Ellen Kathleen Ingram

Alfred Hitchcock's sister

Sep 14, 1892
Jan 30, 1979
model, housewife


Alfred Hitchcock's birthplace was the house on Leytonstone High Road, but before moving there the family's previous location was 29 Louise Road, Stratford. That is where Ellen Kathleen was born.

As a child, she and Alfred were close to each other. They used to spend some time together, including going to the cinema, theater and dances. The 7-year age gap between them didn't seem to be a problem, as opposed to their older brother William John, with whom Alfred remained distant throughout life.

That childhood bond between brother and sister started to decline as both entered adolescence and their interests started going in different directions. For Alfred, cinema became an increasing passion while for Nellie it was just one of many ways to spend free time and she found passion elsewhere - in fashion.

As a teenager, she worked as a mannequin in a shop on Oxford Street (that is: displaying clothes in front of interested customers to show them "in action"). She started getting to grips with what to wear when, what looks good with what else etc. That was a development her mother Emma Jane must have been happy to see, as she herself put some serious effort into looking as good as she could. It is possible that she did what most of us do to some extent - picked up on the traits of our parents, consciously or not, and ran along with it.


Her first serious relationship has put an end to dreams of fashion though. Harry Lee was an owner of Copenhagen Tavern, which was located on the same street as the roof over Nellie's head. The couple got married on December 5, 1915 at the Church of St Mary & St Michael - Ellen Kathleen was 23 at the time.

Turbulent times must made it hard for them, as year and a half earlier World War I started. Because of that, Henry soon enlisted. He first served in Navy and later in Royal Naval Air Service. Lee made it through without a scratch, but his genes proved to be his demise.

Four years after coming back from war, while just being 31 years old, he developed a colon cancer which ultimately killed him on April 18, 1924. He made a will and in it everything that belonged to him was to be given his wife. In total, his wealth was estimated at £1,052.

Despite the marriage lasting so short and its conditions not favorable to say the least, they managed to have 3 children together. The first one was Henry William, born during the war. A year later, Ellen Marcia joined him. While Harry was in RAF Reserves and a month before being fully discharged, their last child Clifford John was born.

As Ellen spent time in her husband's pub, she met Albert Edward Ingram. Four years after Henry Lee's death, she gave birth to the man's child. It was a problem for both of them, as for some reasons they didn't want/couldn't get married and so the child was illegitimate. As a result, Albert William Ingram was quickly put through the system into a foster family where he was raised.

In April 1931, the couple finally got married, but both its details and longevity remain unclear. At some point, they got divorced.

A grown Albert came in contact with Alfred Hitchcock when already mature, as he was working for Technicolor which did work for Hitchcock's studio for Frenzy. According to Albert, Hitchcock was not happy to see him and walked away in a hurry.

Later Years

After two marriages, of which one was cut short and the other unsuccessful and producing an illegitimate child which was shaming for the family back in those times, Nellie has supposedly become a bit weird in her later years. She started being more nervous, wary of people and became a hypochondriac.

Lack of contact with Alfred and different interests didn't seem to make a negative impact on their attitudes towards each other though. Throughout the years, they remained cordial. It could be seen by how he talked about her in interviews and by the occasional report of them going on a trip together.

Ellen Kathleen Ingram died a year before her brother, but was 6 years older than him. It happened on January 30, 1979. She is buried beside her husband, together with her and Alfred's parents.