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Friday, 7 November 2014

RAF Coastal Oblique Collection - Treasures From Our Archive

The majority of the RAF historical aerial photographic collections (taken between 1945 and 1965) held within the NMR are ‘vertical’ views – taken from an aircraft flying at a high altitude, and the camera is looking straight down at the landscape below. However, there is a small collection of ‘oblique’ views – where the aircraft is flying at a fairly low altitude, and the camera is positioned to look out of the side of the aircraft and at an angle towards the ground.

During the latter part of the 1950s, the RAF undertook aerial photographic surveys of the coastal belt of the country. The resulting collection of images is a remarkable record of the landscape. When studied alongside similar modern views they can reveal subtle alterations in the environment, but also show how some things have hardly changed at all.

Aberystwyth 1959, DI2013_5004

Aberystwyth 2006, AP_2006_2559

The two photographs above are similar views of Aberystwyth Castle Point. The first is an RAF shot, dating from August 1959, and the colour view (AP_2006_2559) was taken by RCAHMW Aerial Photographic Staff in July 2006.

Prints from the RAF coastal oblique collection are currently undergoing a rolling programme of digitisation, and will be available on-line through Coflein.

These collections are accessible for viewing in our Search Room & Library during our normal opening hours. If you wish to consult the full range of any available aerial photographic cover an appointment is advisable.

Find out more at the Royal Commission’s Archive Awareness Day on 12 November, 2014 – a day of talks and tours. Open to all!

For further information, please visit our website or contact the NMRW:

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