The History of Leith

July 17, 2012

The first man who so ascended in Britain

From Peter Williamson’s Directory it appears
that Restalrig was the residence, in 1784, of Alexander
Lockhart, the famous Lord Covington. In
the same year a man named James Tytler, who had
ascended in a balloon from the adjacent Comely
Gardens, had a narrow escape in this quarter. He
was a poor man, who supported himself and his
family by the use of his pen, and he conceived the
idea of going up in a balloon on the Montgolfier
principle ; but finding that he could not carry a firestove
with him, in his desperation and disappointment
he sprang into his car with no other sustaining
power than a common crate used for packing
earthenware; thus his balloon came suddenly
down in the road near Restalrig. ” For a wonder
Tytler was uninjured; and though he did not
reach a greater altitude than three hundred feet,
nor traverse a greater distance than half a mile, yet
his name must ever be mentioned as that of the
first Briton who ascended with a balloon, and who
was the first man who so ascended in Britain.”

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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