SALON NO.102: London Aeronauts
Up, Up and Away

7.00pm Thursday 27th April 2023

The Horse Hospital

Admission: Tickets £8.00/ £10.00 in advance only HERE

Long before London skies were interrupted by the the clouds of war and the noise and vapour trails of flight paths, they were populated by the wonderful romantic sight of balloon and airship flights. Join author SHARON WRIGHT and historian DR. GILES CAMPLIN as they relate tales of the derring do of the women and men who became London aeronauts

London women were in the vanguard of Britain’s first voyages into the Georgian sky, grabbing headlines for spectacular disasters as well as technical triumphs. West End actress and pioneering balloonist Letitia Sage became famous as the ‘first English Female Aerial Traveller’ in 1785. In 1826, 22-year-old balloon pilot Margaret Graham became the first British woman to fly solo during an eventful flight over Islington.

Meanwhile aristocratic lady aeronauts enjoyed an Edwardian craze for record-breaking balloon races from Ranelagh and Hurlingham.  Author SHARON WRIGHT tells how aeronauts such as these and Lily Cove and Dolly Shepherd caused a sensation with escapades including from balloons wearing primitive parachutes. 

Then Airship Historian DR. GILES CAMPLIN will tell of some of the men who made history above London - with literally ground breaking flights to, from and around the skies over the city. We take off with various pioneers and adventurers of the air including outsiders such as Vincenzo Lusardi and homegrown heroes such as Charles Green,as Giles explores the extraordinary world of the Golden Age of ballooning.

SHARON WRIGHT is a journalist and author of 'The Lost History of the Lady Aeronauts,' which reveals the astonishing stories of the first women to fly. She has discussed the capital’s female pioneers on BBC Woman’s Hour and written about them in publications including Mail on Sunday, New York Post and The Lady. 

Dr GILES CAMPION became interested in lighter-than-air flight in 1966. In the years since he has worked worked on the design and construction of airships and balloons for many projects, film and television and supported many flights as professional balloon ground-crew before gaining his commercial Hot Air Balloon pilot’s licence in 1989.

He is a founder member of the British Balloon & Airship Club, chairman of the London Region Balloon Club. His is a council member of both the British Balloon Museum & Library and The Airship Association. 

Our home, THE HORSE HOSPITAL, is a unique Grade II listed not for profit, independent arts venue within the only existing unspoilt example of a two-floor, purpose-built stable with public access in London. 

Built in 1797 by James Burton. the shell is constructed with London Stocks whilst the interior features a mock cobbled re-inforced concrete floor and ramps with slats to prevent the horses from slipping. Each floor has 5 cast iron pillars and several original iron tethering rings.