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William John Hitchcock (b. 1888)

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William John sprinkles confetti over his younger brother, Alfred

William John Hitchcock was Alfred Hitchcock's older brother. He married Lilian Farmer in 1911.

By 1912, William was running a fishmongery & poulterery business at 239 Old Kent Road. He was still listed as living at that address in the 1920 Electoral Register.

In the 1926 Electoral Register, William and Lilian are the occupants of 395 North End Road, Fulham, a property owned by his Uncle John.

Between 1930 and 1939, they are shown living at 79 Tower Bridge Road, Bermondsey — a property that formerly belonged to his Uncle Alfred who died in 1926. In the telephone directory this address is listed as "Hitchcock Bros., fishmongers and poulterers".[1]

Some sources state that the property on Tower Bridge Road was damaged by bombing during World War II. What seems certain is that William joined his mother Emma Jane at Winter's Grace in Shamley Green to escape the London Blitz.

William Hitchcock died of an overdose in January 1943 in Guildford, aged 52. The coroner's report into his death attributed it to "congestive cardiac failure, probably contributed to by the taking of paraldehyde, thus aggravating the cardiac failure and precipitating death."[2] As paraldehyde was a drug given to alcoholics, biographer Donald Spoto claimed William committed suicide. However, his relatives have said that William frequently mixed pills with alcohol and that his death was accidental.

He is buried at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Cemetery, Leytonstone. [3]

Image Gallery

Images from the Hitchcock Gallery (click to view larger versions or search for all relevant images)...




  • born 18/Aug/1888 at 39 Chandos Road, Stratford[4]


Lilian Farmer (b. ~1880)

  • born around 1880[5]
  • daughter of Charles Walter Farmer (b. ~1857) and Mary Ann Farmer (b. ~1855) née Tilbrook
  • sister of Maude Farmer (b. ~1880), Charles Farmer (b. ~1881) and Gertrude Farmer (b. ~1884)
  • worked as a cashier in John Sylvester Hitchcock's shop at 395 North End Road, Fulham, at the same time William was working there
  • married 20/Sep/1911 to William John Hitchcock in a Roman Catholic ceremony at the St Thomas of Canterbury, Fulham, by priest Father John Crowley (b. ~1858)[6]
  • marriage witnessed by N. Hitchcock and A. Hitchcock[7]
  • date of death unknown


  • not known


  • died 04/Jan/1943 without leaving a will[8]
  • probate granted 17/Feb/1943 to Lilian Hitchcock (widow), estate worth £110 7s. 6d.

Family Tree


Census Data


  • address: 29 Louise Road, Stratford
  • Wm Hitchcock (aged 28) — head, occupation: greengrocer
  • Emma Hitchcock (aged 24) — wife
  • William Hitchcock (aged 2) — son


  • address: 517 Leytonstone Road
  • William Hitchcock (aged 35) — head, occupation: fruiterer shopkeeper
  • Emma Hitchcock (aged 32) — wife
  • William Hitchcock (aged 12) — son
  • Nellie Hitchcock (aged 8) — daughter
  • Alfred Hitchcock (aged 1) — son
  • Emma Macguire (aged 22) — occupation: greengrocer's shop assistant
  • Florrie Whelan (aged 23) — occupation: greengrocer's shop assistant
  • Adie Whelan (aged 15) — occupation: greengrocer's shop assistant


William is helping out his uncle John and Lilian Farmer, who he married shortly after this census, is working there too.

  • address: 395 North End Road, Fulham
  • John Silvester Hitchcock (aged 46) — head, occupation: fishmonger and poulterer
  • Sophia Magdalen Hitchcock (aged 28) — wife, occupation: assisting in business
  • William Hitchcock (aged 22) — nephew, occupation: assisting in business (unmarried)
  • Lilian Farmer (aged 31) — occupation: cashier in business
  • Mary O'Hagan (aged 30) — occupation: assisting in business
  • Erma Ledwell (aged 35) — servant (general domestic)

Other Documents

Birth Certificate (1888)

Marriage (1911)

Electoral Registers

There are Electoral Register entries for "William Hitchcock"s on Salmon Lane between 1910 and 1915, although it is impossible to tell if these are for William, his father, or for both of them. Most likely they are for father William.

1914–20 — Southwark, Southwark and Stoke Newington

  • 239 Old Kent Road — specifically 1914, 1915, 1918, 1919 & 1920

1926–1928 — Hammersmith and Fulham, Fulham East and West

  • 395 North End Road

1930–1939 — Southwark, Bermondsey

Probate (1943)

Research Notes

  • According to McGillian, "when his brother William's widow entered a sanatorium in England fifteen years after her husband's death, Hitchcock quietly instructed his accountant to pay her bills and provide a weekly allowance." It seems likely she died shortly afterwards.

Notes & References

  1. Although named "Hitchcock Brothers", it's uncertain is William John operated this shop alone with his wife, as his only actual brother was Alfred Joseph. It could be one of his cousins also worked the shop.
  2. Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light (2003) by Patrick McGilligan, page 325
  3. Curiously, he wasn't buried with his parents but in a separate plot with his uncle and cousin. The gravestone on the plot does not list his name.
  4. Birth of William John Hitchcock registered Q4 1888 West Ham.
  5. Birthplace given as Brixton, Surrey (1901 Census) and Great Dover Street, London (1911 Census).
  6. Marriage registered Q3 1911 Fulham.
  7. There are no known immediate relatives to William John that have a first name beginning with "N" other than his sister Ellen Kathleen, known as "Nellie". If she was a witness, was the 12-year-old Alfred Joseph Hitchcock the second witness? UK Law apparently stipulates only that witnesses must speak and understand English and that age is not an issue.
  8. Death registered Q1 1943 Surrey South Western.