Visit London Blog » alfred hitchcock Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A Guide To Blue Plaques in London Wed, 18 Jun 2014 09:00:43 +0000 Jimi Hendrix blue plaque. Photo: Simon Harriyott/wikicommons

London’s blue plaque scheme has been in operation for about 150 years and there are nearly 900 plaques on buildings and houses across London. The blue plaques show where famous people lived and worked as well as commemorating historical events (eg: the founding of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood) and sites. The scheme has been run by English Heritage since 1986.

You’ll find most of the plaques in and around Central London because the scheme was not extended to the outer boroughs until 1965. You’ll also find similar English Heritage plaques in some other UK cities, but the majority are in London.

The first-ever blue plaque commemorated the birthplace of Lord Byron in Holles Street near Cavendish Square and was erected in 1867, however the building (and its plaque) were demolished in 1989. Today’s oldest surviving blue plaque is also from 1867 and shows where Napoleon III lived in King Street, St James’s.

Some of London’s other notable blue plaques include:

Read more about the Blue Plaques scheme

For a quick glance through a full list of the plaques, try Wikipedia

Do you have a favourite Blue Plaque or Blue Plaque moment in London? Tell us about it in the comments below.


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Grace Kelly’s London Mon, 12 May 2014 07:30:40 +0000 Blog post by Kate White

Grace Kelly and James Stewart in Rear Window. Courtesy of the BFI.

London has always been a magnet for the famous and fabulous, and Hollywood royalty Grace Kelly was no exception. As one of the world’s most stylish women, it’s no surprise that the actress-turned-princess loved the finer things the capital had to offer. To celebrate the upcoming release of new biopic Grace Of Monaco, starring Nicole Kidman, we’ve rounded up a few ways to experience London Grace Kelly-style, without having a movie star’s bank balance.

The Connaught

The Connaught
Grace always checked-in at plush Mayfair hotel The Connaught. You might balk at the cost of the penthouse suite, but in their charming cocktail bar you can indulge on a smaller scale. You’ll be in good hands because the bartenders there can knock you up a cocktail inspired by their famous former guest. These delectable drinks aren’t on the menu so only those in the know now request them. It’s a divine way to toast Princess Grace and end your night feeling as fancy as royalty.

Ray StitchLearn to make a Grace Kelly-style dress at Ray Stitch
You can’t think of Grace without picturing a wardrobe to die for. Ms Kelly has never gone out of fashion and Islington-based sewing school Ray Stitch is running a special course where you can make your own Grace dress. Their experienced teachers will guide you through a Vintage Vogue pattern and, after you’ve created your gorgeous gown, you can hit the Big Smoke knowing you look good enough for your close up. The class takes place over four Friday evening sessions, beginning 20 June.

Alfred Hitchcock

The Alfred Hitchcock London Locations Walk
She became a professional princess but who could forget Grace’s other day job on the silver screen? It was in front of Alfred Hitchcock’s camera that she really shone and the pair collaborated on three iconic movies – To Catch A Thief, Rear Window and Dial M For Murder. Take film historian Sandra Shevey’s fascinating walking tour to get the lowdown on the legendary director, his London locations and the story behind the Hitchcock blonde. The walk runs three times a week and lasts for three hours, plenty of time to grill Sandra, who met and interviewed Hitchcock in 1972, about Alfred and his obsession with Grace.

Cafe de Paris

Café de Paris
Her own style was classic and elegant so it’s no wonder that Grace’s favourite restaurant in London was Café de Paris. Built in 1924 and located in the heart of the West End, the sparkling cabaret club is still bewitching guests to this day. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a delicious meal and to take in one of their legendary stage shows, all the while turning heads as you swish around in your bespoke Grace gown.

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The 39 Steps Vintage Night at The Criterion Theatre Fri, 07 May 2010 11:03:36 +0000

This week I attended The 39 Steps Vintage Night in London’s West End.

The 39 Steps is a classic play (and a book, and a famous film directed by Alfred Hitchcock) that’s been running since September 2006 at the Criterion Theatre at Piccadilly Circus.

I was attracted to the idea of their special “Vintage Night” because I love dressing up and I’d heard the show was good fun. However, given the Hitchcock connection, I expected they play itself to be a bit serious and moody. In this, I was utterly wrong, The 39 Steps is a fast-paced, thoroughly enjoyable, highly entertaining spectacle from go to whoa.

Set in the 1930s, the play begins with leading man Richard Hannay (dashingly played by David Bark-Jones) having just returned from abroad to his “humble” Portland Square abode. He laments he’s tired of life (tired of London too, we presume) but his situation quickly becomes a lot more exciting when he meets a dark and mysterious German woman (Dianne Pilkington) who reveals a plot involving international espionage before she is killed, leaving Hannay as the prime suspect. He goes on the run, catching a train to Scotland (on which he encounters a stylish blonde – also played by Dianne Pilkington) then racketing about the countryside attempting to prove his innocence by exposing the arch criminals at the heart of the spy ring.

There’s a host of minor characters – policemen, newspaper boys, Scottish farmers and hoteliers – all played by two actors (Timothy Speyer and Jeremy Swift) and it’s amazing what they can do with some quick costume changes and ingenious set devices.

In fact the whole thing is extremely slick and clever – using all the old drama school tricks such as the four-chairs-make-a-car routine, flapping coats and bits of mime to denote a windy roof of the train and in-jokes about other Hitchcock movies – all delivered to great effect and with impeccable comic timing.

Afterwards we joined the other vintage lovers for a very civilised supper in the Criterion Theatre‘s impressive Victorian foyer. Here we were treated to retro teacups containing iced tea with a shot of gin (G&Tea by Vintage Secret), and delicious cupcakes decorated with recurring motifs from the play – handcuffs, lampposts, a pipe – from The Vintage Patisserie.

The Vintage Night was a nice twist on a traditional trip to the theatre and I was left with a big smile on my face. And I’d recommend this show to anyone who wants to see a jolly good West End play without it being too serious. There’s no need to dress up (although you can, of course!).

Buy your The 39 Steps tickets today.

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