The Hadleigh SocietyJun 1998
Newsletter Index Up Mar 1998 Jun 1998 Aug 1998 Nov 1998


Newsletter  June 1998

Inside this Issue

bulletCIVIC TRUST BRIEFING - News from Whitehall
bulletModernising Planning.
bulletRoad Traffic Reduction Act, 1997.
bulletShopping centres in the pipeline
bulletA New Urban Renaissance.
bulletDiversity and Volume of Town Centre Business
bulletPublic Off-Street Car Parking
bulletEnvironmental Factors
bulletRecorded Crime Levels
bulletCustomer Perceptions
bulletGuildhall Garden
bulletKitchen Garden
bulletThe Hadleigh Show 1998
bulletThe Silk Industry in 19thC Essex & Suffolk
bullet1998 Programme
bulletVisit The Heraldic Garden, Boxford
bulletPlanning Matters


As the County Councils recent leaflet and questionnaire pointed out Suffolk has a unique and diverse character, including countryside and coastline, agricultural land, historic towns and villages, ports, factories, wildlife habitats and woodlands.

But Suffolk is more than just the natural and built environment. The communities that live and work in the county and the diverse economy supporting those communities are also important.

The local authorities are looking at how Suffolk could develop and to this end the Hadleigh Society has been asked to participate fully in putting plans forward for consideration. We are well represented on the various working parties engaged on this project and would welcome your considered views in order that we can best represent the membership. We were able to distribute personal questionnaires to many of you, but this is an ongoing task that your Executive committee is onto.

CIVIC TRUST BRIEFING - News from Whitehall

Modernising Planning.

This new policy statement published by the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) outlines the Government’s latest ideas for improving the efficiency and reputation of the UK planning system. It comes in response to the increasing lack of confidence in current planning policies indicated by a number of challenges of late to the direction in which UK land-use policy is heading.

The proposals will not alter the basic principles which form the foundation of UK planning policy - rather they will add new dimensions to deal with the new problems now facing UK planners. These will include recognition and understanding of the European context for planning in this country; improvements in local efficiency; more effective arrangements for regional policy; and clearer statements of national policy. Of particular significance is the reference to use of economic instruments to improve policy.

Road Traffic Reduction Act, 1997

DETR has issued a consultation paper on the implementation of this new Act. Every local traffic authority in England must prepare an assessment of the levels of local road traffic in their area and make forecasts of the rate of growth. They must also make plans to reduce this rate of growth. Separate guidance is being issued for Scotland and for Wales.


SINCE THE SECOND WORLD WAR national transport policy has favoured the motor car. Today nearly 90% of all journeys in this country are made by car. This is a major source of the pollution that is causing acid rain and global warming. Every gallon of petrol burnt produces 11.5 kg. of carbon monoxide, black smoke, and other pollutants that adversely affect air quality. Road traffic volumes have nearly doubled over the last 20 years and are expected to double again by 2025. Traffic in rural areas is predicted to treble during this period.

Shopping centres in the pipeline

Proposals for major out-of-town shopping developments are likely to ‘all but cease by 2001’ according to a report by Hillier Parker. Government policies such as PPG6 are having a significant effect on the outlook of developers, who are switching back to schemes in traditional town centres. There are 61 town centre schemes under way, compared to only 13 out-of-town developments. However the floor space being developed in the out-of-town schemes is almost half that of the town centre projects.

A new urban renaissance

THE WHITE PAPER Planning for the Communities of the Future represents a first major step in the Government’s drive to make towns and cities more attractive and sustainable, and to reduce the pressure for development in the countryside. One of the main proposals is to raise the proportion of new homes we expect to build on previously developed land, from 50% to 60% over the next 10 years, particularly by implementing a sequential and phased approach to land development. The responsibility of regional planning conferences to decide how best to meet housing needs will be increased, with the abandonment of the 'predict and provide' approach to housing provision. A new national database of previously developed sites will also be set up and a task force dedicated to making better use of this land.


The Civic Trust will continue to campaign for further practical measures and initiatives over the next few months, and hopes to assist the new Brownfield Task Force which is being established under the Chairmanship of Lord Richard Rogers.


It is clear that the national recession of the early 1990’s, coupled to increasingly fierce competition from larger urban areas and the proliferation of out of town centre retail developments, have conspired to produce a very difficult trading situation for our market towns. Hadleigh is particularly vulnerable because of its size and geographic position between and proximity to Ipswich, Colchester, Sudbury, Stowmarket and Bury St. Edmunds.

The following points are offered as general observations:

Diversity and Volume of Town Centre Business

bulletThe number of groundfloor businesses at 112 in 1997, is higher than records for the previous two years, representing a 5% increase over 1996.
bullet56% of groundfloor units are in A1 (general shopping) usage. This proportion appears to remain remarkably stable.
bulletTotal business floorspace in Hadleigh Town Centre is in the order of 14,462 sq. metres better than the two previous years and about 4% up on 1996.
bulletUnit vacancy levels have fallen to 12 compared with 17 in 1996. Overall about 10% of units are vacant in Hadleigh town centre. Most of these are however in A1 usage indicating a fairly high turnover of businesses of this kind.
bulletNational multiple retailers are very poorly represented in Hadleigh. It is difficult to envisage much change in the short term.

The most important factors in improving trading conditions in the town centre were considered to be

bulletGeneral improvement in the national economic situation
bulletContinued residential growth in the town
bulletProvision of more non retailing attractions
bulletImprovements to town centre car parking

Public Off-Street Car Parking

Hadleigh is quite well provided with convenient off-street car parking opportunity. Three public car parks provide 259 spaces. This compares favourably with many other small towns in the county. The ratio of spaces to population and business floorspace is also good.

Environmental Factors

bulletThe Conservation Area Partnership Scheme (CAPS), has flourished and has produced a tangible level of improvement to town centre properties. Over the past three years over 50 grants have been made involving 90,000 of public finance. It is to be hoped that the go ahead will be received to continue the Programme.
bulletPublic information boards are modest and dull. Improvements could definitely be made in this area and in tourism promotion generally in the town.
bulletFurther pedestrian friendly schemes should be actively investigated as a means of improving the town centre shopping environment.
bulletAn audit of street furniture has revealed a generally satisfactory level and disposition of provision. There is scope to ensure better consistency of provision.
bulletBicycle parking facilities are needed in the town centre.

Recorded Crime Levels

1996 showed a distinct improvement in recorded crime levels when compared to 1995. A reduction of 23% was recorded, with improvement in most categories. It is to be hoped that the recently installed CCTV system will confirm this welcome situation and help to secure further improvements.

Customer Perceptions

bulletThe quality and variety of small local shops is highly valued as is the availability of convenient and free public car parks and the general environmental quality of the town.
bulletOn the negative side traffic congestion and related issues in the High Street are identified as a major deterrent to shopping in the town.

Further details or a copy of the report from Planning Department, Babergh District Council, Corks Lane, Hadleigh, Ipswich IP7 6SJ. (Tel: 825881)


(from Friends of St Mary's Magazine (Vol 1 Issue 1)

The Deanery Tower is now being brought back into full use. The Upper room Project, being masterminded by the Curate, Chris Wingfield will be an excellent venue for young people to meet. Funds are being raised to carpet and equip this room appropriate to the building and for its use by any organised group. Already, over 200 has been raised for carpeting

This utilisation of an area hitherto considered unusable was largely brought about by the experience and attitude of the County Fire Prevention Officer; whose view about meeting the regulations was coloured by the fact that the building is largely brick built and has a brick stair and therefore it posed less of a risk than many old buildings (and probably many newer ones.) His particular stipulation was that emergency lighting was necessary and this has now been carried out, the Friends' Committee giving half (some 460) to the project In addition to the emergency lighting linked mains smoke alarms have been fitted on all floors.

The Dean’s Library has been decorated this year, taking the advice from English Heritage. The Georgian panelling, always finished in paint from its installation, has now been repainted in Berrington Blue using the correct traditional oil based paint. The carpet has also been removed to expose the original Georgian floorboards, whilst at the same time the blocked fireplace has been reopened and smoke tested - Yes, the chimney does still work!!

Along with the Deanery itself, the outside woodwork of the Tower has been redecorated this summer, and ivy removed from the side of the building. Moreover bird alarms have been place on the roof, to discourage the doves. When they are not billing and cooing, they do make a mess which is both unattractive and damaging to the structure. Once it has been established that the alarms are effective, the outside of the Deanery Tower will be cleaned.

(In general it is surprising how much interest the Deanery Tower generates amongst visitors, possibly along with the Guildhall, due to its unexpectedness. People can see St Mary's Church spire from all over the place in Hadleigh and on the approaches to the town, but on turning the corner in Church Street, to suddenly find such buildings, our casual visitors are frequently awe-struck by coming across such a group, now looking in good condition and all in use.)


Guildhall Garden

Open for Cream Teas Thursdays and Sundays, 2 to 5 pm from 7th June until 20th September. Also tours of the building.

Contact Jane Haylock at the Idler, 01473 827752


Kitchen Garden

Would anyone like the use of a kitchen garden in Milden, in exchange for a few veg?

Contact John Eborn 01449 741833


The Hadleigh Show 1998

This year as many of you will know the Society had its own display on Holbecks Park and we should like to thank all those who supported this effort.

The occasion was a great chance to explain the Society's aims and aspirations and to make new friends.

The Silk Industry in 19thC Essex & Suffolk

At our March meeting. David Possee of Braintree gave us a talk on aspects of the 19th century silk industry in Essex and Suffolk, and asks 'What is a throwster?'. For those who were not there, a throwster is to silk what a spinner is to wool. The throwster twists the silk yarn to produce the thread for the weaver to weave, the number of twists per inch according to what was being woven.

The silk industry moved into this area so that the Spitalfield merchants could use waterpower. George Courtauld built a silk throwing mill at Pebmarsh in Essex in 1799 and this was the start of the rise of the silk industry in Essex and Suffolk. During the 19th century there were 100 sites in the two counties where the silk trade was carried on, operated by 70 different firms. At its height in the late 1850’s the industry employed in excess of 6,500 people. The industry was contained mainly in an area from Chelmsford in the south to Lavenham in the north, and was at first concentrated in those places with rivers. Later on, with the introduction of steam power, mills could be built elsewhere. In Hadleigh there was a silk mill owned by Stephen Brown of Colchester which operated from 1834 until about 1853. It had its own gas works and for sometime supplied gas to the town. The industry employed a great number of women and children and we found out that in 1833 in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex over 1,000 children aged between 7 and 16 years were employed. They worked 12 hours a day for 6 days a week. A 7 and 8 year old earned l/6d per week whilst a 16 year old earned 3/63 d. When young girls were taken on they were given 1/- to bind them to that employer for a year. Woe betide anyone who produced shoddy or wasteful work for they would have to wear a fools cap for the rest of the day, draped with the waste silk. One girl who refused to be humiliated in this way was beaten and subsequently ran away. She found work with another employer, but had to repay her 1/- to her previous master. Some girls who absconded from work were given 7 days hard labour by the magistrates. Even in 1860 someone absenting themselves without good cause could be liable to 3 months in prison!

However, all was not bad for the employers did try to provide for their employees. After the 1850’s many firms arranged annual outings to the seaside or London. In spite of the hardship and low wages, most employees held their employers in high esteem. After all, the alternative to working in the local silk factory or mill was the Union Workhouse!

In closing we were reminded that the silk industry was still thriving, particularly in Sudbury and Richard Humphries of Braintree is still producing top quality furnishing fabric using hand-looms as has been used in the recent refurbishment of Windsor Castle.

'The Weaver and The Throwster' is the title of David Possee’s forthcoming book on the 19th century silk industry of Essex and Suffolk to be published in the summer of 1998. A real must for all people interested in local history and in particular the silk industry, price 4.95. Look out for it in the bookshops or contact David Possee at 22 Stubbs Lane, Braintree CM7 3NR. Fax/Phone 01376 344 558

1998 Programme

Annual General Meeting
with cheese and wine
Thurs 25 Jun
Freemasonry in Hadleigh and Colchester in the early days - Mrs Pat Lewis Tues
11 Aug
Firefighting in Suffolk - Graham Saward Thurs
1 Oct
Hadleigh's Charities
History Group
24 Nov
Illicit Sex in 17th Century Hadleigh,
Sue Andrews
2 Feb 1999
Will - making in Mediaeval Hadleigh,
Peter Northeast
18 Mar 1999
The Paupers of Hadleigh,
Clive Paine
27 Apr 1999
Annual General Meeting Thurs
24 Jun 1999

at Hadleigh Old Town Hall from 8pm.

Free to members, 2 for non-members


Visit The Heraldic Garden, Boxford

on Monday 13th July

Arrangements have been made for Hadleigh Society members and their personal guests to visit the Heraldic Gardens on the above date, arriving not later than 6:15 pm for a prompt start. Tickets may be purchased on site at 4 each (3.50 for OAPs etc.). Please telephone 823991 or 822192 to advise us that you are coming. We can provide lifts for those who need.

Planning Matters

Meet us at the Town Council offices if you want to look at the latest planning proposals. We will be there at 12 noon on following dates: 10 June, 8 Jul, 5 Aug, 2 Sep.

Contact Jan Byrne, 01473 822192


Chairman and Environmental matters John Bloomfield 01473 822063
Planning Hattie Bawden 01473 823193
History Group Joe Byrne 01473 822192
Files Group and Associate Newsletter Editor Graham Panton

01473 823503
Membership Ben Allen 01473 827691
Secretary and Newsletter Editor Jim Betteridge 01473 823991

Published by

All views expressed are those of the contributors and are not necessarily those of the Hadleigh Society



ON THURSDAY 25 JUNE 1998 AT 8 pm.

Society members are invited to make nominations for service on the Society’s Executive Committee for the year following the Annual General Meeting in the following capacities:

bulletChairman, Vice-Chairman, Treasurer or Secretary
bulletor as one of six Committee members.

All posts are honorary and seconded nominations must reach the Society’s Chairman by 11 June 1998.

To: Chairman, The Hadleigh Society, c/o 49 Angel Street, Hadleigh, Suffolk, (Telephone: 01473 822063)

I nominate the following for service on the Executive Committee of The Hadleigh Society for the year 1998/9.


Position Nominated

Name of Seconder

In each case the nominee has agreed to stand.

Name Date

You may copy this form or write your own letter to The Chairman
so long as you include the necessary details.