Haywards Heath motorists in pursuit of an Air Balloon

Updated: Oct 17, 2020

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 06 July 1909


THE BALLOON ASCENT at the back of Mill Green Road on Saturday afternoon was witnessed by a large crowd of persons, amongst whom were many errand boys, who for the time being forgot all about their masters’ business!

'The Imp' ascends from Mill Green Road


The balloon bore the name of ‘The Imp,’ and carried 11,700 ft. of gas, which was supplied by the Haywards Heath and District Gas Company. The ascent was arranged by the Sussex County Automobile Club, the Hon. Secretary of which is Mr. F. H. Nye, who was early on the ground superintending matters.


The Hon. C. S. Rolls went up with the balloon, and as he left the crowd below the latter gave him a ringing cheer. The wind drove the balloon in a north-easterly direction, and it passed over Horsted Keynes, Groombridge, Tunbridge Wells and Pembury, and finally came down near Paddock Wood - a distance of 25 miles as the crow flies.


The balloon was followed by motorists (1) immediately it ascended at Haywards Heath, and to stimulate their pursuit three prizes were offered. Mr. Hugh Moore was the first motorist to reach the balloon, his car being a 15-h.p. Coventry Humber, and he took the silver bowl given by the President of the Club (Mr. Willie James), The second prize, a silver cup, was taken by Mr. J. Godwin - King, of West Hoathly, who drove a Renault car, while a Thornycroft car, belonging to Mr. S. M. Townsend, gained the third award—a silver cigarette case. Fourteen other cars joined in the chase, and as a pure bit of sport the hunt was thoroughly enjoyed.


(1) Seventeen motor cars set off in hot pursuit of 'The Imp".