Daily Event for September 3

September 3, 1878: After a day at Gravesend some 700 people boarded the Princess Alice to return to London. The Princess Alice was the finest ship in the London Steamboat Companies fleet. A sidewheel steamer, 219 feet long with a top speed on 12 knots, she was said to have been a beautiful ship. Approaching her destination the Princess Alice was run down by the collier Bywell Castle. The much larger ship ripped a hole just aft of the paddle box and tore the ship in half. The Princess Alice sank to the bottom of the Thames in less than five minuets. The people on deck were thrown into the water and those below decks never had a chance. The Bywell Castle and a pleasure steamer that was in the area came to the rescue but, because the ship sank so quickly 650 people were killed.

© 2005 Michael W. Pocock

Wreck of the Princess Alice