The biographical bit



At Lizzie’s cafe in East Greenwich Pleasaunce – telling a new residents about the Pleasaunce’s memorial to the sailors who died and fought in the Navy under Nelson

I have lived in Humber Road for over forty years – and have been involved in Greenwich politics all that time.

Looking at the East Greenwich Gas Holder – built by Ge063MaryMillsWebsite (1)orge Livesey, who I studied at Thames Poly





At the Charlton Station gardening project 017MaryMillsWebsite (1)






Originally I came from Gravesend where my father, a keen trade unionist, worked in a local factory. I grew up there, went to school and later became secretary of Gravesend Young Socialists. I had been working for Computer Weekly magazine when I moved to Greenwich and got a job with Greenwich Theatre when they opened. Later I worked at Charlton Library, and later still at the old North Charlton Project. In between times I went to what was then Thames Polytechnic in Woolwich, got a degree – and went on to research the history of the local gas industry for a Phd. I ended my working life with fifteen years at an organisation which researched regeneration in Docklands and the riverside on behalf of community and not-for-profit groups.

My interest in local history led me to be one of the founders of Greenwich Industrial History Society and I run a blog for them. I have been involved in this at a London and national level and have written a number of books on Greenwich industries.

My late husband, Alan, had worked for Greenwich Council for many years and when we both retired it seemed obvious that I should stand for the Council as a Labour Party candidate. I was elected for what was then Trafalgar Ward in 2000 – the year it was the focus of national attention!

Talking to Joanne at the Peninsula Ecology Park 055MaryMillsWebsite





Watching a freight train on our local Angerstein Railway 032MaryMillsWebsite






As a councillor I have been particularly involved with Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency and also the Co-operative Party. I have been involved in Council projects on cycling, on walking, on Greenwich Heritage, Greenwich Wildlife Group and on Greenwich Libraries. I am about the start a project on extending our recycling scheme.

Now my ward is called Peninsula – a major regeneration area plus the Dome. The hectic pace of development makes being a councillor here a more than full time job – even as a back bencher who rarely goes near the Town Hall. I have worked with many new residents – in particular on the Millennium Village, but also with the many lifelong Greenwich residents in East Greenwich and Charlton. I try to be out and about in the ward every day and I do the best I can to keep in contact with as many local people as I can – and luckily as a keen computer user I have tried to set up systems to do this.068MaryMillsWebsite


A Titanic moment on the Greenwich riverside

I think I am so lucky to represent an area like this – so much is going on with daily changes and constant media attention. For twenty five years now I have worked in areas which are under constant media scrutiny. There can’t be many little old ladies, living alone (well with B and the cat), who have such an exciting life.

However – since the local ward party has decided they no longer want me I am taking up options for something new –  wait and see….. it might get even more exciting.

4 thoughts on “The biographical bit

  1. Hi Mary. You wont remember me but I remember you! I was one of the first residents into Maurer Court. I have moved away now but we still have the flat. I have an issue I would like to take up with GMV Residents Association, but Ive lost touch with them. Please can you put me in touch with someone?

    thanks ever so


  2. Mary, I’m very sorry that the local ward mandarins have deselected you. You are the ONLY elected politician that I’ve ever spoken to. I suppose that the local ward wants somebody young and flashy to show that the Labour party is up with the times, etc. This leaves me wondering how the local ward does the selection.

    Thank you for your service. You should consider running as an Independent and aligning yourself with Labour when it’s in the interest of the local ward or Greenwich residents.

  3. Hello, Mary Mills. This isn’t a comment, but an enquiry. I’m told that you are a good local historian and might be able to help me. I’m a volunteer cataloguing a wonderful film of Woolwich, “SE18: Impressions of a Suburb”, for London’s Screen Archives – writing up all the locations, main speakers etc:
    I’ve got quite a long way, with the help of various local Facebook groups, Community pages & forums. My main two remaining queries are:
    1)Where is the mystery street & grave at 25.51
    2) Does anyone know the name/role of the man on the Polytechnic balcony at 41.14
    I’d post stills, but I can’t on here, I’m afraid.
    I’m also still interested in who is behind the Queen Mother at 0.26 and any identifications of shops, market stalls etc.
    Do you have any thoughts on this? Don’t worry if you’re too busy. I wouldn’t usually approach an individual person in this way, but one of the “Charlton Mummies” Facebook group thought it might interest you.

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