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Aerial Photographs

Oxfordshire History Centre's collections of historic aerial photographs can be accessed in the following ways:

  1. Online via Picture Oxon
  2. Digitally at Oxfordshire History Centre and Oxfordshire County Library only
  3. In hard copy only at Oxfordshire History Centre
Photoair aerial view of an Oxfordshire Health Authority site, 1995

Collections available online via Picture Oxon

  • Hi-res zoomable images are available via the Picture Oxon website
  • Click on the Search images button, at the top left of this page,
  • use the "Filter By COLLECTION" function to select "Aerial Photos".
  • add keywords to the search box for the name of the survey (e.g. “Fairey” or “Geonex”) and the place-name you are interested in."
  • Coverage:
    • Fairey 1961: much of pre-1974 county, but excluding Vale of White Horse, and southern parts of South Oxfordshire; chiefly 1:8,000 scale; black/white vertical; searchable by place-name and by Ordnance Survey 1km grid squares.
    • Astral 1981: Oxfordshire; 1:10,000 scale colour vertical; searchable by place-name and by Ordnance Survey 1km grid squares.
    • Geonex 1991: Oxfordshire; 1:10,000 scale colour vertical - temporary catalogue records searchable by known track and image number only.
    • PhotoAir 1988-1997: 2,500 images of Oxfordshire landscapes and public or commercial building projects; colour; large scale (variable); vertical and oblique views. Searchable via place-name.

Collections available digitally at Oxfordshire History Centre and Oxfordshire County Library

  • Access to digital copies of aerial photographs is possible via public computers at Oxfordshire History Centre and Oxfordshire County Library only, using the National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP) subscription website.
  • Oxfordshire coverage via NCAP includes the following vertical aerial surveys, but note that some only offer partial coverage of the county:
    Survey Year Colour Scale No of images
    Fairey

    1961

    1963

    1969

    1971

    b/w

    b/w

    b/w

    b/w

    1:8,000

    1:10,000 (some 1:6,000)

    1:10,000 (some 1:14,000)

    1:10,000

    511

    475

    543

    199

    Astral

    1981

    col

    1:10,000

    1351

    Clyde

    1983

    1984

    1988

    b/w

    b/w

    b/w

    1:3,000

    1:3,000

    1:3,000

    51

    16

    15

    Aerofilms

    1990

    1992

    1995

    1997

    2000

    b/w

    col

    col

    col

    col

    1:8,000

    1:10,000

    1:10,000

    1:10,000

    1:10,000

    103

    48

    542

    558

    3

    Geonex

    1989

    1990

    1991

    1994

    1995

    col

    col

    col

    col

    col

    1:15,000

    1:4,000

    1:10,000

    1:4,000

    1:25,000

    2

    240

    918

    16

    17

  • Access to Oxfordshire County Council’s digital mapping service is possible via public computers at Oxfordshire History Centre and Oxfordshire County Library only, including this countywide vertical aerial survey:

    Survey

    Year

    Colour

    Scale

    No of images

    Geoperspectives / InfoTerra

    (searchable by place, street, building or postcode)

    1999, 2005, 2009

    col

    1:10,000

    1351

Collections available in hard copy at Oxfordshire History Centre

Photoair aerial view of an Oxfordshire Health Authority site, 1995
  • Visitors to Oxfordshire History Centre can consult supplementary hard copy collections of aerial photographs.
  • These include a mixture of vertical (straight down) and oblique (at an angle) views, at a variety of scales, of selected urban and rural settlements and features around Oxfordshire.
  • Paper copies of selected aerial photographs can be consulted in easy-to-use browser files, arranged according to Ordnance Survey (OS) grid reference, with an index of Oxfordshire place-names.
  • Where no browser file copy is available, original aerial photographic prints can be consulted by appointment through the Photographic Officer.
  • Note that the asterisked * collections below only offer selective and not complete countywide coverage.

Survey

Year

Colour

Scale

Coverage

Aerofilms *

 

1920s-1980s

 

Black/white; some 1970s-1980s colour

Large scale (variable)

Urban and rural settlements
(oblique view)

RAF

1947

Black/white

1:10,560 scale

Countywide
(vertical view)

Dept of the Environment *

1950s-1960s

Black/white

1:10,000 or 1:20,000 scale

Urban and rural settlements
(vertical view)

Ordnance Survey *

Chiefly 1970s

Black/white

1:7,700 scale

Urban and rural settlements
(vertical view)

Copying aerial photographs

There may be restrictions on the copying of some photographs, according to their copyright status. See our charges page for current copy costs.

  • Limited size (450 pixel) images can be downloaded and copied from the National Collection of Aerial Photography subscription website.
  • Snapshots can be taken from the zoomable aerial photograph images available on Picture Oxon; remote users must order all other prints and digital files via our partner, House of Images.
  • Visitors to Oxfordshire History Centre can make self-service low-resolution copies (either A4 paper copies, or digital copies with a camera / tablet / smartphone) for non-commercial use or private study from these aerial surveys:
    • Hard copy photographs in the browser files, including Aerofilms, RAF, Dept of the Environment and Ordnance Survey images.
    • Digital Geoperspectives / Infoterra surveys, using our digital mapping package.
  • For high resolution copies of Aerofilms, RAF, Dept of the Environment and Ordnance Survey images, we will refer you to the relevant copyright holder.
  • Visitors to Oxfordshire History Centre can order high resolution digital prints or electronic files for non-commercial use or private study from these aerial surveys; no further reproduction is allowed without our permission:

Where else can I go?

Collections of Oxfordshire historic aerial photographs held by other institutions: