Exhibition celebrates first ever commercial aerial photographers

The FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium in Wembley Park on April 27, 1935. (© English Heritage. Aerofilms Collection)

The FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium in Wembley Park on April 27, 1935. (© English Heritage. Aerofilms Collection)

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A new exhibition will celebrate the history of the first ever commercial aerial photographers, who set up shop in Hendon in 1919.

Aerofilms was established in the area where the Royal Air Force Museum now stands in Grahame Park Way.

It was founded by Claude Grahame-White and Francis Lewis Wills, who married the fledgling technology of flight with the discipline of photography.

For the next 80 years Aerofilms filmed and photographed Britain’s villages, towns, cities and landmarks from the air, providing a record of the development of Britain’s rural and urban landscape throughout the 20th century.

Their techniques also proved invaluable in the Second World War, after their A5 Autograph machine was imported in 1938 to take accurate measurements from photographs to produce maps.

The RAF Museum will exhibit some of the photographs, together with aerial cameras, a Spitfire and the autograph machine until March 1 next year, in a joint display with English Heritage.

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