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The first Channel crosing by balloon, 7 January 1785.

Birch, William Rusell

The first Channel crosing by balloon, 7 January 1785.
3 8 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 30cm


Engraving by William Birch after a painting by Thomas Rowlandson, showing Blanchard's balloon flying out to sea near Dover Castle. French aeronaut, Jean Pierre Blanchard (1753-1809), and American physician, Dr John Jeffries (1744-1819), made the first aerial crosing of the English Channel in a hydrogen balloon on 7 January 1785. 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. The balloon they used was 27 feet in diameter with a gondola suspended beneath it in which to carry the aeronauts. Famed throughout Europe for his ballooning pursuits, Blanchard also became the first person to fly a balloon in the United States on 9 January 1793. Dimensions: 172mm x 280mm.

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© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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