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OldAerialPhotos has acquired access to the UK’s largest collection of commercial aerial survey photographs and have made many of them available online. Following an agreement between Bluesky, of which OldAerialPhotos is a division, and Blom Aerofilms, photographs dating from the 1950s held on about 7,000 original films are available to purchase from www.oldaerialphotos.com.

Many of the images have never previously been available to purchase online. These were captured by some of the most prestigious names in the UK aerial survey industry, including Fairey, Huntings, Simmons, Clyde and Engineering Surveys – all part of Blom Aerofilms’s UK heritage. The agreement also covers the housing and management of the original films at Bluesky’s dedicated film archive facility.

Visitors to http://www.oldaerialphotos.com can already search through nearly a million aerial photos dating back to the early part of the last century by simply entering a postcode, address or grid reference. Detailed search results, including the age and ground coverage, of every photo that matches the search criteria are displayed and the visitor can choose to purchase either a hard copy print or digital image file.

The enormous task of processing the films and transferring information about the imagery to the online search engine will take place at Bluesky’s image processing facility in Coalville, Leicestershire. This is likely to take several months.

For Blom Aerofilms, these images represent a 90-year history of the company as one of Europe’s leading specialists in aerial imagery, plotting work undertaken over many years for local authorities, public bodies and commercial organisations across the UK and beyond. “It’s a unique and specialist collection, and we hope that many people with both a commercial and personal interest will find it as valuable and informative as we have,” commented Gavin Lewis, Sales and Marketing Director at Blom Aerofilms.

“Anyone with an interest in the UK aerial survey will have heard of the above companies and will be excited by the fact that the photos, for the first time ever, will now be available online,” commented David Drabble, Archive Manager at Bluesky. “For those less familiar with the industry it is probably more significant that these historically important photos are being added to what is already the UK’s largest online collection of aerial photography, making oldaerialphotos.com a one stop shop for anyone with a personal or professional interest in the past.”

Photos that are already available to purchase from oldaerialphotos.com include some of the earliest commercial aerial survey images and military photography from World War II and many national archives, including oblique aerial photographs. Offering a record of most major UK cities and towns, transport and utility infrastructure and commercial property developments, oldaerialphotos.com is an invaluable resource for anyone with a personal or professional interest in boundary disputes, local studies, genealogy, environmental land use research or town planning.

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