Cally Callomon visits PhotoEast Festival, where scenes from a Suffolk pub in 1966 catch his eye
Every town needs an engineer, or a pub like The Engineer’s Arms.
That is; a pub, not a lower-case Helvetica Farrow and Balls-up gourmet bistro kitchen bar and grill, but a place where ‘Gastro’; is what happens after you eat the lone last sausage that gently warms over three days on the bar itself.
In the Suffolk of the mid 1960s Leiston employment migrated from Garretts/Beyer Peacock Steam and Oil power to the new Sizewell Nuclear power plant, both engineering of sorts, both in need of a place for men to gather, exchange rumours and down men’s ale by the glass. Undaunted by this den, photographer Libby Hall, who worked at the nearby Summerhill School, was a regular visitor to ‘The Engineer’s’ and being an American, perhaps she had the gifted eye of the tourist and saw in our everyday what others now may see as unique and special, something we can all admire today in the beautiful prints on show in the nearby Halesworth Cut Arts Centre as part of the Photo East Festival.
Libby Hall presents not just a touching time capsule but outstanding portraits of any era, using light and texture (and plenty of smoke from the ciggies) equal to that of any Vermeer and at a fraction of the cost.
Visit the exhibition at The Cut, Halesworth, IP19 8BY (Entrance free) until June 25th
Visit the pub itself at 7 Main Street, Leiston, Suffolk IP6 4ER for an immersive experience in the proper sense of the word.