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FAMOUS FACES: Some of the well-known figures who have made Croxley their home

 Published on: 13th February 2023   |   By: Bryn Holmes   |   Category: Uncategorized

Throughout the years, many notable people have either been born in Croxley, or have made the village their home. From a well-known dog trainer to the real-life inspiration for James Bond’s Q, here’s a look at some of the famous faces Croxley has seen over the decades.

Charles Fraser-Smith (pictured left)

At first glance, Charles Fraser-Smith was to many people a simple junior civil servant working in the clothing section of the government’s Ministry of Supply during the Second World War. He grew up in Croxley with a missionary family, having been orphaned at the age of seven.

However, Charles was secretly the man assigned to devising gadgets for MI6, MI9 and the Special Operations Executive during the war. Some of the items he designed, which he called ‘Q gadgets’, included cameras disguised as cigarette lighters, hairbrushes containing maps, and steel shoelaces that could double as a garrotte.

It is suspected that his work and inventions influenced the character of Q in Ian Fleming’s famous James Bond novels.

Nancy Neele 

Nancy grew up in Copthorne Road, and would go on to work in the financial world of London. In 1925, she was invited to be a member of the committee on the British Empire Exhibition, where she would meet Archibald Christie, husband to the famous crime writer, Agatha.

Nancy grew close to Archibald and became his mistress. In 1926, Archibald told Agatha he had fallen in love with Nancy and wanted a divorce.

This series of events led to Mrs Christie’s famous 12-day disappearance. A major police manhunt ensued before she was found, claiming to have no memory of what had happened. During the time she was missing, she registered at a Harrogate hotel under the name ‘Teresa Neale’.

Aside from this incident, Nancy’s life would carry on without incident, and she remained with Archibald for the rest of her life.

Dr Basil Martin Wright (pictured right)

Dr Wright lived with his family in Croxley for several decades and became notable for his medical inventions. Mostly self-taught, his most famous invention was the breathalyser, which he originally called the ‘alcometer’.

John Theodore Tussaud

The great-grandson of the waxwork model maker Marie Tussaud, John lived in the village for many years. He joined the family business and created the figure of Napoleon, a man he had a particular fascination with.

He grew up in Croxley and lived there until his death in 1943.

Barbara Woodhouse

Barbara lived in the village from the 1940s to the 1980s, and during that time would become a well-known fixture on British television for her series Training Dogs the Woodhouse Way.

To find out more about notable Croxley residents, please visit the Croxley Green History Project’s dedicated webpages.

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