From the top down

BIRD’S EYE: Darlington in October 1927, with Lucks Terrace and Square at the bottom of the picture, and Peases Mill dominating the land behind St Cuthbert’s Church

Barnard Castle on May 17, 1947, with the castle in the centre of the picture and Ullathorne’s Mill on the opposite side of the river at the foot of the picture

Richmond’s castle dominating its position over the River Swale on May 17, 1947

CASTLE IN THE TOWN: The beautiful grounds of Auckland Castle, with the town stretching behind, are at the centre of this picture taken on May 17, 1947

Stockton High Street – reputedly the widest in the country – in April 1924 before all of the riverside properties were demolished for the dual carriageway and shopping centre

First published in History The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy Editor

Ever wondered what your town looked like from the air in times gone by? Soon everyone will have the chance thanks to English Heritage

These brilliant aerial images of our area have been recently added to the Britain from Above website run by English Heritage. The website – britainfromabove.org.uk – was launched in June last year when the first 15,000 images from the Aerofilms collection were posted online.

BY the end of next year, it is hoped to have all 95,000 images taken between 1919 and 1953 in the Britain From Above collection.

Aerofilms was probably the first aerial photography company in the country. It was set up at the end of the First World War by two veterans, Francis Wills and Claude Grahame- White.

Wills was an aerial photography enthusiast and Grahame-White was a pioneering aviator – he was the first Englishman to qualify for an aviator’s certificate in 1909 and in 1910 became a celebrity for making the first night flight in the London to Manchester race.

Their first aerial photographs were taken on glass slides which were developed in a bathroom at the London Flying Hotel, beside the Hendon airstrip in north London.

Aerofilms’ collection of about a million images was acquired for the nation in 2007 by English Heritage with the financial assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Friends of National Libraries.

The first task was to preserve the glass slides, and then the digitisation began.

The freely accessible website encourages people to add information and memories to the pictures, which users can download. It really is a remarkable and fascinating collection.

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