October 25, 2021


Shopping Works Wonders

Rare aerial photos of Bishop’s Stortford, Stansted Airport and Sawbridgeworth from the last 100 years

A not long ago introduced web-site presents inhabitants of the Bishop’s Stortford location a opportunity to perspective not often-prior to-found aerial photos of their property towns and villages.

The Britain From Previously mentioned website allows people to see just what their town, town or village seemed like likely back by means of the many years to a century in the past.

It offers totally free access to tens of hundreds of photographs, furnishing a glimpse from the skies of times in time captured eternally on film.

Bishop’s Stortford town centre in 1920 Credit: Historic England

Shots of scaled-down nearby settlements this sort of as Much Hadham, Albury, Elsenham and Little Easton are showcased on the website, far too.

From our industrial previous to the heyday of traditional British seaside resorts, all are captured in remarkably detailed aerial photographs.

“It can be an remarkable collection,” points out Neil Fraser from Britain From Previously mentioned. “Some of the sights are so common and photograph locations which have barely changed more than the several years and in other conditions the place entire communities are unrecognisable.”

The photographs have been obtained in 2007 by the key heritage organisations in England, Scotland and Wales – now known as Historic England, Historic Surroundings Scotland and the marginally-much more-of-a-mouthful Royal Fee on the Historical and Historic Monuments of Wales.

The images have been at first collected by Aerofilms Ltd, a pioneering business born in 1919 and the earliest times of manned flight. As the UK’s first industrial aerial photography business, it cornered a area of interest market place.

Launched by Francis Willis – who had served with the Royal Naval Air Services all through the Very first World War – he teamed up with Claude Graham White, who had commenced a flight college at Hendon Aerodrome in north London and had the assert to fame of currently being the first gentleman to make a night flight in 1910.

The pair have been onto a winner as they captured a formerly unseen perspective of the nation. Sometimes they flew a very little far too close to the wind as they snapped structures safeguarded underneath the Formal Strategies Act, this sort of as Dover Castle. The War Business fired off a letter to Willis informing him that “prison cells have been not pleasurable”.

Undeterred, they continued, and by the time the 2nd World War arrived all around, Aerofilms personnel have been incorporated into the Air Ministry’s group, getting a “entirely-fledged military intelligence device”. When hostilities ended, it captured the rebuilding of submit-war Britain.

Neil Fraser claimed: “In some of the earliest photographs you can see people basically looking up as they walk along lanes simply because, of training course, a plane in the sky would have been a rather unconventional sight for many many years of the twentieth century.

“I just feel the photographs chronicle so a great deal of the state, whether or not it really is rural or city.

“As shortly as the website went reside a few several years in the past we found out a whole lot of fascination arrived from product railway fanatics simply because the aerial imagery of the time gave a possibly by no means-prior to-found perspective of fairly a whole lot of well known stations. Ground photography just failed to do that.

“You can discover tons of people interested in it possibly looking at aged soccer grounds or other activity venues which have since changed substantially or disappeared. Or they’re basically looking for the factory their grandfather labored in.

“Of training course, tons of people now use it just to evaluate how a great deal their nearby location has changed more than the several years.

“And those who sign up can not only zoom in on the photographs, gaining considerably larger depth, but can also set flags on the photographs to share memories of individual locations with other users.”

The excellent information is you will find much more to appear. All three heritage associates which have the collection are eager to digitalise much more of the photographs “but as nevertheless there is no timescale for this function”.

To perspective photographs of your nearby location check out the web-site. Sign-up for totally free to zoom in on photographs.

Under are just a compact selection from across our location…


Bishop's Stortford in 1946 Credit: Historic England
Bishop’s Stortford in 1946 Credit: Historic England

This photo from 1946 is a perspective in direction of the town with what is now Twyford industrial estate and the railway line in the foreground. The industrial units at the time have been those of Millar’s Machinery Enterprise, located appropriate subsequent to Burley Road. You can see the tree-lined Thorley Hill likely off to the still left and the aged Bishop’s Stortford Football Club floor in Rhodes Avenue to the centre-appropriate.

Bishop's Stortford town centre in 1920 Credit: Historic England
Bishop’s Stortford town centre in 1920 Credit: Historic England

Taken 101 several years in the past, this perspective appears south, with Rye Road getting into the bottom still left of the photograph, bending to be a part of Hadham Road off to the appropriate, and North Road by means of the center of the shot. The town’s aged cattle market place is obviously noticeable on the Rye Road/Hadham Road bend, the place the Northgate Conclude and Backlink Road motor vehicle parks now stand. The conical roof of the Corn Exchange is also noticeable, from the place Host’s rooftop bar now operates.

Bishop's Stortford in 1928 Credit: Historic England
Bishop’s Stortford in 1928 Credit: Historic England

This shot across the entire town was taken from the east in 1928. Warwick Road (still left) and Dunmow Road (appropriate) both of those enter from the bottom of the photograph. In the foreground, design has just been done on Wayletts Push (then Council Road), with City Road about halfway completed. The town’s rural environment are in complete perspective.

Bishop's Stortford town centre in 1928 Credit: Historic England
Bishop’s Stortford town centre in 1928 Credit: Historic England

In yet another 1928 photo you can see the aged part of the River Stort – called the Terminus Basin – the place Adderley Road and the Jackson Sq. buying centre are now. Quite a few of the structures along South Road and Potter Road have changed, but loads of the landmarks, like the Corn Exchange and the Drill Corridor, are noticeable.


Sawbridgeworth's maltings and train station in 1929 Credit: Historic England
Sawbridgeworth’s maltings and educate station in 1929 Credit: Historic England

This photograph from 1929 reveals the Maltings and the town’s aged railway station across the center. Major in direction of the bottom of the photograph is Station Road, which forks with the early design of The Forebury and even earlier indications of Forebury Avenue.

Sawbridgeworth in 1929 Credit: Historic England
Sawbridgeworth in 1929 Credit: Historic England

This is a wonderful shot across the town, also from 1929. Down the center of the photograph you can see the aged A11 Bonks Hill, leading into London Road and then Cambridge Road as it heads north in direction of Spellbrook. Sayesbury Avenue can be obviously found, looking like a runway, prior to Gilders and White Write-up Subject have been designed to the west of the town.


Stansted Airport in 1947 Credit: Historic England
Stansted Airport in 1947 Credit: Historic England

Stansted Airport in 1946. The most important airstrip runs from the north-east (bottom still left) to the south-west in the way of Bishop’s Stortford. The most important highway managing across the shot is the B1256, prior to the A120 was developed. The airfield, which was designed and applied by the US Air Pressure all through the 2nd World War, continue to has the indications of a fighter plane base and none of the indications of an global airport.