The Explosion that shook Port St Mary: The story of the Brig Lily Disaster, 1852
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On 23rd December 1852, a brig called the Lily set sail in stormy conditions from Liverpool, bound for West Africa. Four days later, she ran aground on Kitterland, a rocky outcrop at the southern end of the Isle of Man, between The Sound and the Calf of Man. After the surviving crew were rescued, salvagers from Port St Mary went to the Lily to recover its cargo, which included gunpowder. On the afternoon of 28th December, that gunpowder exploded – killing 29 men and devastating the lives of everyone connected with Port St Mary.
Author John Wright has spent years researching the story of the brig Lily, piecing together first-hand accounts, newspaper reports, and the findings of the inquest. Published to commemorate the 170th anniversary of the disaster, The Explosion That Shook Port St Mary is an incredible account of the tragedy and the shockwaves it sent around the Island community.