Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/89

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Coxwell
Crake
77

could be discharged in the air ; in September he made excursions to Stettin, Breslau, and Hamburg. At Hanover, in the summer of 1850, he had a narrow escape, owing to the proximity of lofty trees, and during this year and the next he took up many passengers at Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Leipzig, and elsewhere. In 1852 he returned to London and made ascents at Cremorne Gardens. In September 1854 he made some demonstrations in signalling from a balloon at Surrey Gardens.

In June 1862 he made some interesting meteorological observations in the capacity of aeronaut to Dr. James Glaisher, F.R.S. On 5 Sept. in the same year Coxwell and Glaisher attained the greatest height on record, something between thirty-six and thirty-seven thousand feet, or 'fully seven miles.' Glaisher became insensible, and Coxwell lost all sensation in his hands, but managed just in time to pull the valve-cord with his teeth. The balloon dipped nineteen thousand feet in fifteen minutes, and a final descent was safely made near Ludlow (from Wolverhampton). Between these two famous ascents Coxwell made his first experiments in military ballooning at Aldershot in July 1862. In 1863, in company with Henry Negretti, he made the first aerial trip in England for purposes of photography. In 1864-5, in the Research, he made some very successful ascents in Ireland, and gave some lectures upon aerostation. When the Franco-German war broke out in 1870 he went to manage some war-balloons for the Germans. He formed two companies, two officers, and forty-two men, at Cologne, and his assistant went on to Strassburg, but the town surrendered before much service was rendered.

On 17 June 1885 he made his last ascent in a large balloon, the City of York. He had made an annual display at York for several years, and there he bade farewell to a profession of which he had been one of the most daring exponents for over forty years. His immunity from serious accidents was due to his instinctive prudence, but still more to his thorough knowledge of ballooning tackle. After his retirement he lived for a time at Tottenham, but migrated thence to Seaford in Sussex, where he died on 5 Jan. 1900. During 1887-9 Coxwell collected together in two volumes a number of interesting but ill-arranged and confusing chapters upon his career as an aeronaut, to which he gave the title 'My Life and Balloon Experiences;' to vol. i. is added a supplementary chapter on military ballooning. As a frontispiece is a photographic portrait, reproduced in the 'Illustrated London News' (13 Jan. 1900) as that of the foremost balloonist of the last half-century.

[Times, 11 Sept. 1862, 6 Jan. 1900 ; Illustr. London News, 13 Jan. 1900 ; Glaisher's Travels in the Air, 1871; Coxwell's My Life and Balloon Experiences, 1887-9; Hatton Tumor's Astra Castra; De Fonvielle's Courses en Ballon, 1890; Men and Women of the Time, 15th edit.]

T. S.

CRAKE, AUGUSTINE DAVID (1836-1890), devotional writer and story-teller, the eldest son of Jesse Crake, was born on 1 Oct. 1836 at Chalgrove, Oxfordshire, where his father kept a middle-class school. Breaking away from the strong calvinistic surroundings amid which he was brought up, Crake was baptised into the church of England in 1858, and gaining a position as a teacher was enabled to secure a degree at London University (matriculated 1862, B.A. 1864). He was ordained deacon by Bishop Wilberforce in 1865, and was appointed second master and chaplain of the church of England middle-class school of All Saints', Bloxham, near Banbury, a position which he retained from 1865 to 1878. He was senior curate of St. Michael's, Swanmore, in the Isle of Wight, 1878-9, and vicar of St. Peter'^, Havenstreet, in the island from 1879 to 1885, when he effected an exchange and became vicar of Cholsey, near Wallingford. He was chaplain at Moulsford Asylum, 1885-6. At Cholsey he was beginning to gather some pupils round him, but he was cut off prematurely on 18 Jan. 1890, at the age of fifty-three. He was buried in Cholsey graveyard on 23 Jan. when many of his old Bloxham pupils followed his remains to the grave. He married in 1879 Annie, daughter of John Lucas of the Oxford Observatory.

Crake was the author of a long series of historical story books, written to illustrate the trials and triumphs of the church in Britain ; these stories, in which Crake's topographical knowledge of Oxfordshire and Berkshire is used to advantage, were related orally in the first instance to the boy s of Bloxham school, by whom they were much appreciated. They have been described as not unworthy successors of the similar tales of John Mason Neale [q.v.] In 1873 he published a 'History of the Church under the Roman Empire,' a more ambitious effort, which obtained a large circulation, being greatly in demand by students who desiderated brevity of treatment. His chief devotional books and stories were : 1. 'Simple Prayers for School Boys,' Oxford, 1867, 1870. 2. 'The Bread of Life,' Oxford, 1868 ; 4th