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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ViewFinder website?
ViewFinder is a website showcasing photographs of the historic environment taken from the collections held by the Historic England Archive. The photographs on the website include historic buildings, archaeological sites, aerial photographs and social history pictures. This website is no longer being updated – a wider selection of images can be viewed at our new website, Historic England Archive.


Where can I see more historic images held by the Historic England Archive?
The archive holds over 12 million photographs and drawings documenting England’s historic environment. A large number of these can be searched and viewed online at the Historic England Archive website. To view our other collections, including over 2 million aerial photographs and thousands of plans, drawings and reports, you can visit our Swindon search room. Contact Archive Services to find out more.


Why are some of the counties wrong? I live in Bristol, not Avon (etc)
ViewFinder information is taken from a legacy database which uses the 1974-2000 counties and districts.


Can I buy a print?
Photographic prints of most of the images on this site may be purchased for private and research use. Either use the 'buy a print' tab on the navigation bar against each image on the site, or contact Archive Services.


Can I use your images in a book/website?
Because most of the photographs, other images and text on this site are protected by copyright or other restrictions, all rights are reserved. The images on this site may be freely used for your own private research only. If in doubt, or to discuss any other use, please contact Archive Services. Reproduction, either online or in print, normally requires a licence, and depending on the usage this may incur reproduction fees. Unlicensed copying or use of any content on this website is strictly prohibited, and material may not be shared with any third party without our permission.


I am a teacher. Can I use these photographs in the classroom?
All the photographs, other images and text on this site are protected by copyright and all rights are reserved. Specific copyright holders are identified for each image. However, if you are a teacher in primary, secondary or tertiary education you may make copies for your reasonable teaching purposes within the classroom without applying for permission from us.

You can also find more teaching resources on our Heritage Explorer website.


I have some historic photographs. Do you want them?
We believe that it is usually more appropriate for collections with a local focus to be deposited with a local record office or museum where they are more readily accessible to local people. Thematic collections may be more appropriately deposited with a relevant subject museum or institute. However, we have accepted a number of important national collections over the years. If you would like to discuss this, please contact the Acquisitions Officer onian.leith@HistoricEngland.org.uk.