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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
25th May 1905 Born today: Binnie Barnes, London, actress (Adv of Marco Polo, Diamond Jim)
25th May 1878 Gilbert/Sullivans opera HMS Pinafore, premieres in London
The Princess Alice Disaster
This is where one of the worst disasters on the Thames occurred.
Location: Galleon's Reach, Plumstead
Description: One of the worst losses of life in The River Thames was the Princess Alice Disaster which happened on 14 September 1878.
The Paddle Steamer had taken over 700 passengers from London Bridge to Gravesend for a gorgeous Summer's day out.
On the return journey it was passing this point in the bend of the Thames when it collided with a huge collier steamer on it's way from Millwall to Newcastle called Bywell Castle. Both saw the problem and maneouvred but to no avail - 750 passengers were plunged into the filthy rivers.
Over 100 were pulled safe from the River, which had been heavily polluted by a recent sewage dump nearby.
The memorial in Woolwich Cemetery states that 550 people died but it's certainly more than that.