'Scene of the Explosion on the Regent's Canal', London, 2nd October 1874.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving from the Illustrated London News, October 1974. The Regent's Canal, connecting the Paddington Canal and the Thames at Limehouse, was opened in 1820. At 4.55 on the morning of Friday 2nd October 1874, a barge carrying a cargo which included five tons of gunpowder exploded on the canal underneath Macclesfield Bridge in Regent's Park. The explosion, believed to be the largest to have occurred in London prior to the First World War, killed the four-man crew of the barge, destroyed the bridge, and blew out windows in buildings up to a mile away. The accident caused the canal to be closed for four days.