Extraordinary photos of Britain’s cars from the air

Cheltenham Racecourse 1920

Stills from a new book show snapshots of Britain as you’ve never seen her before: tracing England’s growing obsession with the motor industry from the air.

Ford factory, Dagenham, Essex, 1939
The Ford factory in Dagenham, Essex, in 1939

England’s lanscape has been shaped and redesigned over the last century to adapt to our growing reliance on the motor industry, as demonstrated by a new book, released tomorrow.

England’s Motoring Heritage from the Air brings together a collection of 150 black and white photos taken from English Heritage’s extensive Aerofilms archive to illustrate the development of the country from car-free Edwardian England to the urban sprawl of motors that began to take hold from the 1920s onwards.

Cheltenham Racecourse 1920

The photographs, such as the above of Cheltenham Racecourse in 1920, and the one below of Chiswick Flyover in 1959, demonstrate the rapid extension of towns and cities and the emergance of arterial roads, which changed the landscape of England forever.

Chiswick flyover 1959

England’s Motoring Heritage from the Air, by John Minnis, who was awarded the 2013 Peter Neaverson Award for Outstanding Scholarship for his book Carscapes last year, is available to buy
through English Heritage for £35.

England's Motoring Heritage from the Air

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