Alfred Hitchcock – Leytonstone’s East End Boy Made Good

He may have been a big noise in Hollywood, but Psycho director Sir Alfred Hitchcock was born in east London’s Leytonstone in 1899. The town has a few memorials to Hitch, including a pub, the Sir Alfred Hitchcock Hotel (147 Whipps Cross Road) where I met up with my old mate Fran last night for a couple of pints of Fuller’s London Pride. Short of the name I don’t think the pub bears much relation to the director, although it’s my kind of boozer with comfy sofas, a discreet and silent TV for sports fans, no music (don’t get me wrong I love a pub with a stonking great live band too) and well cared for real ale. It was just the place for two middle-aged geezers to catch up on old times, but that’s another story.

Psycho mosaic Leytonstone Tube Station

Back in 2001 a selection of mosaics celebrating Hitchcock and his works wer unveiled at Leytonstone’s tube station and I could not resist taking some snaps with my old Sony compact last night. Not an easy job given the highly reflective nature of the little tiles and the poor light in the tunnel.

Hitchcock in the director’s chair

The works by Steve and Nathan Lobb, Carol Kenna, Claire Notley and Julie Norburn at the Greenwich Mural Workshop were commissioned by Waltham Forest Council, after asking local people to choose the pictures.

Tippi Hedron in The Birds

Hitchcock’s father, William was a greengrocer and poulterer who once sent the young Alfred to the local police station with a note requesting he be locked up for being a naughty boy. no doubt this was a formative moment in his upbringing for the Master of Suspense.

Young Alfred outside his dad’s shop

My favourite of the murals is this one of Cary Grant being chased by cropduster the from North by Northwest.

Cary Grant in North by Northwest

It’s also probably one of my favourite Hitchcock movies, partly because I like Cary Grant anyway, but it also has some great set pieces like the cropduster

and the finale on Mount Rushmore, not to mention a brilliant musical score by Bernard Herrmann.

If you fancy taking a look at the mosaics or raising a glass to England’s greatest film maker at the Sir Alfred Hitchcock, Leytonstone is on the Central Line.

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