I’m very encouraged today to note that positive action is being taken by English Heritage and its partners in Scotland and Wales to conserve and make available the Aerofilms archive of aerial photography of Britain from 1919-1953. Aerofilms, as the leader in such imagery for years, jealously guarded their work and getting hold of it has always been difficult and expensive – they did, after all, make commercial hay with the coffee table books of Britain from the Air for the last four decades.
It seems sense has prevailed and this remarkable resource is now partially available online. It’s searchable, but very slow at the moment due to public loading. The creators say that more images will be added over time, and I hope that includes the long sought-after pictures of Walsall Wood from the same period as those below.
I spent some time capturing the following images before the server finally went for a lie down. All remain property of their owners and I encourage you to visit the Britain from the Air site and check them out yourselves.
My hat is doffed to English Heritage. Nice work, chaps, never thought I’d see the day…
(a hat-tip is due to reader Steve Hames, whose link on twitter led me to the project. Cheers, Steve!)
This is interesting as I used the image below – a cropped version of the one above – unknowingly in my post from last Sunday containing the Maddaver report from 1910. The caption on the version I used, from the Clarice Mayo and Geoff Harrington book ‘Memories of Brownhills Past’ suggests it to be early 1900’s. I suspect it may have been a later image than the authors imagined. Interesting crop, too.