Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 9°C

Search

Stowmarket: Tragic factory explosion victims remembered

14:00 06 March 2014

The memorial plaque in Stowmarket's Old Cemetary in memory of the victims of the explosion at Stowmarket's guncotton factory in the town. L-R: Sue Williams, Jeannette Baldry, Darren Dordoy, Heather Salmon, Annette Beresford, Steve Williams, with 18 month old Elijah Hyland.

The memorial plaque in Stowmarket's Old Cemetary in memory of the victims of the explosion at Stowmarket's guncotton factory in the town. L-R: Sue Williams, Jeannette Baldry, Darren Dordoy, Heather Salmon, Annette Beresford, Steve Williams, with 18 month old Elijah Hyland.

Archant

A devastating explosion which killed 28 people over 140 years ago has finally been marked by a memorial.

The disaster at Stowmarket’s guncotton factory in 1871 left a crater 40ft wide and 10ft deep.

Buildings hundreds of metres away were damaged by the explosion which is arguably the biggest tragedy to occur in the town’s history.

Although money was raised at the time to help the families of those who died and to rebuild parts of the town crippled by the incident there was never a formal memorial commissioned.

But now a plague has been installed in the town’s Old Cemetery to commemorate the disaster’s victims after funds were raised by the Stowmarket Local History Group.

The group’s chairman, Steve Williams, explains how the idea for a memorial came about.

“There’d never been a plaque or any sort of commemoration,” Mr Williams said.

“A few years ago our local history group decided to take on the project of transcribing all the names in Stowmarket cemetery.

“Some people would often stop and have a chat and we noticed there were people coming round trying to find the plots of people killed in the explosion.”

Mr Williams said only three of the victims had their own headstones and the queries from members of the public prompted the group to consider fundraising for a plaque.

Money was raised through donations and fees from talks given by the history group.

And contributions from national companies such as Wetherspoons and Morrisons, as well as local funeral directors Andrew Bingham and Ipswich stonemason James Wright, also boosted the projects coffers.

The completed plaque was unveiled last month in a small ceremony attended by members of the history group, the Mayor of Stowmarket Vera Waspe, the Rev Michael Eden and the Rev Leslie Ivory.

Mr Williams added reaction to the plaque had been favourable and the group was considering new projects.

0 comments

Suffolk Police have launched a double murder investigation after two men died after being stabbed in Ipswich on Thursday.

A man and a teenage boy were stabbed this afternoon in Ipswich at West Meadows near the Whitehouse Interchange.

Police have said they are “anxious” to find an Ipswich woman who has been reported missing.

A heavy police presence on the westbound side of the A14 opposite the Whitehouse Asda on Bury Road was reported this afternoon.

For many it signals the start to the Christmas holidays – and today the festivities started for those people when the Coca-Cola truck rolled into town.

A proposal to offer some children “short breaks” away from their families as an alternative to being put into care has received unanimous backing from the county council.

Police are releasing CCTV images of potential witnesses as work continues to trace missing Corrie McKeague.

Through our iwitness24 site, readers are able to share their photos of Suffolk’s top beauty spots, of landmarks and of some of our amazing wildlife in action.

The largest ever ship to call at the Port of Ipswich has passed under the Orwell Bridge – with less than half a metre to spare.

Community leaders have agreed to formulate plans to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds of developer contributions on infrastructure projects in east Suffolk.

Most read

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24