On the road for an aerial history lesson of Sheffield

Kenning's and Midland Train Station, 1959, from England's Motoring Heritage From The Air by John Minnis

Kenning's and Midland Train Station, 1959, from England's Motoring Heritage From The Air by John Minnis

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There is the Hole in the Road when it was still new, the Manor estate when it was still being built, and Fitzalan Square when it was still somewhere you might like to while away half an hour.

These astonishing never-before-seen aerial pictures show a very different Sheffield from a very different age.

Castle Square, 1974

Castle Square, 1974

They are among a series of photographs of the city – dating from between 1929 and 1974 – owned by English Heritage and now published for the first time in a new book celebrating the country’s road history.

Other highlights include Pond Street Bus Station in the year it opened, the Millsands area of town when it was still heavily industrialised and the Peace Gardens before they were completely redesigned.

But there’s also some things which never seem to change: the Star and Telegraph building can be seen looking much the same, as can Town Hall, City Hall and the two cathedrals.

The distinctive shape of the Manor is already becoming apparent in a 1929 picture, while Castle Market dominates the Castle Gate area in 1974

Prince Of Wales Road, 1927.

Prince Of Wales Road, 1927.

“The photographs demonstrate the rapid extension of towns and cities, the reconstruction of city centres, the appearance of arterial roads, and the positive impact motoring had on leisure attractions,” says Cambridge-based author John Minnis.

The images are owned by English Heritage which acquired them from a company called Aerofilms – commercial photographers who captured much of England’s landscape between 1919 and 2006.

“Schemes like Castle Square and Norfolk Park were a genuine attempt to deal with the conundrum of how people and traffic could coexist and offered a brave and visionary glimpse of a new accommodation between man and motor,” says John.

“The book explores the whole range of issues around this.”

Pond Street Bus Station, 1974, from England's Motoring Heritage From The Air by John Minnis

Pond Street Bus Station, 1974, from England's Motoring Heritage From The Air by John Minnis

n England’s Motoring Heritage From The Air features five never-before-seen images of Sheffield. It will be released, through English Heritage, in February.