The London Beer Flood
On October 17, 1814 in the parish of St. Giles, London, England at the Meux and Company Brewery on Tottenham Court Road, a huge vat containing over 135,000 imperial gallons (610,000 L) of beer ruptured, causing other vats in the same building to begin a domino effect. As a result, more than 323,000 imperial gallons (1,470,000 L) of beer burst out and gushed into the streets. The wave of beer destroyed two homes and crumbled the wall of the Tavistock Arms Pub, trapping teenage employee Eleanor Cooper under the rubble. Within minutes George Street and New Street, neighboring areas to the brewery were swamped with beer as well, killing a mother and daughter who were taking tea, and surging through a room of people gathered for a wake. Eight people would either drown in the flood or die from injuries sustained when their basement rooms filled with beer.
The brewery was eventually taken to court over the accident, but the disaster was ruled to be an Act of God by the judge and jury, leaving no one responsible. The company found it difficult to cope with the financial implications of the disaster, with a significant loss of sales made worse because they had already paid duty on the beer. The brewery was eventually demolished in 1922, and today, the Dominion Theatre occupies a part of the site of the former brewery.