Wednesday, 15 January 2014


Today is, or would have been, Martin Luther King's birthday.

It is also the anniversary of the Great Boston Molasses Disaster. That sounds like a Goon Show episode, but was in fact ghastly: on the 15th of January 1919 a storage tank exploded: it had contained two and a half million gallons of molasses, which had fermented in the unseasonal heat. A wave of molasses about ten feet high flowed through the town. 21 people were killed and 150 injured. Cleaning up took weeks, and it is said that even now, on hot days, there is a whiff of ancient molasses in some parts of town.

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