From the Derby Mercury, 12th November 1823:
On Friday evening last a very numerous and respectable assemblage of the inhabitants of Wirksworth were highly amused by the ascent of a fire balloon of extraordinary dimensions, the property of Mr. James. It ascended from the bottom of the hill called Oakcliffe, and took a southerly direction over Ireton and Kedleston, and is supposed to have travelled at least 12 or 14 miles. The inflation commenced about a quarter past 8 o’clock, and at nine the balloon was deemed sufficiently distended; the light was then attached to the bottom, and it ascended very majestically amidst the reiterated shouts of the assembled multitude. From its amazing magnitude (being about 6 yards in height) it was visible for the space of nearly 20 minutes. The crowd of spectators was immense, and the company retired highly delighted. We are happy to add that no accident occurred on the occasion.