09:00AM, Wednesday 14 May 2014
A couple who became film stars when they were the first people in the country to take out a '£1 down' mortgage have celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary.
Michael Whittington, now 81, was a young married man working as a bricklayer, when he heard that his local council of Windsor was pioneering a new scheme to give people like him and his wife Evelyn 100 per cent mortgages.
He said: "I was working for a man on the council and he told me about this plan to offer mortgages with just £1 down.
"Houses in Burnetts Road and Needham Close were being offered. I grabbed the opportunity and we became the first couple in the country to do it."
He and Evelyn, now 79, found themselves featured in a film made by British Pathe called the Pound Down House - which was shown at the town's Regal Cinema. Their house in Burnetts Road was worth £2,200 and their monthly mortgage was £13 2s 6d in old money (£13.12 in today's)
But friends still thought they were being extravagant. Mr Whittington said: "People said we were mad to saddle ourselves with £13 a month when we could get a council house for just over £10 6s a week (50p)."
Michael and Evelyn Whittington married at the Register Office in Park Street, Windsor in 1954 and celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on Thursday, May 8.
They actually lived in the 'pound down house' for 20 years and were about two thirds of the way through paying the mortgage off when they sold it 20 years later.
By then Mr Whittington had built up a successful business as an industrial builder, working for a time at Heathrow Cargo Village. The couple now live in Madingley, Birch Hill, Bracknell.They now have four daughters and a son, 10 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.
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