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Skyscan retires: Aerial Archive for sale

Advertisment – Expressions of interest in acquiring the Archive are sought by the end of January.

The Skyscan Aerial Archive

Niche aerial photo library SKYSCAN is retiring after nearly forty years and looking for a new owner for their archive of historic air to ground photographs of the UK spanning over 60 years.

Skyscan was started in 1984 by photographer Andy Marks with wife Brenda. In the pre drone era, SKYSCAN used innovative remotely controlled cameras suspended beneath a tethered balloon to capture a unique bird’s eye view of British buildings and landscapes. The quality achieved by this stable low level aerial platform was recognised and used by the heritage and property markets in particular, whilst the unusual camera angle was a favourite with publishers and the media.

The Skyscan Balloon aerial camera

As their photolibrary grew, Skyscan became agents for other worldwide aerial photographers and are well known and respected in both the aerial survey and the photolibrary industries with Brenda having served on the BAPLA Technology committee. In the early 2000’s SKYSCAN diversified into searching and supplying location and date specific aerial photos for use as historic photographic evidence in planning and environmental investigations and for resolving boundary disputes.

To further this niche business, in 2008/09 SKYSCAN bought two historic aerial photo collections which were lying dormant. The London Aerial Archive and the Chorley Handford/ Realistic Archive were soon providing crucial evidence of historic land use for the property related sectors. This ‘Aerial Photo Detective Agency’ grew to be the dominant part of SKYSCAN’s business and is highly valued today amongst professional building consultants and members of the public.

Apart from towns, cities and landscapes around the country, highlights in the Archive include:
– heritage sites – privately owned stately homes; National Trust; Historic England, Historic Wales
– photostories spanning the decades of many large construction projects which have changed the face of the UK
– the beginnings and expansion of Gatwick airport from 1936 onwards including interiors
– regeneration of London’s Docklands
– regeneration of the Stretford rail depot into the Olympic Park
– all football stadia in the Premier League
– construction of the M25, Second Severn Crossing, Sizewell, QE2 bridge, power stations and more

The Skyscan Archive

Number of images : approximately 350,000
Dates : 1958 – 2018
Format : medium format negatives, transparencies, including some glass plates; reference prints; digital capture post 2004.
– excellent survey notes and finding aids held.
– ongoing project to digitise and geocode the collection to allow for online searching by date and postcode.
– royalties from agents and past photolibrary sales continue.

Expressions of interest in acquiring the Archive are sought by the end of January. All enquiries to Brenda Marks, Skyscan E: T: 01242 621357 W:

Chorley Handford Collection – sites before & after
Photomosaic of the London Aerial overhead survey of the Thames 1999
Books published with Skyscan as author

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