Friday, April 20, 2018

Britain from Above

I've spent most of the morning scouring vintage aerial views of the East End of London looking for my house. It isn't easy. Back in the day the East End used to be full of these huge buildings that the locals called factories. The factories have now all gone. So the East End of today looks hugely different from the air than it did 80 years ago.

The aerial photographs that I've been looking at were all taken by Aerofilms Ltd. Aerofilms Ltd was a commercial aerial photography company founded in 1919. The company was established to take photographs of Britain from airplanes for surveying and mapping purposes. One of its clients was the Ordnance Survey, the UK's national mapping agency.

In June 2007 the millions of aerial photographs taken by Aerofilms were sold to English Heritage in partnership with The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. Since 2007 this partnership has been busy mapping the locations in all those historical aerial views of Britain.

The result is Britain from Above. Using Britain from Above's interactive map you can search and view Aerofilms' vintage aerial views of Britain by location. Search the map by postcode or name and you can view all the historical photos of a location captured by Aerofilms in the Twentieth Century. You can even buy prints of any of the views that your like.

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