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Rioters burn house of Joseph Priestley

Rioters burn house of Joseph Priestley

H416/0232

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SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Destruction of Priestley's house. Historical engraving of the house of the British chemist Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) being burnt down by rioters. The riot, in 1791 in Birmingham, England, was the result of Priestley writing in favour of the principles of the French Revolution. The house, along with its library and apparatus, was completely destroyed. Priestley discovered and examined many new gases including nitrous oxide, hydrogen chloride, ammonia, nitrogen, carbon monoxide and oxygen. He also discovered that animals consume oxygen and plants produce it. A religious and political radical, Priestley emigrated to America in 1794 soon after the riot.

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