Calling by Alfred Hitchcock's old place...

I find it fitting that Alfred Hitchcock lived in an old Victorian house on the Cromwell Road for 13 years, from 1926 to 1939.  His old home is a long, tall, building to the west of the heart of London. The Cromwell Road is a darker place than that of the smarter, brighter sections of central London such as Mayfair and Belgravia. Cromwell is lined with towering terraces that cast ghostly silhouettes. The atmosphere is an elegant eeriness, very much the stuff of a Hitchcock flick.  

I've been reading the latest biography of Hitchcock by Peter Ackroyd, which calls Hitchcock's old address, 'one of those anonymous West London venues'. According to Ackroyd, when Hitchcock became wealthier, he rebuffed the allure of moving to Mayfair.  'Hitch' made 24 films in 13 years when 153 Cromwell Road was his base.  13 is a number that reoccurs in Hitchcock's life, he was born on August 13th. 

Here I am outside Hitch's old place, grabbing a photo on a wet, showery day, when few people are around. It's just impossible on a fine day, when multitudes of tourists are passing by and taking snaps of the old home of the best film director of the 20th Century. 

After marrying Alma in December 1926, they made the top two floors of 153 Cromwell Road their nest, and worked on the dining room table.  Hitchcock married Alma in my parish church, The Brompton Oratory, and he used to attend symphony concerts in the Royal Albert Hall. The Oratory and the Royal Albert Hall are each about a twenty minute walk from Hitchcock's old house. 

Hitchcock was a cradle Catholic. Three of his grandparents were Irish Catholics. 
His father was a greengrocer in East London who sent him to a Jesuit school, St Ignatius College on Stamford Hill. 

Hitchcock's last film in England was Jamaica Inn, popular still because of the enduring appeal of Daphne du Maurier's story.


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