started in 1909 with a shop along Cuckoo Hill, owned by Gordon Drake
Today, no evidence is to be seen of this shop, long since demolished.
Behind this property stood the slaughterhouse, where cattle were
The earliest recorded date
of a slaughterhouse in Cuckoo Hill was in 1503:-
John Hunte was ordered not to pour animal blood into the common ditch
at his slaughterhouse on Cuckoo Hill (then called Slaughters Hill)
In 1869 it was registered to William
Scowen as the White Horse Public House.
1874 to William Death publican
1884 Golding Hume publican
1892 Golding Hume publican
1899 Golding Hume publican, who then moved to farm at Bures
1900 listed as a butchers shop owned by George Hume and finally in 1909
by Gordon Drake.
Records indicate that slaughtering
of livestock in Cuckoo Hill had been going on for some considerable time.
Effluent from the abattoir was discharged into a ditch which ran down
the rear of the High Street directly into the river. This practice carried
on into the 1950`s.
| A public
enquiry held on the 3rd May 1950 into the feasibility of providing
a mains sewage system to the village reported:-
railway layout at the station in 1900 shows goods sidings with cattle
pens. Reference can also be found that for over 600 years. In the 1920`s,
local surviving residents can still remember cattle being driven through
the village from the railway station up High Street to the abattoir.
Gordon also rented out land at Bures Hall Farm and also in St Edmunds
Lane to graze his beef herd. Gordon also supplied milk to the local Dairy
White Horse Public
House closed down & now operated by Drake Butchers, shop to
White Horse PH,
displaying pub sign.
An abattoir was built by Gordon Drake behind the shop during 1920, to
slaughter animals to supply the outlet.
During the second world war a rogue antiaircraft shell fired from Colchester
landed on the abattoir injuring several workmen and killing a slaughterman.
Records indicate Walter Smith was the Slaughterman in charge
assisted by Pat Baker.
After the shop in Cuckoo
Hill closed down, new premises were found in the High St which served
as their retail outlet, this eventually closing down in 1984.
Unfortunately slaughtering soon came to an end with the introduction of
more and more stringent EU regulations.
Gordon Drake sold the abattoir in Cuckoo Hill to a Mr Thompson in 1980.
During its latter years it was used as a meat processing plant distributing
pre-packed meat joints to retail outlets. The entire site eventually closed
in 1984, ownership transferring to a Mr Matthews, an Insurance Broker from
He subsequently rented out the property to Babergh on a 20 year lease. (
Babergh District Council
reopened the complex, as small units for those starting up new businesses.
This has led to a diverse range of activities over the years ranging from:-
Concrete garden ornament manufacturer, clothing distributor, marquee/tent
manufacturer, printing works, glass blowing, confectionery distributor,
water softener distributor, small scale chemical (horticulture) works
During 2002, its popularity appears to have dwindled as more units appear
to become vacant.
The animal holding
pens can be seen in the background (now re-furbished with doors)
and the building on the right, part of the main freezer.
behind the original butchers shop was closed in 1980, replaced by
council owned, light industrial starter units.
By 2002 the use of these units had declined with only two left in
service by 2004.
April 2009:- Site For Sale
UPDATE 2013: Planning application rejected
for residential development.
July 2014 - site now being cleared of
Update:- Mid November 2016. Test
soil drilling taking place on site
This will be 7 years, since the land was put up For Sale.