Drowning in Sewage: The Sinking of Princess Alice

The sinking of SS Princes Alice, a British paddle steamer, on the River Thames on 3 September 1878, that resulted in the loss of more than 600 lives, was Britain’s worst inland waterway tragedy. The incident took place in some of the foulest waters of the Thames, and many survivors who were initially rescued later succumbed to illness after ingesting the heavily polluted waters. The tragedy led to major changes in the practice for waste disposal on the Thames.

On the evening of 3 September 1878, the Princess Alice was making her way up the Thames on her return journey from Sheerness to London, when she collided with the collier Bywell Castle. The larger vessel struck Princess Alice on the starboard side and broke the paddle steamer into two. Princess Alice capsized quickly and within four minutes, she had sunk beneath the waves.

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Source: amusingplanet.com

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