New photo collection shows Edinburgh’s landmarks from on high

The Palace of Holyroodhouse in 1927
The Palace of Holyroodhouse in 1927
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THEY are grainy black-and-white images, some a little blurred, others not exactly framed to perfection. But when you consider how and when these extraordinary bird’s eye snapshots were taken, you can forgive them not being picture perfect.

Hundreds of historic Edinburgh views are among thousands of rare aerial photographs, which have been made available to view online following a “painstaking” conservation process by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS).

An almost unrecognisable view of Leith Docks in 1932

An almost unrecognisable view of Leith Docks in 1932

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Giving an insight into the country during the first half of the 20th century, many of the pictures were taken by veterans of the First World War, who had “specialist skills” for capturing images from the air. They include an incredible shot of Leith Docks in 1932, unrecognisable from the port of today. Others are far more recognisable, including views of the Forth Bridge and Princes Street just before the Second World War. A view of Holyrood Palace from 1927 has an almost fairytale quality.

Rebecca Bailey, head of education and outreach at the RCAHMS, said: “The original pilots and photographers were veterans of the First World War, and they brought specialist skills learned in the conflict to the task of capturing the nation from the air.”

In all, more than 5000 images from the Aerofilms Collection have been conserved and digitised, and can be viewed online at {http://britainfromabove.org.uk |britainfromabove.org.uk| britainfromabove.org.uk}.

In 1929, Leith Central Station was still at the foot of Leith Walk

In 1929, Leith Central Station was still at the foot of Leith Walk

The  Forth Bridge spans the estuary in 1947

The Forth Bridge spans the estuary in 1947

A  typical view of the bridge from the 1930s

A typical view of the bridge from the 1930s

Old Town meets New Town in this 1947 shot

Old Town meets New Town in this 1947 shot