Sunday 1 August 2010

London's Disasters - my new book

Sorry about the lack of blogs over the past few days. I’ve been working on publicising my new book – London’s Disasters: from Boudicca to the banking crisis, published by the History Press. It is an update and expansion of my Disastrous History of London which was first published seven years ago as Capital Disasters.

I was interviewed this morning on Time 107.5, the local radio station for Havering, Barking, Dagenham and Redbridge about the sinking of the Princess Alice on September 3, 1878 on the Thames close to the Barking Creek sewage treatment works.

About 640 people drowned after the pleasure steamer collided with a collier on a lovely evening. It is perhaps not surprising that this was the worst shipwreck in London’s history. When you think of the fierce storms that strike our coasts, and the treacherous rocks around them, it is more surprising when you realise this was one of the worst shipwrecks in British history.

One of the consequences of the disaster was a tightening up of the rules of navigation on the Thames. Confusion over how vessels should pass each other was one of the factors that caused the accident. For the full, dramatic story, see London’s Disasters.

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