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Historic Picture Found First English Balloon Race in 1906

1 July 2006

Mirrorpix have recently established the providence of a very old picture in its photographic archive. Covering the subject of Ballooning, this unique photograph is of the very first competitive balloon race ever held in England.

Taken on 7th July 1906 in the grounds of The Ranelagh Club in Chelmsford Essex, the historic race was contested by five balloons for a cup offered by the Evening News (newspaper) and valued at fifty guineas.

Editorial Notes

Picture is available free of charge for publication with this article

(Ballooning) "An often forgotten era of aviation . . . has been around since the Montgolfier brothers famous first flight in 1783.

As we explored the story behind this picture . . . we became aware that as a 'Gentleman's Sport' ballooning was immensely popular across Europe during the 1890's. No where more so than in France where the first Gordon Bennett Race was held in (September) 1906".

"Our picture provides an insight into the increasing popularity of the sport amongst the more prosperous members of society . . . a delightful picture of its time".

John Mead, Archive Manager, Mirrorpix

About Mirrorpix

For over 100 years our talented editorial teams and skilled photographers have documented British life in startling detail. The stories of many of the people, places, events and movements that have shaped modern Britain can be found within this impressive and comprehensive archive.

Core to the Mirrorpix collection are the editorial and photographic archives of the Daily Mirror Newspaper which has been in publication since 1903. The archive also includes collections from The Sunday Pictorial, Sunday Mirror, The People, Daily Record and Daily Herald Newspapers.

Gordon Bennett

In 1906 the first Gordon Bennett Race was held at The Aéro-Club de France. These annual races were sponsored by the American newspaper tycoon, James Gordon Bennett Jr. (1841-1918) - the man who, in 1869, had sent Stanley into 'darkest Africa' in search of Dr.Livingstone. This was not the first competition Bennett had sponsored; there had already been Gordon Bennett streamboat, horse and motor races; and in 1908 Bennett would add aeroplanes to the list. All this did no harm to Bennett's newspaper sales, and meant that 'Gordon Bennett' became a household word.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to Contact

Manjit Sandhu

Press Office
Mirrorpix - A century of life in pictures

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