Nottingham marks 200 years since its first balloon flight

balloon flight plaque The plaque was unveiled at a pub thought to stand on the site where it launched
first Nottingham balloon flight by James Sadler in 1813 James Sadler's flight over Nottingham was watched by more than 30,000 people

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A plaque has been unveiled to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Nottingham's first successful balloon flight.

It will be placed on the front door of the Fellows, Morton and Clayton pub on Canal Street which is thought to stand on the site of the launch in 1813.

Watched by thousands of people, James Sadler flew 30 miles in an hour.

Balloon enthusiast Robin Macey said after two previous failed attempts in the East Midlands, Mr Sadler's flight was an "incredible event" for the city.

Hot air balloon flights

  • The world's first hot air balloon flight was in Paris on November 21, 1783.
  • James Sadler became the first Englishman to fly in a hot air balloon after making his first flight from Oxford in October 1784.
  • The first attempt to launch in Nottingham took place at the Forest Recreation Ground in 1785 but it failed to lift.
  • A crowd of 30,000 people waited seven hours for the flight to take place.

Sadler's silk red and while balloon took off from an open piece of land next to the canal called Company's Wharf.

The name is no longer used today but Mr Macey from the Nottingham and Derby Hot Air Balloon Club has spent months researching the exact spot.

"I have been studying local balloon history for over 20 years and earlier this year I identified exactly where Company's Wharf was," he said.

"I looked through some old Ordnance Survey maps from the 1880s and I was able to identify exactly where it was. We realised straightaway it was on a space of land that's now occupied by the pub.

"People travelled a great distance to watch the flight. They came from as far afield as Newark, Mansfield, Derby and Leicester. Every single possible vantage point was taken.

"It was quite an incredible event."

Hilary Silvester, chair of the Nottingham Civic Society, added: "We like people to understand and appreciate their history. And we like to have celebrations for this sort of thing just to remind people of what Nottingham was like and what people have done in the past."

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