Haverhill Group



A market town for almost 1000 years, Haverhill still hosts a provisions market each Friday and Saturday throughout the year. Haverhill was recorded in the Domesday survey in 1086, but archaeological evidence shows that both Stone Age man and the Romans thought this valley a good place to settle.

The town thrived through its textile industry notably in the 19th century when it became a significant centre for the making of "drabbet" smocks for the agricultural workers. In 1856, D Gurteen & Sons built a factory with 32 power looms driven by steam.




Although they had been in the town since the 1780s, the new factory brought expansion and the town became prosperous. It almost doubled in size between 1851 and 1901, bringing new houses, factories, schools, churches and public buildings to make it a complete Victorian town.

In the late 1940s, Haverhill was named an "expansion town" by the Haverhill Urban District Council and Greater London Council. The population quadrupled between 1951 and the present time and Haverhill continues to grow, with new facilities and new housing. It is a forward looking town with a strong sense of community and an active Town Council




The Haverhill group usually meets on the 2nd Thursdayof each month in the Old Independent Church Hall, Hamlet Road, Haverhill, CB9 9EF. (unless stated otherwise). Click here for directions

Meetings usually start at 7.30pm. Admission £1.00 for SFHS members, £2.50 for visitors. Tea/Coffee included.
Library of local and family history books available for free loan and opportunity to search SFHS data for Suffolk ancestors.

Coach Trips to major record offices, including the London Metropolitan Archives, National Newspaper Library and the National Archives at Kew, and national museums.

Annual Walk around a local village for a guided tour of historical interests, tracing our ancestors' footsteps, even to the local hostelry!

Help Sessions are held weekly Wed 2-4pm at the Library, Camps, Road, Haverhill, CB9 8HB with free guided access to Ancestry.com, Find My Past and more.

To book your place at the Library phone 01440 702638

2 - 4pm
Help with YOUR Research - at Haverhill Library (CB9 8HB)
Guided use of the Internet, especially for newcomers or those 'stuck' phone 01440 702638 to book your place


Click here to download our latest news.


FFHS Newsletter - Federation of Family History Societies - Christmas edition

Family History (Haverhill) Group - Facebook page

Haverhill UK - local census, baptism, burial & other records posted by the Haverhill Group

Haverhill & District Local History Group - Haverhill Local History Centre is a resource and study centre for Haverhill and surrounding villages.

Haverhill Old Independent Church - The United Reformed Church at Haverhill, locally known as the Old Independent Church, (OIC)


Secretary: Charmian Thompson
5 Hadrian Close,
Suffolk, CB9 0NH

or by Email:  haverhill@suffolkfhs.org.uk  to our Secretary

Last Modified on 19/03/2017 by Brian & Charmian Thompson


Trip to Kelvedon Hatch (Secret Nuclear Bunker)

Posted by Brian & Charmian Thompson on Thu, 23rd Mar 2017

Several members took the opportunity to visit the Secret Nuclear Bunker at Kelvedon Hatch. The Bunker had three main lives. Initially as an RAF ROTOR Station and latterly a Regional Government Headquarters, with a brief period in the 1960’s as a civil defence centre. Designed for up to 600 military and civilian personnel, possibly even the Prime Minister, their collective task being to organise the survival of the population in the awful aftermath of a nuclear war.

Criminal Transportation

Posted by Brian & Charmian Thompson on Thu, 16th Mar 2017



Transportation was seen as an alternative to hanging and relieved the pressure on over-crowded gaols.. Our March meeting saw another good attendance to hear Ian Waller give an illustrated talk about Criminal Transportation.

Haverhill at Work exhibition

Posted by Brian & Charmian Thompson on Sun, 5th Mar 2017

Pictures from our successful opening night. An invited audience were able to enjoy a film showing clips from many of the interviews that took place before taking the opportunity to visit the exhibition. The display in the café area of the Arts Centre and in the Local History Group’s room will continue until the 24th of March.


Haverhill Group's Facebook Page

Posted by Brian & Charmian Thompson on Mon, 27th Feb 2017

We now have 200 members. Why not have a look, there might be some items of interest

   Haverhill Family History Group


Posted by Brian & Charmian Thompson on Sat, 18th Feb 2017



After nearly a year of gathering oral memories from people who worked locally during and since the expansion period of the 1960s, the Haverhill Family History Group has prepared an exhibition to highlight what it was like to work in the town at this time.

In addition to a display of posters that can be viewed in the Bistro area of Haverhill Arts Centre during the month of March, there will be a special exhibition of workplace souvenirs and keepsakes which will be well worth a visit. The items on display come from local firms and their workers and will be staged in the Studio Room (also in Haverhill Arts Centre). This will be open to the general public from 10am – 4pm, Friday 2 March to Tuesday 6 March (excluding Sunday).

Further displays will be in the Gillian Young Gallery and in the Local & District History Group’s cabinets in the History Centre also at the Arts Centre. 

It is hoped that many of the people who enjoyed meeting old friends and former colleagues at the drop in sessions held at the beginning of the project will relish the opportunity for another chance to get together.

The exhibition is free of charge and members of the Haverhill Family History Group look forward to welcoming anyone who wishes to attend.

 Arrangements are in hand to provide permanent and easy access to the hours of recorded interviews but at this time should anyone wish to listen to these they should contact the Family History Group Chairman, Brian Thompson by email haverhill@sfhs.org.uk or telephone 07808 922850.


No such thing as a good tax

Posted by Brian & Charmian Thompson on Sun, 5th Feb 2017

Another good attendance to hear a very informative and interesting talk given by Sarah.


Open Day at Haverhill Library

Posted by Brian & Charmian Thompson on Sun, 15th Jan 2017

Another succesful day at our Open Day. Well done to Alan Bumpstead and his team who together with local professional geonologist Karen Cummings were able to help a steady stream of people who were researching their family history.



Christmas Quiz

Posted by Brian & Charmian Thompson on Wed, 14th Dec 2016

A great evening was had at our group's annual fun Christmas Quiz. Can I thank all those who came along especially our friends from the Bury and Sudbury Branches who along to join in the fun. Congratulations to the winning team 'Mike and his Molls'


St Mary's Church, Haverhill, Christmas Tree Festiv

Posted by Brian & Charmian Thompson on Mon, 5th Dec 2016

Our group is taking part in the St Mary's Church, Haverhill, Christmas Tree Festival this year. Pictured are Rosemary Fletcher and Charmian Thompson who decorated our tree with pictures of family members of our Group. To view all the trees on display the Church will be open on Friday 9th and Saturday the 10th and also Friday the 16th and Saturday the 17th of December between 10am and 2.30pm



We Will Remember Them - West End Church, Haverhill

Posted by Brian & Charmian Thompson on Fri, 11th Nov 2016

‘We Will Remember Them’

 The life stories of the men who are remembered on the West End Church memorial and what it was like to live in Haverhill during the Great War were shared with an 80 strong audience which included some descendants of several of the men. Alan Bumpstead and Rosemary Fletcher linked the programme by telling us the chronological order of events both at home and at the front during this period whilst several other readers reflected on the lives of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. We learnt about the role of the YMCA during the war and also that organisation’s link with the poppy which is synonymous with remembrance.

The music for the evening was organised by Richard Hart. We are indebted to the West End Church choir which, accompanied by Greta Mayes, sang two pieces ‘Be still my soul’ and ‘For the fallen’. Ann Mills sang two solos ‘Home Sweet Home’ and ‘In Flanders Fields’. She was accompanied by Richard on the organ. During a period of reflection Richard played ‘Nimrod’

The programme finished with Bryan Mills, Chairman of the Royal British Legion, reading a poem written by YMCA worker Moina Michael ‘We shall keep the faith’. Following the ‘Last Post’ played by Bryan Good a one minute silence was respected before the traditional reading of the ‘Kohima Prayer’

A visual presentation complemented the programme. On show was a symbolic roll of barbed wire, attached to which were thirty one poppies, one for each of these named on the West End Church memorial. Sitting beside it was an authentic trench lamp loaned for the evening by Mick Taylor and a World War One uniform made at Chauntry Mills loaned by Christopher Gurteen. One wonders how many local men wore uniforms that had been made by family members or friends who worked in Chauntry Mills on this contract to make khaki uniforms?

Thanks are extended to the West End Church for their hospitality, ALL of the participants, members of the Royal British Legion, The Haverhill & District Local History Group and of course to Christopher Gurteen and Mick Taylor.




06/04/2017Poison and Powder
PLEASE NOTE - not the 13th our normal meeting evening!
Michelle Bullivant
20/04/2017Trip To Kew Gardens / National Archives
11/05/2017Thurlow Blaze - Arsonist in the family?
This will be preceded by a short AGM
Alan Bumpstead
29/06/2017Kemp's Jig
In 1599 Will Kemp, a comic actor in William Shakespeares company, decided that he would dance from London to Norwich stopping at a number of towns and villages on the way. We explore this East Anglian odyssey.
Ancestral Voices
13/07/2017A guided village walk at Thurlow
Must book
09/09/2017OPEN DAY
OPEN DAY at Haverhill Library (CB9 8HB) 11am – 4pm
14/09/2017Meeting (TBA)
12/10/2017The Victorian Ghost Hunter
Joint Meeting with Haverhill Local History Group
Andrew Selwyn-Crome
09/11/2017We Will Remember Them
Lives of the Men on Haverhill’s Methodist church war memorial
14/12/2017Christmas Quiz
A light-hearted social evening with refreshments


For further details on the programme you should contact

Secretary: Charmian Thompson
5 Hadrian Close,
Suffolk, CB9 0NH

or by Email:  haverhill@suffolkfhs.org.uk  to our Secretary

Group Contact

Secretary: Charmian Thompson
5 Hadrian Close,
Suffolk, CB9 0NH

or by Email:  haverhill@suffolkfhs.org.uk  to our Secretary


FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY Feb 2017 Newsletter (.pdf) - Uploaded 18/02/2017
FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY Jan 2017 Newsletter (.pdf) - Uploaded 02/01/2017
FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY Dec 2016 Newsletter (.pdf) - Uploaded 01/12/2016
FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY Nov 2016 Newsletter (.pdf) - Uploaded 01/11/2016
FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY Oct 2016 Newsletter (.pdf) - Uploaded 02/10/2016