On this day: the Bray Head railway accident

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On the 9th of August, 1867 sudden subsidence at Brandy Hole Viaduct caused a train to derail.

The location of the disaster was Bray Head, County Wicklow, Ireland. Four people died and twenty-five were injured.

The report into the disaster was published a few weeks later, and can be found in full HERE.

“The train to which this accident happened was the up train leaving Enniscorthy for Dublin, at 6.30 a.m. It consisted of an engine and tender, six carriages, of which the first was fitted with a break, and a guard’s break van. A porter acting as guard rode in this van at the rear of the train. It left Delgany about its proper time, 9.5 a.m., and was travelling slowly round Bray Head in obedience to orders which had been given to all drivers, and had nearly reached this wooden viaduct (called Brabazon corner in the details supplied by the engineer (the late Mr. Brunel), previous to the opening of the line in October 1855), when the acting guard says he got a knock in his van, looked out of the window, and saw the carriages hopping on the rails, and then he put on his break.”

On this day: the opening of the Queen Victoria Building

Designed as a marketplace, the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney, Australia opened on the 21st of July, 1898.

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The building was designed in Victorian Romanesque style by Scottish-born architect George McRae, and constructed between 1893 and 1898.

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More than a thousand guests attended a ball on the night of the building’s opening, where Sydney’s Lord Mayor, Matthew Harris, gave a speech.

The Sydney icon survived twentieth-century discussions of remodelling and even demolition, and today is a popular tourist attraction and shopping destination.

On this day: Victorian Engineering in Wales

Barry Docks, a port in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan in Wales, opened in 1889. A massive project undertaken by Victorian engineers John Wolfe Barry, Thomas Forster Brown and Henry Marc Brunel, son of the iconic Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the docks went on to employ thousands of men and women.

By 1913 it was the biggest coal port in the world.

The image below is of the area ready for the official opening on the 18th of July, 1889.

Barry_Docks4 Dock No.1 of Barry Docks ready for opening on 18th July 1889, Walkertown in centre distance named, after engineer Thomas Andrew Walker (1828-1889) and subsequently named Bar

On this day: the St-Hilaire train disaster

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On the 29th of June, 1864, a train in Quebec, Canada fell through an open swing bridge and into the Richelieu River.

The worst train disaster in Canadian history, it is thought ninety-nine people died in the crash. The majority of people on board were European immigrants.

The investigation placed the blame for the disaster on Grand Trunk Railway, as the train failed to acknowledge stop signals that would have prevented it from falling through the bridge.

On this day: the Great Fire of Saint John

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The Great Fire of Saint John occurred in New Brunswick, Canada on the 20th of June, 1877.

It was after two in the afternoon when a spark fell onto hay in a storehouse, sparking a fire that burnt for nine hours. At least nineteen people were killed and many more were injured.

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1612 structures were destroyed, including fourteen hotels, eight churches, six banks, and a number of boats. The heat of the flames was so great that some buildings were said to have burst into flames before the fire reached them.

Cities all over the world donated money to the rebuilding effort, including Chicago, a city that had suffered a massive fire less than six years before.