It's all Hot Air!

1 Aug 2022

Team BOV love the Balloon fiesta – maybe it’s all the hot air and outdoor drama..

We’ve been digging about in the archives and found our own connection to Bristol’s legendary history of balloon flight.

Did you know, Bristol Old Vic was the first place in the city Bristolians would ever have seen a hot air balloon?

Gather round....

On 4th November, 1783, the Mongolfiers and Pilatre de Rozier began exhibiting their balloon designs on the continent, but just one year later, an artificial flower maker named Michael Biaggini brought his own air balloon (which was 30ft in diameter) to Bristol and displayed it in Coopers’ Hall.

The contraption was not flown outside but inflated indoors and displayed for three days, to much public interest and astonishment. Entrants were charged two shillings and a sixpence to witness the spectacle of the balloon’s envelope being filled with hot air.

While there was much astonishment at the three-day event, and several more demonstrations followed around the city, the brief excitement for balloons had deflated..(sorry)

It took a while for Bristolians to take balloons to their hearts, but now there's no stopping us!

Balloons at BOV: 1963, Around The World in 80 Days and 1985, Mother Goose starring a very young Samantha Bond . Photos courtesy of University of Bristol Theatre Collection