From Stamps of the World
Stowmarket (Also Stow-Market) is a small market town in Suffolk, England, on the busy A14 trunk road between Bury St Edmunds to the west and Ipswich to the southeast. The town is on the main railway line between London and Norwich, and lies on the River Gipping, which is joined by its tributary, the River Rat, to the south of the town.
The town takes its name from the Old English word stōw meaning "principal place", and was granted a market charter in 1347 by Edward III. A bi-weekly market is still held there today on Thursday and Saturday.
Disaster struck Stowmarket on 11 August 1871, when an explosion at a local gun cotton factory claimed twenty-four lives and left seventy five injured, the site of the explosion is now home to a large paint factory.
On the 8 June 1918 the first UK astronomical observation of nova V603 Aquilae was made from Stowmarket by A. Grace Cook. History repeated itself on 13 December 1934 when amateur astronomer J. P. M. Prentice discovered DQ Herculis from the town.
Just before midday on Friday 31 January 1941, a solitary German bomber plane (eyewitness accounts differ on the model) was spotted over Stowmarket firing its guns.The bomber strafed a larged area of the town, before dropping bombs onto the highstreet. The Stowmarket Congregational Chapel, a gothic style building that was built in the 19th century, was completely destroyed. There was only one casualty, Mrs Rhoda Farrow who had just returned from seeing her son Ronald and his fiancee off at the train station.
On 17 July 2002, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh visited Stowmarket during the Golden Jubilee Celebrations, this was the Queen's second visit to Stowmarket, having first visited the town not long into her reign as Queen in July 1961. During the visit, Her Majesty and Prince Philip visited the local market, meeting stall holders before The Queen unveiled a new Town Sign and met representatives from local organisations while the Duke of Edinburgh met students who took part in The Duke of Edinburgh's Award and viewed a display at the Museum of East Anglian Life.