Mill Hill’s London NW7 postal area was created in 1917, with small sections overlapping into Arkley and Edgware.
The area was part of the ancient civil parish of Hendon within Middlesex. Mill Hill as part of Municipal Borough of Hendon was merged into the London Borough of Barnet in Greater London in 1965.
Mill Hill consists of several distinct parts: the original Mill Hill Village; the later-developed but now main hub of the area at Mill Hill Broadway
; and the area around Mill Hill East. A further area at the western edge of the suburb, The Hale, is on the borders of Mill Hill and Edgware, and is partly in each.
The area’s name was first recorded as Myllehill in 1547 and appears to mean “hill with a windmill”. Mill Hill Village is the oldest known inhabited part of the district, a ribbon development along a medieval route called ‘The Ridgeway’.
The village is bounded on the north and the south by Green Belt land, and its High Street, at 100 yards, is the shortest in London. The area’s proximity to the city made it popular as a country retreat from the 17th century onwards, and large houses and quaint cottages survive. William Wilberforce (MP, and abolitionist of the slave trade) and Sir Stamford Raffles (founder of colonial Singapore) both briefly resided here, the former being the patron of Mill Hill’s first church, Saint Paul’s. As late as 1960 five shops existed in the Village (Griffin’s sub-Post Office, The Blenheim Steps, Cook & Son (sweets and groceries), Hawes Brothers (grocers) and Vincett’s (butchers)) but although the buildings survive, they have all since been converted into private houses, as the retail focus in the area shifted to Mill Hill Broadway
The modern-day centre of Mill Hill is at Mill Hill Broadway
(previously known as Lawrence Street
). This is a suburban district which developed from the 1890s onwards, and especially in the early part of the 20th century, after the arrival of the Midland Railway station in 1868. The Broadway
itself is now an important local retail area with numerous shops and cafes and transport links.
Parts of the eastern side of Mill Hill have recently undergone redevelopment, with the old gas works replaced by a Waitrose supermarket and housing developments. The small local retail area at Mill Hill East is at “Kelly’s Corner” (officially Holders Hill Circus) east of the station. To the south of Mill Hill East are Copthall and Holders Hill.