SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Vicenzo Lunardi (1759-1806), Italian aeronaut, historical artwork. Lunardi became the first person to fly in Britain when he took off in a hot air balloon from London's Royal Artillery Ground at Finsbury on 15th September 1784. Around 80,000 people are reported to have witnessed his later flights over Edinburgh, including one which crashed into the North Sea, from which Lunardi had to be rescued. In 1794 he was also the first person in Britain to fly a balloon filled with hydrogen. Lunardi had come to England as secretary to the Neapolitan Ambassador in London.
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