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More than 15,000 images featuring aerial photography from across the UK, taken nearly 100 years ago, are to go online for the first time for the public to access.

And as our gallery selection shows (click on the gallery link on the right hand side of this story), the images provide a fascinating snapshot of our county.

Among the areas captured are Chatham, Folkestone, Dover, Maidstone, Lydd and St Margaret’s Bay.

There’s also one image which owners of the collection hope the public can help identify. Look at the gallery for yourself and see if you can identify it.

Britain from Above is a new website - www.britainfromabove.org.uk - which launched today, June 25.

It is run by English Heritage and the Royal Commissions on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and Wales. It features some of the oldest and most valuable images of the Aerofilms Collection, a unique and important archive of over one million aerial photographs taken between 1919 and 2006. Its chronological and geographical coverage documents the face of Britain during a period of intense and unparalleled change.

The photographs featuring on the website date from 1919 to 1953, and have gone through a painstaking process of conservation and cataloguing. Due to their age and fragility, many of the earliest plate glass negatives were close to being lost forever.

The Aerofilms Collection was acquired for the nation in 2007 when the company was facing financial difficulties. With the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Foyle Foundation, English Heritage and the Royal Commissions embarked on a programme to conserve, catalogue and digitise the collection and make it freely available online.

Anna Eavis, head of archive at English Heritage, said: “The Aerofilms Collection embodies all that is exciting about aerial photography. What is equally remarkable is the skill of the expert staff in England, Scotland and Wales who have saved and conserved these vulnerable negatives and prints and converted them into the high resolution images you see on screen today. We are pleased that the items have been given safe, long term homes, and that each of the organisations involved has been enriched immensely by their addition.”

By the end of the project in 2014, 95,000 images taken between 1919 and 1953 will be available online, showing the changing face of modern Britain.

ALL IMAGES COPYRIGHT ENGLISH HERITAGE

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