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Tony Hall’s East End Panoramas

January 3, 2018
by the gentle author

In the sixties, Tony Hall bought a Horizont camera of Russian manufacture that was designed for taking panoramic photographs and he used it to take these magnificent pictures of East End streets. Originally trained as a painter, Tony Hall became a newspaper artist in Fleet St and pursued photography in the afternoons between shifts.

“He’d always been passionate about wide-angle lenses, it was his landscape painter’s background – he had a painter’s eye,” Libby Hall, Tony’s wife revealed to me, “When he was sixteen, his paintings were accepted for the Royal Academy but he wanted to do something different, so he gave it up in favour of commercial art and photography.”

The Horizont camera had a lens that rotated in sync with the shutter to create a panoramic view, but they were unreliable and, when the lens became out of sync with the shutter, patches of light and dark appeared on the image. Tony bought three cameras in the hope of getting one to work consistently and in the end he gave up, yet by then he had achieved this bravura series of pictures which emphasise the linear qualities of the cityscape to dramatic effect.

“Tony loved tools of all sorts and he always said that if you had the tool you could work out how to use it,” Libby recalled, “He was very frustrated by the Horizont, but he was very pleased when it worked.”

It is the special nature of Tony Hall’s photographic vision that he saw the human beauty within an architectural environment which others sought to condemn and, half a century later, his epic panoramas show us the East End of the nineteen sixties as we never saw it before.

Click on any of the photographs below to enlarge and enjoy the full panoramic effect.

Corner of Middleton Rd & Haggerston Rd

Haggerston Rd

Old Montague St & Black Lion Yard

Old Montague St

Hessel St

Corner of Lyal Rd & Stanfield Rd

Corner of Lyal Rd & Stanfield Rd

Bridge House, Tredegar Rd

Sclater St

Leopold Buildings, Columbia Rd

Pearson St & Appleby St

Corner of Well St & Holcroft Rd

Hackney Rd

St Leonards Rd

St Leonards Rd

Photographs copyright © Libby Hall

Images Courtesy of the Tony Hall Archive at the Bishopsgate Institute

Libby Hall & I would be delighted if any readers can assist in identifying the locations and subjects of Tony Hall’s photographs.

You may also like to read

Tony Hall, Photographer

At the Pub with Tony Hall

At the Shops with Tony Hall

Libby Hall, Collector of Dog Photography

The Dogs of Old London

13 Responses leave one →
  1. January 3, 2018

    Lovely stuff, especially the wrecked yard on the canal and the two (unnamed) terraces. I, too, owned a Horizont in the early 80s – or perhaps I should say for about a week in the early 80s, because that’s how long the expensive little bugger lasted. I think it had been assembled at a facility somewhere in the Urals, where mitten-wearing and extended vodka-breaks were mandatory. The noise made by the mechanism as it traversed its sweep was not unlike that of a Moskvitch firing up after a winter in a door-less garage .

  2. January 3, 2018

    Wonderful photos of the London of my childhood. Valerie

  3. Juliet permalink
    January 3, 2018

    There are two unlabelled photos 20th & 21st in the sequence (between the views of “Pearson St…” and “Corner of Well St…”).
    These show the corner of Bushberry Road and Benn Street in Homerton. The single storey building at the acute angle now has a balustrade around the edge of the roof. It overlooks the northbound slip road onto the A12.

  4. January 3, 2018

    I remember well the shop on the corner of Lyal & Stanfield Road(E3) as pictured, as I lived round the corner in the 1970s, in Antill Road. It was run by a Mrs Jones, pictured -just- behind the weighing machine in the following photo. I think she was one of the welsh farmers who came with their cows to the east end, and set up in corner shops -with the cows kept in a shed behind. She had a lovely lilting welsh voice. No longer any cows in the 70s, but still a beautiful marble counter keeping the butter cool.

  5. Colin Allen permalink
    January 3, 2018

    Fabulous images from Tony once again.
    The second image looking under the bridge is a spot I knew well as a nipper.
    For reference it is the bridge at the extreme right of the first image. Tony has his back to Kingsland road (the waste) .
    The church in the background in the second image is All Saints church where, in the ‘50s I sang in the choir. Right of the church is Clarissa street where we lived at Samuel House. Sadly no more. At the end of Clarissa street is the Regents Canal where, as a kid I watch from the window of our flat horses pulling barges.
    Great memories!

  6. Leana Pooley permalink
    January 3, 2018

    I’ve never seen houses with double attics – that attractive terrace in Hessel Street looks continental. I wonder why no street trees were planted – I can’t see any in these striking streetscapes.

  7. January 3, 2018

    I “forget” about panoramic photos, (out of sight, out of mind) and then I see great examples like these and I fall in love all over again. This photographer was such a great match with their chosen terrain and topic. I love the way the series of photos, viewed in this one-after-another format gives a feeling of literally zooming down the various narrow streets, catching glimpses of neighbors and shop keepers, etc. Downright cinematic, I thought.
    Atmospheric, beautifully-composed, evocative — just plain great!
    Love reading the comments from those who recall these special personal landmarks, as ever.
    Happy 2018!

  8. January 3, 2018

    These photographs are marvellous. A unique panoramic essay of a disappeared East End. I particularly liked the panoramas of Old Montague Street; Tony captured it brilliantly before I moved there in 1982.

  9. Gary Arber permalink
    January 3, 2018

    Nice to see inside the dairy shop owned by Rees Jones in Lyal Road , he was a character, he pushed a hand milk cart on his rounds and collected the empties with a trade bike with a front basket.
    He was a little man with one eye, he kept his cap pulled down over the other one. he liked a drink, once when pushing his bike with four crates of empty bottles along Roman Road, well drunk, he turned into Lyal Road but let go of the bike which fell and smashed four crates of bottles over the road junction, he staggered home leaving the bike and smashed glass where it was. We all had to go out with brooms and shovels and clear up before the busy traffic in the Roman could continue. Mrs Jones was a very clean woman who would not let him in the bedroom because was a bit smelly, he slept in a chair downstairs with the dog at his feet who barked and awoke him at 4.30 a.m. when the milk delivery arrived. I liked him.
    Gary

  10. January 3, 2018

    I like the facility in today’s message to view panoramically, it is better than using the mouse wheel to enlarge which is my usual practice.

    Incidentally have you any photographs of Ivy Lane or Ely Place area of Hoxton?
    I ask that because my wife has ancestry there in late 1800′s and early 1900′s.

    Rod Whale in Andover, Hampshikre.

  11. Ian Silverton permalink
    January 3, 2018

    Remember the old Tyre Shop in Hackney Road,just around the turning before was a special bike shop,think his name was Blackwells,sold all the latest bikes,for us boys in the 1950s, bought my first new bike from him,at 3 shillings six pence per just about done it,milk round paper round bottle stacking in the pub, he said my next bike should be a hand made frame Claude Butler,which he had in stock at all times, the Rolls Royce of bikes at the time, told me 10 shillings a week would buy it, never did,cars came along I was gone.

  12. Marcia Howard permalink
    January 8, 2018

    Wonderful images, so glad Tony Hall persisted with his troublesome cameras. I grew up to streets with a shop on every corner. A major part of the local community which saddens me to see have all but disappeared.

  13. Clare dove permalink
    February 7, 2018

    It’s so wonderful to see these images by Tony. They show/embrace my impressions of London when I first visited in the 60′s. Libby, your memory of Tony talking about the olfactory potency of this period “… the smell of tobacco, wet tweed and coal fires.” chimes with my memories of being on trains, living by the Thames and my father’s various offices in the city – especially the tobacco, and BO! ;-)

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