Escaped hot air balloon
In August 1906 at Shrewsbury Floral Show, held in the Quarry, a Mr Spencer was offering a ‘bird’s eye view’ of Shrewsbury from his tethered hot air balloon, for which he was charging 50 shillings (£2.50).
On a Wednesday evening the tether and retaining rope broke.
The balloon with its occupants, including Mr Spencer, flew off towards Newport. Several newspapers reported that the balloon flew low over the roof tops in Newport and that as the balloon did not have grappling hooks in order to stop, or ballast to gain height, it clipped the roof tops. It finally landed at Woodseaves, near Newport. The Shrewsbury Chronicle reported that the balloon and the passengers were taken to Newport Railway Station by Mr Johnson, a butcher, and returned to Shrewsbury on the 10.30 train.Mr Spencer offered a refund of 45 shillings (£2, 25) and said he would only charge his passengers 5 shillings (25p) for their flight and fright! There is no record of who actually paid the train fare back to Shrewsbury!
With thanks to two of our fantastic volunteers, Anthony Price and Hugh Battersby, for spotting this.