|Mr. Sadler's Balloon Ascent|
In Last Night’s Scandal, my hero and heroine visit a stone commemorating an early balloon ascent by the Tuscan Vincent Lunardi. Balloon ascensions continued to be very popular entertainment in the 19th century, featuring frequently at Vauxhall Gardens, among other places.
During this week in 1811, England’s first balloonist, James Sadler, made one of his many ascents, this time in honor of the Prince Regent's birthday. As the account at the Pennine Region Balloon Association makes clear, Sadler’s adventures could be extremely exciting. (Please scroll down the page for the Gentleman’s Magazine description of what happened when he got caught in a gale on 7 October 1811.)
Text on print: "A view of the balloon of Mr. Sadler's ascending with him and Captain Paget of the Royal Navy from the gardens of the Mermaid Tavern at Hackney on Monday, August 12, 1811. The Balloon ascended at 3 o'clock in the afternoon and descended safe near Tilbury Fort in Essex at 20 minutes past."
Illustration courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Clicking on the caption will take you to the Library of Congress page for this print, where you can further enlarge it.