There is a long history of public art on London's Underground including the iconic advertising posters of the 1930's and the Paolozzi murals installed at Tottenham Court Road Station in the 1980's. Leytonstone Station at the eastern end of the Central Line is home to another set of murals - a series of 17 mosaics paying tribute to the films of Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock was born in Leytonstone in 1899 in a flat above his parents' grocers shop on the High Road, just a short walk away from the station. He was to make more than 50 films including some of the most iconic suspense movies of all time. His achievements are celebrated in the murals displayed a short walk from his birthplace.
The brightly coloured works were produced by the Greenwich Mural Workshop. They took seven months to complete and were installed in 2001. There are 80,000 mosaic pieces in total, made from vitreous glass tesserae. They include scenes from Rear Window, Vertigo, Psycho and Strangers on A Train as well as images of Hitchcock relaxing with Marlene Dietrich and one of the director as a young man.
The station has two entrances linked by a long corridor with the murals arranged along its full length. There is also some interesting vintage advertising and a strange wooden triangular display unit just outside the High Road exit, displaying three paintings of Hitchcock and scenes from two of his films. The wooden unit has been colonised by pigeons giving it a distinct Hitchcockian feel, think The Birds. Leytonstone is just five stops east of Liverpool Street on the central line. There are a couple of good places to go for coffee on the High Road including the Wild Goose Bakery whilst the library in Church Lane, just two minutes from the station has several original art deco features. The Olympic Park at Stratford is not too far away and a visit to both can easily be combined.
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