Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Seeing Britain From Above

The Britain From Above  project was launched online yesterday; a fantastic collaboration between English Heritage and the Royal Commissions on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and Wales, making a massive collection of aerial photographs taken in Britain between 1919 and 1953 available for public viewing.

Thousands of images covering the length and breadth of the country have been restored and catalogued, and are a wonderful testament to the skill and daring of the aerial photographers involved in the creation of the Aerofilms Collection.

If you visit the Britain From Above website, beware. You'll probably disappear down a rabbit-hole like me, and emerge a good while later. The website is a well-designed experience, designed to promote discussion, as well as to help the project team identify a number of images with mysteriously unknown locations. 

You can create a profile to engage with other users and offer opinions as to photo locations, as well as being able to search the huge database via an interactive map and search tool. And if the map proves somewhat overwhelming, you can also browse several well thought out categories and sections.

This is a fantastic project that gives us the chance to view famous landmarks, beautiful countryside - and even our home towns and cities - from a point of view we don't usually enjoy. They are a massively important historical and geographical record of Britain; a fascinating, evocative and spectacular portrait of how much our landscapes have altered in many ways, but in others, remained firmly the same.

Here are a few of my favourites...

"The Three Graces', Liverpool, 1928 - The Royal Liver Building, Cunard Building & Port of Liverpool Building

Blackpool Tower, Pier & Beach, 1920

Central Station & Albion Street, Manchester, 1921

Conwy Castle, North Wales, 1927

Etruria Pottery Works, Stoke-on-Trent, 1928

Gay Street & The Circus, Bath, 1920

Holy Island, 1947

Kensal Green, London, 1921

Snowdonia, North Wales

St. Paul's Cathedral, London, 1921

View over Worcester

All images courtesy of the Britain From Above project.

1 comment:

  1. What wonderful photos. There seem to be a lot of digital projects coming along - bringing the world of research onto my/your computer. I think it is a great trend.