Sunday, October 17, 2010

Today in History . . . October 17

Beer flowed through the streets of London on this day in 1814. But it wasn't a good thing.
In the 19th century, beer fermented for months at a time in huge vats that rested on the roof of the Horse Shoe Brewery on Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street. Iron hoops which supported the largest vat, holding some 600,000 liters (160,000 gallons) of beer collapsed under the weight. The vat burst and all the beer came gushing out, causing the vats nearby to explode as well.
More than a million liters (265,000 gallons) of porter beer knocked down the 25-foot brick wall of the brewery and flooded the surrounding streets. Roofs collapsed and houses toppled. Nine people died, mostly due to drowning or from fatal injuries from passing timber.
One man died of alcohol poisoning, after drinking too much of the beverage! Neighborhood residents rushed out with mugs, pots and buckets to collect the free beer.
A lawsuit was brought against the brewery, but the London Beer Flood was ruled an Act of God and the brewery was not held legally responsible. Though it still isn't clear why God might have been angry about beer.
Yup, there can be 'too much of a good thing'.
Blimy, save a pint for me.

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