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Matthew Hancock
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A Bit About Haverhill

A Potted History
Haverhill has the proud distinction of being a market town for almost 950 years. It was through it’s textile industry that the town became very prosperous particularly in the latter half of the 19th century. This industry can be traced to at least the 1660’s where it was described as being a ‘...great trade..’ By the end of the 18th Century, the cloth trade in Haverhill was, as in most other parts of East Anglia, suffering a serious decline, but was revived by the introduction of two new fabrics, silk and drabbet. The silk trade brought modest wealth to Haverhill in the first half of the 19th century but then went into decline. Drabbet, a coarse and hard wearing linen-like material was used for smocks the working clothes of most of the rural workers. Haverhill became a famous centre for the making of these garments.

The great watershed in Haverhill’s history was in 1856 when D. Gurteen & Sons, who had been in the town since the 1780’s built a factory and installed 32 power looms driven by a steam engine. For the next forty years, as the firm expanded, they and the town became extremely prosperous and Haverhill became the fastest growing town in West Suffolk, almost doubling in size between 1851 and 1901. This growth produced a complete Victorian town with the new houses, factories, schools, churches and public buildings.

This ‘New’ town was to be mirrored some hundred years later when, under tan agreement with the then London County Council, Haverhill became an ‘expansion town’ and the population increased fourfold between 1951 and the present time.

Where is Haverhill?
Haverhill is the second largest town in the Borough of St.Edmundsbury in Suffolk and is situated close to the borders of Cambridgeshire and Essex. The town lies on the A1307 between Cambridge and Colchester and is at the junction of the A143 to Bury St. Edmunds. Haverhill has excellent road links to the M11 and A14 and is approximately half an hours driving away from Bury St Edmunds, Cambridge and Stansted Airport.

What is there in Haverhill?
A busy, part pedestrianised, town centre with major high street retailers and a large number of local shops, business and a regular market that supplies the needs of the town and the surrounding district. Leisure facilities include a magnificent Arts Center (which acts as a theatre and cinema) and a well-equipped Leisure Centre. Industry is well established with local, national and international companies manufacturing and providing a large variety of goods and services.

Other Facts & Figures
Population approximately 22,000
Twin Towns: Pont ST Esprit, France and Ehringshausen, Germany.
The telephone dialing code for Haverhill is 01440.
Reproduced by kind permission of the Haverhill Town Council.
Information above taken from 'The Haverhill Directory' published by the Haverhill Town Council.

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