Site of the first balloon ascent in Britain

General Register House, 2 Princes Street, Edinburgh EH1 3YY

General Register House

James Tytler, who made the first successful balloon ascent in Britain in Edinburgh, exhibited his ‘Grand Edinburgh Fire Balloon’ here in Robert Adam’s Register House in 1784. Protected by a cork jacket, he rose more than 100 metres into the air and travelled almost a kilometre. Tytler was a multi-talented individual who had made a living at various times as a surgeon, writer, publisher, composer and poet before his foray into aeronautics. He had to flee to Ireland in 1792 after being arrested for producing subversive pamphlets, before emigrating to America a few years later.

The General Register House houses the National Records of Scotland and is open to the public.

James Tytler (1745–1804).

James Tytler (1745–1804).

James Tytler's 'Edinburgh Fire Balloon', 1784.

James Tytler’s ‘Edinburgh Fire Balloon’, 1784.

Find out more