Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above

Have you seen an air photograph of where you live?  Perhaps you’ve got used to the view by using a website like Google Earth.  These days it’s easy to get an aerial perspective on the world, but this has happened only recently.  Our lavishly illustrated new book, Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above, tells the story of how the entrepreneurs of Aerofilms Ltd turned aerial photography from a military specialism of the First World War into a commercial enterpriseRead more

Putting one up for Kenneth Williams

Now, stop messin’ about! Another English Heritage blue plaque has just gone up in London – and it’s to Kenneth Williams, comic actor, raconteur, star of the Carry On films, and divine deliverer of the double entendre. The new plaque is prominently sited – right opposite Madame Tussauds, on a block of flats called Farley Court. Kenneth Williams moved into flat number 62, on the ninth and top floor, in October 1963: ‘My bedroom looks out over Regent’s Park. TheRead more

England’s Motoring Heritage from the Air

I’ve always loved aerial photographs and when the Aerofilms collection was acquired by English Heritage Archives, I looked forward to the opportunity to use some of the photographs from the collection. It came with the work that I was carrying out with Kathryn Morrison on the impact of the car that resulted in our book, Carscapes: the Motor Car, Architecture and Landscape in England. We used several Aerofilms images but, after a long trawl through the albums of file prints,Read more

Blue Plaque for Film-makers Powell & Pressburger

Today a blue plaque has been erected to commemorate one of the greatest collaborations in British film history – that of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. The plaque is on a giant 1930s mansion block near Baker Street, for it was in a small, unfurnished service flat here that the pair set up an office for their production company, The Archers, during the Second World War – they were there from 1942 until 1947. When I visited the block, someRead more

Can social media help us better understand our relationship with historic buildings?

Cities are carpeted with pictures, but these pictures are not public art or the work of a subversive street artist. They are the geo-tagged photos continuously being uploaded to sites like Flickr and Twitter. This is creating a new world to explore. A world which could change how we think about the built environment and its heritage. We know that people engage with heritage (around half the adult English population visit for pleasure a historic town or city in aRead more