James Sadler is this country’s true pioneer of flight. He became the first Englishman to fly; an accomplishment rendered even more remarkable by achieving this landmark feat in a balloon he designed, built and piloted himself. Furthermore he attained this historic first here in Oxford.
Always experimenting, within a month of the historic first ascent Sadler had jettisoned hot air balloons as redundant technology. His second launch from Magdalen College was in a self-built gas balloon, fuelled by primitive hydrogen he had created at a time when the element was so new that the term ‘hydrogen’ had yet to be coined.
Having made seven ascents between October 1784 and September 1785, culminating in a terrifying crash in his final flight, he temporarily retired from aeronautics. Next Sadler worked for the Royal Navy.
With the exception of monarchs, hardly anyone would have received mass recognition by their face in the late eighteenth century. Yet engravings of Sadler were big-selling, mass-produced items. Even rarer for a celebrity of the age were his humble origins.
These are the results from a survey conducted in Oxford City Centre during July and August 2013.
Of the 500 responses, the sample was broken down as follows;
(264 / 52.80%)
(198 / 39.60%)
(25 / 5.00%)
(12 / 2.40%)
(1 / 0.20%)
Producer and Manager with 30 years experience within the leisure industry working successfully on a diverse range of visitor attractions, shows, events and projects. Lead the team from creative process to delivery and opening of Madame Tussauds.
I would take on board the Victory as many guns as Mr Sadler could send alongside’ ADMIRAL LORD NELSON
The London Chronicle declared that "Sadler is known from the humble cabbage seller to the mightiest of lords".
Sir John Coxe Hippisley was moved to observe in 1812: ‘There is not a better chemist or mechanic in the universe, yet he can hardly speak a word of grammar.’
I am delighted to see this initiative, not only to provide a superb tourist attraction for Oxford, but also to promote awareness of James Sadler and his outstanding pioneer projects and balloon adventures.
This looks like an exciting venture and I take the opportunity to wish you every success in pulling together all of the necessary legal requirements and consents. It is interesting to see this wearing my Experience Oxford Hat
Dear Mr Davies Thank you for writing to me and sending me the brochure about this proposal. I think it is very exciting and could be enormously popular. Best wishes
James Sadler has been a hero of mine for some time and I have had a picture of his Oxford ascent on my wall since the mid 70’s. His amazing career from that of a pastry chef to an acclaimed scientist is nothing less than remarkable and it is high time that his achievements were remembered. To have a tethered aerostat dedicated to his name in Oxford would be the perfect recognition and something which he richly deserves.