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Tony Hall’s Pub Photography

August 7, 2016
by the gentle author

Libby Hall remembers the first time she visited a pub with Tony Hall in the nineteen sixties – because it signalled the beginning of their relationship which lasted until his death in 2008. “We’d been working together at a printer in Cowcross St, Clerkenwell, but our romance began in the pub on the night I was leaving,” Libby confided to me, “It was my going-away drinks and I put my arms around Tony in the pub.”

During the late sixties, Tony Hall worked as a newspaper artist in Fleet St for The Evening News and then for The Sun, using his spare time to draw weekly cartoons for The Labour Herald. Yet although he did not see himself as a photographer, Tony took over a thousand photographs that survive as a distinctive testament to his personal vision of life in the East End.

Shift work on Fleet St gave Tony free time in the afternoon that he spent in the pub which was when these photographs, published here for the first time, were taken. “Tony loved East End pubs,” Libby recalled fondly, “He loved the atmosphere. He loved the relationships with the regular customers. If a regular didn’t turn up one night, someone would go round to see if they were alright.”

Tony Hall’s pub pictures record a lost world of the public house as the centre of the community in the nineteen sixties. “On Christmas 1967, I was working as a photographer at the Morning Star and on Christmas Eve I bought an oven-ready turkey at Smithfield Market.” Libby remembered, “After work, Tony and I went into the Metropolitan Tavern, and my turkey was stolen – but before I knew it there had been a whip round and a bigger and better one arrived!”

The former “Laurel Tree” on Brick Lane

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

Libby Hall, Collector of Dog Photography

The Dogs of Old London

10 Responses leave one →
  1. August 7, 2016

    Very atmospheric photos. Those were good days where the pubs were community meeting places. Such a shame that so many have disappeared off the face of the earth. Valerie

  2. Malcolm Barr-Hamilton permalink
    August 7, 2016

    Beautiful photographs. Have drunk in the Carlton, a short walk from where I work and still in operation, corner of Grantley St and Bancroft Rd

  3. August 7, 2016

    These photographs are very engaging. They capture a time and a real sense of place and character. Thanks for the extra links to some of Tony’s other work and Libby’s collection.

  4. Juliet Wrightson permalink
    August 7, 2016

    Wonderful photographs. Why did we ever get rid of that wonderful School sign?

  5. Philip Marriage permalink
    August 7, 2016

    These are so full of character – and characters. Marvelous!

    More please . . .

  6. Paul permalink
    August 7, 2016

    Hi Gentle Author, long time… have moved to Suffolk, near to Southwold, come and see us when you are this way.
    The Prince Albert pub is in another of my old haunts Stoke Newington; 33 Victoria Rd. Sadly, I think, now demolished.

  7. August 7, 2016

    Great photos. I remember there was a pub called the Victory in Vyner Street, near Cambridge Heath, alongside the canal, on a corner as in Tony’s photo. Used to go there for lunch and after work in the early 1970s.

    I remember Tony Hall from the cartoons he did for me for various trade union magazines and newspapers.

  8. August 7, 2016

    Another excellent photographer, the only thing missing is that smell of beer and tobacco!! A very good insight into a totally unknown world for me so thank you. The only reason that I mention the smell is that I can recall how it would be very noticeable when you walked past the open door of a pub then, it wasn’t very pleasant, but presumably, like a lot of other things, if you were used to it you no longer noticed it.

  9. August 8, 2016

    Nothing compares to the atmosphere of an English Pub…!

    Love & Peace

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