On 8 January 1822, an extraordinary journey was made from Bristol to Marlborough. An English schoolteacher named George Pocock took his wife and his kids on a 182 km-trip in a carriage drawn not by horses but by a couple of enormous kites. Pocock designed the carriage himself, which he called “Charvolant”.
George Pocock was fascinated with kites from a young age, and as he played and experimented with them, he learned that kites had tremendous lifting power. Young Pocock would tie small stones at the end of the string attached to the kite and watch it soar into the skies. As Pocock grew older, his experiments became bolder and more dangerous, usually involving his own children. In one stunt he put his young daughter in a wicker chair, hoisted her up in to the air with a 30-foot-tall kite and then flew her across the Avon Gorge. Fortunately she survived and went on to become the mother of the cricket legend W. G. Grace. Later the same year—year 1824—he flew his son to the top of a 200-foot-tall cliff outside Bristol.