Two towns, same name, same destination

By Lisa CleverdonTHE vagaries of the British weather are enough to make even the most resilient dream of escaping to the other side of the world.But seeking a new life beneath the sun is nothing new, and our ancestors are responsible for establishing many new settlements all over foreign lands, including the USA.

By Lisa Cleverdon

THE vagaries of the British weather are enough to make even the most resilient dream of escaping to the other side of the world.

But seeking a new life beneath the sun is nothing new, and our ancestors are responsible for establishing many new settlements all over foreign lands, including the USA.

In 1640 a group of Puritans made the long journey from England to America and made a home for themselves in Massachusetts.

Houses were built and farmlands were tended, with the founders naming the new town Haverhill – after their west Suffolk home.

Now more than 300 years on, the similarities between the two towns extend to more than simply sharing the same name.

Most Read

James Fiorentini, mayor of the U.S. Haverhill, said it has been working hard to establish its own rail link, similar to the current fight to revive one of East Anglia's most historic lines between Haverhill and Cambridge.

And in a strange twist of fate, the destination of the U.S. commuters is also a city called Cambridge.

"We have been working diligently on revitalising our rail link to Boston Massachusetts. The next city over from Boston is Cambridge Massachusetts and many of our commuters travel to Boston and to Cambridge," said Mr Fiorentini.

"Many of our residents take the trains to go to school in Cambridge, which is a major university city and is home to Harvard, among others."

He added: "The trains have run to Boston for the past 150 years, but we only recently re-established an actual train station in Haverhill after the original one burnt down many years ago.

"Improved rail lines has been a major boost to our community and the service is used by hundreds of people, including many students."

Haverhill in Massachusetts is home to about 61,000 people and the town is blessed with lakes, streams and ponds and an array of parks, trails and conservation areas.

Mr Fiorentini, who has been mayor of the town since January, said: "Our Haverhill is a lovely town, but I would be very interested to visit England to see the Suffolk version."

Jacqueline Rudd, mayor of Haverhill in Suffolk, said she would like to see the town follow in the footsteps of its American counterpart and re-establish the rail link, for which the Cambridge to Sudbury Renewal Association has spent the past six years campaigning.

"I was aware there was a Haverhill and a Cambridge in Massachusetts, but I didn't realise the two towns are so close together and that there is a rail link between them," she added.

"I think our town is in desperate need of a new railway because it was a real shame when the old one closed and I think our commuters would get the same benefits that those people in America have had.

"Haverhill in Suffolk has got a lot to offer and I think if Mr Fiorentini was ever to visit us, then there is a lot here we could show him."

lisa.cleverdon@eadt.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter