After months of negotiation and trial and error a site has finally been agreed for a small bronze statue commemorating High Barnet's feline celebrity, Millie the Waitrose cat.


Local sculptor John Somerville has gained the approval of The Spires shopping centre to place permanent memorial to Millie on the wall directly opposite the main entrance to Waitrose supermarket.

For years Millie made a name for herself greeting shoppers outside Waitrose and she will look across at her old stomping ground from her new lookout, safe and sound between two shop fronts.

After Millie’s death in January 2019, her owner Paula Gabb was so overwhelmed with messages of sympathy that she launched an appeal for a statue and was astounded when well over 200 of Millie’s admirers made donations.

She commissioned John, who is well known locally for his life-size bronze sculpture of Spike Milligan, which is on display in East End Road, Finchley.

His cold cast bronze statue of Millie, made from a clay model, will eventually be lacquered. Once the process of chemical patination is complete, he hopes it will create a close representation of Millie’s colouring.

After trying out the siting of the statue – and measurements for its wooden plinth – John took it back to his studio in Wood Street to make the final touches.

He hopes to finally install the statue and a brass plaque commemorating Millie in a few weeks’ time.

When he was commissioned by Paula, he had not realised that there aren’t in fact many statues of cats and he found recreating Millie perhaps the second most difficult commission he had ever undertaken.

“Time and again I tried modelling Millie sitting up with one paw extended. I did two or three life size models, but they didn’t seem to work. I just could not get the angles right.

“Then I tried lying her down, with her head turned sideways and her paws crossed over the other. That was a real Millie pose, what made her very distinctive.”

His aim was to produce a fitting memorial to a cat that was clearly a character and much loved by Paula and Waitrose shoppers.

“Having worked on Millie for so long, I’ve come to respect her. I see her as the Guardian of the Gate, Millie the Waitrose cat, who liked to check people out when they arrived to shop at Waitrose.

“She looked relaxed, lying there with one paw over the other, but she had those piercing eyes and was checking you out before you were allowed in Waitrose. That is what I’ve tried to capture.”