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Benjamin Blayney (b. 1854)

Benjamin Blayney (surname sometimes spelled "Blaney") was a London fishmonger who likely inspired director Alfred Hitchcock to use the surname for the lead character in Frenzy (1972), rather than the surname "Blamey" as used in Arthur La Bern's source novel.[1]


He was born in Hackney in 1854 to poulterer and greengrocer Benjamin Blayney (b. ~1829)[2] and his wife Mary Ann Blayney (b. ~1833) née Harling[3], who married in Bethnal Green in 1853.

Benjamin married Amelia Simmons (b. ~1856) in August 1877 and the couple had at least ten children. At least one of his sons — William James Blayney[4] — also became a fishmonger.

Following their marriage, the couple ran a fishmongery at 4 Victoria Road, Hackney. By the mid 1890s, the Blayney's were living on Salmon Lane. Between 1895 and 1903, they resided at 124 Salmon Lane before taking over 173 and 175 Salmon Lane in 1904. Kelly's London 1908 Post Office Directory also names the Blayneys as resident at 130 Salmon Lane.

The historical evidence indicates that Blayney knew Alfred Hitchcock's uncles, Alfred and John — who also became successful London fishmongers — and they may have encouraged William Hitchcock to take over the lease of 175 Salmon Lane when the Blayney's moved out, sometime around 1907.[5]

By the time of the 1911 Census, the Blayney's had moved to 358 High Street, Stratford, and this fishmongery later became part of John Hitchcock Ltd, a company set up Alfred Hitchcock's uncle John.

Benjamin Blayney died in October 1917, aged 63, leaving a sizeable estate worth £9,216.[6] Amelia Blayney died in 1926.[7]

Historical Documents

1901 Census: 175 Salmon Lane

Notes & References

  1. The early historical documents for his life tend to use the spelling "Blaney" and he is even named "Bengeman Blaney" in the 1871 Census.
  2. Son of Thomas and Rebecca Blayney. Worked initially as a poultry dealer (1851 Census) and a carman (1861 Census) before setting himself up as a greengrocer prior to the 1871 Census. Towards the end of his life, he worked as a street hawker. Died 1898 in Hackney, aged 69.
  3. Likely died 1889 aged 56.
  4. William James died 10/Jan/1933.
  5. The London Telephone Directory lists Blayney at 175 Salmon Lane until 1908, whereas the Electoral Register lists him at the address until 1909.
  6. Death registered Q4 1917 West Ham.
  7. At the time of his death, they were living at 157 Earlham Grove, Forest Gate, Essex. Amelia died 11/May/1926 at 44 Hampton Road, Forest Gate, leaving £334.