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1824: Descent of a young lady in an air balloon

An extraordinary sensation was produced the other day at Cuckfeld Fair, in Sussex, by the descent of a large balloon in the midst of the crowd assembled at the fête. It being a great horse and cattle fair, as well as one of amusement. There was a vast assemblage of persons of all classes, and the aeronauts, whose names we have not learnt, descended in the very heart of the fair.

The first sensation produced on the crowd of peasants, many of whom had never seen a balloon before, was very great, and their astonishment was considerably increased by seeing an elegant young lady step out of the car. The parties immediately set off in a post-chaise for London. We have not yet heard whence the balloon ascended.

Going up in air balloons has of late become a very fashionable recreation. It is a remarkable circumstance, that more ladies have ventured to make this more than almost any other novel experiment, in which there is certainly some little danger. Upwards of forty-five female aeronauts may be enumerated, out of which only two have met with any accident.

The Times,

4 October 1824

NOTE: Cuckfield was the location of another landing of a gas balloon flight in 2 June 1824 by balloonist George Graham accompanied by his 20 year old wife Margaret. See:

Was the above story a late reporting of the earlier flight? there are several reports of the Graham flight but they make no mention of Cuckfield Fair.

The illustration of ballooning, is from the Journal des Dames et des Modes, 1797-1798.

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.


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