A website launched last year – Britain from Above – boasts some unique perspectives on London among its more than 61,000 images including this one above of the South Bank site of the Festival of Britain – a national exhibition held at various venues across Britain as a post-war “tonic” for the nation – under construction, taken on 14th August, 1950. The website features images taken as part of a collection of aerial photographs taken between 1919 and 1953 by pioneering air survey company Aerofilms Ltd. It has been created by English Heritage, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales following their joint purchase of the company’s collection of more than 1.26 million negatives and 2000 photo albums and forms part of a four year project which aims to conserve and digitise some 95,000 of the oldest and most valuable photographs in the collection. Under the project, the general public is invited to share and record their knowledge and memories of the photographs featured. To get involved, head to www.britainfromabove.org.uk. Below can be seen an image of the FA Cup Final being played between Sheffield Wednesday and West Bromwich Albion (Sheffield were 4-2 victors) at Wembley Stadium on 27th April, 1935. PICTURES: © English Heritage. Aerofilms Collection EAW031792/© English Heritage. Aerofilms Collection EPW046905.
• The Olympic Rings were unveiled on Tower Bridge yesterday to mark one month until the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Games. Each of the rings weighs three tonnes and are 25 metres wide and 11.5 metres tall. A light show featuring thousands of LED lights brings them to life at night. The rings retract when the bridge is raised. Among those at the unveiling were Lord Sebastian Coe, chairman of LOCOG, London Mayor Boris Johnson and the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
• Several hundred images of London have been included in Britain from Above, a new website launched by English Heritage and the Royal Commissions on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and Wales. The website, which boasts more than 15,000 images taken between 1919 and 1953 includes some of the oldest and most valuable images from the Aerofilms Collection, an archive of more than a million photographs taken between 1919 and 2006. A search for London brings up 283 results, among them stunning images of Tower Bridge, The Tower of London and St Paul’s Cathedral. Users are encouraged to download images, customise their own themed photo galleries and share information to add to the knowledge behind each of the images. For more, see www.britainfromabove.org.uk.
• A quote from William Blake has been inscribed on stone on the summit of Primrose Hill, famous for its views of the London skyline. The quote – “I have conversed with the spiritual sun. I saw him on Primrose Hill” – was selected, according to Nick Biddle, The Regent’s Park manager, “because it sums up so well the experience of standing on Primrose Hill in the early morning light”. “It is always a wonderful experience,” he says. The unveiling of the inscription signalled the end to a series of improvement works on the hill. For more, see http://www.royalparks.org.uk.
• On Now: V&A Illustration Awards display. Features works by the 14 artists short-listed for the V&A’s annual illustration awards. Drawn from more than 1,000 entries the panel – fashion designer Orla Kiely, broadcaster and cultural commentator Emma Freud and Moira Gemmill, V&A director of design – selected their favorite entries in three categories – book illustration, book cover and jacket illustration – while winners of last year’s award judged a fourth category for students’ work. Runs until 31st December. Admission is free. For more, see www.vam.ac.uk/illustrationawards.
• On Now: Edvard Munch: The Modern Eye. This major exhibition at the Tate Modern reassesses the work of this Norwegian painter and aims to show how he engaged with the 20th century world, in particular his interest in the rise of modern media including photography, film and stage production. Organised in conjunction with the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Munch Museum in Oslo, the exhibition features more than 60 paintings and 50 photographs as well as Munch’s lesser-known work in film. They include different versions of celebrated works like The Sick Child and The Girls on a Bridge as well as his last work, a self protrait. Runs until 14th October. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.tate.org.uk.