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Short History of the Kray Twins

The Kray twins were notorious perpetrators of organised crime in London’s east end during the 1950s and 1960s. They were known as Reggie and Ronnie but there full names were Reginald Kray and Ronald Kray. They were responsible for a number of crimes in their days including murder, torture, arson and armed robberies. Even though they committed terrible atrocities they actually became celebrities and were even interviewed on television by David Bailey. They were arrested in 1968 and were convicted a year later and both were sentenced to life imprisonment.

From an early age the twins were aware of breaking the law as their father Charlie went into hiding when he was called up for the army during the Second World War. Charlie travelled the country as a trader trying to avoid the law catching up with him. Later on in life the twins were called up for national services with the Royal Fusiliers but they deserted several times. On one of the last occasions they assaulted a police officer who was trying to arrest them. This landed them Shepton Mallet military prison. Interesting before they were sent to prison they were held at the Tower of London and went down in history as being among the last prisoners ever to be kept there.

Before they were called up for national service the boys got into boxing. Their grandfather got them into the sport. It is rumoured that they never lost one single fight before they became professional aged 19. There criminal record and dishonorable discharge put a stop to their life as boxes and it seems as a result of this turned to a life of crime. They started off by buying a snooker club and started a protection racket. By the end of the 50’s they had been involved in many crimes including hijacking, arson and armed robbery. Ronnie was sent to prison for 18 months in 1960 on charges relating to the protection racket and a number or related threats.

As the swinging 60’s evolved they became celebrity nightclub owners and were part of the London swinging scene. As their fame grew they were pictured with famous socialites, and actors and actresses from the world of show business. In Ronnies autobiography he stated “They were the best years of our lives. They called them the swinging sixties. The Beatles and the Rolling Stones were rulers of pop music, Carnaby Street ruled the fashion world… and me and my brother ruled London. We were fucking untouchable…”

Throughout their life they were bullies and intimidating to people. Even as children at their first school, people who knew them were too scared to say anything to them. Towards the end of their criminal life they were getting too big for their boots and their crimes were getting out of hand and led to murder. Eventually in 1968 after a year of collecting evidence and talking to witnesses the police arrested the Kray twins with 15 other members of their so called “firm”. This led to more witnesses coming forward and the Krays and 14 others were convicted. The twins were both sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 30 years for the murders of Cornell and McVitie. At that time it was the longest sentences ever passed at the Central Criminal Court, London.

The twins were allowed out of prison to attend their mother’s funeral. But due to the amount of publicity it created they didn’t attend their father’s funeral a few months later. Ronnie died in Broadmore Hospital aged 61 on the 17th March 1995 after a heart attack. During incarceration, Reggie famously became a born again Christian and after serving more than 30 years was released from prison in August 2000 on compassionate grounds due to having inoperable bladder cancer.  A few weeks later he died aged 67.

Krays Tour

Here at BMT we offer you the unique opportunity to enjoy a great afternoon with with Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels actor Stephen Marcus, aka Nick the Greek.  On the tour you will get to see film locations from Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, The Krays, Face, The Crying Game and Gangster No 1.  You will learn about some of the methods used by some of the most feared gangsters in 1950s and 1960s London such as the Krays and Mad Frankie Fraser who helped the twins ‘run’ the capital.  At the end of the tour you will get to enjoy a Q&A session with Stephen in a pub that was used as a location for Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

The tour lasts for 2 hours and starts at the Blind Beggar pub which is 337 Whitechapel Rd, just a minute walk from the Whitechapel tube station.  The Krays tour ends at the Corner Shop pub on Shoreditch High Street.  The cost for the tour is £20 per person and the minimum age for this gangster tour is 16 years.  We also offer private tours where you will receive a signed photograph.

For more details and booking head over to this page:



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