Baldwin, Thomas

Vencenzo Lunardi visited the town of Cheshire, of which Chester is the county capital, with his balloon in 1785 (“Conquest of the Skies”). He was “a dare-devil Italian balloonist” who promised an exciting take off in a hydrogen balloon from the castle in the town. Ironically, his servants were the ones who ended up making the ascent in order to appease the angry crowd when Lunardi, having suffered a burn to the hand from an acid used to make the hydrogen, refused to make the flight. However, Lunardi did provide thrilling tales of the air, which attracted the attention of a Thomas Baldwin, a clergyman from Hoole Hall. Baldwin ended up borrowing Lunardi’s balloon to take a flight of his own; this resulted in the detailed and well-documented account in Airopaidia or Aerial Recreation, which was “one of the first English books on ballooning” (Chester Community Heritage & History, “Dancing in the Clouds” 5).