Search

The impact of the Silvertown explosion still felt 100 years on

PUBLISHED: 15:00 19 January 2017

The Brunner Mond works following the explosion which devestated Silvertown 100 years ago today.

The Brunner Mond works following the explosion which devestated Silvertown 100 years ago today.

Archant

When the Brunner Mond Works went up the effects were felt for miles around, with reports the sound of the explosion could be heard as far away as Salisbury, almost 100 miles west.

Two miles away, 16-year-old Ted Walker, cycling to work through Canning Town, was blown off his bike by the force of the blast.

For Ron Pearce, Ted’s nephew, hearing the story of his uncle fascinated him as a child.

“It was such a shock for him. He wondered what had happened, but knew it was a major disaster,” Ron said.

A retired minicab driver, Ron, now 89, had uncles in the trenches, but for the youngster, Ted’s story struck him more.

“He only had a couple of bruises. But somehow that explosion caught my imagination and has survived until today,” Ron said.

“I was really impressed. It happened somewhere I knew and had walked through.”

Years later, Ron picked up a passenger who also had memories of the day that shook Silvertown.

“One of my regulars happened to menton the Great War and I asked if he had heard of the disaster.

“He said, ‘Heard of it? I saw and heard it.’”

Ron discovered his passenger was shopping with his mother in Powis Street, Woolwich at the time of the explosion.

His passenger told Ron: “A great glow filled the sky. A bang I hope never to hear again stunned our eardrums.

“I have never lost that feeling of pity for those poor victims.”

Now Ron hopes those who died will be remembered.

“It’s something I will never forget,” he said. “We must remember the civilians who were doing their bit for the war.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Newham Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Newham Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Newham Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Newham News Stories

Yesterday, 21:26

Concerns are growing for the welfare of a missing 16-year-old girl who was caught on CCTV in Stratford.

Yesterday, 18:59

The mayor of Newham has signed a pledge to switch the borough’s street lamps to use energy efficient light emitting diode (LED) bulbs.

Newham Council
Yesterday, 15:45

A man who was injured while volunteering at the London Olympics has lost all his £27,758 damages payout because of his dishonest claim for gardening expenses.

Yesterday, 15:17

A burning shop in Forest Gate was evacuated after a fire started by a faulty electrical connection.

Forest Gate

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Read more

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Read more

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now