May 26, 2022

New Resource: ‘Historical ‘Google Earth’ Project’ Offers 70 Years of Change to UK’s Cities and Landscapes (Britain From The Air: 1945-2009)

From the University of Cambridge:

Aerial photographs of Britain from the 1940s to 2009 – dubbed the ‘historical Google Earth’ by Cambridge academics – have been made freely available to everyone on Cambridge University Library’s Digital Library.

The first 1,500 photographs from a vast archive of almost half a million images went live online this morning (Feb 22), showing not only our ancient landscapes, but also how the UK’s built environment  underwent radical change: from the bomb-scarred post-war period, right through to the first decade of the 21stcentury.

Source: U. of Cambridge

For decades, former RAF pilots – some decorated war heroes – took to the skies of Britain at the instruction of legendary Cambridge archaeologist JK St Joseph in a unique project to map the changing face of the UK via the university’s remarkable Committee for Aerial Photography.

The photographs, covering almost every corner of the UK, bring back to life a disappeared Britain and capture the loss of our industrial heritage, the destruction of ridge and furrow landscapes unchanged for centuries, and the emergence of motorways, skyscrapers and modern cityscapes.

Read the Complete Release Announcement

Direct to Aerial Photography Collection (via University of Cambridge Digital Library)

See Also: Cambridge Air Photos (via Dept. of Geography, U. of Cambridge)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.