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England's Motoring Heritage From The Air


The arrival of aerial photography came at a particularly significant moment in terms of the visual appearance of England. When Aerofilms fliers first went up in the skies in 1919, they captured a country that, with the obvious exception of some large scale structures, had more or less been preserved in aspic in 1914. What we are seeing in many of the early photographs are essentially Edwardian, with fields almost reaching the high streets in many cases, and little sign of the sprawl that was to engulf them in the 1920s and 30s.The purpose of this book is to show the radical changes that occurred over the ensuing 50 years. We trace the outward expansion of places brought about by the availability of the car. We see how new arterial roads came into being to meet the needs of motor transport and how the centre of cities start to be rebuilt to accommodate it. We see how public transport changes, from trams to buses, and the scale of traffic congestion becomes apparent by the late 1930s.



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England's Motoring Heritage From The Air

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magnificent publication Review by Alan Millar - Buses Magazine
This magnificent publication is not specifically about buses, though quite a few - and some of the significant buildings that supported them - figure in its coverage of mainly urban England between 1920 and 1974.
These were the years when Hendon based Aerofilms, whose name describes its objectives, took black and white photographs for commercial clients. As this book demonstrates, these not only show the true scale of some buildings and civil engineering developments far more effectively than is possible at ground level, but over the period covered they also show reveal how much our urban landscapes have changed to accommodate road transport and evolving lifestyles.
The views include trams and tram depots, motorbuses, trolleybuses, bus stations, depots and engineering works. The last of these include the two major facilities in London, Chiswick Works in 1924 and the huge Aldenham site in 1958, the buildings dwarfing two lines of RTs awaiting collection. Another shows Edge Lane in Liverpool.
Also from London is a view of Wembley bus station in 1928, with hordes of pedestrians and open-top and enclosed NS and S double-deckers circulating. Other bus stations captured from on high include Maidstone, Bournemouth, Derby, Canterbury, Preston and Sheffield.
Some of these - like Preston - are postwar views of then new facilities and captions include information on vehicle types that enthusiasts will appreciate. Others capture major roads under construction or newly opened, radically rebuilt city centres and the endless encroachment of the car. We may mourn some of these developments but some make the point that change could be welcome. Among these is a July 1951 view of the single carriageway A6 south of Lancaster, with northbound coaches and cars stuck in an endless jam.
(Posted on 16/04/2014)

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