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)
This practice carried on into
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.
| 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 PH,
displaying pub sign.
An abattoir was built by Gordon Drake behind the shop during 1920, to
slaughter animals to supply the outlet.
To the rear of Cuckoo Barn (where
it stands today)was the original "Barn" in the adjacent
field(now Friends Field).
Cattle was pastured in these fields until they were herded over
the road to the abattoir.
Cuckoo Barn refurbished
for residential use - photo 2003
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, eventually closing down in 1984.
Between 1986 and 1988 the
redundant High St shop was purchased by Greg Moore, an Australian entrepreneur,
who founded Bridge International (later renamed Pont Data Company)
was an IT firm specialising in supplying online information to the finance
Due to its rapid growth it soon outgrew these premises and moved down
to Smallbridge Hall. Sometime after 1988, the shop was purchased as residential
property by Mr and Mrs Furnisss.
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. (Due
to end 2004/5)
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.
White Horse House
as seen today.
The thatched butchers shop would have been to the left, now a garden
The driveway to the right of the house, was the original entrance
to the abattoir
Cuckoo Hill in
2002. The white extension now demolished to serve as a garden
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
Jan 2016 :- Site still for sale
UPDATE 2013: Planning application rejected
for residential development.
Update July 2014
- site now being cleared of all buildings
Update 2015 - Site now for sale with Planning Consent for 5 residential
Information supplied by:_
Gordon Pilgrim and John Drake.
Photographs of the shop Evon/Nigel drake
extract from "Town and Country" magazine 1933.
Updated Jan 2016