The first balloon crosing of the English Channel, 7 January 1785.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Oil painting made c 1840 by E W Cocks, showing Blanchard's balloon arriving at Calais Harbour, France. Below are fishing boats, an anachronistic paddlesteamer, and a French tricolour flag with stripes incorrectly ordered. French aeronaut Jean-Pierre Blanchard (1753-1809) was one of the foremost balloonists of his time. Together with the American physician Dr John Jeffries (1744-1819), he made the first aerial crosing of the Channel in a hydrogen balloon on 7 January 1785. The balloon they used was 27 feet (8.2 m) in diameter with a gondola suspended beneath it in which to carry the aeronauts. Taking off from Dover in Kent shortly after midday, they landed in the Foret de Guines, not far from Calais, approximately four and a half hours later.