29 Majestic Historical Photos Of Britain From Above

A new book features a powerful collection of aerial photography across Britain, stretching as far back as 1919.

Aerofilms: A History of Britain From Above tells the story of English Heritage’s Aerofilms; the first company to pioneer aerial photography in the UK.

1. The Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, Westminster, 1946.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

2. Windsor Castle and St George’s Chapel, Windsor, 1947.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

Dating from 1919 to 2006, the collection contains one of the largest archives of aerial photographs of the UK.

3. Oxford, crowds around the Radcliffe Camera for the opening of the New Bodleian Library by King George VI, 1946.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

4. Martin Hearn wing walking, 1932.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

5. St Paul’s Cathedral and environs, London, 1947.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

6. Crowds at Sandford Park Swimming Pool, Cheltenham, 1947.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

7. Crowds on Ramsgate Sands, the Royal Victoria Pavilion and Wellington Crescent, Ramsgate, 1947.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

Aerofilms was founded by World War I Royal Navy aircraft navigator and photographer Francis Lewis Wills, and Claude Grahame-White, an aviation celebrity who made his first solo flight without a single lesson, was the first Briton to receive a pilot’s licence and made the world’s first ever night flight.

8. Construction of the final cooling tower at Walsall B Power Station, Walsall, 1950.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

Claude also provided The War of the Worlds author HG Wells with his first flight.

9. The Royal Crescent and environs, Bath, 1949.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

10. The Houses of Parliament, River Thames and the Festival of Britain South Bank Site, 1951.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

The success of Aerofilms led to Churchill demanding that the military take over the collection at the beginning of World War II, and Aerofilms staff formed the initial core of the immensely successful Allied units which analysed aerial photography of occupied Europe and beyond.

11. Battersea Power Station, London, 1953.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

12. Crowds at Trafalgar Square, St James, 1953.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

Aerofilms also took aerial photographs of London - images which were later to become the basis of the mosaic at the start of EastEnders.

13. Crowds surrounding the Queen Victoria Memorial, St James, 1953.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

14. View over Bath city centre and the Abbey, Bath, 1920.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

15. Blackpool Tower and the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, 1920.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

16. Hyde Park, the homecoming parade of the Prince of Wales, 1922.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

17. Crystal Palace, Penge, 1928.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

18. The city around the Central Market and St Paul’s Cathedral, London, from the north-west, 1928.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

19. Highbury, the FA Cup semi-final between Portsmouth and Aston Villa, 1929.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

20. The Castle and the Cathedral Church of Christ and St Mary the Virgin overlooking Framwellgate Bridge, Durham, 1929.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

21. Tower Bridge, London, 1929.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

22. The Kursaal, Southend-on-Sea, 1930.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

23. The Clifton Swimming Baths, the Winter Gardens and environs, Margate, 1931.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

24. Battersea Power Station alongside the River Thames, Battersea, 1933.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

25. The Royal Docks, East Ham, from the east, 1934.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

26. The Bathing Pool, Marine Lake and Marine Promenade, New Brighton, 1934.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

27. The Town Hall, Library and Albert Square, Manchester, 1934.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

28. Edinburgh, general view, showing The Meadows and George Heriot’s School, 1947.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)

29. Melrose Abbey, 1950.

The Aerofilms Collection/‘Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above’ (English Heritage)
Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above (English Heritage £25) out now. / Via amazon.co.uk

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