Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Early aerial photographs of Britain salvaged and published online

  • @matildbattersby

Rare and fragile aerial photos of Britain have been salvaged, conserved and now published online.

More than 15,000 images from one of the earliest and most significant collections of aerial photography of the UK have been made freely accessible online to the public for the first time.

Britain from Above, a new website which launched today features some of the oldest and most valuable images of the Aerofilms Collection.

Click here or on "View Gallery" for more pictures

English Heritage and the Royal Commissions on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and Wales joined forces to publish this selection from the archive of more than 1m aerial photographs.

The photographs date from 1919 to 1953 and document the face of Britain during a period of intense and unparalleled change.

Restorers have gone through a painstaking process of conservation and cataloguing. Due to their age and fragility, many of the earliest plate glass negatives were close to being lost forever.

Examples include aerials of the 1935 FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium; the Thames Flood of 1947 in which over 100,000 properties were affected; Blackpool in 1920; crowds on the banks of the River Clyde watching the first voyage of the newly-built RMS Queen Mary in 1936.

They also capture the famous Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, host of the 2014 Ryder Cup, pictured in 1932; the historic stadium Cardiff Arms Park in 1932; and a scene of Rhondda Fawr, one of the largest mining valleys in southern Wales.

The Aerofilms Collection was acquired for the nation in 2007 when the company was facing financial difficulties.