Residents reclaim image of ‘gritty’ Balfron Tower

PUBLISHED: 14:47 20 October 2010

The Balfron Tower in St Leonard's Road, Poplar

The Balfron Tower in St Leonard's Road, Poplar


IT’S been used as the decayed and depressive backdrop in everything from Oasis single Morning Glory to Danny Boyles horror film 28 Days Later.

Now residents living at the iconic Balfron Tower in Poplar are set to reclaim the image of their home – as they’d like to see it.

As part of an ambitious project, artist Simon Terrill will be photographing the entire 27-storey building in one shot, with residents posing exactly as they like.

Simon, 41, who has lived in the brutalist-style building for the past six months, plans to hoist himself onto a scaffolding tower opposite for the historic photo shoot next month.

Cue the cinematic lights, atmospheric music (not Oasis, he assures me) and all the residents of the 147 flats posing on their balconies or in front of the building in any manner they like.

The mural-sized photograph will then be exhibited at the Nunnery Gallery in Bow Road early next year.

It’s not the first time Simon, originally from Melbourne, Australia, has done this sort of project, previously photographing residents living on the Southbank of his home city.

Simon, told the Advertiser he’d always been fascinated by the Balfron Tower, designed by Erno Goldfinger in 1963, and quickly got in touch with the residents’ committee to set up the photo shoot.

He said: “I’m inviting everyone in the building to come out on their balconies or in front of the tower for one hour on November 18.

“There will be film lights, catering, a soundtrack…we’re really turning it into a film set in a way.

“Lots of people have used this building as a sight for various gritty backdrops. But this time the residents will be choosing how they want to represent themselves.”

He added: “The Balfron has always been the first choice for gritty backdrops. But we’re going to light it up so that it’ll be glowing.”

The Balfron Tower, owned by Poplar HARCA, has been a grade II listed building since 1996.

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