Was there really a time when beer flowed through the streets of London? Yes. But it wasn't necessarily a good thing. In the 19th century, beerfermented for months at a time in huge vats that rested on the roof of the Horse Shoe Brewery on Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street. On October 17, 1814, the iron hoops supporting the largest vat — which held some 600,000 liters (160,000 gallons) of porter — collapsed under the weight. The vat burst and all the beer came gushing out, causing the vats nearby to explode as well. More than a million liters (265,000 gallons) of beer knocked down the 25-foot (7.6-meter) brick wall of the brewery and flooded the surrounding streets. Roofs collapsed and houses toppled. Nine people died, mostly due to drowning or from fatal injuries from passing timber. One man died of alcohol poisoning, after drinking too much of the beverage. Neighborhood residents rushed out with mugs, pots and buckets to collect the free beer. Though a lawsuit was brought against the brewery, the London Beer Flood was ruled an act of God and the brewery was not held legally responsible.