Early 20th Century Britain seen from the sky

Sheffield Wednesday beat West Brom in the 1935 FA Cup Final at Wembley, which was demolished in 2003. The new stadium was reopened in 2007. Photo: English Heritage / PA Wire

More than 15,000 images from one of the earliest and most significant collections of aerial photography of Britain are now freely accessible online for the first time.

The photos on the Britain from Above website, launched today, have gone through a painstaking process of conservation and cataloguing.

An aerial view of 1947 Edinburgh. Credit: English Heritage/PA Wire

Many of the photos, which range from 1919 to 1953, were so old and fragile that they were close to being lost forever.

West Pier, Brighton, seen in 1927. Credit: English Heritage/PA Wire
The remains of Brighton's West Pier as seen in 2010. Credit: Flickr / Elsie esq. under Creative Commons licence

With the help of the English Heritage and the Royal Commissions on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and Wales, thousands of photos were digitised so that the public can enjoy these unique images.

St Paul's Cathedral, London, seen from the sky in March 1921. Credit: English Heritage/PA Wire

Experts could not identify all of the 15,000 pictures, but the Britain from Above website has interactive features where users can add information about the images, share personal memories, download images and customise their own themed photo galleries.

Hampden Park, Glasgow, in 1927. Credit: English Heritage/PA Wire
Oxford's High Street seen in 1920. Credit: English Heritage/PA Wire
Densely packed housing along Kensal Rise, London, in 1921. Credit: English Heritage/PA Wire
Windsor Castle seen in 1928. Credit: English Heritage/PA Wire
Blackpool Tower and the Winter Gardens seen from the sky in July 1920. Credit: English Heritage/PA Wire