Glasgow From Above aerial images

03 February 2014
Rare and previously unseen images which chart the growth and decline of industry in 20th century Glasgow have been released by RCAHMS. ...
Glasgow From Above aerial images Images
Rare and previously unseen images which chart the growth and decline of industry in 20th century Glasgow have been released by RCAHMS for 'Britain From Above: Looking Down to Build Business' a new exhibition at the Lighthouse, Glasgow, which runs from 14 February to 7 May 2014.

The exhibition showcases the industrial might of Scotland in the years following World War One, as captured from the air:

It also draws on many rare and previously unseen aerial images from the Aerofilms archives, traces the histories of factories, shipyards, mills, ironworks and their surrounding communities over three decades, from 1919 to 1953.

Industries are shown operating at peak and also in decline, as the 'bird's eye view' tracks the impact of social, political and economic forces on the urban fabric of Scotland, from the Great Depression to reconstruction in the aftermath of World War Two.

Many of the buildings featured are now long gone, demolished to make way for housing and other developments.

The Lighthouse exhibition coincides with the publication of a new book – Aerofilms: A History of Britain from Above published on 20 February 2014.  Photographs from the book and the Aerofilms collections are being showcased in three simultaneous exhibitions at The Lighthouse (14 February to 24 April), The RAF Museum in Hendon (13 February 2014 to  March 2016) and the Museum of Edinburgh (1 February to 19 April 2014).


Aerofilms Ltd was born on 9 May, 1919. An unprecedented business venture, it hoped to marry the still fledgling technology of powered flight to the discipline of photography.  From developing photographic glass plates in a hotel bathroom at the London Flying Club in Hendon, to producing many thousands of aerial images of Britain every year, the company took a tool which had first been used for military intelligence, and repackaged it for the mass market.

The one constant thread running through the history of Aerofilms was its relationship with industry. Photographing industrial buildings was a constantly renewable source of business. While the shape and form of the industries that Aerofilms photographed may have changed – from soot-blackened, gothic Victorian factories to Art Deco monoliths and futuristic buildings of gleaming metal – the principle remained the same. The company courted the owners of businesses by sending them unsolicited aerial photographs of their premises in an attempt to secure image sales.


Britain From Above: Looking Down To Build Business runs from 14 February to 7 May 2014 at: The Lighthouse (Gallery 4), 11 Mitchell Lane, Glasgow G1 3NU; tel: 0141 276 5360; visit The Lighthouse website.

(All images copyright RCAHMS)

See RCAHMS pictures of Historic Edinburgh From Above in our special feature.

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