Accidents and Disasters

A Georgian Era Tragedy at a Puppet Show

A Georgian Era tragedy at a puppet show in 1727 resulted in 78 people dead, many of them children. The story begins with a man who owned a family-run puppet show who was named either Richard Shepherd (or perhaps Richard or Robert Sheppard). As he was passing through the village of Burwell, about 10 miles…

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Seven Melancholy Accidents of the Georgian Era

During the Georgian era, there were many “melancholy” accidents reported in the papers. The first one accident occurred in 1799 on 6 February at Morley Park, near Heage. A servant working for a Mr. Wildsmith was drawing water from a well with a bucket. According to the newspaper, all was going well until suddenly “the…

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Lightning Strikes of the 1700s

Benjamin Franklin was the first to discover that lightning consisted of electric matter. This discovery helped people to understand “that lighting in passing from the clouds to the earth, or from the earth to the clouds, runs through the walls of a house, the trunk of tree, or other elevated objects.” Since Franklin’s time people…

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Heroine of the Seas, Grace Horsley Darling

The heroine of the seas, Grace Horsley Darling, was the daughter of a lighthouse keeper. Grace was born in the month of November on the 24th in 1815, and she was twenty-four when fate came knocking at her door. It happened at daybreak on 7 September 1838. At the time, Grace was sleeping but a…

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Prominent Theatre Fires in the 1800s in Europe

Theatre fires were a big problem in the 1800s. Some fires happened after hours when theatres were closed, but fires also occurred when people were in the building, on stage, or seated in the auditorium. Fires with people present were the most worrisome as lives were endangered and people were often injured or killed. Among…

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Death By Peas and Other Foods

Food was not always safe in the 1800s, and all sorts of foods could cause death. For example, a 22-year-old woman decided to eat raw rice mixed with milk, and afterwards drank her hot tea. A few hours later she fell ill and complained of severe stomach pain, which was caused from the rice swelling.…

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London Beer Flood of the 19th Century

The word “flood” comes from the Old English word “flod.” Hundreds of myths exist about floods with claims that either a deity or deities would destroy civilization with a flood. Yet, one of the most interesting floods proved not to be a myth and did not happen with water. Rather it consisted of beer and…

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Five Unfortunate Accidents of 1843

Accidents were common events in 1843. Besides carriage accidents, drownings, and frequent fires, people experienced other types of Victorian accidents that ranged from property damage to death. Among the unfortunate accidents that occurred in 1843 are the following: First, a story about a snake; second, a thunder and lightning storm; third, the unfortunate collapse of…

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Two Men Suffocated in One Grave

In 1838, an inquest was held in the parish of St. Botolph’s, Aldgate because of a horrible accident. It involved 53-year-old Thomas Oakes, a gravedigger, and a 20-year-old passerby, who was also a fish dealer and the father of two children, named Edward Luddett.

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Accidents Involving Animals in 1843

Accidents were common events in the Victorian Era. Many accidents involved animals partly because animals were an integral part of Victorian people’s lives. Stories of these animal accidents were publicized in local newspapers. Among the stories told, are five interesting ones from 1843. The first story involves a horse in Northern Ireland, the second story…

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