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No.27 High Street

Cancer Research UK
formerly the Black Cat Café

Shop History

Cancer Research UK


Black Cat Café


Black Cat Café

Early 1960s

Black Cat Café - Peter and Audrey Cocks

12th June 1953

Black Cat - Newmarket UDC re-numbering map


Black Cat Café - the Miss Hiltons


Rutland Hill - Gold Cup Café - Peebles, Mrs P P. - Newmarket Directory


Rutland Hill House - Gould, W.N. - Newmarket Street Directory


Turner & Co., saddlers - High Street - Kelly's Directory


Gardner, H. Lawrence, auctioneer - High Street - Kelly's Directory


Turner & Co., saddlers - High Street - Kelly's Directory

2nd Apr 1911

Lock-up shop - Census


Turner, Stephen, saddler - High Street - Kelly's Directory


Turner, Stephen, saddlers - High Street - Eastern Counties Directory


Stephen Turner, saddler - Census


Turner, Stephen, sack contractor & saddler - High Street - Kelly's Directory


Turner, Stephen, sack contractor - High Street - Kelly's Directory


Joseph Turner - saddler's shop - Census


Turner, Stephen, sack contractor - High Street
Turner, Joseph, saddler - High Street
- Kelly's Directory


Turner, Stephen, sack contractor - High Street
Turner, Joseph, saddler - High Street
- Kelly's Directory


Turner, Stephen, sack contractor - High Street
Turner, Joseph, saddler - High Street
- Post Office Directory


Turner, Joseph, saddler, harness maker, and rope and twine maker - High Street
- White's Directory


Joseph Turner, saddler - Census


Turner, Joseph, saddler - High Street, & at Brinkley
- Post Office Directory


  • Saddler Joseph Turner seems to have been one of the first occupiers at this location. As detailed on the page for next door No.29 High Street originally there were no other buildings between that and the Red Lion Inn, situated where Rous Road is now.

    Prior to 1869 the 1851 Gardner's Directory shows Joseph as being in the Market Place, where the present Guineas Shopping Centre is now. Before then his actual address in Newmarket is not shown.

    From this and also the fact that there are no occupiers listed at this location on the 1861 Census it would appear that the house was built in the 1860s.

  • Rutland Hill House

  • By its location, the 1926 Newmarket Street Directory shows that this building was then known as Rutland Hill House.

    Bury Free Press
    Saturday 22 November 1919

    MR. W. E. LEE
    MR. W. E. LEE Of many years' experience, 43, ST. ANDREWS STREET, NORTH (Near Station), BURY ST. EDMUND’S, Also at Rutland Hill House, Newmarket, each Tuesday, 10 to 4,30. FREE, MODERATE CHARGES, Patients seen at their own residences when necessary.

    This was a series of weekly adverts that appeared in the Bury Free Press from Saturday 22nd November until Saturday 27th December 1919.

    An article in the Cambridge Independent Press on Friday 21st November shows what exactly Mr. W.E. Lee was:-

    Cambridge Independent Press
    Friday 21 November 1919

    DENTAL ANNOUNCEMENT. A New Dental Surgery for Newmarket. MR. W. E. LEE (From Bury St. Edmunds. Attends at Rutland Hill House, High Street, EVERY TUESDAY.

    He can't have been that successful here as there are no other reports about his time in Newmarket, and at that time the building was still occupied by Turner & Co. saddlers; so there can only have been something like an upstairs room for his 'surgery'.

  • The building also appears to have been known as Rutland Hill House even before then, as shown in the following newspaper advert:-

    Bury Free Press
    Saturday 02 March 1912

    HEN HOUSES and Runs, Wire Netting, Flower Pots, Plants, quantity of Potatoes, etc., etc. Catalogue of the Auctioneers, Rutland Hill House, Newmarket.

    There were quite a few similar adverts like this, up until about 1921 - other adverts refer to contacting a Mrs. Webb or a Mr. H.L. Gardner for details. Kelly's Directory of 1916 lists an H. Lawrence Gardner as being an auctioneer in the High Street.

    Henry Lawrence Gardner was born in Newmarket in 1879. In the 1911 census he can be seen living at Denston near Stradishall - listed as an auctioneer. He died in Bury St Edmunds in June 1964. Henry played cricket in the Cambridgeshire Minor Counties Championship in 1900-1901. His mother was Mary Alice (neé Hayhoe), the daughter of the trainer Joseph Hayhoe of Palace House Stables.

    If anyone can shed any light on these other uses of the building please - E-MAIL

  • The Black Cat Café

  • Gold Cup Café
    Many thanks to Peter Norman for this flyer

    Black Cat Café c.1950s
    Many thanks to Peter Norman for this photo

    Black Cat Café c.1960s

    1961 film archive footage showing the Black Cat Café - well worth seeing
    (click on the image above to see the film)

  • The Mrs P.P. Peebles shown here in 1936 was presumably the widow of Philip Percival Peebles (who died in Brinkley on 14th June 1932). Her name was Beatrice Jean Truman Peebles. She remarried to Arthur S. Bingham in 1947 and sadly died a year later in 1948.

  • From the 40s to the mid 50s the café was run by two old ladies - the Miss Hiltons. It was much more gentile at that time and the meeting place of most of the young teenagers in the town - 'can I have a Fanta with 5 straws' is an anecdote from the time. There was a radio in the café tuned to Radio Luxemburg, playing the pop music of the day (don't forget there was no UK commercial radio or even Radio 1 at that time).

  • In around 1957 the café was purchased by Brian Higgs after he'd had a win on the pools. The style changed somewhat and the 'Cat' became an older teenagers 'hangout', Fanta was replaced by Espresso coffee & cola and the radio by a juke box.

    This was very much 'the' venue for the Mods and Rockers, with their various scooters and bikes parked outside.

  • 1960s Mods

    1960s Rockers

    Motorbikes in front of what was the Black Cat Café 2015, now Cancer Research UK
    Many thanks to Mick Smith for this photo

  • At the beginning of their career, between 1963 and 1965, the Rolling Stones played gigs at the Gaumont Theatre in Norwich, the ABC Regal in Great Yarmouth, the Grand Hotel Ballroom and the Pavilion in Lowestoft .... plus also at both the Rex Cinema and the Regal Theatre in Cambridge.

    Newmarket was a convenient stopping-off point on the main road through the area (no A14/A11 bypass at that time) and the Black Cat Café was an obvious refreshment venue for this hard-working band .... as it was for many other 60s bands.

  • The café was a Mecca and an icon of 1960s Britain ... in Newmarket High Street - something worth remembering.

  • The Cock-pit

  • Although No.27 High Street has never really been promoted as being the location of the 'Royal' cock-pit, if you compare the area covered by the peripheral buildings of this as shown on Chapman's 1768 and 1787 maps of Newmarket, No.27 is definitely part of this complex. As it wasn't the central building housing the main fighting ring, maybe there were sheds here where the cocks were kept before the fights - a detail that's been lost to history. 

    Further details about this can be found on the page for next-door No.29 High Street.

    Location of the Cock-pit - Chapman's map of Newmarket 1768

  • Building Changes

  • Planning Application - F/87/642
    27 High Street Newmarket Suffolk
    Application Received Tue 08 Sep 1987
    Application Validated Tue 08 Sep 1987
    Proposal C/U to estate agents office
    Status Unknown
    Decision Recommend Refusal

  • Planning Application - F/86/828
    27 High Street Newmarket Suffolk
    Application Received Fri 24 Oct 1986
    Application Validated Fri 24 Oct 1986
    Proposal Rear extension as completed by letter and drawings 10/12/86
    Status Unknown
    Decision Approve with conditions

  • Planning Application - F/85/217
    27 High Street Newmarket Suffolk
    Application Received Thu 27 Jun 1985
    Application Validated Thu 27 Jun 1985
    Proposal C/Use to retail bakers and confectioners with coffee room (including Sunday trading) and use of forecourt/pavement for seating area
    Status Unknown
    Decision Approve with conditions

  • Many thanks to Peter Norman for the photo 'Black Cat Café c.1950s'.

Click on image to view full size

No.27 High Street

No.27 High Street

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