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The Sinking of the Steamship London
Episode 514th February 2022 • The BackTracker History Show • The Backtracker
00:00:00 00:26:13

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Season Number: 3 Episode : 5

Shipwrecks were tragically common in the 1860s – the official figure being 10 every week , with a loss of at least 34 lives. The real figure could be so much more, given that they only reflect the shipwrecks which took place off the coast of Britain. 

The Steamship London was considered extremely safe. Just two years old when she embarked upon her final journey, the SS London, was considered both modern and luxurious. Beautifully decorated inside, she was capable of travelling at up to 11 knots.

She was on her way to Melbourne when she ran into a severe storm in The Bay of Biscay off the coast of Spain. What happened next was just as significant as the sinking of the Titanic 40 years later.


This podcast has been specially edited from a Bradley Stoke Radio show in Bristol, England. 

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(1) Victorian Popular Ballad By J.S Bratton

(2) Eastbourne Gazette - Wednesday 24 January 1866

The Gentleman's Magazine, and Historical Chronicle, Volume 220

"Shipwrecks on the Australia - UK Run". Encyclopedia of Australian Shipwrecks and Other Maritime Incidents. Oceans Enterprises. 2006.

(3) McGonagall, William. "The Wreck of the Steamer 'London' while on her way to Australia".

"Two outstanding books". Bookworm on the net.


Salisbury Cathedral

The Wreck of the SS London by Simon Wills

Dundee Courier - Monday 12 March 1866

Belfast Morning News - Monday 22 January 1866


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Intro music by The Model Folk