ceased trading in June 2013 after 153 years.  The photos below were taken a few days before it closed.  Ray Batchelor, former Chair of the MHPRA, has written a speculative early history of the Mill Hill Tavern.