These stunning aerial photos depicting Blackpool’s most iconic landmarks have been published in a new book.
The breath-taking shots, which show the resort in the 1920s, are part of English Heritage’s Aerofilms collection – one of the largest archives of aerial photographs in the UK.
The total collection presents an unparalleled picture of the changing face of Britain in the 20th century and contains the most significant compilation of aerial photography in the UK.
New book Aerofilms: A History of Britain From Above – by James Crawford, Katy Whitaker and Allan Williams – brings together some of the finest imagery from the archive and tells the story of the men and women behind Aerofilms, the first company to pioneer aerial photography in the UK.
Aerofilms was founded by First World War by Royal Navy aircraft navigator and photographer Francis Lewis Wills and Claude Grahame-White, an aviation celebrity who made his first solo flight without a single lesson, and was the first Brit to receive a pilot’s licence and made the world’s first ever night flight.
The success of Aerofilms led to Churchill personally demanding the military take them over at the beginning of the Second World War and Aerofilms staff formed the initial core of the immensely successful Allied units, which analysed aerial photography of occupied Europe and beyond. Aerofilms also took extensive aerial photos of London – images which were later to become the basis of the mosaic at the start of popular BBC soap EastEnders.
And among the collection in the book, are these two striking pictures of Blackpool.
In the first, the famous Blackpool Tower – North England’s response to Gustave Eiffel’s famous icon in Paris – looks virtually three-dimensional, almost appearing to break out of its photographic frame.
The book states: “With the Tower standing 518ft tall, the Aerofilms’ aircraft and photographer can have barely been another 100ft above its spire as they took their shot.”
The breath-taking photo was taken in 1929.
The book’s authors speculate that the “close-range, vertigo-inducing perspective on the Tower” could have involved flouting of the Government’s Air Navigation Regulations.
The second, stunning shot taken in the resort also has a three-dimensional aspect, with the town’s major landmarks standing out. The Tower dominates the photo, with the Big Wheel visible just behind. The wheel was eventually pulled down in June 1929. This picture was taken in July 1920.
The Winter Gardens can also be seen clearly in the photo, along with St John’s Church, with its imposing spire to the left of the frame.
Readers will spot how busy the Promenade and beach are, with people visible bustling about.