Accidents and Disasters

Fire at the Richmond House

On 21 December 1791, at half past eight in the morning, a fire broke out on the second floor at the Richmond House. It began in the bedroom of Henrietta le Clerc, who was the illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Richmond and also known as the “Poor Orphan.” Apparently, she awoke to find that…

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Carriage Accidents and Remedies

During the time of carriages, there were numerous reasons as to why accidents happened. The primary causes for accidents usually involved something related to drivers, roads, horses, harnesses, carriages, or riders and occurred for a variety of reasons that ranged from intoxicated drivers to wheels falling off to shying or bolting horses. The following posts…

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Roof Collapse on York Street in 1832

Some building controls were put in place throughout Britain by the 1700s, and, by the mid-1800s, builders had to submit plans for any new buildings or alterations. However, this did not mean that landlords or builders followed the law. It also did not mean that surveyors who checked such things had any authority to insist…

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Clay Cross Inundation of 1861

On 11 June 1861, coal mining activities at the Clay Cross Colliery were proceeding as normal. About three in the afternoon a miner named Natty Dawes noticed water oozing from a seam in his stall. Dawes, rather than informing Alfred Smith, the deputy of the district, went against company policy and informed Alfred’s son, Timothy…

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Dangers of the Victorian Era

The Victorian Era — the period of Queen Victoria’s reign from June 20, 1837 until her death on January 22, 1901 — was a time of peace, prosperity, and refined sensibilities. Fertility rates increased, no catastrophic epidemics or famines occurred, and health standards and nutrition rose. Nitrous oxide became a common anesthetic in 1846, chloroform…

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Haymarket Theatre Tramplings of 1794

After the Opera House suffered a fire in 1789, Italian operas were presented for a season at the Little Haymarket Theatre, also known as Haymarket Theatre or the Little Theatre. The season of reconstruction occurred during the winter of 1794, a time when George III commanded that the theatre present three musical performances — “My…

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Bradford Lozenge Poisoning Case

An accidentally poisoning of sweets, known as lozenges, affected more than 200 people in Bradford, England in 1858. At the time, the maker of the lozenges, a man named Joseph Neal, adulterated the sweets by adding “an article known in the confection trade as ‘daff’ or ‘daft,’ but which appears to have a number of…

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Fire, Hoarding, and Two Sisters in the Victorian Era

Fires were always a danger in the Victorian Era, but one fatal fire in Gosport was worsened by the hoarding of two sisters. The event began in High Street in Darby Court on Tuesday, 10 December 1867 at about two o’clock in the afternoon. A widowed neighbor named Elizabeth Russell noticed smoke rising from the…

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Armagh Rail Disaster

Railway travel was the way to travel in the 1800s, and, on 12 June 1889, a day trip, organized by an Armagh Methodist Sunday School, set off from Armagh, Ulster, Ireland, to the seaside resort of Warrenpoint at 10:15am. The train was to accommodate 800 excursionists and 13 cars, but instead carried 940 excursionists and…

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