Rare photos released of the damage caused by the Silvertown explosion
PUBLISHED: 11:00 19 January 2017
Copyright PLA Collection / Museum of London
The devastation caused by the explosion spread for miles around, but one of the hardest hit areas was the Royal Victoria Dock.
As part of today’s commemorations, rare and haunting images of the destruction have been released online.
Taken by John H. Avery, who was asked to take pictures of the damage to help the Port of London Authority (PLA) in its claim for compensation, 24 photographs are made available by the Museum of London Docklands.
Museum curator Vyki Sparkes, who put together the digital album, explained: “There was a war on so there were limits to what you could report.
“You wouldn’t have had people going round taking photographs.
“Having these photographs and making them accessible helps show the scale of destruction.”
Avery took 130 pictures, the only visual record of the damaged docks, and presented them to the PLA board who used them in their claim for £357,540 in damages, equivalent to more than £22m today, from the Ministry of Munitions.
In total businesses in the affected areas claimed £82m in today’s money in compensation from the British government.
Vyki commented: “These are really arresting images. Avery really brought his artistic skill to the job.
“It seems like another battlefield. It was a humanitarian disaster. The docks were part of the war effort, sending things to the frontline.
“In the pictures you see policemen, firefighters and nightwatchmen. These people were at the front line too. The dock was devestated.”