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Collision Of The Princess Alice

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Collision Of The Princess Alice

Post by Karen on Thu 5 Aug 2010 - 1:58

Here are some newspaper accounts of the collision of the Princess Alice with the Bywell Castle, which occurred on the Thames on Sept. 3rd, 1878. Ripper victim, Elizabeth Stride claimed to be a survivor of this shipping disaster.

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Source: The Graphic (London, England), Saturday September 14, 1878; Issue 459

THE LOSS OF THE PRINCESS ALICE.
BOARD OF TRADE REPORT.

The report of the investigation which was held at the Board of Trade Court, East India Dock-road, Poplar, before Mr. Balguy, special commissioner, and Commander Forster, R.N., Captain Parfit, and Mr. J.R. Ravenhill, C.E., assessors, into the circumstances attending the collision between the Princess Alice and the Bywell Castle, whereby the former was sunk and upwards of 600 persons lost their lives, has been issued.

BUILD OF THE PRINCESS ALICE.

From this important document it appears the Court is fully satisfied that the charges of faulty construction and unfitness for service of the Princess Alice, as likewise those made against the officials of the Board of Trade, are utterly unfounded; and it deplores that charges of so grave a character against a public company and the officials of a public department should have been made upon such vague and unreliable testimony. The Court has

SEVERELY CENSURED GEORGE THOMAS LONG,

the first mate of the Princess Alice, for irregularities connected with the look-out kept on board that vessel, and it fears that the reprehensible system which prevailed on board this ship of allowing the crew to make their own arrangements and station themselves at the wheel or look-out is not confined to this vessel alone. It has been remarked, that all the crew of this vessel, including the captain, were London river watermen, and so also were some of the refreshment contractor's servants. The Court was given to understand that, by the Watermen's Act, none other than licensed watermen could be employed on these river steamers. Should such really be the case, it would account for the want of nautical information displayed by these men, from the first mate downwards, several of whom did not know the compass.

EXPERIENCED NAVIGATORS WANTED.

The report proceeds: - "It cannot but be regretted that any Act of Parliament should debar the owners of these large river steamers, carrying one thousand persons, from employing the most experienced officers and seamen they can find. Were they allowed to select their servants from the open market, they would have the choice of the best officers and seamen in the mercantile navy. The Court has been asked to express its opinion as to whether any

ALTERATION IN THE PRESENT RULES FOR THE NAVIGATION OF THE THAMES

or additional precautions are desirable. It is the unanimous opinion of the Court that all vessels navigating the river above Gravesend should keep on a defined course, those going up on the one side and those going down on the other side of mid-channel; (say) each vessel should keep on that side of mid-channel the shore of which is on her own starboard hand, and that thus vessels meeting should always pass port side to port side, and overtaking vessels should pass on the port or mid-channel side of the vessel being overtaken. The Court is also of opinion that this rule should apply to all vessels and craft of whatever description, notwithstanding that, to enable barges and sailing vessels to comply with it, it would necessitate their being taken in tow by a steam-tug. It should be incumbent on vessels requiring to cross from one side of the river to the other, or to turn round, and in doing so getting out of their own water, to see that there is a clear road for them, and to keep out of the way of any vessels moving in the fair-way, and, as nearly all the vessels which require to make devious courses on the river are of a comparatively small size and most handy to manoeuvre, the difficulties of threading the way through crowded shipping would be thrown on those vessels most able to overcome them.

BARGES TO BE TOWED BY STEAM-TUGS.

Many of the owners of barges and small sailing-vessels now find it to their interest to employ steam above Gravesend; and the Court is of opinion that the time has arrived when it should be made compulsory on them to do so, and that no serious hardship will be entailed on them by such compulsory enactment, which would conduce to the safety of the river navigation more than any other change contemplated. The Court is informed that the Mersey, the Clyde, and the Tyne are already in advance of the Thames, as on those rivers the bulk of the river traffic is now conducted under steam. The Court cannot leave this subject without expressing its opinion that much of the

WATER-WAY OF THE THAMES IS OBSTRUCTED BY HULKS

and vessels riding at buoys, placed at unnecessarily long distances from the shore. Powder-vessels, especially the one off Tripcock Point - numerous coal and other hulks, such as the Atlas - vessels laying up, such as the Castalia - unnecessary moorings, such as those off Deptford - are all serious obstructions to the navigation of the river; and the Court is of opinion that these and all similar obstructions should be removed altogether or placed much further back from mid-channel, so as not to interfere with the water-way. It is also of opinion that, so long as the colours red and green are used for the distinguishing side lights of shipping, no lights of these colours should be allowed to be placed on the banks of the river Thames. There are also several obstructions existing below water, the removal of which would add greatly to the safer navigation of the river; but the Court suggests that the obstructions above water might be removed without waiting for the clearing away of those below, which may be a work of time and expense."

THE CASUALTY OCCASIONED BY THE PRINCESS ALICE NOT PORTING HER HELM.

The document concludes as follows: - "The Court now report that, having carefully inquired into the circumstances of the above mentioned casualty, it has returned the certificates of George Thomas Long, Captain Thomas Harrison, Henry Dimelow, and Robert Thom; and that it finds the cause of the said casualty was the breach of Rule 29 of the Thames Conservancy Regulations by the Princess Alice not porting her helm when she came end on to the Bywell Castle, a vessel coming in the opposite direction. The Court is also of opinion that all parties shall pay their own costs."

The Coroner's inquiry into the loss of life by the collision of the Princess Alice with the Bywell Castle on Sept. 3 last was resumed on Monday at the Townhall, Woolwich, before Mr. C.J. Carttar, Coroner for West Kent, and a jury of nineteen members. We cannot but think it would have been wise and considerate of the Board of Trade representatives to have awaited the passing of the Jury's verdict before publishing their report, casting the blame for the calamity on the dead captain or the man-at-the-wheel of the Princess Alice.

Source: The Penny Illustrated Paper and Illustrated Times (London, England), Saturday November 16, 1878; pg. 314; Issue 902

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Collision On The Thames

Post by Karen on Thu 5 Aug 2010 - 2:51

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THE COLLISION ON THE THAMES. - By a curious coincidence, the inquiry into the loss of the Eurydice had hardly come to an end when the country was called upon to sorrow for an even more awful calamity. Scarcely a single element of horror is absent from the dreadful collision which happened on the Thames last Tuesday evening. The Princess Alice, with a freight of some 700 happy holiday people on board, was steaming up the river just below Woolwich, when, through one cause or another, she came into collision with an outward-bound screw collier, and within five minutes the pleasure boat went down like a stone. During the brief interval between the collision and the sinking the wildest panic seems to have prevailed on board, so that nothing could be done by the captain or crew towards saving the passengers' lives. Indeed, had every one remained perfectly calm and collected, the result could not have been otherwise than it was, as the means and appliances for saving life on board the Princess Alice were utterly inadequate for so many people. As to which vessel was to blame for the collision, a considerable conflict of opinion exists among those who witnessed the tragedy. We believe that the saloon boats do not very readily answer the helm, while their great length necessarily makes them somewhat slow in turning. From the account given by one of the survivors, it would almost appear that the captain of the Princess Alice did not see the big collier until a collision was inevitable. There must have been nearly complete darkness when the accident happened, as it was about eight o'clock, and no moon up. The question that presents itself in presence of this fact is as to whether both vessels carried the regulation lights. As a rule, sea-going steamers are very particular in this respect, but we have known the precaution postponed on board pleasure-boats until some time after darkness had set in. On the river below bridge it is commonly said that every one had better get out of the road of steam colliers, as they make room for nobody. We are not aware whether any grounds exist for this innuendo, but the utterly unaccountable nature of the accident leaves no room for doubting that there must have been the most culpable negligence on board one vessel, if not in both. A more awful calamity has rarely happened under circumstances which were apparently all on the side of safety, and it is due to those who now receive the heart-felt sympathy of the nation that the fullest and most searching inquiry should be made into the cause of the catastrophe which has wrenched from them their nearest and dearest.

Source: The Graphic (London, England), Saturday, September 7, 1878; Issue 458

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Survivors' Accounts

Post by Karen on Fri 6 Aug 2010 - 5:47

THE PRINCESS ALICE AND HER DESTROYER.

The following particulars are given by late English papers of the steamer Princess Alice and the Bywell Castle, by which she was destroyed: -

The Princess Alice was a paddle steamer belonging to the London Steamboat Company (Limited). Her official number was 52,614. She was built of iron, and was of 158 tons net tonnage and 251 gross tonnage. Her length was 219ft. 4in.; her breadth, 20ft. 2in.; her depth 8ft. 4in. Her engines were by Caird and Co., of Greenock. They were of 140 horse-power. The vessel was built by Messrs. Caird, of Greenock, in 1865, and belonged to the port of London. She passed, with the rest of the fleet, into the possession of the London Steamboat Company when this undertaking, of which the chairman is Captain Pelly, R.N., and the principal promoter was Mr. John Orrell Lever, absorbed the minor associations for the river passenger traffic. The Princess Alice was insured for 8000 pounds.

The Bywell Castle is an iron screw steamer, having the official number 63,546. She is known by the signal letters J.K.P.W. Her registered tonnage is 892 tons net, 1376 tons gross, and 1168 tons under the deck. Her length is 254ft. 3in., her breadth 32ft. 1in., her depth 19ft. 6in. She has compound inverted engines with two cylinders, diameter 27in., and length of stroke 54.33in. They are of 120 horse-power, and by Palmer's Company, Newcastle. She was built by Palmer, Newcastle, in the year 1870. Her owners are Hall Brothers, of London.

Source: Evening Post, Volume XVI, Issue 256, 28 October 1878, Page 2

THE COLLISION ON THE THAMES.
(Abridged from the London Times.)

GREAT LOSS OF LIFE.

One of the most fearful disasters of modern times occurred on Tuesday evening, September 2nd, on the river Thames at Woolwich.
The Princess Alice, a large iron saloon steamer, licensed by the Board of Trade to carry 899 persons, left Sheerness for London at 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday, and called at Gravesend at 6:30. She was to stop at North Woolwich pier, and was in the reach below it, which is called Gallion's Reach. The tide was running down, at two hours' ebb, and in rounding the point on the south bank (Tripcock Trees Point) into the reach, the course of the steamer was to hug the bank and to avoid the force of the tide. She then headed across the river to the next point, that on the north side called the Devil's House. When half-way down the reach and in mid-stream she was run into by a screw collier outward bound. It was then 7:45 p.m. The Bywell Castle the vessel which ran the passenger steamer down, had hauled out of dry dock at 5:45 p.m. that evening. At 6:30 p.m. she left the wet dock, in charge of Mr. Dicks, pilot, and proceeded slowly down the river. Her master was Captain Thomas Harrison. The log of the Bywell Castle from this point is as follows: -

"The master and pilot were on the upper bridge; John Hardy on the lookout, on the top gallant forecastle. At 7:45 p.m. proceeded at half-speed down Gallion's Reach. Being about the centre of the Reach, observed an excursion steamer coming up Barking Reach, showing her red and masthead lights, when we ported our helm to keep over towards Tripcock Point. As the vessels neared, observed that the other steamer had ported, and immediately afterwards saw that she had starboarded and was trying to cross our bows showing her green light close under the port bow. Seeing collision inevitable, stopped our engines and reversed full speed, when the two vessels collided, the bow of the Bywell Castle cutting into the other steamer, which was crowded with passengers, with a dreadful crash. Took immediate measures for saving life by hauling up over the bows several men of the passengers, throwing rope's ends over all round the ship, throwing over four life-buoys, a hold ladder, and several planks, and getting out three boats, keeping the whistle blowing loudly all the time for assistance, which was rendered by several boats, from the shore and a boat from another steamer, the excursion steamer, which turned out to be the Princess Alice, turning over and sinking under the bows. Succeeded in securing a great many passengers, and anchored for the night. About 8:30 p.m. the steamer Duke of Teck came alongside and took off such of the passengers as had not been taken on shore in the boats.

No log of the Princess Alice has been made up, nor has the master, Captain Grinstead, survived to give an account of her course. The passengers rescued, most unanimously declare that they saw the Bywell Castle on starboard or right-hand side, and that she had struck the Princess Alice on the starboard sponson - that is to say, on the right-hand paddle-box. It seems to be certain that when the Princess Alice was struck, she was struck in the centre on the starboard side, and was almost parted in two. She sank down by the middle. Each end of the vessel rose up in the air, and the passengers rolled down upon each other and into the water. The collier was unable at first in the rapid tide-way to arrest her course, although she had reversed her engines. But she ultimately brought to, threw ropes, lowered three boats, and saved 16 lives.

NARRATIVES OF SURVIVORS.

We append statements which have been made by some of the survivors. James Lynn, who was one of them, says: -

"I was a passenger on board the Princess Alice, which went down on Tuesday. I was in company with my mother and my aunt, and we were returning from Sheerness. Until just before we reached the Royal Arsenal Powder Magazine, which is opposite the Beckton Gasworks, everything had gone smoothly. Just before we arrived at the point we passed a screw barque. In about two minutes more we discovered that a large screw steamer was bearing down upon us. There was then a general cry to get out of the way of the boat, and the captain and the crew called out to those on board the other vessel to stop. In another moment the crash came. They came right into us striking us just beside the paddlebox, & nearly cut the vessel in halves. I then attempted to find my mother and aunt, not thinking the damage was so much as it really was, but I soon found all was over with us. Attempting to save myself, therefore, I caught hold of the chains of the other vessel, but was knocked off in the great crush. I, however, again attempted, and this time managed to climb up the side of the paddlebox of the boat, and caught hold of the rail. No sooner had I done this, however, than she went down. I cannot swim very much, but I had the presence of mind to strike out a little, and thereby kept myself up until I got hold of a piece of wood. The screw pulled up immediately after striking the Princess Alice, but did not lower a boat for fully ten minutes after the accident. I should think there were something like 700 people on board,"

Mr. Childs makes the following statement: -

"I live at 14 Sovereign-mews, Edgeware-road. We were coming back from Gravesend - my wife, three children, my brother, and his young lady. When we had just passed the powder magazine there was a fearful cry throughout the boat of "Look, that ship is down upon us!" I had my boy in my arms at the time, and rushed forward to see what was the matter, and suddenly the crash came and our boat was very nearly cut in halves near the paddle-box. It rapidly filled with water and went down stem foremost. She went down in about two minutes after the vessel struck. There were so many climbing up the sides of the barque that some were thrown into the water. I had climbed up on the bridge of the sinking vessel, with my boy in my arms all the time, but somebody fell off the ropes and dashed him into the water. I swam towards the shore when I was picked up by a boat, I was taken to the gasworks and was well looked after. The shouting and screaming at the seconds when the ship was struck was something fearful. I was in the water only a few minutes after the disaster. I did not see any boats lowered from the barque, although there might have been. We were on the upper deck of the saloon. My wife and child, seven weeks old, were saved, and are now lying in the Plumstead and Woowich Infirmary."

Herbert Augustus Wiele says: -

"I was on the saloon deck aft, but, looking ahead, I heard a shouting, when I saw the huge red hull of a steamer coming upon us towering high above our saloon. She struck us amidships on the right hand side, and then we seemed to be still for a minute. I ran down the companion-ladder and got to the extreme after part of the boat, and I took off my boots ready to dive. The passengers were frantic, and I tried to pacify some of them, for I did not think we should sink, and I think the people got a little quieter; but in three or four minutes our vessel parted in the middle and she seemed to double up. When I came up after diving, the Princess Alice was not to be seen; but I wiped the water out of my eyes and saw my brother who was also one of the passengers. We swam together to the screw ship, and caught hold of a rope which somebody threw over to us. The screw had stopped and did what it could to save life, but it did not lower any boats. I saw four or five men on board, but they said they had no boats. The money-taker of the Princess Alice climbed up the chain of the funnel, and I also saw one of the stewards catch hold of the anchor chain. I believe these two afterwards came ashore. My brother and I got faint clinging to the rope and let go. We swam about till we got hold of a boat and dragged on there for awhile, until at last the man in charge of the boat took us in.

Mr. Haden, who was with his mother and servant were on board the Princess Alice, states that-

"The collision took place about a quarter to 8 - perhaps a little before. The river was quite smooth, and darkness had set in. He was standing on deck with his mother, aged 70, and the servant (both drowned). He saw the Bywell Castle approaching apparently from the north bank, and not far from the Gas Works, and was struck by her great bulk when compared with the Princess Alice. Captain Grinstead who was keeping a lookout at the time, shouted to the approaching steamer when the latter was about 200 yards off. Suddenly the Bywell Castle, instead of easing off, appeared to turn her bow in the direction of the pleasure steamer, and before it was possible to escape or to divert the course of the Princess Alice, the screw steamer struck her amidships close to the engines, and literally clove her in two. For a moment it was believed that the Princess Alice would float, and in that belief Mr. Haden told his mother, who asked what should be done, to stand still. In another moment, however, the steamer sank under foot and disappeared with its shrieking passengers almost under the hull of the Bywell Castle. Mr. Haden says that between the shock and the sinking of the vessel only a few minutes - three or four - elapsed, and no one had time to provide life-buoys or other means of rescue. He was fortunate, however, in securing a cork buoy, which he put over his shoulder, and this kept him afloat. In the darkness he heard a woman shout, - "Save my child!" "Where are you?" responded Mr. Haden. "Here I am," was the answer. Mr. Haden succeeded in bringing his buoy within the woman's reach, and all three were picked up by a boat belonging to a barge. There were ten persons in the boat, which leaked badly, but all were at last put ashore.

Source: Southland Times, Issue 3237, 2 November 1878, Page 5

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More Survivors' Accounts

Post by Karen on Fri 6 Aug 2010 - 21:28

THE PRINCESS ALICE DISASTER.
NARRATIVES OF THE SURVIVORS.
HARROWING SCENES AND WONDERFUL ESCAPES.

Further details have come to hand respecting the terrible disaster on the Thames on 3rd September, by which between 600 and 700 persons were hurried into eternity. The Princess Alice, one of the largest saloon steamers of the London Steamboat Company, with nearly 800 persons on board, was returning from Gravesend to London at about 8 o'clock at night. Rounding the bend which the river takes near Woolwich Arsenal, it would appear that the skipper of the Princess Alice steamed on utterly unconscious of the fact that on the other side of the Point there was swooping down upon him a great, lightly-laden screw collier, which, in a few moments, would crash into his frail pleasure-craft and sink her as surely as though she were rammed by an iron-clad. Had it been day there would have been some chance of escape. Over the jutting Point a glimpse of the collier's smoke might have been caught. But it was night, and shrouded in the darkness the Princess Alice went hopelessly to destruction. The merrymaking passengers got their first warning when they saw their skipper frantically gesticulating on the bridge, and despairingly shouting "Hi, hi; look out where you're going to." They got the second when they saw emerging from the thick night the gloomy hull of a huge steamer bearing down on them. Engines were reversed. A wild effort was made by both ships to get out of the way, but it was too late. The big screw collier struck the Princess Alice amidships, right in front of the starboard paddle-box, and cut her in two as cleanly and cruelly as if the blade of a monster knife had done the work of severance. The wretched people in the wrecked vessel were not kept long in suspense. The fore part began to sink at once, and with it went down many who had not time to rush astern. In five brief minutes the rest of the Princess Alice disappeared beneath the waters, leaving a confused mass of shrieking, choking, struggling, dying passengers to mark the spot where she sank. But into the few minutes that elapsed from the moment when she was struck almost an eternity of agony must have been compressed. Whenever an attempt was made to lower a boat a rush was made for it and it was upset. Strong men buffeted each other in the attempt to reach the ropes and lifebuoys. Women and children were hustled away from even the most hopeless outlets of escape. There seems to have been hardly any regular systematic attempt made to save life. Buoys, lifeboats, all the usual appliances were useless. Everybody fought and struggled as best they could. Some men made frantic efforts to save their wives, sweethearts, and children, and, though they managed to keep them afloat for a little time, the poor things would somehow ere long slip from their grasp and sink with the dreadful death-gurgle in their throats. Others jumped overboard and swam ashore. A few managed to cling to the chains of the collier, others to ropes flung out, and more were picked up by boats that shot out from barges lying anchored in the neighborhood. But the most of them - some 600 - struggled vainly with the ebbing tide, which swept them away seawards. The on-lookers in the boats, stricken with pity, saw them float by with wild, despairing eyes. They saw them rise and sink, and sink again, their arms waving piteously for the help that came not, and, in the nature of things, could not come.

STATEMENT BY THE CAPTAIN OF THE BYWELL.

The captain of the Bywell, the vessel that did the mischief, states: -

"Immediately I saw the collision was inevitable I stopped the engines, and ran forward myself. Finding that the people on the forecastle were saving life by throwing ropes overboard, and hauling people up over the bows, I came aft again and got together the chief engineer, the cook, the donkeyman, and the steward, and sang out to get out the starboard aft boat, which was soon done. By this time we were joined by some of the passengers who had been saved, and I called loudly upon them to help and assist in pulling out boats. After getting out the starboard aft boat, we put out the port aft boat and then the port lifeboat. After this I kept doing all I could, and had at the same time to keep the ship, which was rapidly drifting down, in position. The first two boats were immediately surrounded and very nearly swamped by the people, who floated round like bees, making the water almost black with their heads and hats and clothes. The lifeboat, the last boat launched, was, however, unable to save many lives, most of the people having by this time sunk exhausted. The three boats would hold 70 persons, but I should say they did not save more than 40. They rowed immediately ashore, and afterward returned to the ship, but by this time all was still, and there was nothing to show how many hundred death struggles had taken place there just before. Those who had been saved by hauling over the bows and by ropes thrown from the ship were afterwards taken off by the Duke of Teck, which came alongside about an hour afterwards, so that when the ship put up for the night off Barking about a mile below the wreck, where she had drifted, we had none of the survivors on board. After casting anchor, I determined to abandon the voyage and return to London next morning, to make my report and await the official inquiry. About 11 p.m., Mr. Chapman, the North Sea pilot, suggested taking one of the boats on shore, and seeing if he could render any assistance. He went near Beckton, and found twenty-two bodies lying in a factory, covered with bags. Finding he could do no good, he afterwards returned to the ship. The Bywell Castle was quite uninjured. The Princess Alice must have been as thin as an eggshell, for she broke right up when touched. The morning was foggy, so that we were unable to start early, but we weighed anchor at 8 o'clock, and ran up to London. The collision was undoubtedly caused by the Princess Alice starboarding her helm when she ought to have continued her course on the port helm."

REMARKABLE INCIDENT.

Among the survivors were two brothers named Wiele, whose escape was one of the most remarkable incidents of the catastrophe. They were returning from Sheerness after a fortnight's holiday with their parents, to resume their duties as clerks in the City. The following is Mr. H.A. Wiele's narrative: -

"It was between twenty minutes and a quarter to eight when the accident happened. It was too dark to see the shore on either side - in fact, we could see about ten yards and no more. There was singing on deck and singing below, but nothing roysterous. I remember we had taken a school of young ladies on board at Rosherville, and about twenty-six aged women - probably a mothers' meeting party - at the same place. I took out my watch at twenty minutes to eight, and two minutes later, without any warning, our boat was struck. In a minute she was struck again. I was in the fore part of the boat. I can swim well, so I kept quiet, and tried to pacify the passengers, but it was useless. Soon I felt the bow of the boat was being canted up. I held on to a rope, but almost all the passengers began to slide down the deck towards the middle of the boat. I saw it was the same at the stern; there, also, the end of the boat was slanted up, and people were sliding down, and then trying to crawl back to the higher part. In fact, our boat was broken in the middle. I saw what was coming, and made up my mind what to do. I waited till there were only five of us left in the bows. I dreaded the suction which would take place if I threw myself in the water too soon, and waited till the very last moment. I took off my boots and my coat. I then fixed my hat firmly on my head to break the blow which I should receive by taking a header down into the water, and then I took the plunge as far away from the boat as possible. It seems I struck out for the Essex shore, which was half as far again as the Kentish shore. I found myself in five minutes alongside a lofty vessel, which proved to be the Bywell Castle. Ropes were hanging down, and I got hold of one, but I soon found that there were more helpless ones than myself snatching at the same rope as their last chance. I left it and began swimming again for the shore. The water did not feel at all cold, and I took my strokes leisurely. I had been in the water altogether about a quarter of an hour, when a boat picked me up. Feeling all right, I took a scull and helped in the search. We saw a man and a child holding on to a cask, but our captain would not allow us to help them, saying they were all right, and we must pick up the more hopeless cases first. We picked up two, and then took the couple off the cask, and got safe to shore. I should say my brother had joined me whilst I was in the water, and we went through the rest of the adventure together. On shore we were taken to the Crooked Billet at North Woolwich and most kindly treated, a fire being lighted in the tap-room, and a change of clothes provided for each of us. After staying an hour or two some police officers came and advised us to come with them to more comfortable quarters. We were then taken across in a boat to the Steam Packet Hotel, near Woolwich Pier. Here we had a good night's rest, with water-bottles to our feet and everything that shipwrecked men could wish. We have since been to the Infirmary among sixteen fellow survivors, and Mr. Balchin, the chaplain, has just been leading us in a thanksgiving service, which we all thought was but a proper way of taking leave of Woolwich. And now I am going to my clerk's duties at St. Mary-axe."

WONDERFUL ESCAPE.

Mr. Henry Reed, a stationer, and his wife had a wonderful escape. After describing the accident, and finding himself and his wife in the water, he says: - "When he rose my wife was black in the face and nearly insensible; I could not swim, and could scarcely hold my wife up. She told me to keep quiet, and to hold up. A plank was close by us, and going past I seized it, and holding on to it it carried us right behind the vessel which had come into collision with us; the Princess Alice must then have been behind us. All around were people struggling in the water, screaming and calling to the men whom we could then see looking over the bulwarks of the other vessel. My wife and I also shouted, and ropes, I believe several, were thrown over us by the men. I distinctly saw three ropes thrown, and I believe there were more. I grasped one of the ropes, my wife still holding on to me. Some four or five others took hold of the same rope, but I could not see how many took hold of the other ropes, as they were thrown behind us. The vessel moved on, and, holding by the ropes, we floated down the river with her; one of those clinging, a woman, screaming all the while. I believe she had lost a child. We must have floated in this way for more than half an hour, going down the river with the ebb. We were shouting to the men above, and could hear what they said. Many vessels passed us at a distance, and we could see a good many boats moving about us, but none of them approached us. We could see the lights of Greenwich, when a small boat hailed us, and took us on board. It was a two-oared boat with three men in it. We were taken on board, with all those hanging on to our rope. Some of those clinging to the other rope must also have been taken on board, as there were twelve or thirteen of us altogether. Our rescuers rowed us to Greenwich, where we landed. My wife and I, after procuring refreshment, took train to London, arriving home a few minutes before eleven. The men in the boat told us we were picked up two miles from the scene of the collision. Neither of us lost consciousness during the whole time."

AFFECTING SCENES.

Distressing accounts are given of whole families being suddenly blotted out of existence by this terrible disaster, while in many instances, sadder still perhaps, a solitary survivor was rescued to find parents and friends all swept away at one fell blow. Thirty poor mothers, members of a bible class, accompanied by the lady superintendent, were on board; as far as is yet known only one of the number is saved. A young manufacturer saved a young lady to whom he was shortly to be married by putting her in a boat, and saying, "Goodbye, dearest May, we shall meet in heaven," sank to rise no more. One unfortunate man, who lost his wife and children on board the excursion steamer, has gone mad, and, after wandering about the streets in a wild state of excitement, was taken charge of by the officials and placed under care.

A POISONED RIVER.

"A Pharmaceutical Chemist" writes: -

"When 600 men and women are plunged into a river only a mile wide, it is astonishing that only five or six should have saved their lives by swimming. It is no less astonishing that so many died immediately after immersion. The reason will probably be found in the quality of the water. Close to the side of this dreadful catastrophe are the two great metropolitan outfalls, on the north bank of the river at Barking, on the south at Belvedere. At high water, twice in every 24 hours, the floodgates of these outfalls are opened, when there is projected into the river two continuous columns of decomposed fermenting sewage hissing like soda-water with baneful gases, so black that the water is stained for miles and discharging a corrupt channel house odour, that will be remembered by all who have passed through it on these summer excursions, as being peculiarly depressing and sickening. As sewage when extremely diluted - say one drop in 10,000, will, when taken in milk or in water, induce typhus or other fevers, it will probably be found that, when taken in a concentrated form, sewage, especially when in a state of active decomposition, is a true poison, relatively as fatal as prussic acid."

Source: Evening Post, Volume XVI, Issue 255, 26 October 1878, Page 2


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Caught Dragging A Corpse

Post by Karen on Sat 7 Aug 2010 - 0:14

AN INCIDENT OF THE PRINCESS ALICE DISASTER.

A correspondent says: -

"I left Woolwich pier in the harbor-master's yacht, and just as we were starting a small boat, with four men inside, passed ahead of us, towing behind them a corpse. Captain Fitzgerald perceived it was a woman, and indignantly demanded what the wherry-men meant by it, "towing a woman's body as though it were a dead dog?" and angrily ordered the rowers to stop and take it into the boat. As they seemed disinclined to do this, the yacht set off up the river after them. In a few seconds we were alongside the wherry. The men, seeing they could not escape the harbor-master's anger, rested on their oars, and one of them at the stern began hauling in the rope, while the whole party, abashed at being caught in their act of inhumanity, cried apologetically in a chorus that "they had passed the police, and the police had let them do it." "I don't care," retorted Capt. Fitzgerald, "what the police allow; if you don't put it aboard I will convey it to the quay in my own steamer." While this altercation had been going on, the boat had got close to the paddle-wheel of the yacht, and the crew of the latter were able to help the wherrymen pull the body over the side into the boat. The corpse was apparently that of a middle-aged woman, respectably dressed in a light muslin material, and with a lace neckerchief draggled round her shoulders. Her hair was intensely black, and on her hand were three gold rings."

Source: Evening Post, Volume XVI, Issue 278, 23 November 1878, Page 1

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Bad Samaritan

Post by Karen on Sat 7 Aug 2010 - 1:06

A VERY STRANGE STORY.

A south London journal reports a story which reminds us very much of the Gaffer Hexams and Rogue Riderhoods of the Thames. A drowning man from the Princess Alice offered a boatman 5 pounds to save him. The latter called out that he "could not do it for the price." "I'll give you 10 pounds!" screamed the half drowned man. "It's worth more than that guvnor," composedly returned the waterman. "Fifteen pounds, then," panted the drowner almost with his last breath. "No, but I'll tell you wot, I'll save you for 20 pounds." There was no other alternative, for the boatman evidently meant what he said, and the victim consented. He was hauled into the boat and rowed ashore, and directly they got to land the boatman demanded the money. Said the late victim, "I would have given you 5 pounds willingly, but since you have shown yourself such a black-hearted scoundrel you shall have nothing." The boatman swore and stormed, but without avail, and all he could get was the name and address of the man, who said he might if he liked, "take the law out of him." The boatman means to go to law, and has commenced an action against the man for breach of contract. A well-known South London solicitor has the case in hand.

Source: Nelson Evening Mail, Volume XIII, 29 November 1878, Page 4

Note: How indicative of the future whereby humanitarianism comes with a huge price.

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A Beautiful Letter To A Bereaved Relative

Post by Karen on Sat 7 Aug 2010 - 15:55

THE PRINCESS ALICE DISASTER.

The following is from the Dunedin Age, of the 6th instant: -

Mr. Edwin H. Freeman, the son of the steward and stewardess of the Princess Alice, is at present in Dunedin, and by the last Home mail he received from his brother-in-law a letter, which we have been permitted to peruse. It is so well written, and forms such a touching memorial of this dreadful catastrophe, that we take the liberty of printing a portion of it. It reads as follows: -

101 Vassall Road, Brixton,
London, September 12, 1878.

My Dear Edward, - Possibly ere this reaches you, you may have been advised of the frightful calamity that has plunged the few remaining members of your family that now remain to you into the deepest unhappiness.
The steamer Princess Alice, on her return trip from Sheerness on Tuesday last, the 3rd instant, came into collision with the Bywell Castle, an outward-bound steamer, foundered, and, with comparatively few exceptions, all on board perished.
This cruel loss has been so sweeping that I shrink from the painful task of acquainting you with the death of your poor mother, your father, poor Rebecca and her infant child, and even the latter's nurse - all, all swept away by one of the saddest accidents within the memory of the present generation. To say that I feel for you, heart and soul, is but a feeble expression. I grieve indeed for you, and I am deeply pained at having to impart such dire news. I cannot find language to describe the anguish all that are dear to you endure. Your poor sister Ellen has displayed an amount of fortitude that falls to the lot of but very few of her sex to possess, and apparently foreign to such an affectionate, tender nature as hers. Fortunately, your brother John was at home, and, assisted by Mr. Greenfield, has done all that could be done, but poor Nell has been the "moving spirit" throughout. Day and night, in conjunction with your brother-in-law, has she toiled to discover the remains of those she loved. All have at last been found, and will be buried this day at Leytonstone - Rebecca, with her poor infant in the same coffin, the latter resting on the arm that had so often encircled it in life. I will not here enter into a relation of the fearful catastrophe, but will forward you some newspapers, and you will then know the full extent of the accident that has plunged so many hundreds, not only into the greatest sorrow, but alas, in many instances, into sudden poverty, for the majority of those lost were indeed "bread-winners", and I do hope that a large sum may be collected towards such a national disaster. A penny subscription throughout the United Kingdom would realise a large amount.

My sad task is completed. May the Great Ruler in His great mercy soften this dreadful blow to you, my poor Edward, is the prayer of yours, very sincerely and affectionately,

LAWRENCE ORMEROD.

P.S. - I have just written to my friend, the Deputy-Coroner for East Middlesex, begging him to ventilate the idea of the penny subscription.

Source: Wanganui Chronicle, Volume XXI, Issue 3899, 11 November 1878, Page 2


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628 Bodies Recovered

Post by Karen on Sat 7 Aug 2010 - 23:21

THE PRINCESS ALICE CATASTROPHE.
680 PERSONS DROWNED.

GREAT EXCITEMENT IN ENGLAND.
(PER PRESS AGENCY.)

LONDON, 12th September.

The dreadful disaster to the Princess Alice, steamer, on the Thames, nine days ago, continues the universal topic of interest. The tragedy turns out more calamitous than was at first supposed. Including numerous children, there were fully 800 persons on board; only about 120 were saved; and 628 bodies up to last night had been recovered. Hundreds of relatives have flocked daily to the riverside towns in search of their lost ones. We have had a week of funerals. The bodies not identified and claimed by friends have been interred at Woolwich. Public sympathy for the bereaved is being practically displayed, and collections are made at church and chapel. Benefits are given at theatres and concerts, and the Mansion House fund, headed by the Queen and Royal family, amounts to nearly 10,000 pounds. The vessel, which was divided into two halves by the collision, has been beached. The Board of Trade has appointed a committee to consider the whole question of river traffic. The coroner's inquest is still proceeding. Yesterday a young man, when proceeding to Woolwich in search of two missing relatives on board the Cupid steamer, stumbled and fell among the moving machinery. Death was instantaneous.

Source: Evening Post, Volume XVI, Issue 252, 23 October 1878, Page 2

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A Train Accident As Well

Post by Karen on Sun 8 Aug 2010 - 22:31

NEWS BY THE SAN FRANCISCO MAIL.
SPECIAL TO THE POST.

THE PRINCESS ALICE DISASTER.
FULL DETAILS.

TERRIBLE SCENES
(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.)

AUCKLAND, 24th October.

The Star's London correspondent gives the following account of the Princess Alice disaster: - "Last week the Thames, near Woolwich, was the scene of a tragedy such as is without a parallel in the annals of this country since

"Down went the Royal George,
With twice four hundred men."

Those who know anything of London within the last few years will remember the handsome fleet of saloon passenger steamers belonging to the London Steamboat Company, which were constructed with a view to absorb minor associations for river passenger traffic. Of these, there was no finer or more favorite boat than the Princess Alice, which was 220 feet long, with 20 feet beam, and calculated to carry 900 passengers without undue crowding. Last Tuesday she made a run down to Sheerness with a full complement of passengers, and left Gravesend at six in the evening, on the return journey, quite full of returning holiday people, of whom a very large portion consisted of women and children. Woolwich Arsenal was sighted about 8 o'clock, and the Princess Alice was just rounding Tripcock's Point, an awkward spot, with strong tide running on the ebb, and had put her helm hard-a-starboard for the purpose of passing through Gallon's Reach, on the south shore, in slacker water, when a large Newcastle screw collier, in ballast, steaming down the stream came upon the unfortunate saloon steamer like a ponderous razor, struck her full in the starboard sponson, crushing her down to the water's edge like an egg-shell. You can more easily imagine, then pen can describe, that moment, the terror and agony of those eight hundred passengers, the fierce struggle for life, the shrieks and cries of the drowning, the shouts of the crew of the collier, the water literally black with heads and garments for a few moments - only for a few moments. The steamers hung together just long enough for a few, rather more energetic, to clamber up by the anchor chains and a few rope ends that were hove over. The collier's bows then parted, and in less than three minutes not a trace of the ill-fated Princess Alice was to be seen. She had broken into three pieces and sunk in mid-stream and 600 souls had gone to their last account. The Bywell Castle, the destroying angel, is a 1300-ton iron vessel, built like all coasting colliers with sharp towering bows. The screams and the whistling of the Bywell Castle's steam yell soon alarmed those ashore, and all available boats put off in the darkness to the reserve, whilst another steamer of the same line, the Duke of Teck, also on the upward passage, succeeded in picking up several passengers. The descriptions given by the survivors of the scene on board at the time of the foundering of the vessel are most harrowing. Whole families perished in this terrible disaster, fathers were saved to find themselves widowed and childless, mothers to find themselves sole survivors of the family party. Little children, scarcely able to lisp their names, were picked up and restored to find themselves alone in the wide world. The stories are perfectly heartrending, and the daily papers have contained every day, ever since, pitiable accounts of the parting struggle, last dying requests and mad conflicts for ropes' ends or pieces of broken timber. On the following morning the country was stirred from end to end by a short account of the frightful disaster. The Queen at Balmoral telegraphed sympathy, and sent an aide-de-camp down by the first train to make special enquiries on her behalf. The steamboat companies and railway companies afforded every facility to the friends of the deceased in the identification and removal of the bodies. A Government shed was converted into a huge morgue, and the scenes there and at the inquest rivaled in sadness and horror the accident itself. The wreck was raised and beached a couple of days after the accident, and many corpses were found in the saloon. Many bodies have not been claimed; these have buried unknown, whilst multitudes of enquirers have been unable to discover missing friends. A fund for the relief of the poorer survivors is being raised, to which the company has given 1000 pounds, and the Queen 100 guineas. It is impossible to say where the blame rests. Both sides claim to be in the right. The captain was drowned." Another account says: -

"The floor of the room of the company's office, Woolwich, was covered with bodies with labels on their breasts. Outside the Board-room window is a balcony, upon which were laid, as in repose, the bodies of three or four little children - mere babies. The majority of the dead are women. Mr. Towse, the superintendent of the company's fleet, had on board his wife, two servants and six children, who sailed from Gravesend. The body of the wife was one of those brought to Woolwich, and it is feared all the children were drowned."

The fast, cheap trains, from Ramsgate and Margate, were laden with passengers. One of these had scarcely left Sittingbourne Station, when it ran into a luggage train that was on the point of shunting into a siding. The result of the collision was of a frightful kind. The passenger train was completely wrecked, seven passengers were killed on the spot, and 150 persons seriously injured. At the Coroner's inquest on the bodies, a verdict of manslaughter was returned against the fireman and guard of the goods train on the ground of criminal neglect.

Source: Evening Post, Volume XVI, Issue 253, 24 October 1878, Page 2

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Aunt Lizzie

Post by Karen on Mon 9 Aug 2010 - 4:37

The following article mentions the rescue of a 4 year old girl, named Mabel Hepburn, who stated that she was traveling on the Princess Alice with her "Aunt Lizzie", when the steamer was struck by the Bywell Castle. Of course it may be a long shot, but perhaps her Aunt Lizzie was Liz Stride?
Please see this in the article below (highlighted in pink).

LATEST NEWS BY THE SAN FRANCISCO MAIL.
THE PRINCESS ALICE DISASTER.

INCIDENTS CONNECTED THEREWITH.

When returning to London on the evening of Sept. 4th, the Princess Alice was run into by a screw steamer which was proceeding down the river. The Princess Alice was struck amidships, and the force of the collision was so great that she is reported to have sunk in less than five minutes. The collision occurred off Beckton Gasworks, Barking, and as at this part of the river very few people reside on the banks very little assistance was available from the shore. Some passing craft, however, rendered all possible help, but in spite of their most strenuous efforts only 150 are stated to have been saved. The steamer Duke of Teck rescued a large number of survivors, the majority of whom were landed at Woolwich, and forwarded to their homes.

LOG OF THE BYWELL CASTLE.

The following is extracted from the log of the Bywell Castle relative to the collision: -

"At 6:30 left the wet dock, Millwall, in charge of Mr. Dicks, pilot; proceeded slowly, the master and pilot being on the upper bridge, John Hardy, able seaman, being on the lookout, W.C. Haynes, Henry Gribbin, and William Brankstone, second mate, at wheel; light air and weather little hazy, at 7:45 p.m. proceeding at half speed down Gallion's Reach; being about centre of Reach, observed an excursion steamer coming up Barking Reach, and showing red and masthead lights, when we ported our helm to keep near towards Tripcock Point. As the vessel neared, observed that the other steamer had ported, and immediately afterwards saw that it had starboarded, and was trying to cross our bows. Seeing collision inevitable, we immediately stopped, reversed our engines, and the bow of the Bywell Castle cut into the middle of this steamer, which was crowded with passengers. Took immediate means for saving life by hauling up people over the bows, throwing out the lifebuoys with ropes and planks, and a hold ladder, and by getting out the boats, keeping the whistle blowing loudly for assistance, which was promptly rendered by several boats from shore and a boat from a passing steamer. The excursion steamer, which turned out to be the Princess Alice overturned and sank under the bows in about four minutes from the time of the collision. Succeeded in rescuing a great number of passengers - the exact number it is impossible to say - and anchored near the scene of the wreck."

THE SIZES OF THE STEAMERS.

The Princess Alice (says the London Times) was a paddle-steamer belonging to the London Steamboat Company; was built of iron, and was of 158 tons net tonnage and 251 gross tonnage. Her length was 219 feet 4 inches; her breadth 20 feet 2 inches; her depth 8 feet 4 inches.

The Bywell Castle is an iron screw steamer; her registered tonnage is 892 tons net, 1376 tons gross, and 1168 tons under the deck. Her length is 254 feet 3 inches, her breadth 32 feet 1 inch, her depth 19 feet 6 inches.

NARRATIVE OF A SURVIVOR.

It appears from the narrative of one of the survivor's - Mr. Henry J. King, - that when the collision took place nearly all the passengers rushed aft of the funnel, which made it evident that the vessel was quickly going down. A cry was thereupon raised to keep over to the forward part. Upon that cry being raised, however, there was another rush in the other direction; and Mrs. King, of whom he was taking care, having at the same time his child in his arms, was knocked down. The steamer then gave a lurch over upon her side, and his wife fell overboard, and was drowned. When the steamer went down he kept the child as well as he could above water, and made towards the shore with the aid of the wreckage. In the end, however, he was obliged to let the little one go in order to save himself, as he was unable to keep it up any longer. He reached the shore just beyone the gasworks. He said the passengers commenced shouting when the steamers were about 50 yards apart, but no notice was taken on board the Princess Alice and no attempt was made to reverse the engines. There was quite time enough for the captain to have reversed his engines between the commencement of the shouting and the actual collision. It was his firm opinion that the captain of the Princess Alice was in a great measure to blame for the accident, because he could have easily averted the calamity had he been at his place on the bridge when the shouts were first raised. The "noses" of the two boats were then fully 50 feet clear of each other. He was satisfied the captain was not on the bridge, because he looked particularly to find where he was, and could not see him. The funnel, which was between himself and the bridge, however, might possibly have screened the captain from his view. It seems more than probable that had the Bywell Castle attempted to get out of the way of the Princess Alice she must have grounded.

A SEEKING FATHER.

In one instance, a father, who thought he had lost his little son, had the supreme satisfaction of finding the little one chasing a butterfly over the common, quite unconscious of the terrible ordeal that he had undergone, and though I have made careful inquiry, I have been unable to discover by what means this child was rescued. I am informed that his father is James Kitson, of Walthamstow, who recovered his little son only to learn that his wife and two daughters were lost to him. Thus, a happy and fortuitous reunion was marred by the most acute sorrow.

OTHER HEARTRENDING INCIDENTS.

A little boy, who was brought to shore said, "I am all right; I could find my way home if I had money, but father and mother are drowned."
Amongst those who are supposed to have perished are a young lady and gentleman named Eastwood. They were married in London on Tuesday.
A touching incident occurred with reference to the saving of a little girl about four years of age, named Mabel Hepburn. As the wife of Mr. Edwards, one of the overseers of Woolwich, was walking along the pier on Wednesday evening, she saw a child lying on the pier. All she could say was that she came up from Sheerness with her Aunt Lizzie, that she had been down at Sheerness to see her Uncle, who was employed in loading at the dockyard, and that her mother kept a sweetstuff shop in London.
Mr. Childs, of Edgeware road, says that himself, his wife, their three children, his brother, and the latter's betrothed, were on board the Princess Alice; and out of this party, only himself, his wife, and their baby were rescued. He says the shouting and screaming at the moment when the ship was struck was something fearful.
A poor man, the last on board, states that he only knew that the Princess Alice was struck by the iron steamer, which to him appeared as much higher than the Princess Alice as the houses in Doctors' Commons were higher than the road, and that the Princess Alice almost immediately settled down aft, but before completing that movement toppled right over, and, throwing all her passengers into the river, remained keel upwards. He, poor fellow, was the last on board, and he supported his wife when in the water by holding her under both arms, but from some unaccountable cause, he could not tell what, he let her slip, and she was drowned.

ANXIOUS FRIENDS.

Every train which arrived at Woolwich on September 5th, was filled with passengers, who were seeking for missing friends, and the village of Erith was thronged with heartbroken relatives of the victims, whose bloodshot eyes and tearless melancholy drew forth the deepest sympathies of the inhabitants of the whole district.

WHO WAS TO BLAME?

A river man, who has spent the greater part of his life on the Thames, and who was on a barge close by when the collision occurred, whilst exonerating neither from blame in the matter, asserts that the passenger boat was most in the wrong. She had no business to starboard her helm just before the screw steamer catched her on the starboard side and parted her almost in halves. I saw there was bound to be a collision, so I said to my mates, "Into the boats; here's work to do." A late London cablegram informed us that at the official inquiry respecting the disaster, it was proved that the pilot, captain, and other officers of the Princess Alice were drunk at the time.

NATIONAL SUBSCRIPTION.

Mr. John Orrell Lever, ex-member for Galway county, and chief promoter of the London Steamboat Company, inaugurated a subscription list in aid of the sufferers with a donation of 1000 pounds. The Queen gave one hundred guineas, and our latest cablegrams show that the fund has reached 14,000 pounds.

THE LOSS OF LIFE.

The inquest on the persons drowned through the loss of the Princess Alice is still proceeding. Up to the present time (Sept. 11) the Coroner has disposed of 502 bodies, 80 of which have been buried as unknown. The after-part of the vessel was beached, but only two or three bodies were found in the saloon cabin. It is believed that fully seven hundred lives (principally women and children) were lost out of 802, the number that was on board the Princess Alice at the time of the collision.

Source: Colonist, Volume XXI, Issue 2463, 26 October 1878, Page 1

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I just checked the 1881 Census and found only two possibilities for this Mabel Hepburn. They are:

1881 census - household transcription
Person: HIPBURN, Mabel
Address: 2, Effingham Crescent, Dover St Mary The Virgin
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

HADDON, Elizabeth Head Single F 45 1836 School Mistress
London, Middlesex

HUTSON, Annie E Cook Single F 30 1851 General Servant Cook
London, Middlesex

MORRISON, May A Teacher Single F 41 1840 Teacher School
Newood, Surrey

CRAWLEY, Fanny Teacher Single F 35 1846 Teacher School
Bedford

LACY, Helen S Teacher Single F 26 1855 Teacher School
Guildford, Surrey

WYBORN, Laura M Housekeeper Single F 25 1856 Housekeeper Dom
Eythorne, Kent

WEST, Esther M Teacher Single F 21 1860 Teacher School
Somerset

WORSFOLD, Henrietta M Teacher Single F 20 1861 Teacher School
Dover, Kent

GRAY, Edith B Teacher Single F 18 1863 Teacher School
London, Middlesex

DENNE, Ellen J Servant Single F 35 1846 General Servant
Dover, Kent

CORDERY, Alice Servant Single F 21 1860 General Servant
Ashford, Kent

ATTERS, Eliza E Servant Single F 20 1861 General Servant
Hertford, Hertfordshire

FONTAINE, Elizabeth Servant Single F 18 1863 General Servant
London, Middlesex

TURNER, Mary A A Servant Single F 16 1865 General Servant
Eythorne, Kent

STEVENSON, Emily S Servant Single F 16 1865 General Servant
Uckfield, Sussex

BURTON, Emily M Pupil Single F 18 1863 Scholar
Ipswich, Suffolk

HIGGINSON, Alice M Pupil Single F 17 1864 Scholar
Leicester, Leicestershire

WEBB, Augusta M Pupil Single F 16 1865 Scholar
London, Middlesex

BOUCHIN, Jessie F A Pupil Single F 16 1865 Scholar
Stanmore, Middlesex

TOPHAM, Lucy J Pupil Single F 16 1865 Scholar
Bradford, Yorkshire

COTTON, Adele K Pupil Single F 16 1865 Scholar
Watford, Hertfordshire

HEPBURN, Amy Pupil Single F 16 1865 Scholar
London, Middlesex

SELLEY, Maude A Pupil Single F 18 1863 Scholar
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

HIGHAM, Sarah Pupil Single F 15 1866 Scholar
Faversham, Kent

GRANT, Jessie Pupil Single F 16 1865 Scholar
Kington, Hertfordshire

PURCHASE, Matilda M Pupil Single F 16 1865 Scholar
Maidstone, Kent

BAKER, Sophia C Pupil Single F 16 1865 Scholar
London, Middlesex

COVE, Margaret E N Pupil Single F 16 1865 Scholar
Edmonton, Middlesex

GOODMAN, Caroline Pupil Single F 16 1865 Scholar
London, Middlesex

RICKETT, Mabel Pupil Single F 16 1865 Scholar
London, Middlesex

PETHICK, Amy Pupil Single F 16 1865 Scholar
London, Middlesex

MILLEN, Bertha Pupil Single F 15 1866 Scholar
Faversham, Kent

WEBB, Beatrice M Pupil Single F 15 1866 Scholar
London, Middlesex

KENT, Anne Pupil Single F 15 1866 Scholar
Kidderminster, Worcestershire

GRANT, Agnes P Pupil Single F 15 1866 Scholar
Maidsone, Kent

ALLNUT, Blanche M Pupil Single F 14 1867 Scholar
Waltlington, Oxfordshire

PURCHASE, Alice F Pupil Single F 14 1867 Scholar
Kington, Hertfordshire

GLOVER, Florence Pupil Single F 13 1868 Scholar
Seaton, Northumberland

HIPBURN, Mabel Pupil Single F 14 1867 Scholar
London, Middlesex


SMITH, Clara M Pupil Single F 14 1867 Scholar
London, Middlesex

DE SELINCOURT, M Pupil Single F 13 1868 Scholar
London, Middlesex

SEEKIE, Hilda M Pupil Single F 12 1869 Scholar
London, Middlesex

SCOTT, Mary A Pupil Single F 12 1869 Scholar
London, Middlesex

THOMSON, Lettie Pupil Single F 13 1868 Scholar
Tunbridge Wells, Kent

BRITTEN, M T Pupil Single F 14 1867 Scholar
London, Middlesex

OFFORD, Mabel A Pupil Single F 12 1869 Scholar
Hammersmith, Middlesex

GRIFFETH, Elizabeth M Pupil Single F 11 1870 Scholar
British Subject, Ceylon

LIGHTFOOT, Esther G Pupil Single F 12 1869 Scholar
Farringdon, Middlesex

STALLARTT, Emily Pupil Single F 10 1871 Scholar
British Subject, India

EARP, Margaret B Visitor Single F 18 1863
Derbyshire

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

RG number:
RG11 Piece:
1003 Folio:
65 Page:
37

Registration District:
Dover Sub District:
St Mary Enumeration District:
Ecclesiastical Parish:


Civil Parish:
Dover St Mary the Virgin Municipal Borough:
Address: 2, Effingham Crescent, Dover St Mary The Virgin
County: Kent



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1881 census - household transcription
Person: HEPBURN, Mabel
Address: 3, Don Street, St Helier
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

HEPBURN, Thomas Head Married M 41 1840 Tailor
St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands

HEPBURN, Rebecca Elizth Wife Married F 40 1841
St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands

HEPBURN, Rosa Eliza Daughter Single F 15 1866 Apprentice Tailoress

HEPBURN, Frederick Fauvel Son Single M 13 1868 Apprentice Tailor
St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands

HEPBURN, Mabel Daughter Single F 11 1870 Scholar
St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands


HEPBURN, Herbert Son Single M 8 1873 Scholar
St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands

HEPBURN, Florence Annie Daughter Single F 6 1875 Scholar
St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands

HEPBURN, Henry Son Single M 1 1880
St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

RG number:
RG11 Piece:
5613 Folio:
77 Page:
8

Registration District:
Jersey Sub District:
Jersey - St Helier Enumeration District:
Ecclesiastical Parish:


Civil Parish:
St Helier Municipal Borough:
Address: 3, Don Street, St Helier
County: Jersey
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




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Results Of The Inquest

Post by Karen on Tue 10 Aug 2010 - 3:36

BURIAL OF THE FRIENDLESS DEAD IN WOOLWICH CEMETERY.

At Woolwich Dockyard, where the bruised and swollen remains of the dead lay side by side in long and fetid rows, or on the river, where the watermen, amid wrangling and coarse jokes, hauled in the bodies like any other fish which might come to their net, a sufficiently horrible side of the calamity was seen, but not its tearful and sorrowful side. At the cemetery on Monday week many eyes were brimming with tears, and the people were all hushed and quiet. Women and children who shrank from the tussle on the river shore or the blackened row of corpses in the Dockyard, had come here to be present at the burial of the unnamed dead, some with the view of thus paying vicarious honour to the unfound remains of their own relations. Here, as elsewhere, there were many spectators mixed with the mourners, but it might be gathered from the conversation that those who were not the nearest relatives of persons lost had personal recollections of the victims of the collision. Just such groups of women and children stood and sat on the saloon decks of the Princess Alice in that glad hour of her last voyage, of which one of our Artist's presents a souvenir. It was twenty minutes past five when the ambulance-wagons of the Transport Department of the Army Service Corps containing the thirty-two unidentified corpses approached. The ambulances mounted the hill, the unloading of their freight was begun; and the clergymen, the Hon. and Rev. A. Anson, the Rector of St. Mary's, Woolwich, and the Rev. J.T. Love, his Curate, read the earlier portion of the funeral service several times, while the later arrivals were being taken out of the ambulances. So long was the operation that a second train of three ambulances joined the first with twelve more corpses, and as the sky grew dark above the hill six more wagons ascended with seventeen of the unidentified dead. Thus sixty-one were brought to be buried at once, and these, added to the thirteen interred at the first service, made seventy-four for the day. But a remarkable incident came to diminish the number of interments. At the very moment that the thirty-two were leaving the dockyard gates two young men, unconnected with each other, who were searching for their friends, had recognised among the articles of clothing preserved at the Dockyard undoubted marks of the identity of two corpses of persons they had lost. William Alfred Codling was thus identified by his brother, and Mrs. Wayman by her brother-in-law. As soon as the discovery was made, Mr. Wayman and the surviving Mr. Codling were put in a cab, and followed the funeral procession. The admirable system of registration adopted enabled the coffins containing their relatives to be separated from the others as soon as they were unloaded. They were replaced in the ambulances and returned to the Dockyard. The survivors will have the mournful satisfaction of burying them, with a headstone on which the names of the deceased may be recorded. The rest are only known by a number and a letter.
When the coffins which were deposited at Wickham Cemetery had been lowered to their place, and before the first spadefuls of earth had been thrown upon them by strangers, a member of Mr. Anson's congregation, Miss Broughton, of New-cross, went to every grave, one by one, and cast into it sweet-smelling flowers, heartsease, fuchsias, and geraniums. These bodies, although unknown, have thus not lacked care and tender attention. The graves for the unidentified are on the brow of a hill a few yards below the space reserved for little children. The officiating clergyman stood on the top of the hill to read the service of the Church, his figure, and those of the few with him, standing out in relief against the sky as he intoned to the hushed and expectant crowd the touching words of the Burial Service. The Dissenting body, which is numerous and influential in Woolwich, was represented by a well-known minister, the Rev. Thomas Tuffield, who was present as registrar and member of the Burials Board. The evening service did not end till twilight had deepened almost into night, but in the morning the Rector made an impressive address, the pith of which was given in the last Number of the PENNY ILLUSTRATED PAPER.

MUSEUM OF THE DEAD AT WOOLWICH.

Relations and friends of the hitherto unidentified may be able still to discover their lost ones by means of the photographs of the dead, or by their trinkets or clothing, which are preserved in a kind of Black Museum at Woolwich. At this gloomy inquiry office there are upwards of one hundred cigar-boxes, protected by glass lids, containing the jewellery and trinkets of the persons whose bodies have not been identified. There are many significant tokens of recognition, such as rings having initials engraved on them, and watches and trinkets of various kinds suspended to gold or metal chains. One has a French Exhibition medal, and others coins and charms of peculiar designs, but the Press has discreetly been prevented from giving a description of them. There are upwards of a score of umbrellas and a dozen or so of leather bags which have not been claimed. Amongst the relics were a brass waist-belt and a bamboo stick, and glove, numbered "11," evidently belonging to young Broadrib, of the 11th Hussars. There also are lying shawls of many colours - amber and black, grey, red, and puce; a pad of false golden-coloured hair, a black-and-white straw satchel, and about a score of hats and bonnets, some of them trimmed with ostrich-feathers. No property is given up to claimants without an order from the Coroner, and the police require considerable evidence as to the rightful ownership of jewellery.

THE CORONER'S INQUIRY

into the cause of the calamity may be deemed to have begun on Monday last only, the previous days having been entirely occupied by the Woolwich Jury, ably presided over by Mr. Carttar, in receiving the indispensable evidence as to the indentification of the dead who had been taken to Woolwich Dockyard. Woolwich Townhall was still the place in which the inquest was held. Mr. Edwin Hughes, solicitor, of Woolwich, assisted by Mr. Hillier, of the firm of Newman and Co., appeared for the London Steamboat Company (Limited) and the officers of the Princess Alice; Mr. Myburgh, barrister, was present on behalf of the owners of the Bywell Castle; Mr. Nelson, of the firm of Lowless and Co., appeared for the Christopher Dix, the pilot of the Bywell Castle; Captain Bedford Pim, watched the case on behalf of Mr. W.L. Bridgman, father of Mr. William Bridgman, who, with his wife, was lost in the Princess Alice; Mr. Beaumont Maurice, barrister, represented the Rev. Mr. Rowley, who lost his son and daughter; Mr. John T. Moss, solicitor, of London, appeared for Mr. Robert Dormer, who lost his wife and son, for Mr. Crawford, whose wife and daughter were lost, for Mr. Christian Stahr, whose son was lost, and for the relatives of Mr. William Isaac Lambert, whose father, wife, and daughter were lost; and Mr. Bury Hutchinson, solicitor, of Gresham-buildings, appeared for the representatives of the Wilkins family, and for Mr. Henry Parsons, whose son was lost.
The Coroner at the outset mentioned a singular circumstance in connection with the work of identification. Mrs. Dalton had by certain clothing identified a body as that of her daughter, and, upon her statement being confirmed by Mr. Dalton, one order was given for interment and another for the property to be given up to the Dalton family. On the following day the property was identified as belonging to another of the dead, and since then Mr. Dalton had informed the Coroner that he and his wife were mistaken, as they had heard from their daughter, and they returned the property. The publication of the affidavits sworn before the Receiver of Wrecks and the insertion of certain letters in the newspapers while the case was sub judice was strongly censured by the Coroner.
Mr. Carttar then said he proposed to limit the inquiry to the case which were represented in that Court. With regard to the other cases, after the receipt of certain evidence which would be given as to the collision, he should deal with them simply as cases of person who had been drowned, and he should no doubt get a verdict from the jury to that effect. This would enable persons to get certificates without the delay which must necessarily result from this full inquiry.
We need but glance at the evidence, which went to show that whereas the witnesses necessarily interested in the Bywell Castle appeared to cast the blame of the collision on the Princess Alice, the surviving officers of the saloon-steamer equally threw the blame for the disaster on the Bywell Castle. Simply formal evidence was given by the first witness on Monday. Mr. Thomas, surveyor to the Woowich Board of Health, deposed to seeing the wreck of the Princess Alice above water on the 6th inst.; and Mr. William Wrench Towse (Superintendent of the London Steamboat Company, and himself one of the greatest sufferers by the disaster) produced the certificate of the Princess Alice, showing that the vessel was fit to carry 936 passengers between London and Gravesend, but that a deduction had to be made in proceeding lower down the Thames. For the longer journey to Whitstable the vessel was allowed to carry 486 passengers in the summer and 336 in the winter months. This witness expressed his conviction that on the day of the disaster the vessel did not carry and excess of passengers.
Important evidence was given by George Thomas Long, the chief mate of the Princess Alice. He stated that he saw the lights of the Bywell Castle when she was about a mile off, and that had each vessel proceeded on the same line, looking at each other's green light, they would have passed in safety. The Princess Alice went down before there was time to lower the boats, which were therefore perfectly useless. The vessel went down at once head foremost, and the passengers sat quietly on the deck and apparently did not realise the full force and effect of what had happened. The witness further deposed that the captain of the Princess Alice and the men at the wheel were perfectly sober.

THE STRANGE MAN AT THE WHEEL.

But upon being pressed George Long admitted that Eyres, who took charge of the wheel shortly before the collision, was a stranger, and that he volunteered and went on board at Gravesend in the place of one of the usual steersmen, who was absent. He went on board by the captain's orders, and had never been steering the vessel before. The examination of John Eyres, 3, New-road, Gravesend, commenced just before the adjournment of the Court. He confessed that he consented to take the place of a regular hand - a friend of his - at Gravesend, and that, although he had acted as a boatswain on board large seagoing ships, he had not acted in the river. Eyres further said: -

"As we were rounding Tripcock Point I saw the Bywell Castle's green light. At that moment we were showing her a red light. A screw-steamer passed us there, but I cannot say how near. I did not take notice. After rounding the point our helm was put to starboard by order of the captain, who communicated with me by word of mouth. I was at the port side of the helm and Creed at the starboard. When I first saw the Bywell Castle she was about a quarter of a mile off, or about four minutes in time. She suddenly showed all her lights and then we were struck. We were then close to the south shore, but by the set of the tide we were carried out towards mid-channel after the collision. I never steered a river steamer like the Princess Alice before. The Bywell Castle ran half through us.

Did she back out clear from you? - We sank, I think, under her bows. I could not see, for I leaped overboard. Her bows were so high that I could not see whether she had anybody on the look-out. Previous to the collision I heard one man on board the Princess Alice sing out to the captain, "Steamer ahead!" and the captain's reply, "All right." The whistle was then blown, and I got the order from the captain to starboard the helm. I was steering purely by the orders of the captain, as I was quite unacquainted with the river. On the helm being starboarded the vessel came round like a top.

To a Juryman - "We came round the point "Easy," but I cannot say at what speed. I heard the order "easy" given."

To the Foreman - I never steered any of the Baltic or Mediterranean going steamers of which I have spoken.

To Mr. Hughes - On rounding Tripcock Point the captain said to me, "Mind your helm on account of the down tide." By that I understood that I was to hold the helm tight to prevent the vessel being swung off. Before rounding the point we showed our red light to the Bywell Castle, but after rounding it we must have shown her our green.

What do you attribute the accident to? - To the Bywell Castle porting her helm against our green light.

Do you know that to be bad navigation? - I should think it was.

You ultimately got on board the Bywell Castle? - Yes; I was picked up by a boat.

What was the captain doing when you got on board the Bywell Castle? - Reversing his engines; and I told him the screw would cut people to pieces. He said, "What am I to do? I cannot let her drift ashore." I said, "Better let her drift ashore than cut people to pieces."

John Eyres indicated on the chart on Tuesday the relative positions of the Bywell Castle and Princess Alice at the time of the collision, and added: - When I saw that the collision was inevitable, I put the helm hard astarboard. The captain said, "Hold on your helm." The captain came off the bridge on to the starboard box. That was the last I saw of him. The last words he said to me were, "Let go that wheel and look out for yourself." I ran to one of the boats on the port side, but by the time I got there the water was up round the rails, and I jumped. The captain of the Princess Alice was quite sober. I don't believe he had had a glass to drink that day.
The Coroner thought there could be no doubt as to the capacity of the witness. He had certificates for good conduct and ability, but he was not in the practice of steering a vessel like the Princess Alice, and the question would arise whether the captain was justified in permitting him to steer her on the occasion in question.
One or two of the jury indicated concurrence in this view of the matter.
John Rand (apprentice and foremast hand on board the Princess Alice), Ralph Wilkinson (second mate), Henry Young (another foremast hand), Thomas Longhurst (engineer of the saloon-steamer for ten years), and Benjamin White, a passenger, likewise gave evidence on Tuesday as to the collision from their points of view; and ere the sitting closed there was an unseemly wrangle between a juryman, Mr. Barnes, and the foreman, who accused the former of insulting him, and was certainly spoken to in an abrupt and impertinent manner by the hasty juryman.
Coming to the important evidence of Capt. Harrison and Mr. Dix, respectively the commander and pilot of the Bywell Castle, that may be epitomized by saying (as deposed by them before before the Receiver of Wrecks), in their opinion, the cause of the casualty was the Princess Alice improperly starboarding her helm; and it might have been avoided if she had continued her course under port helm." On the other hand, it may be repeated that Captain Joseph Smith, master of the Ann Elizabeth, of Goole, deposed that he was an eyewitness of the collision, and that he maintained "the cause of the calamity was the Bywell Castle keeping on port the helm when a collision became imminent." With these and similarly conflicting bits of evidence before them (to say nothing further of the breeze between the foreman and Mr. Barnes), the Woolwich Jury, it will be allowed, will have no light task before them in forming an impartial opinion of their own on the matter.
On Monday Dr. Hardwicke held a mournful inquest at the Court House, Holloway, on the body of Miss Ellen Hanbury, aged twenty, who resided at No. 81, Mildmay-road on the previous Friday and died from the effects of immersion after the collision between the Princess Alice and the Bywell Castle on the 4th. Mr. J.D. Hanbury, a City merchant, and brother of the deceased, said that she went on an excursion with her sweetheart and others. After the disaster she was alive, and was subsequently found at a house near Barking, whither she had been taken by her rescuers. She was a good swimmer, and kept afloat two hours, getting ashore two miles from the scene of the wreck, when she was picked up in a boat. Her sweetheart was with her then, but there was only room for one, she was taken, and he was left behind. He kissed her and said, "Good-by, we shall meet in heaven." He was lost. After hearing medical evidence, the jury returned a verdict that the death was caused by congestion of the lungs and shock from immersion in the River Thames, after a collision between the Princess Alice and the Bywell Castle, but whether it was from an accidental death or otherwise they had no evidence to show.

We may add that the result of the Poplar inquest was also an open verdict. But the jury appended to their verdict a suggestion that in future all ships and boats should carry rafts, or seats, or some other contrivances of sufficient floating power to bear the weight of all on board.

Source: The Penny Illustrated Paper And Illustrated Times (London, England), Saturday September 21, 1878, Page 183, Issue 894

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Damaged Ship Brought Ashore

Post by Karen on Wed 11 Aug 2010 - 3:09

THE THAMES CATASTROPHE.

It is our melancholy duty to continue our series of Engravings illustrating the lamentable collision of the Bywell Castle screw collier with the Princess Alice Saloon-Steamer on Tuesday evening, Sept. 3, when, according to an estimate made by the Rev. A Styleman Herring on Monday last.

786 LIVES WERE LOST

through this appalling calamity. We are enabled in the first of our Illustrations "In Memoriam" to give a portrait of

CAPTAIN GRINSTEAD,

the chief officer in command of the Princess Alice at the time of the disaster. The late Commander of the ill-fated saloon-steamer was a man whose broad brow and firm, intelligent mouth indicated possession of the very qualities requisite in a Captain filling so onerous and responsible an office. His face stamped him as a man of exceptional power. It is universally known that he stuck to his post to the last. His chief mate, George Thomas Long, a survivor, in giving evidence at the Coroner's Inquest on Monday, paid an involuntary tribute to Captain Grinstead's sobriety and watchfulness. The chief mate said Captain William Grinstead had been about two years in command of the Princess Alice; and affirmed that he never knew him to drink, or to be the worse for drink. Captain Grinstead, Mr. Long added, was on the bridge alone just before the disaster; and the witness heard his Captain shout out to the approaching steamer,

"Hoi! Hoi! Where are you coming to?"

Another survivor, a lady on board the Princess Alice, had a momentary glimpse of Captain Grinstead in the water after the collision. With self-sacrificing anxiety for her safety, he urgently entreated her to clutch at some floating shred of the wreck, and so save herself. She did so. But when she looked round again Captain Grinstead had disappeared. It was not until the Sunday night after the catastrophe that the body of the lamented Captain was picked up in the river off the T Pier at Woolwich. Mr. Charles Grinstead (a brother of the Captain) and his wife, who were also among the victims who went down with the Princess Alice, rendered signal service to the injured by the railway accident at Sittingbourne, it will be remembered, they being at the time on a visit to Mrs. Eliza Hoffmeister, a sister of the late Captain Grinstead, resident at Sittingbourne.

THE WRECK OF THE PRINCESS ALICE ASHORE.

The sundered portions of the Princess Alice were raised from the bed of the Thames in less than a week after the collision; and were moved to the southern shore, where they remained, mutely eloquent relics of the terrible disaster. The fore and aft pieces of the wreck were placed (as shown in our front Illustration) close together on the western extremity of the property belonging to the Government and forming part of Woolwich Arsenal. This successful result, however, did not end the labours of Mr. Charles Wood and his subordinates, as the foremost boiler of the wreck still lay in mid-stream, whence it was necessary to raise it. Two of the lighters accordingly returned to the spot situated between Tripcock Point and the Beckton Gas Works, from which they had brought the main relics of the wreck, and in a day or so the boiler was brought to the surface in the same way as the dissevered hull was recovered - namely, by means of chains placed by divers under the sunken mass which it was desired to raise. The prow of the Bywell Castle passed into the steamer on the starboard side just abaft the engine-room and its contents, which subsequently escaped unscathed. They long immersion which they have since undergone has, of course, diminished their value a little, but no irreparable mischief has been done, and it is anticipated that the machinery will yet do some useful work. The several parts of the hull will probably be broken up on the spot where they now lie, the injury they have received being of such a nature as to render it quite impossible for them ever again to be put to any nautical purpose.
The whole of the wreck has been surrendered by the London Steamboat Company to the Thames Conservators. As soon as the tide sank sufficiently to allow the resumption of the search in the second half of the raised vessel, a body of Thames policemen, together with some of the crew from the lighters, made their way into the cabins and began the disagreeable task on Tuesday week. Some difficulty attached to it also, for the conditon of the inside of the wreck was one of the greatest confusion. The furniture was found piled and locked together in quite an accountable way, and the heaped-up tables and chairs effectually frustrated any attempt to enter rapidly. Every object also was clothed in mud, which covered the floors to the depth of more than three feet. One of the first to make their way into the after cabin said that the whole place looked as if somebody had been doing as much harm as he could with an axe and hammer; and the description could hardly have been improved upon. It was some little time before anything was found of more importance than beer bottles and glasses, but the searchers at last came upon that which they would willingly have avoided. In the ladies' cabin, where it had probably been washed by the water, the body of a man was discovered in an advanced state of decomposition. Soon afterwards one of the lightermen named John Waterfall came upon the corpse of a female under a table in the after-cabin. The body, though sadly disfigured, was evidently that of a fine woman. The deceased had on a green dress, a black jacket, and black kid side-spring boots. Further search but too quickly brought to light a third body - also that of a woman - which lay buried in the mud under a large piece of oilcloth. These were the only bodies taken from the wreck that day, and the views of those who considered that the disclosure of what the after-cabin contained would add yet another hundred to the number of the dead were happily not realised. In a brief space after the recovery of the three corpses, the Heron, which has had lately such a ghastly duty to perform, hove in sight, and, having received her melancholy freight, steamed to the Dockyard, where the bodies awaited identification.
On the shores hundreds of persons assembled in the early part of the past week, among them being many women who were content to stand motionless for hours gazing at the empty hull. But the public curiosity soon abated; and in a day or two those who gathered to gaze at the sundered wreck were seemingly confined to a few sorrowing relatives such as our Artist found at sunset on the evening that he made the drawing which shows the riven saloon-steamer lying by the riverside, whilst there swiftly and silently cleaved through the darkening tide just such another tall, narrow screw-collier as came into collision with the Princess Alice on that mournfully remembered third of September.

Source: The Penny Illustrated Paper And Illustrated Times (London, England), Saturday September 21, 1878; Page 181; Issue 894

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An Artist's Sketches

Post by Karen on Wed 11 Aug 2010 - 11:03

Sketches by the Artist who rendered them based on his own eyewitness accounts and by speaking with the survivors of the collision.

[img][/img]

[img][/img]

[img][/img]

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Princess Alice Ensign

Post by Karen on Mon 21 Feb 2011 - 16:44

The Company ensign of the Princess Alice (1878) From Thames Museum.

[img][/img]

Source: Thames Police Museum
Link: http://www.thamespolicemuseum.org.uk/gallery.html


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Princess Alice Disaster

Post by Karen on Tue 12 Apr 2011 - 21:08

SUMMARY.

All interest in the affairs of Church and State, or in the foreign or domestic policy of the country, has been swallowed up by the overwhelming grief which has been occasioned by the catastrophe off Woolwich. How many persons have really perished through the running down of the Princess Alice will perhaps never be exactly known. Yesterday's papers state the number of the bodies actually recovered from the river as 591, of whom about a hundred have been buried without identification. But it is not merely the appalling sacrifice of life which has excited public sympathy. There has been something peculiarly painful in many of the circumstances which have accompanied it. In some instances families have been utterly wiped out; in others, fathers and mothers have both perished, leaving large families of little ones doubly orphaned; in others, a father has lost wife and children. In one case, a young man who was on his way with his sister to Woolwich in the hope of finding the remains of his mother, two other sisters, and a brother, fell into the engine-room of the boat by which he was travelling, and was instantly crushed to death by the machinery, leaving his sister the sole survivor of the whole family. A governess from a young ladies' school in the north of London had taken six of the scholars with the German teacher for an excursion to Sheerness; and she alone of the party survived. All the rest, with one exception, not only perished, but have been lost; a dreadful end to a treat to which the girls had been looking forward the whole of the summer. In another case a benevolent lady, Miss Law, had organized a trip for the members of a Bible Class, forty-eight in number, from St. John's-lane Mission, Clerkenwell; and of the party only two returned. Amongst other valuable lives which have been lost may be mentioned Mr. Northey, Master of the Boys' School at Limehouse; and Mr. Lambert, the oldest member of the choir of St. Paul's, Lorrimore-square, with his wife and little daughter.
This dreadful accident has brought into high relief both the good and bad points of society in a great city. Nothing could well be worse, more callous, or heartless than the conduct of some of the waterside population, who have been attracted, like vultures, to the spot. On the other hand, the feeling of charity and compassion which has pervaded the whole country, has been most creditable. The Lord Mayor has, of course, undertaken a subscription for the sufferers, and on Wednesday night the amount which had been received was 8,500 pounds. One of the most gratifying donations was 50 pounds from the Comedie Francaise as a return for the kindness which they received in London seven years ago. The Australian Cricketers have also sent a hundred pounds.
As if two such horrors as the Sittingbourne railway accident and the sinking of the Alice were not enough, there was an explosion at one of the workings of the Ebbw Vale Colliery Company on Wednesday afternoon. It is stated that the number of men and boys in the pit was 371; of whom 80 only have been rescued, and it is feared that all the rest have perished! The summer, the closing days of which have been so bright and pleasant, is sadly clouded as it leaves us.

Source: The Church Times, September 13, 1878, Page 503

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Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"
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Re: Collision Of The Princess Alice

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