When we talk of Middlesex where do we mean?

The County, the Province or the Tribal Lands?

It's possible you didn't even realise there is a choice!


We do know that anyone who says Middlesex
‘doesn’t exist’ is talking out their hat.

The assumption that because the County Council was abolished Middlesex is abolished is fanciful - did Middlesex not exist before 1889? For that is the very recent date the Middlesex County Council was formed.

And as you will read and learn,
nothing could be further from the truth.


Middlesex Day Countdown
to May 16th



Potters Bar & South Mimms Heritage


The facts:


Although Potters Bar was transferred to the administration of Hertfordshire County Council area on 1st April 1965, it was not until February 1972 that it was removed from the Enfield West Parliamentary Constituency and transferred to South Hertfordshire Constituency and it was not until 1st April 2000 that it was removed from the Metropolitan Police District to the Hertfordshire Police District which all goes to prove that a change in local government area does not automatically mean, nor require, a change of area for any other administrative function. 


Therefore, there was no need at all for the Post Office to alter Potters Bar's postal address from Middlesex to "Hertfordshire" in 1965 just because the local government area changed.


Postal addresses are to provide information about one's geographical location so that the Post Office can deliver mail and other people can find the place they need to get to. They have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with local government.


The Post Office in Staines and Sunbury-on-Thames were well aware of this and did not change the addresses in those places and so, they retain their Middlesex postal addresses and, with them, their Middlesex identity.


The ignorance of the Potters Bar Post Office in thinking they needed to change Potters Bar's postal address has been the single most damaging blow to the perception of Potters Bar residents' true Middlesex identity.


Although Staines and Sunbury-on-Thames were transferred to the administration of Surrey County Council in 1965 at the same time as Potters Bar was transferred to the administration of Hertfordshire county Council, they were, fortunately, spared their Middlesex postal addresses and they are, fortunately, amalgamated in a single Borough and a single Parliamentary constituency of Spelthorne which is not combined with any other area and they are divided from the County of Surrey by the River Thames.


Potters Bar, unfortunately, has no river to act as a very obvious natural boundary and it has had its Middlesex postal address taken from it. Until 31st March 1974 Potters Bar was an autonomous Urban District but, from 1st April of that year it was merged with various Hertfordshire districts to become "Hertsmere District" (and, in 1977, Hertsmere Borough), thus further eroding its distinct identity and, at the same time removal from Enfield West to South Hertfordshire Parliamentary Constituency and, in 2000, removal from the Metropolitan Police District to the Hertfordshire Police District.


It seems very much as if someone wants to make very, very certain that the people of Potters Bar should never know anything other than a 100 per cent manufactured and spurious "Hertfordshire" identity.


Why are they so afraid?


Do they think that, possibly, if anyone were actually to discover the true history and identity of Potters Bar and realised that they had been deliberately lied to for the past fifty four years they might have the seeds of a small revolution beginning to germinate and their own false identity that they have been at such great pains to promote since 1965 might actually be threatened.





There has long been debate over the correct spelling of Mimms/Mymms and, possibly, this article can finally resolve the problem.


The spelling with a 'Y' would seem to be the earliest form because the 'Y' looks more archaic but this is not, in fact, the case.


The earliest mention of South Mimms is in Domesday Book (1086) as "MIMES" (without South) and North Mimms as "MIMMINE" (without North). South Mimms is recorded as "MIMMES" in 1211 and as "SUTHMIMES" in 1253. It is only in 1243 that the 'Y' first appears as "SOUTH MYMIS". In 1560 it is "SOUTHMYN(e)S" and, in 1610, on the John Speed map, as "SOUTH MYMBES".


North Mymme/Mimms seems to have acted in a contrary manor to South Mimms/Mymms as, in 1427 it is recorded as "NORTHMYMES", 1429 as "NORTHMYMMES" 1437 as "NORTMYMYS". 1526 as "NORTHMYMES", 1523 as "NORTH MYMS" but, between 1676 and 1808, it appears consistently on maps as "NORTH MIMS" and, between 1822 and 1870, also on maps, as "NORTH MIMMS". A 1757 Act of Parliament has it as "NORTH MIMS" and the parish boundary stones are also inscribed "NORTH MIMS". IN 1787 an Act for enclosing the common refers to "NORTH MYMS" with a 'Y' but, in 1797 another Act of Parliament reverts to "NORTH MIMS" and also refers to "SOUTH MIMS".


The Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England by Frederic A. Youngs, Jr. pub. Royal Historical Society 1979 states that "Mymms" is the usual spelling for the ecclesiastical parish and "Mimms" is the usual spelling for the civil parish and he states the same in relation to North Mimms. Therefore, the Hertfordshire parish should also be spelt "MIMMS" for civil purposes and both North and South "MYMMS" for ecclesiastical purposes.


However, at a meeting of Hertfordshire County Council in 1939 it was decided that "Mymms "with a 'Y" should be the official spelling for North Mymms for both ecclesiastical and civil purposes.


No doubt this was to distinguish it from South Mimms in Middlesex but also, possibly, because that would be perceived as being of greater antiquity even it is wasn't actually so. It would seem that Herts., Co. Council did not merely decide to adopt the spelling "Mimms" in relation to North Mymms but actually passed legislation to alter the name from "Mimms" to "Mymms" under the power of the Local Government Act 1933.


Possibly, after this decision by Hertfordshire County Council, Middlesex County Council might have also have decided to officially name their side of the County boundary "MIMMS" under the same legislation as used by Herts Co. Council but there is no evidence that they actually did so.


However, "South Mymms" by F. Brittain 1931 consistently spells "Mymms" with a 'Y' for both the church and the village whereas "The story of Potters Bar and South Mimms" by various authors and published by Potters Bar Urban District Council in 1966 consistently uses "Mimms" even when referring specifically to St. Giles church so it would seem that there might well have been an official decision taken on the matter after 1931or, more probably, after the 1933 Local Government Act.

As for the name Mimms/Mymms itself there is little information as to its origin but it would seem fairly certain that it is from "the Mimmas", a sub-tribe of "the Middelseaxe" who settled in the area of what is now Middlesex and south east Hertfordshire.