Bluesky has acquired access to the UK's largest collection of commercial aerial survey photographs and will be making it available online. Following an agreement between Bluesky and Blom Aerofilms, photographs dating from the 1950s, held on about 7,000 original films, will be available to purchase.
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 the new website 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 in aerial imagery, plotting work undertaken over many years for local authorities, public bodies and commercial organisations across the UK and beyond.
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 a resource for anyone with a personal or professional interest in boundary disputes, local studies, genealogy, environmental land use research or town planning.