The Silvertown explosion - 19 January 1917

On 19 January 1917 at around 7 pm, a massive explosion tore through a former chemical works that had been converted to a TNT factory in London's East End. Shockwaves from the explosion at the former Brunner Mond & Co works were reported in Essex, and the blast was heard in Kent, Southampton and Norwich. Part of the factory was destroyed, as were several nearby streets. The force of the explosion showered molten metal for several miles. Between 60,000 and 70,000 buildings were damaged, including docks, warehouses, factories and a gasometer, which exploded, creating a massive fireball. The repair bill totalled some £0.25 million and the blast destroyed or badly damaged around 900 homes, leaving thousands homeless. 73 people were killed, including firemen from the nearby station, dockers, Brunner Mond employees and children asleep in their beds. More than 400 people were injured, 94 seriously. This community remembers the dead and injured (identified from inquest and other newspaper reports), those who had a lucky escape and those who served with the emergency services. Please do add further information if you can. For more details on the explosion, see the Museum of London's video at:

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