‘King of All Balloons’ The Pioneers of Flight in Britain – including from Chester

13 September 2017

University of Chester


TIMES: 19.30 - 21.30

This talk is timed to commemorate 200 years since the first aerial crossing of the Irish Sea, from Dublin to Holyhead, in July 1817. This was accomplished by Windham Sadler of Liverpool, whose father James – an Oxford pastry cook who had become the unlikely first Englishman ever to fly in 1784 – had dramatically failed in a similar quest five years earlier. It was a rare setback in a life full of varied achievement.

Also featured will be: the first balloon ascents from Chester, plus that made by Windham Sadler in 1824, and the Sadlers’ roles in facilitating the first ascent by any English woman and the first woman in Ireland.

Entry details: RAeS and Branch Members £2.00 – Others £4.00

Speaker Details

Mark Davies, Oxford local historian and biographer

Mark Davies is an Oxford local historian, guide and author, with a particular focus on the history and literature of the non-University aspects of the city. He has lived on a narrowboat in Oxford since 1992, and is especially interested in the social and cultural importance of the city’s waterways, most notably the influence of the River Thames on the creation of Lewis Carroll's 'Alice'. The early history of ballooning marks a change of element from water to air but maintains his preferred theme of topics associated more with Oxford ‘Town’ than ‘Gown’, since his most recent book, King of all Balloons, is a biography of the Oxford pastry cook James Sadler, who became the unlikely first Englishman to fly.

Chester Branch

University of Chester

Beswick Building - Room 017,
University of Chester,
Parkgate Road,