Jump to content | Home Portcities London reflecting our cultures [ Bypass: Visit the Port Cites Consortium ] [ Bypass: Search Facilities ] Maritime London Partnership- Bypass site links | Full graphics | About this Site | Feedback On this site: [ Bypass: Main Menu ] You are here: PortCities London home > Historical events > Ceremony and catastrophe The 'Princess Alice' tragedy Chapter Index Send this story to a friend | Printer-friendly version | View this story in pictures Disaster on the Thames
By the late 19th century, the Thames was increasingly busy. Hundreds of vessels, from large liners to tugs, barges and lighters, used the river each day. Despite ever larger and faster ships, there were no precise 'rules of the road'.
A model of the Princess Alice disaster. © NMM
Such confusion inevitably led to tragedy. In 1878, the paddle steamer
Princess Alice sank after a needless collision in Galleons Reach.
More than 600 people lost their lives in what is still the worst ever disaster on a British waterway.
A ship's wheel spoke from the Princess Alice. © NMM
Official enquiries followed the tragedy, and the rules on using the river were finally tightened up.
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