In the middle of a December day in 1951, a de Havilland Mosquito photographic reconnaissance aircraft flew over Edinburgh at low-level, flying through the smog of the city to photograph the streets below. The aircraft, serial number RG 207 of 58 Squadron, Royal Air Force, made seven passes over the city at an altitude of 500 feet, taking over 900 photographs of the city and its outskirts.
The atmospheric conditions recorded in the photographs taken over the city centre illustrate why Edinburgh was known as 'Auld Reekie' at the time, in reference to the emissions from thousands of domestic coal fires. Those photographs taken in cleaner air over the suburbs record in great detail the steady expansion of the city, as new housing developments spread into the green fields and open spaces to the north and west. The images featured here provide a taste of this remarkable sortie.