High Tides

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In February, 1791, there was an extraordinary high tide, and all the low-lying districts on the Surrey side were flooded; Bankside and Tooley Street were under water, and, on the City side, Queenhithe, Thames Street, and Wapping High Street were also submerged. Palace Yard was flooded two feet deep, and boats rowed from the Thames to Westminster Hall.

In December, 1793, a terrible fire broke out at Hawley's Wharf,. near Hermitage Wharf, Wapping, which entirely destroyed that and several neighbouring properties, three vessels, and other small craft that were lying in the dock; 1400 casks of sugar were melted by the intense heat into one mass, which flowed through the streets and into the river one bright stream of liquid fire.

This conflagration resembled in many respects the larger fire in recent years at Cotton's Wharf Tooley Street, where the floating masses of burning tallow carried the fire to ships moored in the stream.

In July, 1794, nearly the whole of Ratcliff was destroyed and several vessels in the river alongside. It was started by the boiling over of a pitch kettle at a boat-builder's yard. This disastrous fire was considered to have been the worst experienced since the Great Fire of London for the number of houses burnt.

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