Haverhill, Suffolk

Coordinates: 52°05′N 0°26′E / 52.08°N 0.44°E / 52.08; 0.44
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Market Hill and parish church, Haverhill, Suffolk - geograph.org.uk - 63259.jpg
Market Hill and parish church, Haverhill
Haverhill is located in Suffolk
Location within Suffolk
Area10.96 km2 (4.23 sq mi)
Population27,041 (2011 Census)
• Density2,467/km2 (6,390/sq mi)
OS grid referenceTL671456
• London47 miles (76 km)
Civil parish
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtCB9
Dialling code01440
AmbulanceEast of England
UK Parliament
List of places
52°05′N 0°26′E / 52.08°N 0.44°E / 52.08; 0.44

Haverhill (/ˈhvərhɪl/ HAY-vər-hil, /ˈhvrɪl/ HAYV-ril) is a market town and civil parish in the county of Suffolk, England, next to the borders of Essex and Cambridgeshire. It lies about 14 miles (23 km) south east of Cambridge, south west of Bury St Edmunds, and north west of Braintree and Colchester.


The town centre lies at the base of a gentle dip in the chalk hills of the Newmarket Ridge; running through the town is 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.


Anne of Cleves's House

Haverhill dates back to at least Anglo-Saxon times,[2] 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,[2] 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 although it was another vicarage not this one) as well as many interesting Victorian buildings.

Following a planning review in 1956, Haverhill was targeted for expansion.[3] This was primarily to resettle communities from London which had been devastated during the Second World War. 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.[3]

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 One noticeable change is that the local Suffolk accent (still spoken by the town's older residents) has largely been replaced by a London/South-east England accent characterised as Estuary English.[citation needed] The expansion was not without friction.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.[4]

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.


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. Scientific firms including Sanofi and Sigma-Aldrich have plants in the town, as do International Flavors & Fragrances, and some waste processing, transport and construction firms. A Research Park has also been built, which includes The EpiCentre innovation and conference centre alongside the bypass.

A weekly market is held on Fridays on the Market Square and on Saturday the market is on the High Street.

Sport and leisure[edit]

Haverhill Leisure Centre

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. The town also has a tennis club which is affiliated with the Lawn Tennis Association.[5] Other sporting clubs in the town include a cricket club, a rugby club, and an angling club. Since 2013 Haverhill has also been home to Suffolk's only baseball team, 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),[6] an 18-hole golf course,[7] a dance school,[8] and a skate park.

Haverhill Arts Centre is housed within the grade II listed town hall,[9] 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.[10] 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.[11]

West Suffolk Swimming Club formed in 1998 from the merger of two local swimming clubs. It operates from three pools located at the Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre, Haverhill Leisure and Culford School.[citation needed]



Stagecoach Gold bus 13 at Haverhill bus station

Local bus services are provided by Stagecoach: routes 13, 13A, 13B and X13 run approximately every 30 minutes during the day, every 60 minutes evenings and Sundays. The bus station in Haverhill also provides local services to some of the surrounding towns and villages.


The A1307 road is the only major road that connects Haverhill to Cambridge; it also connects the town with the A11, A14 and the M11 motorway. This route experiences congestion with commuter traffic most mornings and evenings.[12] The A1307 is classified as a very high risk of casualty route. A proposal exists to develop the route whereby a new dual carriageway would be built from Haverhill to Cambridge, keeping the original road open as a feeder road and local bus stop route.[13]


The town no longer has a railway station; it is one of the largest towns in England,[14] and the largest town in Suffolk, 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; the Colne Valley and Halstead Railway ran from Haverhill South to Marks Tey, via Castle Hedingham and Halstead. Both stations have since been demolished, but many bridges, cuttings and embankments are still visible in the Haverhill area.

Rail Haverhill, formerly Cambridge to Sudbury Rail Renewal Association, is leading a campaign to re-open the railway between Haverhill and Cambridge;[15] as of 2022, a feasibility study is underway.[16]


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 provides some domestic flights.


In 2000–01 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. This was the biggest photographic morphing project of its kind.[17]

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.[18] The 11-metre (36 ft) high steel sculpture, called the Spirit of Enterprise (or by locals as "the bog roll"), is situated on the main gateway roundabout on the west side of town, and was mostly funded by local businesses.[19]


In Haverhill, there were two academies, Samuel Ward Trust (Samuel Ward, Clements, Coupals, Westfield And Churchill Special Free School) and Castle Partnership (Burton End Primary Academy, Place Farm Primary Academy and Castle Manor Academy). There is also an independent school known as Broadlands Hall School. These have now merged into the Samuel Ward Academy Trust,[20] and subsequently into the Unity Schools Partnership with 14 other schools.[21] St Felix Roman Catholic Church is part of the Our Lady of Walsingham Multi Academy Trust.

New Cangle is not an academy nor part of an academy.[citation needed]

Notable residents[edit]

Nathaniel Ward, the author of the first constitution in North America, was born in Haverhill in 1578.[22][23] A local school is named after Nathaniel's brother Samuel. 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.[citation needed]

Twin towns – sister cities[edit]

Haverhill is twinned with:[24]


The following photographs were taken in May 2015.

Freedom of the Town[edit]

The following people and military units have received the Freedom of the Town of Haverhill.


  • Brian E. "Taffy" Thomas: 2009.
  • Martin Neuhof: 30 March 2018.
  • Rodney M. Swaby


Military Units[edit]


  1. ^ "Homepage - Haverhill Town Council".
  2. ^ a b "Haverhill-UK - The History of Haverhill". haverhill-uk.com.
  3. ^ a b "St Edmundsbury Chronicle - Haverhill in the Twentieth Century". stedmundsburychronicle.co.uk.
  4. ^ "Archive footage paints bleak picture of town"[permanent dead link], Haverhill Echo, 2 September 2009; "Documentary's bleak vision of life in an 'overspill' town", Haverhill Echo, 7 September 2009.
  5. ^ "Haverhill Tennis Club". Haverhill Tennis Club.
  6. ^ "Abbeycroft Leisure – Haverhill Leisure Centre".
  7. ^ "Haverhill Golf Club". Archived from the original on 13 February 2007. Retrieved 11 February 2007.
  8. ^ "Lisa Mason School of Dance". LMSD.
  9. ^ "Homepage". Haverhill Arts Centre.
  10. ^ Haverhill Multiplex Cinema Wins Backing – Haverhill-UK – News
  11. ^ A Museum for Haverhill – Haverhill-UK – News
  12. ^ "Greater Cambridge / Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership". 16 October 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
  13. ^ "Strategic Dualling of A1307" (PDF). The Haverhill Chamber of Commerce. 9 October 2015. Retrieved 29 January 2016.[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "Myth surrounding Haverhill's lack of train station debunked". Haverhill Echo. 10 April 2008. Archived from the original on 6 August 2016.
  15. ^ Rail Haverhill website Archived 22 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine – Campaign and petition in support of the reopening of the railway between Haverhill and Cambridge.
  16. ^ "Popular plans to reinstate Cambridge to Haverhill rail line move forward". Cambridge News. 12 July 2017. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  17. ^ "haverhill2000".
  18. ^ "Haverhill-UK - Roundabout Project - The Spirit of Enterprise - November 2004". haverhill-uk.com.
  19. ^ "Haverhill Roundabout Sculpture Project". haverhillenterprise.co.uk.
  20. ^ Mirsky, Hannah (29 November 2016). "Merger between to Haverhill academy trusts officially begins". cambridgenews. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  21. ^ "Four schools in Bury St Edmunds to join large academy trust". dunmowbroadcast.co.uk.
  22. ^ Tyler, Moses Coit, A History of American Literature, 1607–1676. G.P. Putnam's Sons (1878), p. 228.
  23. ^ "Ward, Nathaniel (WRT596N)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  24. ^ "Our Town Twinning Association". Haverhill & District Twin Town Association. Retrieved 20 July 2022.
  25. ^ "Pioneer of German twinning association is awarded the Honorary Freedom of Haverhill". 30 March 2018.
  26. ^ "A special day of civic pride for regiment". 16 September 2019.

External links[edit]