Heritage column: The earthquake at Fairlop

Fairlop Waters Country Park. Picture: Ron Jeffries

Fairlop Waters Country Park. Picture: Ron Jeffries - Credit: citizenside.com

The 1884 Colchester earthquake, also known as the Great English Earthquake is well recorded and occurred on the morning of April 22.

It caused considerable damage in Colchester and was the most destructive earthquake since the Dover earthquake of 1580.

Reports suggest that between three and five people were killed, but this has never been confirmed.

There were 1,250 buildings damaged and included most settlements all the way to Ipswich.

Waves caused by the earthquake destroyed many small craft.

Less well known is the earthquake, which occurred on February 8 1749.

It seems that 1749 to 1750 was noted for earthquakes, and by all account the 1749 earthquake was significant.

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This is mentioned in a talk on the life of Smart Lethieullier given by C H Chown to Barking and District Archeological Society in 1939.

Smart Lethieullier was the squire of Aldersbrook Manor House, near to what is now City of London Cemetery.

In a communication to the president of the Royal Society dated February 27 1749, Smart Lethieullier writes about that he is unable to learn the full extent of the earthquake to the east of London.

He had been in the garden and did not feel anything, but his wife felt the motion in the house, being exactly like what she had often heard described when she had been in Italy.

He was probably referring to an earthquake with its epicentre in London.

Although it was not a large quake, (2.6 Richter scale) it demonstrates the existence of an active fault directly beneath central London.

Where the shock were recorded are shown as red dots on the London Earthquake Map, from Richmond to Eltham, Edmonton and Croydon, Ilford, Fairlop and as far east as Gravesend.

Source: Ilford Recorder and Essex Record Office