'HMS Albion Just Before Launching', London, 1898.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
'HMS Albion' before its launch, taken by Edgar Tarry Adams (1852-1926), on 21 June, 1898. Adams had visited the Thames Ironworks at Blackwall, London, to photograph the launch of the ship with his new hand-held camera. Tragedy struck however. When the ship left the slipway, entering the water, it caused a massive wave which engulfed nearby spectators, drowning thirty-four people. Adams, a wealthy and dedicated amateur photographer first took up photography in the 1880s. His father had encouraged his interest in boats from childhood, and Adams regularly documented the construction and launching of ships. He carried on taking photographs until after World War One, creating a fascinating social record of his family, friends and interests.