Ticket to Blanchard's balloon ascent, 16 October 1784.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
An entry ticket, signed by Blanchard himself, to attend Blanchard's fourth aerial voyage in the 'Vaiseau Volant'. French aeronaut Jean-Pierre Blanchard (1753-1809) moved to London after failing to win the acclaim he desired in France, where the Montgolfiers and Charles and Robert dominated ballooning. This ascent, his first in Britain, took place at Lochee's Military Academy in Chelsea on 16 October 1784. Blanchard took one pasenger, Sheldon, his dog and a basket of pigeons with him. He also carried his oars and a rotating fan in the hope of influencing the balloon's course. These articles proved quite ineffectual but it was the first application of a screw propeller to an aircraft. The balloon drifted eastwards and landed at Romsey, 73 miles (118 km) away.