'One Immense Black Spot': Aerial views of London 1784-1918

Barber, Martyn and Wickstead, Helen (2010) 'One Immense Black Spot': Aerial views of London 1784-1918. London Journal, 35(3), pp. 236-254. ISSN (print) 0305-8034


Aerial imagery is everywhere these days, but before World War I, the aerial view had been experienced by a tiny minority of individuals. Focusing on airborne adventures from Lunardi�s first flight over British soil in 1784 to the Royal Flying Corps, this article uncovers the variety within aerial viewing. Aerial views are sometimes understood as inherently map-like and surveilliant, as if the airborne viewer always saw in a certain way. However, early balloonists and their passengers describe a London whose aspects could be revealed or disguised, elevated or debased, by different kinds of viewing.

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