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Everyday London Life: Hitchcock’s Birds…

Alfred Hitchcock was born and raised here in Leytonstone, East London – his family owned a shop on the High Road. There are a few reminders in place today if you look for them – this building is painted with birds, and there are even the outlines of a few (much smaller) birds set in to the pavement below 🙂

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Everyday London Life: Telephone Boxes

Red telephone boxes were such a common sight when I was growing up, dotted across the landscape in both town and country – sadly public telephones in general are relatively rare these days, and most of those that are left are of the newer, boring, BT glass and frame variety.

Luckily there are still three original GPO red boxes standing in a row outside the Langham Hotel in central London, pretty much opposite the BBC building at the top of Regent Street – a real blast from the past… 🙂

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Everyday London Life: Hidden Churches

There are lots of little churches tucked away all over London, once their spires stood tall above the rooftops but now find themselves dwarfed by modern city buildings. All Saints Anglican church in Margaret Street in Central London sits almost un-noticed only a few minutes walk from London’s Oxford Street. The little courtyard provides a welcome oasis of calm to local office workers who enjoy sitting having lunch in relative peace and quiet, and the church inside proves to be a riot of colour – an example of Victorian Gothic at it’s very best…

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Everyday London Life: What’s the Story?

I often wonder about the stories behind the people I see who appear to be living on the outer edges of the mainstream – perhaps because I too often also feel that way, perpetually on the outside of normal life, looking in…

I’m not sure what happened with this elderly man, who appeared to be standing with his belongings – including a trumpet – on the wet sand next to a weighted tarpaulin at the base of the stone steps leading down to the river Thames along the South Bank.

When I’d passed this way earlier at high tide, the steps had been covered mid-way to the top, so clearly he must have been waiting for the water to subside enough to access the foreshore.

But what wasn’t clear to me as I took this shot was if he was retreiving his saturated things from underneath having mis-judged the timing of the tide, or creating a dry space on which to leave everything safely until the next high tide?

One thing’s for sure, I’ll never know why he was there on that chilly April evening as night was falling, or what happened to him after I captured that singular moment in his life…

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Everyday London Life: Cafe Culture

There are myriad independent cafes everywhere in London – from traditional British ‘greasy spoon’ fried-breakfast-and-a-cup-of-tea working-class staples to more aspiring-middle-class coffee-and-cake establishments for ladies-who-lunch.

Here in Leytonstone we have several different cafes to choose from, including this Moroccan cafe beautifully decorated with gourds cleverly used as light shades. The coffee is lovely, hot and strong, and the congenial atmosphere perfect for long lingering chats while catching up with friends and family 🙂

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