The Britain from Above website is a project which is trying to preserve 95,000 of the oldest and most valuable photos in the Aerofilms Collection. These are all aerial pictures of Great Britain between 1919 and 1953. The pictures are being treated to preserve them, then scanned and uploaded so that all web users and see them. This extraordinary project helps us understand just how much Great Britain has changed in the 20th century.
So why are we discussing a website about photos of Great Britain? Because they’ve just uploaded nine pictures of what we can see is San Sebastian in 1921 (7 images) and the Lasarte Aerodrome (2 images), also in 1921.
Why these photos of the Basque Country have been uploaded to a site about aerial photos of Britain is unknown to us. But given everything that ended up happening to the Basques from the start of the 19th century, it wouldn’t have been a bad thing to be a “British protectorate”; we could even end up in a historical moment like the Scots, being allowed to decide our future.
But imagining what that would have been like, or what the extraordinary project Larbourd-born Dominique Joseph Garat, the two-time French Minister of Justice to create a single state, New Sparta, which would have joined up Basques on both sides of the Pyrenees, would have been like, is a thought experiment that leads nowhere (except to know that there have been Basques who have been trying to unify the country for over two centuries; no small feat). Now we Basques have to overcome the administrative divisions we find ourselves under.
But in the meantime, enjoy the photos we’ve brought you here. Without a doubt, these are valuable documents to know what San Sebastian was like at the height of the Roaring Twenties.
Britain from above – 2014 – Great Britain