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Libby Hall’s Outtakes

July 13, 2023
by the gentle author

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When Libby Hall (1941-2023) was a press photographer in the sixties, based in Clerkenwell and travelling back and forth from her home in Clapton, she occasionally photographed her immediate surroundings as a diversion from her daily work. Yet half a century later these almost inconsequential outtakes have transformed into a powerful evocation of a lost era.

Libby Hall’s desk In Farringdon Rd

‘These photographs were mostly just lens tests, or moments of light that appealed to me on my journeys back and forth to work as a press photographer. The bookstalls were immediately across the street from the newspaper I worked for. I do miss those wonderful bookstalls even though they used up a considerable chunk of my then meagre wages. It was impossible to pass by without having a look – but then what treasures there were to be found!’ – Libby Hall

Looking down onto Farringdon Rd

Looking across to Turnmills St, Clerkenwell Session House and Booth’s Gin Distillery

Bookstalls in Farringdon Rd

Farringdon Station

Liverpool St Station

Clapton Station

Photographs copyright © Estate of Libby Hall

You may also like to take a look at

Libby’s Hall’s Collection of Dog Photography

Libby Hall’s Dogs of Old London

11 Responses leave one →
  1. July 13, 2023

    Wonderful pictures of Farringdon Road. More please.

  2. Jenny Ridgwell permalink
    July 13, 2023

    What a brilliant collection of photos – will there be an exhibition?

  3. Wilma permalink
    July 13, 2023

    A completely different skyline around Farringdon. And all those marvellous shop fronts.
    The one by Farringdon station with a curved glass corner window…
    All gone now.
    The ‘Read your weight’ machine on Clapton station platform! Can’t believe we had those then!
    Marvellous post.

  4. July 13, 2023

    Wonderful “test pictures” from Libby Hall’s archive. The bookstalls were a pleasure to be viewed today! — I know such “accidentally” taken moments from everyday life myself, as I also have my camera with me all day (NO “smartphone”!). The results, especially with time distance, are often admirable…

    Love & Peace

  5. Eve permalink
    July 13, 2023

    ..nice peering back into sixties Farringdon – no traffic, crowds coffee/bistro chains, only small scale office & retail spaces (with enterprising bookseller stalls) – ah so very British !

  6. Ros permalink
    July 13, 2023

    About these wonderful photos I can only quote Libby herself – “it is impossible to pass by without having a look – and then what treasures there are to be found!” There are details galore to pore over and so much remembrance of time past. If there was an exhibition, perhaps jointly of Libby’s and her husband Tony’s evocative photos of the London of their time, I’d go like a shot.

  7. July 13, 2023

    There used to be bookstalls along Central Park in New York City, but I doubt there are today. I bought my first volume of William Blake at one of them in 1990.

    In the penultimate photo above, is that… a facade?!

  8. Clive McDonald permalink
    July 13, 2023

    The bookstall shots have a particular resonance. Remember browsing the stalls in ’67. Actually bought a book on one occasion, and still have it. Not pictured here but are the flower sellers still there outside the entrance to Farringdon Station? Like the photographs, memories don’t change thank goodness.

  9. Paul Adderley permalink
    July 14, 2023

    It surprises me that no bookseller has ever attempted to revive the Farringdon Book Market. Is there anything actually stopping it happening today?

  10. Cherub permalink
    July 14, 2023

    A wonderful collection of black and white photographs. I was studying the ads outside the shops and remember my mother reading Reveille magazine.

  11. paul and keren rennie permalink
    July 14, 2023

    I remember the Farringdon Road book market from the early 1990s. Amazing that it lasted that long. What and when, I wonder, were the origins of the market? I guess the proximity to printers and type setters etc
    I love the lovely sign-mixture picture by Libby, a wonderful expression of the visual energy of the street and shops

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