Memories of Haverhill - David Withers
(Email Dated 21/07/1999)
I spent my childhood and some of my early adult life in Haverhill from birth in 1943 until the early 1960s. I loved the town and was very upset to see it mutilated around 1960 when the people organising the London overspill expansion of the the town allowed many places of
character to be destroyed and replaced by concrete disasters.
The surrounding countryside was also destroyed, in my view. The meadows and the lanes leading through them to chalk pits and other areas of boyhood fascination became covered by estates of characterless houses. If you weren't there before the 'blitz' you wouldn't understand!
For the record, my grandparents built up the Withers Garage on the High Street and I lived with them at the adjacent house, number 32 before moving to 18 Duddery Hill. Our telephone number at the garage was Haverhill 15 (always pronounced "Hav'rill one-five")!
I still have a letter-head of the time.
When Grandad died, my uncle Terry took over the garage and my grandmother moved to number 34. The garage was later acquired under a compulsory purchase order and destroyed as a victim of the overspill scheme. (A pity Hitler didn't flatten it - at least we could then blame outside forces rather than self-infliction!) Terry built a replacement garage on Duddery Hill which, on my last visit, had been sold to become Keith Brown Motors with Terry retained as adviser. I have not been in touch with Terry for many years so I don't know the current situation.
I have many other memories, such as of Mrs Beer who, with her husband, ran the grocery store almost opposite the garage on the High Street and who was also my very strict teacher at the town's only school at the bottom of Wratting Road. She seemed a very different person in the shop to how she was at school.
Anyway, I enjoyed looking through your photo gallery on the web, and the bottom line is that you have attracted my attention and it is possible that you have persuaded me to call in to Haverhill again. I desperately hope that it has retrieved some of the attraction it held before the disgraceful sabotage by the1950s and '60s town planners!