FFHS - supporting family historians for over 40 years

Britain From Above

Many family historians use Google Earth to “visit” places of interest without the cost and trouble of actually going there. This helps us to understand the present-day character of the areas from which our families came. We  can also check whether specific houses survive and see what they look like now. The information on Google Earth was almost entirely created during the past few years, augmented in some cases by earlier aerial views that date back no further than the 1940s. But that is not all ….

Aerial photography has been carried out since the early 20th century. During the past year, English Heritage and the Royal Commissions in Scotland and Wales have released online a treasure chest of images taken between 1919 and 1953.

The “Britain From Above” website provides free access to over 41,000 high resolution zoomable images and the current uploading programme is set to increase this number to 75,000. In due course and with sufficient funding, the online collection may grow to over 2 million pictures.

You can search the collection by place name, map or year and there are opportunities for individuals to contribute their own information to the site. You will be in good company – members of the public have already submitted more than 82,000 contributions.


Francis Howcutt
FFHS Archives Liaison

11 July 2013

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