PICTURES taken during the construction of the Second Severn Crossing - now named the Prince of Wales Bridge - have been released by archivists after having been digitised.

The pictures, taken from the John Laing Photographic Collection, also include notable sites across the UK like Coventry Cathedral, the M1 motorway and the Barbican in London.

The pictures form the first batch of 10,000 newly digitised images taken by photographers at John Laing, which ceased its construction work in 2002.

They have been released as part of Historic England's Breaking New Ground project to digitise and explore Britain's construction history.

Construction on the Second Severn Crossing began in 1992 with the project coming to a close four years later in 1996.

In 2018, the Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, announced that the bridge would be renamed as the Prince of Wales Bridge.

Everyday sites such as social housing estates, sewage works and bus stations are also among more than 2,000 pictures from last century released on Historic England's website.

James Laing originally established the firm in Carlisle in 1848 and it grew to become one of Britain's major construction companies.

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The company employed photographers throughout the last century to capture its work, which include snaps of staff outings from sports days to trips to the seaside.

Historic England chief executive Duncan Wilson said: "We are delighted to bring to the public the fascinating John Laing Photographic Collection through digitising 10,000 images, which will be accessible to everyone through our website.

(Jacqueline Bowker and Anita Manning make measurements with the Jay Robertson, a large jack-up barge, in the background)

"The collection offers unparalleled insight into the construction of 20th century Britain - covering everything from cathedrals, mosques and housing, to bus stations, bridges and motorways.

"We hope our Breaking New Ground project will shine a light on prominent and everyday British landmarks, and inspire the next generation to enjoy and engage in the built heritage all around us."

Sir Martin Laing, chairman of trustees at the John Laing Charitable Trust, said: "I am delighted that this unique record of the construction industry is being made available to a wide audience and demonstrates the evolving nature and contribution of an industry that impacts us all.

"As a company Laing has been a leader in this change and demonstrates how important the people who work in it are and how we have been able to affect their lives and working conditions."

Historic England, formerly English Heritage, is a public body protecting and celebrating the country's historical environment including ancient monuments and buildings, beaches, parks and pie shops.

To view the full gallery of pictures, visit the Historic England website at