The sinking of the Princess Alice pleasure steamer occurred in the River Thames, off Creekmouth on 3rd September 1878. Approximately 700 people lost their lives that day. Many of the survivors and bodies were brought ashore at Creekmouth. The frozen, soddened survivors were taken into the cottages, given dry clothing and food, whilst awaiting the arrival of friends and relatives to take them home. The bodies of the drowned were laid out in the Mission Church where later their inquests took place in one of the sheds at Lawes Factory. The bodies were then either collected by relatives and made ready for burial or taken across the water to Woolwich where those who were unidentified were buried in a mass grave in Woolwich Cemetery.
From Planning to Action
The Creekmouth Preservation Society committee conducted some research on the tragic event and realised that there was no memorial to this historic, calamitous occurrence, on the north side of the river. They formed a plan to rectify this wretched oversight and set about raising funds to purchase a fitting memorial to those who had lost their lives.
Lottery Awards for All
Local residents and businesses gave generously but it wasn’t enough for us to be able to secure the Welsh slate plaque we wished for. We decided to apply for a grant from the Lottery Awards for All and they were happy to grant us the extra money we needed. After careful thinking we chose the following inscription for the plaque:
Princess Alice Memorial
In memory of all those who lost their lives
in the tragic sinking of the
Princess Alice pleasure steamer off Creekmouth
on 3rd September 1878.
Also, with grateful remembrance of the residents of
Creekmouth Village who helped in the rescue attempts.
Approximately 700 people lost their lives in the disaster
May they all rest in peace
The plaque rests on a slight incline at Creekmouth Open Space, overlooking the point in the river where the collision took place. It is surrounded by 700 daffodils, planted by members of the public and the local scout group.