Southern England

Brighton shark attack of 1785

An extract of a letter sent to ‘The Morning Herald’ newspaper from Brighthelmstone dated September 26th 1785, and reproduced in John Parry’s ‘The Coast of Sussex’ in 1833:

“A gentleman a few days ago was bathing a little below the (bathing) machines, and being very calm, he imprudently ventured further into the sea than what is customary. He had not been long diverting himself in the water, before he heard a noise, and discovered the fins of a fish above the surface of the water, which he soon perceived approached him very fast. Alarmed at this, he hastened out of the water, and had scarcely reached the shore, when a large tiger shark plunged after him with that violence, that it forced itself entirely out of the water on dry land. The shark, thus out of its element, had no power of retreating; and the gentleman who providentially escaped, recovering from his fright, collected a number of people, who with hatchets attacked this ferocious creature and killed it. On opening its stomach, the entire head of a man was found in it, not otherwise altered than being very soft and pappy, and the fle

sh and scalp entirely separating from the bone on touching it. The stomach was half an inch thick, and the shark was twelve feet in length from its head to its tail.”

From here