HomeRare black and white images taken from hot air balloons more than 130 years ago

Share to Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

These historic images are the earliest-known aerial photographs of Britain – taken more than 130 years ago from hot air balloons.

Long before the age of drones, this remarkable collection shows the first images of London taken from the air.

The 27 black and white images, taken between 1882 and 1892, reveal how parts of the capital have changed beyond all recognition.

These black and white pictures taken more than 130 years ago from hot air balloons are thought to be the earliest-known aerial photographs of Britain. Here a Monarch balloon leaves Crystal Palace in 1884 before a photograph is taken at 1100ft. The photograph is shown alongside Crystal Palace today (bottom) 
 These black and white pictures taken more than 130 years ago from hot air balloons are thought to be the earliest-known aerial photographs of Britain.
Here a Monarch balloon leaves Crystal Palace in 1884 before a photograph is taken at 1100ft (left). The photograph is shown alongside
 A picture of All Saints Benhilton Church, Sutton, is taken at 800ft (left). It is one of the remarkable images from the birth of aerial photography which are being auctioned by Dominic Winter in Cirencester. Right is Sutton today

They were taken from a hot air balloons by pioneer Cecil Victor Shadbolt, who repeatedly flew over London for ten years.

The earliest photo is one of Stamford Hill in north London taken on May 29, 1882.

Shadbolt’s notes of the day record: ‘1st Ascent: 29th May 1882 (Whit Monday), Balloon ‘Reliance’ from Alexandra Palace.A picture of All Saints Benhilton Church, Sutton, is taken at 800ft (top). It is one of the remarkable images from the birth of aerial photography which are being auctioned by Dominic Winter in Cirencester. Below is Sutton today.