This day in 1814 was very lucky for a handful of Londoners (though sadly rather unlucky for others) when a 7 metre (23 foot) tall vat holding 610,000 litres (135,000 imperial gallons) of beer ruptured, causing other gigantic vats in the same brewery to do the same.
As the tidal wave of beer flooded the streets around present-day Tottenham Court Road, people raced on to the streets to scoop up as much as they could. Sadly, the force of the wave destroyed two houses and a pub, and at least eight people drowned in flooded basements. The brewery was taken to court but the judge and jury declared the disaster an act of God.
The day has inspired us to drink a Byrrh & Beer , a drink that marries the French aperitif that's pronounced 'beer' with British ale.
Evil Knievel's Birthday
Guinness World Record holder for "most bones ever broken in a lifetime" (433), Evil Knievel was born on this day in 1938.
He died in 2007, aged 69, having lasted a surprisingly long time for a man who made his living out of impossible motorcycle leaps. Knievel's tolerance for pain was phenomenal, as was his eye for innovation. After failing to jump thirteen buses in Wembley, he walked off stage - despite suffering a broken pelvis. He tried (and failed) to cross Snake River Canyon on a custom-built, rocket-powered motorcycle. But the jump that ended his career was a rehearsal, for a leap over a tank full of live sharks, inspired by the movie Jaws. Knievel lost control and hit a cameraman, who went on to lose an eye.
This is one daredevil whose life is well worth celebrating. May we recommend you join us in a Devil's Manhattan?