Haverhill, Suffolk

Haverhill, Suffolk


Haverhill is a market town and civil parish next to the borders of Essex and Cambridgeshire. It lies about 14 miles (23 km) south east of Cambridge and 47 miles (76 km) north east of central London.


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.

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 June 14, 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 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. 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.

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 One noticeable change is that the local Suffolk accent (still spoken by the town's older residents) has largely been replaced by a London/South-east England accent characterised as Estuary English.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.

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 business park has also been built on the industrial estate, alongside the bypass.

A weekly market is held in the town in the High Street each Saturday. A smaller market is held each Friday in the town's market square.

Haverhill has two non-league football clubs, Haverhill Rovers F.C. and Haverhill Borough F.C. The two clubs share the New Croft ground. The town also has a tennis club which is affiliated with the Lawn Tennis Association. 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), an 18-hole golf course, a dance school, and a skatepark.

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 five-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.

West Suffolk Swimming Club, formed in 1998 from the merger of two local swimming clubs, is now becoming one of the largest competitive swimming clubs in East Anglia. They operate from three pools located at the Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre, Haverhill Leisure and Culford School.

There was once a railway station on the property of Tesco.

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

Local bus services on this route 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 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. Both stations are now demolished, but many bridges, cuttings and embankments are still visible in Haverhill and beyond.

'Rail Haverhill' (formerly Cambridge to Sudbury Rail Renewal Association) is leading a campaign to re-open the railway between Haverhill and Cambridge. The campaign is supported by the town's MP, Matthew Hancock, and a feasibility study is currently underway.

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 2000–01, 2,000 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.



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 Haverhill toilet roll"), is situated on the main gateway roundabout on the west side of town, and was mostly funded by local businesses.

In Haverhill, there are two academies, Samuel Ward Trust (Samuel Ward, Clements, Coupals and Westfield) 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. St Felix Roman Catholic Church is part of the Our Lady of Walsingham Multi Academy Trust.

Nathaniel Ward, the author of the first constitution in North America, was born in Haverhill in 1578. Nathaniel's brother was Samuel which a local school was named after him. 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 Bizzare Records, Stevo Pearce. Professional footballer Michael Morrison grew up in the town, and racing driver Gary Paffett is also a resident.