Market Hill and parish church, Haverhill
Haverhill shown within Suffolk
|Population||27,041 (2011 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|– London||47 miles (76 km)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
|UK Parliament||West Suffolk|
Haverhill (pronounced // or //) is a market town and civil parish in the county of Suffolk, England, next to the borders of Essex and Cambridgeshire. It lies 14 miles (23 km) southeast of Cambridge and 47 miles (76 km) north-east of central London. Haverhill is the second largest town in the Borough of St Edmundsbury and has a population of 27,041
The town centre lies at the base of a gentle dip in the chalk hills of the Newmarket Ridge; running through the town is the Stour Brook, which goes on to join the River Stour just outside the town. Rapid expansion of the town over the last two decades means that the western edge of Haverhill now includes the hamlet of Hanchet End. The surrounding countryside largely consists of arable land.
Haverhill dates back to at least Saxon times, and the town's market is recorded in the Domesday book (1086). Whilst most of its historical buildings were lost to the great fire on 14 June 1667, one notable Tudor-era house remains (reportedly given to Anne of Cleves as part of her divorce from Henry VIII and thus titled Anne of Cleves House) as well as many interesting Victorian buildings.
Following a planning review in 1956, Haverhill was targeted for expansion. This was primarily to resettle communities from London which had been devastated during World War II. As part of this plan, new housing settlements and new factories were built. A later review in 1962 planned for a threefold increase in population from the then population of 5,446.
This influx of people changed many aspects of life in Haverhill. One noticeable change is that the local Suffolk accent (still spoken by the town's older residents) has largely been replaced by a London/South-east England accent characterised as Estuary English. The expansion was not without friction. Residents who moved to the newly developed areas complained about the housing density and lack of amenities in a 1968 Man Alive documentary.
Nowadays, Haverhill is predominantly a modern and young town. The relatively small town centre is surrounded by many large housing developments, completed at various periods between the 1950s and the present. Recently, it has seen the growth of small but noticeable Portuguese and Polish communities
Haverhill's economy is dominated by industry, and a large industrial area on the southern side of the town is home to a large number of manufacturing companies such as Wisdom toothbrushes, Gurteen clothing and VION Foods (in Little Wratting near Haverhill), although, in 2009, Wisdom was in the process of closing down its manufacturing operations at the Haverhill factory and VION was undergoing a restructure that would see the abattoir close and the plant specialising in cooked meats. Other companies deal in chemicals (such as International Flavors and Fragrances), waste processing, transport and construction. In 1982, the international biotechnology firm Genzyme opened a site in Haverhill for manufacturing pharmaceuticals.
In the past couple of years, a new business park has undergone development on the industrial estate, alongside the bypass. This has seen new businesses move into the town such as Percy Dalton's, Stagecoach Group, Day's Inn and Culina Logistics. In the town centre, new developments have seen a Cineworld cinema and food outlets Frankie & Benny's, Prezzo, Subway and KFC all open in the later part of 2008. Tesco also opened a new supermarket on the land of the old railway station, just off the town centre in the Autumn 2009.
A weekly market is held in the town in the High Street each Saturday. This has been a long running tradition throughout Haverhill's history (in common with many other market towns in England). A smaller market is held each Friday in the town's market square.
Sport and leisure
Haverhill has two Non-League football clubs, Haverhill Rovers F.C. and Haverhill Borough F.C., who both play in the Eastern Counties Football League. The two clubs share the New Croft ground. Other sporting clubs in the town include a cricket club and an angling club. Since 2013 Haverhill has also been home to Suffolk's only Baseball team, the Haverhill Blackjacks, who play in the British Baseball Federation Single-A South league, and who also play their home games at The New Croft.
There are various sporting activities available in Haverhill, including a leisure centre (with swimming pool, gym and a children's soft play area, Kid City), an 18 hole golf course, a dance school, and a Skatepark.
The Haverhill Arts Centre is housed within the grade II listed town hall, and features a cinema as well as hosting live music, drama, dance, and comedy. A 5-screen multiplex cinema complex was opened in October 2008. From 2007 to 2013 the town was home to The Centre for Computing History, a computer museum established to tell the story of the Information Age.
The busy A1307 road is the only major road that connects Haverhill to Cambridge and the A11 and the M11 motorway. This route suffers congestion with commuter traffic most mornings and evenings. Local bus services on this route are provided by Stagecoach: routes 13, 13A, 13B and X13 run approximately every 30 min during the day, every 60 min evenings and Sundays. The bus station in Haverhill also provides local services to some of the surrounding towns and villages.
The town has no railway station and is one of the largest towns in England without one. It once had two railway stations and two interconnected railways. The Stour Valley Railway ran from Cambridge to Sudbury and beyond via Haverhill North whilst the Colne Valley and Halstead Railway ran from Haverhill South to Marks Tey via Castle Hedingham and Halstead.
For the most part, Haverhill North was used as the passenger train terminus for both the Stour Valley and Colne Valley railways to allow interchange between the two railways. Both stations are now demolished, but many bridges, cuttings and embankments are still visible in Haverhill and beyond. In recent years, the Cambridge to Sudbury Rail Renewal Association has been started to try to bring the railway back to the town. For national and international flights, Haverhill is close to London Stansted Airport, which lies approximately 21 miles (30 km) to the south. The much smaller Cambridge City Airport also serves some domestic flights.
In 2000-1 two thousand inhabitants of Haverhill were photographed and morphed into a single image by the artist Chris Dorley-Brown. The resulting image was displayed in the National Portrait Gallery (London). This was the biggest photographic morphing project of its kind.
In November 2004, Haverhill made a claim for a world first, becoming the only known town to feature a laser-lit sculpture on a roundabout. The 11-metre (36 ft) high steel sculpture, called the Spirit of Enterprise (or by locals as "The bin", or "The toilet roll"), is situated on the main gateway roundabout on the west side of town, and was mostly funded by local businesses.
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Nathaniel Ward, the author of the first constitution in North America, was born in Haverhill in 1578. Nathaniel's brother Samuel after whom a local school was named. Pop musician Steve Rinaldi of the bands Rinaldi Sings and The Moment, who featured a map of the town on the cover of their first single, "In This Town" (1984), is originally from Haverhill, as is owner of Some Bizarre Records, Stevo Pearce. Professional footballer Michael Morrison grew up in the town, and racing driver Gary Paffett is also a resident.
Haverhill is twinned with
- "The History of Haverhill in the 20th Century"
- The History of Haverhill in the 20th Century
- "Archive footage paints bleak picture of town", Haverhill Echo, 2 September 2009; "Documentary's bleak vision of life in an 'overspill' town ", Haverhill Echo, 7 September 2009
- Abbeycroft Leisure - Haverhill Leisure Centre
- Haverhill Golf Club
- Lisa Mason School of Dance
- Welcome to Haverhill Arts Centre
- Haverhill Multiplex Cinema Wins Backing - Haverhill-UK - News
- A Museum for Haverhill - Haverhill-UK - News
- "Myth surrounding Haverhill's lack of train station debunked". Haverhill Echo. 10 April 2008.
- Station Name: Sudbury Disused Stations - Sudbury
- Haverhill-UK - Roundabout Project - The Spirit of Enterprise - November 2004
- Haverhill Roundabout Sculpture Project