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Author Topic: Richard Gypson, Aviation Pioneer In Kent  (Read 185 times)
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Man of Kent1
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« on: February 19, 2017, 23:15:00 PM »

The earliest recorded aviation event in Kent was recorded in the vicinity of Lympne in 1841 when Richard Gypson, a professional balloonist who had originally worked for Vauxhall Gardens near Birmingham and later at the Royal Zoological Gardens in London, chose the area for an ascent in his balloon when, a year after the introduction of the first adhesive postage stamps, he dropped a letter from his balloon which was then delivered to the addressee.
Gypson's first recorded flight had been on 14 May 1832 from London, and he later became the first balloon pilot to use an adjustable gas valve successfully.
His last recorded flight was in October 1849 after which he retired to write his memoirs.
Apart from being an 'aeronaut' he also claimed to be the nephew of Napoleon!
He fell from grace quite rapidly after being convicted and then imprisoned for stealing three pewter tankards from a London pub in May 1853, shortly after which he died in poverty.

From 'Lympne Airfield At War And Peace: Anthony J. Moore (Fonthill, 2014)
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Craggs
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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2017, 09:46:39 AM »

Sorry MoK, but I don't think your author has got his facts correct ------  

The author of "Lympne Airfield At War And Peace: Anthony J. Moore (Fonthill, 2014)" may be getting Lympne mixed up with Lynn in Norfolk, otherwise known as Kings Lynn ( and previously called Bishops Lynn )  and he has also got his dates mixed up a bit.

The earliest recorded balloon flight in Kent wasn't in 1841 by Mr. Richard Gypson - it was at least 46 years earlier, on the 7th January 1785, by the Frenchman, Monsieur Jean-Pierre Blanchard (4 July 1753 – 7 March 1809) .  Monsieur Blanchard was accompanied by an American gentleman, Dr. John Jeffries.

Mr Richard Gypson ( named in "Lympne Airfield At War And Peace" ) was a prolific balloon aviator in his time - but in September 1841 he wasn't in Kent.  He was making a number of high profile and well publicised balloon flights in and around Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, using a supply of gas for his balloons from local gas companies, or "gas works" as they are referred to in the newspapers of the time. There are newspaper references to him dropping a letter from a balloon on one of his flights but that was near Kings Lynn, Norfolk - or Lynn as the local newspapers preferred to call the town.  The local Norfolk and Cambridge newspapers for September 1841 have dozens of reports of Richard Gypson's balloon flights and as the gas companies appear to want their publicity, they make sure their names are in the articles, so you can more or less track Richard Gypson's balloon flights as they happened and where.

There is a newspaper article in the Dover Express - Friday 10 January 1936 which is a feature article on Dover's involvement in the postal service - this does state that Richard Gypson dropped a letter from a balloon over Lympne on September 7th 1841 - but again, the author of this article appears to have mixed Lympne with Lynn.  - --- 'Chinese whispers' perhaps !

Monsieur Jean-Pierre Blanchard and Dr. John Jeffries made their historic flight on the 7th January 1785 from Kent to France.  They took off from Dover Castle and landed in Guînes.  The 150th anniversary of this flight was reported in the Dover Express - Friday 11 January 1935 (a year before the same newspaper made the comments about Mr Gypson).

Dover Express - Friday 11 January 1935

150th ANNIVERSARY OF FIRST CHANNEL BALLOON FLIGHT.


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Man of Kent1
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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2017, 18:31:45 PM »

Thanks for clarifying this, Craggs, and for the additional information - can't always trust someone with 'specialist knowledge of his subject', it seems!  Smiley
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