Historic England Launches New Map Revealing a Century of England From the Air
22 March 2022 – Today, Historic England launches its new Aerial Photography Explorer – which for the first time allows users to search and explore an online map showing aerial photographs of England over the past 100 years.
Aerial imagery provides a fascinating insight into the development and expansion of the nation’s urban centres and changes to the rural landscape. It can also reveal striking discoveries – such as ‘cropmarks’ showing hidden, archaeology beneath the surface.
New imagery available online includes:
- The remains of ancient archaeology such as a Neolithic long barrow near Broughton, Hampshire, as well as remains of Iron Age forts such as Pilsdon Pen in Dorset and medieval villages such as Old Sulby in Northamptonshire.
- Second World War anti-invasion measures such as anti-aircraft obstructions (ditches and earthworks) at Hampton Court Palace in 1941, and images from the same year of RAF Kenley showing camouflaged runways.
- Wartime adaptations to sites, for example, images of Greenwich Park in 1946 show it covered in a patchwork of allotments to grow food and aid the war effort. A modern photograph from August 2006 shows the outlines of the allotments appearing through the grass in hot weather.
- Bomb damage such as images of central Liverpool and the Albert Dock from 1941, 1946 and 1948 with flattened areas and buildings with roofs blown off. By contrast, aerial images from 2017 show the development of the area since.
- 20th-century industrial sites such as the construction of Tilbury power station in 1955, and its demolition in 2017.
- Famous buildings such as views of St James’ Park football stadium, Newcastle from the 1920s and St Paul’s Cathedral after the war.