Gallery: Can you spot where you live in these amazing archive photos of Ipswich and Felixstowe?
INCREDIBLE aerial images of Ipswich and Felixstowe dating back to 1919 have been made available to the public on a new interactive website for the first time.
The photographs published on the website, named Britain From Above, belong to the Aerofilms Collection and represent the largest group of aerial photographs of Britain taken before 1939.
The English Heritage and Royal Commission, which are responsible for the images – spanning from 1919 to 1953, are now urging residents to help identify the locations of “mystery” photographs that experts have been unable to recognise.
Suffolk features in almost 100 clips so far, including sweeping views of the new pier at Felixstowe in 1920, and The Corn Exchange and Town Hall area at Ipswich in 1921.
Although there are recognisable buildings like Christchurch Mansion and St Margaret’s Church, much of the surrounding area has dramatically changed.
Described as a “painstaking” operation, the fragile photos and precious plate glass negatives have gone through significant conservation, cataloguing and digitisation processes.
“What is 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,” said Anna Eavis, head of Archive at English Heritage.
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Local historian and former Ipswich Star photo editor, Dave Kindred, says the photos tell us much about the architectural, industrial, and maritime heritage of Suffolk.
“In the Ipswich photographs you can see how huge the engineering works were back then and just about all of them have gone now, just around the docks,” he said.
“It’s a unique resource, great reference point. You might well have a picture of an old building or something and now you may be able to locate it in more detail.”
Visitors to the website are encouraged to download photos, customise their own themed galleries and share personal memories.
Some of the other areas featured on the website include Kings College and Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Norwich, Sandringham, Essex, and a historic gem – the 1921 Wimbledon tennis championships. 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 edition,” Ms Eavis said.
By the end of 2014, a total of 95,000 images taken between 1919 and 1953 will be available online at www.britainfromabove.org.uk