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a blog by Chris Barrow

Sinking ships

Shipwreck 1 - fast

Here in my new home village of Hartford, Cheshire, the former Victorian school house carries a blue plaque as you see above.

Edward Knowles was just 34 years old when his ship went down on 22nd January 1873, with over 200 men, women and children who were travelling to Tasmania to begin new lives as construction workers for a railway.

The collision was a complete accident, negligence, and could not have been foreseen.

The Northfleet was at anchor, waiting for bad weather to clear. Nobody had the time to get away. The vessel that hit them, a Spanish steamship "Morillo", did a "hit and run" but the officers and crew were brought to justice eight months later.

240 (including the captain) perished, 86 were saved, including just two women and two children - one of the women was the captain's teenage wife Frederica (age 19), whose bravery in assisting passengers until she herself was placed in a lifeboat, was recognised by Queen Victoria with a life-long pension of £50 per annum (equivalent to £6,800 today).

Shipwreck 2 - slow

So now UDA means "units of dental amalgam" and another blow is struck in a "slowest sinking in history", (along with ICBs redirecting dental funding to other causes seen to be more pressing or worthy).

As the Titanic sank, the band played "Nearer my God to Thee".

The strains of which now drift over the NHS dental landscape.

It may be time to head for the lifeboats.

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