An American worker inspects a rope during the construction of an oil well in Hardstoft, England © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
1919 – Oil well found on the British mainland
Oil is struck in Hardstoft, Derbyshire, at England’s first inland oil well.
The well opened as a result of the government seeking to reduce Britain’s dependence on oil imports. The bore was 935m deep when oil was struck, and the well produced an average of six barrels a day. It was deepened in 1938 to prolong supply, but the well was eventually closed in 1945.
1931 – Man’s first trip to the stratosphere
Professor Auguste Piccard reaches an altitude of 15.8km in a balloon, successfully entering the stratosphere.
The goal of the trip was to study cosmic rays at close quarters. A balloon was chosen to allow the use of delicate instruments that would not give reliable readings in an aeroplane. Piccard, Professor of Physics at the University of Brussels, ascended in a pressurised cabin and returned to the ground 12 hours later.
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