Images of England
is an online photographic record of all the listed building
s in England at the date of February 2001. The archive gives access to over 323,000 colour images, each of which is matched with the item’s listed designation architectural description.
This ‘snapshot’ is not an up-to-date record as it does not include all listed buildings, only those that were designated as at February 2001.
Images of England was a stand alone project funded jointly by English Heritage
English Heritage . is an executive non-departmental public body of the British Government sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport...
and the Heritage Lottery Fund
The Heritage Lottery Fund is a fund established in the United Kingdom under the National Lottery etc. Act 1993. The Fund opened for applications in 1994. It uses money raised through the National Lottery to transform and sustain the UK’s heritage...
. The aim of the project was to photograph every listed building
and object (some 370,000) in England and to make the images freely available online to create, what was at the time, one of the largest free picture libraries of buildings in the world. It is part of the National Monuments Record (NMR) archive of England’s historic environment.
The project started in October 1999 and the final images were uploaded in September 2008. There is a total of 323,107 images online.
The archive has deliberately not been updated, so any changes to the buildings since the photographs were first taken are not recorded. The official up-to-date list of all listed buildings in England is found on the National Heritage List for England.
The searchable database includes a range of items, not just houses and churches. The term ‘Listed Building
’ includes war memorials, letter boxes, bridges, tombs, telephone box
The red telephone box, a public telephone kiosk designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, is a familiar sight on the streets of the United Kingdom, Malta, Bermuda and Gibraltar, and despite a reduction in their numbers in recent years, red boxes can still be seen in many places and in current or former...
es and milestone
A milestone is one of a series of numbered markers placed along a road or boundary at intervals of one mile or occasionally, parts of a mile. They are typically located at the side of the road or in a median. They are alternatively known as mile markers, mileposts or mile posts...
s and much more. Each entry on the database consists of a single, representative photograph and a text listing, written by historic building experts within English Heritage.
However, some records state ‘no image available’. This may be for a variety of reasons, e.g., because the building no longer existed, it could not be found or the photograph did not pass the quality assurance process. Pictures of prisons had a different treatment as it is illegal to take or attempt to take a photograph of any building that is, or is associated with, one of HM Prisons. Photographs of Listed Prisons were taken with permission from the Prison Service as part of a major recording project by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England
The Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England was the body formerly responsible for documenting the records of English historical monuments. It was merged with English Heritage on 1 April 1999....
(now part of English Heritage).
In some instances a house owner did not give permission for the photograph to be taken on their private land, or may have asked to be included in the exemption scheme..
In early 2002, the Country Landowners Association
The Country Land and Business Association is a voluntary organisation in the United Kingdom.-Membership:...
(now Country Land and Business Association) raised concerns over the security implications of photographs of residential properties made available on the Images of England website. In response, English Heritage introduced an exemption scheme whereby owners of listed buildings with a maximum of two households were able to register for an exclusion from the database until 2013. The photographs of the properties were still taken, where visible from public land, and are stored in the NMR archive.
Hundreds of volunteer photographers, many from local camera clubs or the Royal Photographic Society, were allocated a number of listed buildings to record in their area. They were briefed to only take one ‘defining image’ of each listed item. Each 'defining image' aimed to show the architectural character of the building, indicate its historical function, suggest its context, and provide a truthful high quality with as much visual information as possible. The photographers were restricted to one frame per building and used standard 35mm photographic equipment and colour negative film.
Volunteers were given film, processing and travel expenses and retain the copyright to their images. Each photograph is credited to the relevant photographer on the site. The photographs had to be taken from publicly accessible land (unless permission was granted to photograph from private land). Photographers were asked to capture a single 'defining image' of the exterior of each Listed Building.
Many of the listed structures were hard to photograph due to their size or location. This meant that, in some circumstances, some pictures are not ideal, but have been included anyway to provide as comprehensive a record as possible. Much of the success of the finished project is due to the enthusiasm and thoroughness of the volunteers who hunted down buildings and tried to find the best angle for the photograph in often not ideal circumstances.