Almanac – October 17

1091 – London Tornado of 1091, reckoned by modern assessment of the reports as possibly a T8 tornado (roughly equal to an F4 tornado) which  is Britain’s earliest reported tornado,  killing two. The wooden London Bridge was demolished, and the church of St. Mary-le-Bow in the city of London was badly damaged; four rafters 26 feet (7.9 m) long were driven into the ground with such force that only 4 feet (1.2 m) protruded above the surface. Other churches in the area were demolished, as were over 600 (mostly wooden) houses.

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1814 – London Beer Flood. At the Meux and Company Brewery on Tottenham Court Road, a huge vat containing over 135,000 imperial gallons (610,000 L) of beer ruptured, causing other vats in the same building to succumb in a domino effect.

As a result, more than 323,000 imperial gallons (1,470,000 L) of beer burst out and gushed into the streets. The wave of beer destroyed two homes and crumbled the wall of the Tavistock Arms Pub.

The brewery was located among the poor houses and tenements of the St Giles Rookery, where whole families lived in basement rooms that quickly filled with beer. Eight people died in the flood (some drowned, some died from injuries, and one succumbed to alcohol poisoning).
The brewery was eventually taken to court over the accident, but the disaster was ruled to be an Act of God by the judge and jury, leaving no one responsible.

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1934 – Rico Rodriguez born  – in Cuba, but moved with his family to Jamaica at an early age.  Ska and reggae trombonist.

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2008 – Levi Stubbs died.  American baritone singer, best known as the lead vocalist of the Motown R&B group Four Tops. He was also a voice artist, portraying villainous characters in films and animated television series, most famously having provided the voice of the alien plant Audrey II in the musical horror film Little Shop of Horrors, and Mother Brain in Captain N: The Game Master.

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