Handbill advertising Cocking's parachute descent, 24 July 1837.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Printed handbill announcing the combined attraction of a balloon ascent by Charles Green and a parachute descent by Robert Cocking. Cocking spent many years developing an improved design for a parachute after witnesing Garnerin's parachute descent in 1802. On Monday 24 July 1837, Cocking arranged for a trial of his invention from the Royal Gardens at Vauxhall in London. The parachute, which took the form of an inverted cone connected by three hoops, was attached to the 'Royal Nasau' balloon (formerly known as the 'Royal Vauxhall'), piloted by Green and Edward Spencer. When the balloon reached 5000 feet (1524 m), Cocking released his parachute. Tragically, it failed due to a mechanical error, and Cocking was killed. Dimensions: 419mm x 248mm.