London Beer Flood

by MSO

Did you know that the Code of Hammurabi of ancient Babylonia c. 1750 BC provided that the death penalty could be imposed upon a proprietor for diluting beer.

Beer is, as Homer Simpson once famously said, “The cause of and solution to all of life’s problems” but it was all problem in London when a large beer vat ruptured and caused a cascading and catastrophic flood.

The flood occurred at the Meux and Company Brewery on Tottenham Court Road and caused more than 323,000 imperial gallons (nearly 1.5 million litres) to flood the streets. Due to the surrounding area being a primarily poor region where families lived in basements, several houses were flooded and 7 perished due to drowning and one to structural collapse. Due to the accidental nature of the flood the disaster was ruled an act of God and no one was charged although the brewery lost significant money on the beer that spilled.

According to, the townspeople didn’t want the beer to go to waste and scooped it up in pots and pans. One man is reported to have died several days later from alcohol poisoning due to drinking too much of it.

Read more:

The London Beer Flood of 1814

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