This Week In London’s History
- Monday – 3rd September 1878: Passenger steamer Princess Alice collides with cargo ship Bywell Castle on the Thames near Woolwich Pier. All of the 700 passengers of the Princess Alice are either thrown into the heavily polluted river or trapped below the decks of the sinking vessel. Fewer than 100 passengers survive.
- Tuesday – 4th September 1899: Moorfields Eye Hospital (known at the time as the Royal London Ophthalmic Hospital) is opened at its current site on City Road (having previously been situated on Moorfields since 1805, hence the name). It would become the largest eye hospital in the world.
- Wednesday – 5th September 1975: An IRA bomb explodes in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane in central London, causing 2 fatalities and injuries to a further 63 people.
- Thursday – 6th September 1997: The funeral of Princess Diana takes place at Westminster Abbey. The service is watched on television by millions of people worldwide, as Elton John performs a re-worked version of Candle in the Wind and Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, delivers a controversial speech criticising the media and (indirectly) the Royal Family.
- Friday – 7th September 1978: Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov is stabbed in the thigh with an umbrella whilst walking across Waterloo Bridge. He soon develops a fever, is hospitalised, and dies three days later. A post-mortem reveals a metal pellet containing the poison ricin embedded in his thigh.
London Quote Of The Week
A mighty mass of brick and smoke and shipping,
Dirty and dusky, but wide as eye
Could reach, with here and there a sail just skipping
In sight, then lost amid the forestry
Of masts; a wilderness of steeples peeping
On tiptoe, through the sea-coal canopy;
A huge, dun cupola, like a foolscap crown
On a fool’s head — and there is London Town!
Lord Byron, Don Juan