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Hackney Gazette (09/Jun/2009) - Hitchcock magic uncovered from his East London roots

(c) Hackney Gazette (09/Jun/2009)

Hitchcock magic uncovered from his East London roots

THE early life of film legend Alfred Hitchcock growing up in East London is explored in a new documentary being premiered at the Story of London festival later this month.

The master of suspense was born above his father’s grocery store in Leytonstone in 1899.

Much of his early life was spent in rented rooms in Limehouse and Hackney before he emigrated to America.

But from these humble beginnings he would go on to produce some of the most influential films of all time, including North by Northwest, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Psycho and The 39 Steps.


The 70-minute documentary, Alfred Hitchcock in East London, pinpoints key locations from his formative years.

“Hitchcock is one of the most pivotal figures in cinema history,” said writer and director Bill Hodgson from the McGuffin Film Society.

“But most people don’t know of his associations with East London, so we examine how his background profoundly influenced his later success. We paint a picture of Hitchcock and his roots.”


The Hitchcock family lived in Limehouse above a fishmonger’s — appropriately in Salmon Lane — between 1907 and 1914 when young Alfred developed his love of cinema. He saw his first films at the Palaceadium cinema round the corner, a small building that survived until last year when it was demolished.

Hitchcock was educated in Hackney at St Ignatius College, next to St Ignatius Church at Stamford Hill.

The Hitchcock family were enthusiastic theatregoers and regular visitors to the Hackney Empire and Stratford’s Theatre Royal.

Alfred Hitchcock in East London has its Saturday night premiere on June 27 at East London’s Heathcote Music Venue at 344, Grove Green Road, Leytonstone, at 8pm. Festival details are on the Story of London website.