THE KRAY TWINS, THE FIRM, OTHER GANGLAND MEMORABILIA AND BEYOND HERE AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION, LITTLEDEAN JAIL

EXTRACTS FROM VARIOUS NATIONAL NEWSPAPERS FEATURING SOME OF THE KRAY TWINS MEMORABILIA ON DISPLAY AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL

599036_395136070521817_1213505194_nBELOW IS A BRIEF GALLERY OF KRAY TWINS ITEMS INCLUDING 2 ORIGINAL PAINTINGS FROM BOTH RON AND REG, WHILST IN JAIL AT HMP PARKHURST , ISLE oF WIGHT , PAINTED BY THEM IN 1971 THAT WERE SOLD TOGETHER FOR £4800 + FEES, ETC  AT CHISWICK AUCTIONS , LONDON IN MARCH 2008 .

AFTER GOING AROUND VARIOUS OTHER AUCTION HOUSES SINCE THEN,  THEY HAVE NOW ARRIVED HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL ACQUIRED FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTOR   AND ARE NOW ON DISPLAY TO THE PUBLIC  ALONG WITH VARIOUS OTHER KRAY TWINS ITEMS .

BELOW IS THE  PRESALE REPORT ON THE PAINTINGS AS SEEN IN THE DAILY MAIL  ON THE 9 MARCH 2008

Yours for £2,000, oil paintings by the Kray Twins (currently owned by a ex-convict who won them in a card game)

The KraysGangsters with an artistic streak: Reggie (left) and Ronnie Kray in the 1960s

One famously shot dead a fellow gangster in an East End pub for a verbal sleight. The other knifed to death another gangland member at a party  But it appears Ronnie and Reggie Kray also had a more sensitive side – as landscape painters. These oil canvasses by the infamous twins, painted after they were both jailed for 30 years, are to be auctioned in London this week.The one of a white cottage next to a road was painted by Ronnie. His brother’s is an image of a river running through a green valley with an ominously dark sky in the background.  Both twins began painting after their 1968 trial at the Old Bailey, often creating the same scene in picture after picture.  A spokesman for Chiswick Auctions in West London, where the paintings are being sold, said: ‘The same themes are repeated over and over again in their work, with very little variation. We expect these two to go for between £800 and £1,500 each.’ Both pictures are being sold by a former inmate who won them from the twins during card games in jail.The auction house spokesman said: ‘The seller has given us some interesting insights into the Krays’ minds.

Dream house in the country: Ronnie Kray’s
  ‘He says Reggie always, always painted with a dark sky. This might reflect his state of mind and the dark thoughts he had. He was known for his moods and being aloof. Ronnie, on the other hand, always painted a white cottage because that was his idea of a dream house, a place in the country.

Ronnie’s paintings are more aspirational, whereas Reggie’s tend to reflect his sombre state of mind.’The images were painted in oils on to card. They are both eight-and-a-half inches by 11-and-a-half inches.

A similar painting by Ronnie sold at an auction in Lincolnshire in 2005 for £2,200, twice the expected fee.

The spokesman added: ‘The seller told us paintings were used in games of cards as currency. If they were by Joe Bloggs, they wouldn’t be worth £5.’

The Krays ran a brutal gang known as The Firm in London’s East End during the late Fifties and Sixties. Revelling in their image of sharp suits and flashy cars, they began to believe the law could not touch them.

That bravado allowed Ronnie to walk into the Blind Beggar pub in Whitechapel and shoot dead George Cornell in front of customers for calling him a ‘fat poof’.

A year later, in 1967, Reggie stabbed Jack ‘The Hat’ McVitie to death in a flat in North London.  But Scotland Yard closed the net and the twins were given life sentences and told they must serve at least 30 years.  Ronnie died of a heart attack in 1995 after collapsing in his cell in Broadmoor. Reggie died in jail in 2000.

Moody: Reggie Kray painting

MORE EXTRACTS OF MEDIA COVERAGE OF THE CRIME THROUGH TIME’S KRAY TWINS EXHIBITION

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BELOW ARE MORE EXHIBIT ITEMS 

ABOVE IS RONNIE KRAY’S  ORIGINAL PROVISIONAL DRIVING LICENCE FROM BACK IN 1959 WHEN HE WOULD HAVE BEEN 26 YEARS OLD, REGISTERED TO HIM AT THE KRAY FAMILY’S HOME ADDRESS AT THE TIME , 178 VALLANCE ROAD , LONDON   .

IN ITSELF A NOSTALGIC PIECE OF PRE-ARREST KRAY TWINS MEMORABILIA …. NOW HERE ON PERMANENT  DISPLAY ALONGSIDE THE KRAY TWINS EXHIBITION  HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL .

THE ONLY KRAY TWINS EXHIBITION OF ITS KIND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC .

 

REGGIE KRAYS ORIGINAL ARTIST PAINT BOX , PAINTS AND BRUSHES LAST USED BY HIM AT HMP WAYLAND SHORTLY BEFORE HIS DEATH FROM CANCER ON 01ST OCTOBER   2000

COME VISIT AND SEE FOR YOURSELVES THE UK’S ONLY KRAY TWINS EXHIBITION ON PUBLIC DISPLAY FEATURING SOME OF THEIR PERSONAL BELONGINGS, HANDWRITTEN AND SIGNED LETTERS ,  TOOLS OF THE TRADE, ARTWORK, MEMORABILIA AND OTHER RELATED FIRM ITEMS . 

ALL IN ALL AN INTRIGUING PERSONAL INSIGHT INTO BOTH PRE ARREST DAYS AND THEIR SUBSEQUENT LIFE BEHIND BARS

ALSO VARIOUS OTHER GANGLAND MEMORABILIA …..ITS ALL HERE AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL .

HERE BELOW IS A BRIEF PICTORIAL INSIGHT INTO SOME OF THE ITEMS ON DISPLAY …………

 

 

YES THIS REALLY IS RON KRAY’S PERSONAL KNUCKLE DUSTER  KINDLY GIFTED TO ANDY JONES – THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION AFTER A PERSONAL  VISIT TO REGGIE KRAY WHILST HE WAS INCARCERATED AT HMP. MAIDSTONE …WHICH HE WANTED ANDY TO DISPLAY ALONG WITH VARIOUS OTHER PERSONAL ITEMS  ACQUIRED FROM OTHER INNER CIRCLE FRIENDS,  ACQUAINTANCES AND EVEN FROM VARIOUS FORMER METROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICERS …….. .FOR AND ON   REGGIES AND  RONNIES  BEHALF..

ORIGINAL EASEL  ARTIST PAINTBOX AND PAINTS THAT BELONGED TO REGGIE KRAY …. SHOWN HERE WITH ONE OF HIS LANDSCAPE PASTEL DRAWINGS . THIS WAS LAST USED BY REG AT HMP WOODHILL AND TAKEN OUT OF PRISON BY HIS WIFE BACK IN 1999 SHORTLY BEFORE HIS DEATH FROM CANCER ON 01ST OCTOBER 2000 ALONG WITH A NUMBER OF OTHER PERSONAL ITEMS AND PASTIME PLEASURES USED BY HIM. ALL OF WHICH ARE PRISON CENSOR STAMPED AND DATED  ON OFFICIAL FORMS ….. ALSO HERE ON DISPLAY .

ORIGINAL RONNIE KRAY ARTWORK PAINTED BY HIMSELF WHILST AT BROADMOOR MENTAL ASYLUM . HERE ON DISPLAY ALONG WITH MANY OTHER ARTWORK ,DRAWINGS AND PAINTINGS BY BOTH RONNIE AND REGGIE 

FLANAGAN- FORMER MODEL, “GODMOTHER” AND PEACE-MAKER TO MANY OF BRITAIN’S MOST HARDENED AND FEARED GANGLAND FIGURES.

FLANAGAN’s life started in 1941 as Hitler was bombing London. She had to be evacuated & she had to be evacuated to Hemel Hempsted but later returned to her home town of Islington.

Convent educated in Holloway Rd, North London, she grew up with a younger brother & sister, along with a little English mother & a devastatingly handsome Irish father.

Her christian name was Maureen & she started work in a hairdressers at 15 years old when her father died. She was spotted by a photographer aged 18 at a hairdressers convention where she’d been asked to model. He took some photos & showed them to an agent who suggested she model on the catwalk. Maureen worked for all the top fashion houses & stores, everything she tried on sold out in hours.

At 20 years old she married a local lad, Patrick Flanagan & for 3 years they lived in Camden, North London. Her agent sent her up to the BBC where she appeared on shows including Benny Hill, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, The Dave Allen Show, The Likely Lads & Only Fools & Horses. She also filmed ‘Dracula 72′ alongside Christopher Lee.

At 26 years old she was known as the most photographed model in Britain & her legs were insured for £25,000 which was unheard of in the 60′s! She went to Germany to advertise cars & was then flown to Amsterdam, where she was photographed covered in diamonds, then New York to model ‘Hot Pants’.

She became great friends with George Best, Malcolm Allison & Barbara Windsor & filmed with Tony Curtis, Roger Moore & Charlton Heston, while taking up using the one name – Flanagan. It worked wonders!

She had become Violet Kray’s hairdresser & on meeting The Twins & ….elder brother Charlie, became a regular visitor to Vallance Rd & is now considered an expert on all Kray memorabilia, being called upon to examine items belonging to all 3 brothers at auctions. She visited The Twins regularly until they died & arranged all 3 funerals, seating everyone in the church at them all.

Flanagan was called up to The Sun newspaper’s head office by the Editor & it worked. As she was leaving she was asked her age & replied with a smile “21″, which they duly printed. In fact she was 30 & just getting divorced!

She married again in 1976, having found the East London years before through the Kray brothers & had a son, JJ, who is a DJ. Sadly her 2nd husband, Terry Cox, died after a heart transplant & Flanagan never left the East End. Flanagan now has 3 grandaughters.

She’s currently organising the ‘Biggest Kray Memorabilia Night’ & experts to enthusiasts from all over the country will attend the event, being held at The Blind Beggar Pub in Whitechapel (Please see the ‘Events’ page).

Flanagan has a thousand stories to tell.

MURFLAN

flanFLANAGAN THE MODEL IN HER PRIME

Maureen Flanagan, best known by her stage name Flanagan, was an early tabloid model. She later became known as a most trusted inner-circle “Godmother” and peace-maker  to many of the most hardened and feared British  gangland figures of the 1960′s era to the present day, including The Kray Twins (she was also the family’s personal hairdresser and friend ) and a great many others . She has been one of the key organisers behind many of the gangland funerals and to this day remains one of the inner circles most trusted  confidents

flaANOTHER IMAGE OF FLANAGAN AS A MODEL BACK IN THE LATE 1960′S

She had an acting career in the late sixties/early seventies, mainly in bit parts on The Benny Hill ShowMonty Python’s Flying Circus, and several British sex comedies. She also played the lead role in the Danish film The Loves of Cynthia (a.k.a. Cynthia’s Sister) in 1971.

After her acting career ended, Flanagan continued to remain in the public eye, owing to her association with the Kray Twins and her efforts to secure their release She also wrote the book “Intimate Secrets of an Escort Girl” (Everest books, 1974). The book was serialized in the magazine Tit-Bits, accompanied by a blurb which said “Britain’s most photographed model lays bare the facts of her working life in the sauciest story of the year

In 1997, Flanagan made a one-off return to nude modeling as a mature woman, posing fully nude in the magazine Men’s World. In the accompanying interview she said her second husband had recently died after a heart transplant operation, and that she was busy raising a then-16 year old son

BELOW ARE SOME PHOTO’S AND FEATURE’S OF FLANAGAN IN HER PRIME IMG_1425 IMG_1426 IMG_1427 IMG_1428 IMG_1429 IMG_1430

flanaFLANAGAN AND ANDY JONES AT THE FUNERAL OF GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY MASTERMIND – BRUCE REYNOLDS …

FLANAGAN HAVING BEEN ONE OF THE KEY ORGANISERS INSIDE THE CHURCH, LOOKING AFTER ALL THE “OLD SCHOOL FACES”  BEHIND THE SCENES.

below is a link to Flanagan’s new website which is presently under construction , with more to be added

http://www.flanagan-model.com/

LONDON UNDERWORLD GANGLAND BOSS – CHARLIE RICHARDSON ( 1934 – 2012)

Charlie Richardson: Shrewd and ruthless leading figure of London’s 1960s criminal scene

BELOW IS PICTURE OF ANDY JONES FROM THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION WITH LONDON UNDERWORLD CRIME BOSS AND LONG STANDING ACQUAINTANCE  - CHARLIE RICHARDSON AT ONE OF THE PAST EVENTS TOGETHER

CHARLIE HAD KINDLY INTRODUCED ANDY TO A NUMBER OF FELLOW ASSOCIATES WHO IN TURN HAVE PERSONALLY CONTRIBUTED VARIOUS ITEMS TO THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION NOW ON DISPLAY AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL

Charlie Richardson was among the shrewdest of the serious crime figures who populated London’s post war underworld. “He was a genius, not like a professor who might know about art and paintings, but as a money maker,” Frank Fraser said of him.

He was born in Camberwell, south-east London in 1934; his brother Eddie was born in 1936, the youngest sibling Alan in 1940. Charlie and Eddie were brought up in a traditional south London working-class family, and like their east London counterparts, the Kray twins, they endured a wartime childhood, enjoyed the vibrant street life of working-class London and developed as talented young boxers and prominent street fighters.

According to folklore, the Richardsons were the south London nemesis of the Krays. However, unlike the twins, Charlie and Eddie had a penchant for hard work, and made good money from the post-war scrap metal trade, plundering the remnants of abandoned wartime airfields.

With a merchant seaman father who was often missing from home, the teenage Charlie exhibited an entrepreneurial zeal. He moved into a number of areas, including wholesale chemists and mineral mining, as well as extortion and, notably, long firm fraud. This involved an apparently legitimate wholesaling business being set up, initially paying for goods on time. When their credit limit was reached, they sold up and disappeared.

Richardson surrounded himself with long firm specialists, men described to me by Eddie Richardson as “plausible rogues”, and a number were sent to Milan to place orders with manufacturers for stockings on behalf of a company called Central Supplies. On arrival in London the stockings were sold by mail order, but with money and goods leaking from the business, and with the Italians pressing, Central Supplies burnt down. Richardson then set up a new company, LR Gray, based in Mitre St in the City. A number of Richardson associates were beaten for stealing from the long firms, before LR Grey also “had a fire”.

Charlie Richardson had first encountered the Kray twins in Shepton Mallet military prison, where all were awaiting a dishonorable discharge from National Service. The honeypot of the West End brought them back into contact, and though the east London firm claimed to be preparing for warfare, there is little to suggest the Richardson firm took them seriously. The Richardsons could boast among their associates some of London’s most feared men, including one of the “Chainsaw Robbers” Jimmy Moody, as well as George Cornell, an East Ender who had clashed with the youthful Krays, and Frank Fraser, whose affiliation to the Richardsons was described by Mickey Bloom, an associate of the Nash Brothers, as “like China getting the atom bomb.”

Fraser summed up the firm’s attitude to the Krays: “Using racing terms, there would be no race… The Richardsons were miles in front, brain power, everything.” In their dotage Charlie and Eddie expressed contempt for the Kray firm, and although skirmishes and casualties were not unknown while the Krays, in particular Ronnie, fantasised over Chicago-style gang wars, the Richardons diversified into long firms, gaming machines, pornography, scrap metal yards, a perlite mine in South Africa, control over car parking at Heathrow, and more.

Charlie had become increasingly fascinated by South Africa, in particular the opportunities in the country’s mineral industry. He became embroiled with the South African security services, who dangled the carrot of mining licences in front of him in exchange for Charlie arranging to have the telephones tapped of Amnesty International and Harold Wilson.

In 1966, in a shooting at Mr Smiths Club in Catford, an associate of the Krays was killed and five men were wounded. Eddie Richardson and Frank Fraser were arrested, Fraser for murder. The following night Ronnie Kray murdered George Cornell.

Richardson’s penchant for attacking fellow fraudsters who he suspected of stealing from his long firms resulted in the infamous “torture trial” in 1967, which featured allegations of the use of pliers to remove teeth and fingernails, and the attachment of electrodes to genitals. Alleged victims of the Richardsons were granted immunity from prosecution if they “turned Queen’s Evidence”, and a distinct lack of physical evidence did not deter the judge, Mr Justice Lawton. Eddie was sentenced to 10 years with another five for the Mr Smith incident, and Frank Fraser received five years for affray and 10 years for some deviant dental practices at the Richardsons’ Peckham scrapyard. Charlie received 25 years: “I was charged with a bit of long firm fraud and five counts of grievous bodily harm. Nobody was dead, maimed or even bloody scarred.”

The sentencing policy was undoubtably savage, and whether this was due to a fear of American-style “organised crime” or was linked to Richardson’s relationship with the South African Secret Service remains, over 40 years later, difficult to unpack. Files have been sunk deep into the long grass of British officialdom. Charlie Richardson was arrested on 30 July 1966; in 1980 he escaped from an open prison and remained free for just under a year. In 1984 he was finally released.

Charlie Richardson was the epitome of the tough working class self-made man who cut corners, and while violence was at the core of his success, his relationship with corrupt police officers was probably more significant. He did not play at being a gangster, and in his prime he was the real deal, shrewd and manipulative and quick to dole out violence to fellow underworld residents. But he was also well-read, articulate, extremely funny, and addicted to business. One of his last ventures was a scheme to take some control over the “true crime” genre, and to the end he loved doing deals, with film-makers, writers and a range of disparate individuals. However, along with his wife Veronica and his familyy, mining was his passion.

Nobody could swear quite like Charlie Richardson, and he reserved his most heartfelt oaths for the ex-business associates and members of the Establishment who, he insisted to his death (of complications from peritonitis), had conspired to deprive him of his liberty for 18 years.

INTRIGUING DOCUMENTARY INSIGHT INTO THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE NOTORIOUS KRAYS

TRUE CRIME AND MUCH MORE HERE AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION  AT  LITTLEDEAN JAIL , ROYAL FOREST OF DEAN , GLOUCESTERSHIRE , UK ……

INCLUDES PERSONAL ITEMS , ARTWORK, HANDWRITTEN LETTERS AND TOOLS OF THE TRADE FROM THE KRAY TWINS AND THEIR FIRM

DO COME VISIT AND SEE FOR YOURSELVES THE UK’S ONLY BLACK MUSEUM OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

RONNIE AND REGGIE KRAY

Kray twins

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kray Twins:
Ronald & Reginald Kray

The Kray twins, Reginald (left) and Ronald (right), photographed by David Bailey
Born 24 October 1933 (both)
Hoxton, London, England
Died Ronnie:
17 March 1995 (aged 61)
Broadmoor Hospital, Slough, England
Reggie:
1 October 2000 (aged 66)
Norwich, Norfolk, England
Alias(es) Ronnie & Reggie
Charge(s) Murders of George Cornell and Jack “The Hat” McVitie
Penalty In 1969 both were sentenced to life imprisonment, with a non-parole period of thirty years.
Status Both deceased
Occupation Gangsters and club owners
Spouse Reggie:
Frances Shea (m. 1965–1967)
(her death)
Roberta Jones (m. 1997–2000)
(his death)[1][2]
Ronnie:
Elaine Mildener (m. 1985–1989)
(divorced)[3]
Kate Howard (m. 1989–1994)
(divorced)[4]
Parents Charles Kray and Violet Lee-Kray

Reginald “Reggie” Kray (24 October 1933 – 1 October 2000) and his twin brother Ronald “Ronnie” Kray (24 October 1933 – 17 March 1995) were the foremost perpetrators of organised crime in London’s East End during the 1950s and 1960s. Ronald, commonly referred to as Ron or Ronnie, most likely suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.[5] The Krays were involved in armed robberies, arson, protection rackets, violent assaults including tortureand the murders of Jack “The Hat” McVitie and George Cornell. As West End nightclub owners, they mixed with prominent entertainers including Diana DorsFrank SinatraJudy Garland and politicians. The Krays were highly feared within their social environment, and in the 1960s they became celebrities in their own right, being photographed by David Bailey and interviewed on television. They were arrested on 9 May 1968 and convicted in 1969 by the efforts of a squad of detectives led by Detective Superintendent Leonard “Nipper” Read, and were both sentenced to life imprisonment.

Ronnie remained in Broadmoor Hospital until his death on 17 March 1995, but Reggie was released from prison on compassionate grounds in August 2000, eight weeks before his death in October from cancer.

Ronnie and Reggie Kray were born on 24 October 1933 in Hoxton, East London, to Charles David “Charlie” Kray, Sr, (10 March 1907 – 8 March 1983), a scrap gold dealer, and Violet Lee (5 August 1909 – 4 August 1982).[6] Reggie was born roughly 10 minutes before twin Ronnie. Charlie and Violet already had a six-year old son, Charlie Jr, (9 July 1926 – 4 Apr 2000).[7] A sister, Violet, born 1929, died in infancy. When the twins were three years old, they were struck down with diphtheria and recovered. Ron almost died from a head injury suffered in a fight with his twin brother in 1942.[edit]Early life

In 1938, having previously lived in Stene Street, Hoxton, the Kray family moved to 178 Vallance Road, Bethnal Green. At the start of the Second World War, Charlie Kray Senior was called up into the army, but went into hiding travelling the country as a trader and avoiding the law.

The twins first attended Wood Close School in Brick Lane and then Daniel Street School.[8] They were always trouble; people who knew them were too scared to say anything.

The influence of their grandfather, Jimmy “Cannonball” Lee,[9] led both boys into amateur boxing, which was at that time a popular pursuit for working-class boys in the East End. An element of rivalry between them spurred them on, and they achieved some success. They are said never to have lost a bout before turning professional at the age of 19.

[edit]National Service

The Kray twins became famous locally for their gang and the mayhem they caused. They narrowly avoided prison several times and in early 1952 they were called up for National Service with the Royal Fusiliers. They deserted several times, each time being recaptured.

While absent without leave, the twins assaulted a police officer who had spotted them and was trying to arrest them. They were initially held at the Tower of London (they were among the very last prisoners ever kept there) before being sent to Shepton Mallet military prison in Somerset and gaoled for a month awaiting court-martial. They ended up being gaoled in the Home Counties Brigade Depot gaol in Canterbury, Kent. Their behaviour there was so bad that in the end they were given a dishonourable discharge from the service; for the last few weeks of their imprisonment, when their fate was a certainty anyway, they tried to dominate the exercise area immediately outside their one man cells. They threw tantrums, upended their latrine bucket over a sergeant, similarly dumped a dixie (a large camp kettle[10]) full of hot tea on a guard, handcuffed another guard to the prison bars with a pair of stolen cuffs, and burned their bedding. Eventually they were discharged, but not before escaping from the guardhouse and being recaptured by the army one last time. The escape was executed when they were moved from a one man cell to a communal cell and they assaulted their guard with a china vase. Still, once recaptured and while awaiting transfer to civilian authority for crimes committed during their most recent period at large, they spent their last night in Canterbury drinking cider, eating crisps, and smoking cigarillos courtesy of the young National Servicemen who were acting as their guards.

[edit]Criminal careers

[edit]Nightclub owners

Their criminal record and dishonourable discharge ended their boxing careers. As a result, the twins turned to crime. They bought a run down local snooker club in Bethnal Green, where they started several protection rackets. By the end of the 1950s, the Krays were involved in hijackingarmed robbery and arson, through which they acquired a few clubs and other properties. In 1960 Ronnie Kray was incarcerated for 18 months on charges of running a protection racket and related threats, and while he was in prison, Peter Rachman, the head of a violent landlord operation, gave Reggie the Esmeralda’s Barn, a nightclub in Knightsbridge. This increased the Krays’ influence in the West End of London, with celebrities and famous people rather than East End criminals. They were assisted by banker Alan Cooper who wanted protection from the Krays’ rivals, the Richardsons, who were based in South London.[11]

The twins then had a turf war with Islington’s then infamous criminal twins, Brendan and Daniel Gallagher.

[edit]Celebrity status

In the 1960s, they were widely seen as prosperous and charming celebrity nightclub owners and were part of the Swinging London scene. A large part of their fame was due to their non-criminal activities as popular figures on the celebrity circuit, being photographed by David Bailey on more than one occasion; and socialised with lordsMPs, socialites and show business characters such as the actors George RaftJudy GarlandDiana DorsBarbara Windsor and singer Frank Sinatra.

“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…” – Ronnie Kray, in his autobiographical book, My Story.[12]

[edit]Lord Boothby and Tom Driberg

The Krays also came into the public eye when an exposé in the tabloid newspaper Sunday Mirror alleged that Ron had had a sexual relationship with Lord Boothby, a UK Conservative Partypolitician.[13] Although no names were printed, Boothby threatened to sue, the newspaper backed down, sacked its editor, apologised, and paid Boothby £40,000 in an out of court settlement.[14] As a result, other newspapers were less willing to uncover the Krays’ connections and criminal activities.

The police investigated the Krays on several occasions, but the twins’ reputation for violence meant witnesses were afraid to come forward to testify. There was also a political problem for both main parties. It was neither in the interests of the Conservative Party to press the police to end the Krays’ power lest the Boothby connection was again publicised and demonstrated, or those of the Labour Party because their MP Tom Driberg was also rumoured to have had a relationship with Ronnie.[15]

[edit]Frank Mitchell

The Blind Beggar pub in 2005

On 12 December 1966 the Krays assisted Frank Mitchell (nicknamed “The Mad Axeman”)[16] (not to be confused with Frankie Fraser – known as “Mad” Frankie Fraser, and contemporaneous, but allied with the rival Richardson gang) in escaping from Dartmoor Prison. Ronnie Kray had befriended Mitchell while they served time together in Wandsworth prison. Mitchell felt the authorities should review his case for parole, so Ronnie felt he would be doing him a favour by getting him out ofDartmoor, highlighting his case in the media and forcing the authorities to act. Once Mitchell was out of Dartmoor, the Krays held him at a friend’s flat in Barking Road. However, as a large man with a mental disorder, he was difficult to deal with and the only course of action was to get rid of him. His body has never been found and the Krays were acquitted of his murder.[16] Freddie Foreman, a former member of The Firm, in his autobiography Respect claimed that Mitchell was shot and the body disposed of at sea.

[edit]George Cornell

Ronnie Kray shot and killed George Cornell in the Blind Beggar pub in Whitechapel on 9 March 1966. Ronnie was drinking in another pub when he heard that Cornell was in the Blind Beggar. Taking Reggie’s driver John “Scotch Jack” Dickson and Ian Barrie, his right-hand man, he then killed Cornell. Just before Cornell died, he remarked “Well look who’s here.” There had been a confrontation at Christmas 1965 between the Krays and the Richardsons at the Astor Club, when Cornell, an associate of the Richardsons, referred to Ronnie as a “fat poof“. However, Ronnie denied this and said that the reason for the killing was because he gave him and Reggie threats. The result was a gang war between the two, and Kray associate Richard Hart was murdered at Mr. Smith’s Club in Catford on 8 March 1966. Ronnie avenged Hart’s death by shooting Cornell. “Mad” Frankie Fraser was taken to court for Hart’s murder but was found not guilty. A member of the Richardsons claimed that he saw him kicking Hart. Cornell was the only one to escape from the brawl in top condition so it is likely that Ronnie thought that he was involved in the murder. Owing to intimidation, witnesses would not co-operate with the police.[17]

[edit]Jack “the Hat” McVitie

The Krays’ criminal activities continued hidden behind their celebrity status and “legitimate” businesses. In October 1967, four months after the suicide of his wife Frances, Reggie was alleged to have been encouraged by his brother to kill Jack “the Hat” McVitie, a minor member of the Kray gang who had failed to fulfil a £1,500 contract paid to him in advance by the Krays to kill Leslie Payne. McVitie was lured to a basement flat in Evering Road, Stoke Newington on the pretence of a party. As he entered, Reggie Kray pointed a handgun at his head and pulled the trigger twice, but the gun failed to discharge. Ronnie Kray then held McVitie in a bearhug and Reggie Kray was handed a carving knife. He stabbed McVitie in the face and stomach, driving it deep into his neck, twisting the blade, continuing as McVitie lay on the floor dying.[18] Several other members of The Firm including the Lambrianou brothers (Tony and Chris) were convicted of this. In Tony’s biography, he claims that when Reggie was stabbing Jack, his liver came out and he had to flush it down the toilet. McVitie’s body has never been recovered.

[edit]Arrest and trial

When Inspector Leonard “Nipper” Read of Scotland Yard was promoted to the Murder Squad, his first assignment was to bring down the Kray twins. It was not his first involvement with Reg and Ron; during the first half of 1964 Read had been investigating their activities, but publicity and official denials surrounding allegations of Ron’s relationship with Boothby had made the evidence he collected useless. Read tackled the problem of convicting the twins with renewed activity in 1967, but frequently came up against the East End “wall of silence”, which discouraged anyone from providing information to the police.[citation needed]

Nevertheless, by the end of 1967 Read had built up evidence against the Krays. There were witness statements incriminating them, as well as other evidence, but none added up to a convincing case on any one charge.

Early in 1968 the twins used a man named Alan Bruce Cooper who hired and sent Paul Elvey to Glasgow to buy explosives for rigging a car bomb. Elvey was the radio engineer who put Radio Sutch, later renamed Radio City on the air in 1964. Police detained him in Scotland and he confessed he had been involved in three botched murder attempts. However, this evidence was weakened by Cooper, who claimed to be an agent for the United States Treasury Department investigating links between the American mafia and the Kray gang. The botched murders were his work, in an attempt to pin something on the Krays. Read tried using Cooper, who was also being employed as a source by one of Read’s superior officers, as a trap for Ron and Reg, but they stayed away from him. See pages 215–222 and pages 250 and 279 of ‘Nipper Read, the man who Nicked the Krays’, by Leonard Read with James Morton. Time-Warner paperbacks, London, 1992. ISBN 0-7515-3175-8.

[edit]Conviction and imprisonment

Eventually, a Scotland Yard conference decided to arrest the Krays on the evidence already collected, in the hope that other witnesses would be forthcoming once the Krays were in custody. On 8 May 1968,[19] the Krays and 15 other members of their “firm” were arrested. Many witnesses came forward now that the Krays’ reign of intimidation was over, and it was relatively easy to gain a conviction. The Krays and 14 others were convicted, with one member of the firm being acquitted. One of the firm members that provided a lot of the information to the police was arrested yet only for a short period. Out of the 17 official firm members, 16 were arrested and convicted. The twins’ defence, under their counsel John Platts-MillsQC, consisted of flat denials of all charges and the discrediting of witnesses by pointing out their criminal past. The judge, Mr Justice Melford Stevenson said: “In my view, society has earned a rest from your activities.”[20] Both were sentenced to life imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 30 years for the murders of Cornell and McVitie, the longest sentences ever passed at the Old Bailey (Central Criminal Court, London) for murder.[21] Their brother Charlie was jailed for 10 years for his part in the murders.

[edit]Imprisonment

On 11 August 1982, under tight security, Ronnie and Reggie Kray were allowed to attend the funeral of their mother Violet, who had died of cancer the week before, but they were not allowed to attend the graveside service at Chingford Mount cemetery in East London where their mother was interred in the Kray family plot. The service was attended by celebrities including Diana Dors and underworld figures known to the Krays.[22] The twins did not ask to attend their father’s funeral when he died seven months later in March 1983: this was to avoid the publicity that had surrounded their mother’s funeral.

Ronnie was eventually once more certified insane and lived the remainder of his life in Broadmoor HospitalCrowthorne, dying on 17 March 1995 of a massive heart attack, aged 61. His funeral on 29 March 1995 was a huge event with people lining the streets.

Reggie Kray was a Category A prisoner, denied almost all liberties and not allowed to mix with other prisoners. However, in his later years, he was downgraded to Category C and transferred toNorfolk‘s Wayland Prison.

In 1985, officials at Broadmoor Hospital discovered a business card of Ron’s, which prompted an investigation that revealed the twins – incarcerated at separate institutions – along with their older brother, Charlie, and another accomplice who was not in prison, were operating a “lucrative bodyguard and ‘protection’ business for Hollywood stars”. Documents released under Freedom of Information laws revealed that officials were concerned about this operation, called Krayleigh Enterprises, but believed there was no legal basis to shut it down. Documentation of the investigation reveals Frank Sinatra hired 18 bodyguards from Krayleigh Enterprises in 1985.[23]

During incarceration, Reggie became a born again Christian. After serving more than the recommended 30 years he was sentenced to in March 1969, he was finally freed from Wayland on 26 August 2000, at almost 67-years-old. He was released on compassionate grounds as a result of having inoperable bladder cancer.[24] The final weeks of his life were spent with his wife Roberta, whom he had married while in Maidstone prison in July 1997, in a suite at the Townhouse Hotel at Norwich, having left Norwich hospital on 22 September 2000. On 1 October 2000, Reggie Kray died in his sleep. Ten days later, he was buried alongside his brother Ronnie, in Chingford cemetery.

Elder brother Charlie Kray was released in 1975 after serving seven years, but returned to prison in 1997 for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine worth £69m in an undercover drugs sting. He died of natural causes in prison on 4 April 2000, six months before Reggie’s death.[25]

[edit]Personal lives

Despite negative cultural attitudes of the time, Ronnie was openly bisexual, evidenced by his book My Story and a confession to writer Robin McGibbon on The Kray Tapes where he states, “I’m bisexual, not gay. Bisexual.” He also planned on marrying a lady called Monica in the 1960s but was arrested before he had the chance. This is mentioned in Reggie’s book Born Fighter.[26] Reggie once had a one night stand with Barbara Windsor,[27][28] whose EastEnders character Peggy Mitchell was reputedly based on Violet Kray (e.g. her matriarchy over two thuggish sons)[citation needed].

In an interview with author John Pearson, Ronnie indicated a strong identification with Gordon of Khartoum, explaining: “Gordon was like me, ‘omosexual, and he met his death like a man. When it’s time for me to go, I hope I do the same.”[29]

[edit]Controversies

This section contains weasel words: vague phrasing that often accompanies biased or unverifiable information. Such statements should be clarified or removed(January 2011)

Some[who?] believe the Krays’ sentences were harsher than deserved and that they were made an example of.[30] The Kray twins were tried as separate, responsible adults, although it was argued[by whom?] that Ronnie dominated his brother and was a paranoid schizophrenic.[5]

There was a long-running campaign, with some minor celebrity support, to have the twins released from prison, but successive Home Secretaries vetoed the idea, largely on the grounds that the Krays’ prison records were both marred by violence towards other inmates. The campaign gathered momentum after the release of a film based on their lives called The Krays in 1990. Produced by Ray Burdis, it starred ex-members of Spandau Ballet brothers Martin Kemp, who played the role of Reggie, and Gary Kemp, who played Ronnie.

Some[who?] argue that Reggie’s several attempted murders, and the murder of Jack McVitie, were carried out as a result of Ronnie’s prompting, and to show that he was equal to Ronnie’s earlier murders. Reggie wrote: “I seem to have walked a double path most of my life. Perhaps an extra step in one of those directions might have seen me celebrated rather than notorious.”[31] Others, however, point to Reggie’s violent prison record when he was being detained separately from Ronnie and argue that in reality, the twins’ temperaments were little different.

Reggie’s marriage to Frances Shea in 1965 lasted eight weeks, although the marriage was never formally dissolved. An inquest came to the conclusion that she committed suicide in 1967,[32] but in 2002 an ex lover of Reggie Kray came forward to allege that Frances was actually murdered by a jealous Ronnie. Bradley Allardyce spent three years in Maidstone prison with Reggie and explained, “I was sitting in my cell with Reg and it was one of those nights where we turned the lights down low and put some nice music on and sometimes he would reminisce. He would get really deep and open up to me. He suddenly broke down and said ‘I’m going to tell you something I’ve only ever told two people and something I’ve carried around with me’ – something that had been a black hole since the day he found out. He put his head on my shoulder and told me Ronnie killed Frances. He told Reggie what he had done two days after.”[33]

When Ronnie spent three years in prison, Reggie is said to have turned the “firm” around, putting it on a sound financial footing, and removing many of the more violent and less appealing aspects, if not actually turning it legal. Some[who?] speculate that without his brother, Reggie could have turned the “firm” into one of the largest and most successful criminal organisations in Europe; however, the Kray business was always built on their reputation for savage violence, and it was Ronnie who was principally responsible. The twins were never able to cope well apart.[citation needed]

In 2009 a British television documentary, the Gangster and the Pervert Peer, was aired which revealed that Ronnie Kray was in fact a male rapist (commonly referred to in criminal circles as a “nonce case”). The programme also went on to detail his relationship with Tory Lord Bob Boothby as well as an ongoing Daily Mirror investigation into Lord Boothby’s dealings with the Kray brothers. [2]

[edit]In popular culture

This “In popular culture” section may contain minor or trivial references. Please reorganize this content to explain the subject’s impact on popular culture rather than simply listing appearances, and remove trivial references. (August 2011)

[edit]In film

  • Performance (1970), directed by Nicolas Roeg, featured a London gangster named Harry Flowers (played by Johnny Shannon) who surrounded himself with muscle magazines and rent boys; the character and his milieu were inspired by Ronnie Kray.
  • Villain (1971) starred Richard Burton as sadistic, homosexual London gang leader Vic Dakin, a character modelled on Ronnie Kray.
  • The Long Good Friday (1980) used the Kray Twins as inspiration for the protagonist Harold ShandBob Hoskins, who played Shand, reportedly received a letter from the Krays in prison congratulating him on his presentation of a London gangster in the film.

[edit]In literature

Many books address the Kray brothers’ reign including several written by one or both twins. Those most critically acclaimed include:

[edit]Books by the Kray brothers

[edit]Books by other authors

  • The Kray twins are mentioned frequently in Jake Arnott‘s first novel, The Long Firm (1999), wherein the main character, Harry Starks, is a fictional homosexual East End gangster in the 1960s who has a criminal career similar to the Krays’.
  • Carol Ann Duffy has written a poem entitled “The Kray Sisters”, in which she changes the story of the Kray twins into a women’s format. There are clear links to the original story, with characters in the poem such as “Cannonball Vi”, a clear mix of the twins’ grandfather and mother.
  • The Balvak Twins, who like the Krays, run organised crime in the West End, are recurring antagonists for Detective Sergeant Suzie Mountford in a series of police procedural novels by John Gardner. However, the Balvaks’ activities take place during World War II rather than the 1960s.
  • The Kray twins are mentioned in the second part of Tu Rostro Mañana, a novel by Javier Marías. One of the characters refers to them in order to explain why he carries a sword in his overcoat.
  • The Cult of Violence: The Untold Story of the Krays, by John Pearson (2002) – ISBN 0752847-94-5
  • The Profession of Violence: Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins, by John Pearson – First published in 1972 by Weidenfeld and Nicolson
  • In J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter series, the main villain, Lord Voldemort is so feared that most wizards and witches refer to him as “You-Know-Who” or “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”. According to Rowling, this was inspired by the Kray twins’ very names being taboo.[35]
  • The Kray twins feature many times in Addict by Stephen Smith, a book about Smith’s struggle with drugs.
  • Charlie Bronson, “Britain’s Most Violent Prisoner”, became a trusted friend of the Kray twins in prison and wrote The Krays and Me: Blood, Honour and Respect. Doing Porridge With the Krays. He also included a poem about the Krays on the last page of his workout book Solitary Fitness.
  • Ghoul by Michael Slade makes many references to the Kray twins as British police officers struggle to solve a slew of homocides in London.

[edit]In music

A number of artists mention the Kray twins in songs:

[edit]In radio

  • In episode 3 of the sixth series of Old Harry’s Game, titled “Murderers”, the Kray twins are part of a symposium of murderers called together by Satan in order to get some insight into a murderer’s mindset. In an unwise moment of anger, Thomas Crimp calls Ronnie a “big Cockney poof”, which begins an attack on Crimp by the Krays and turns into a free-for-all fight forcing Satan to call for back-up.

[edit]In television

  • Ronnie Kray had a mention in series 2, episode 6 of The Armstrong and Miller Show in the song, “When You’re Gay”.
  • The Comic Strip team did their take on the Krays with Alexei Sayle in the role of both twins as the Moss Brothers, Carl and Sterling, in Didn’t You Kill My Brother?
  • The long-running TV drama EastEnders has featured a gangland organisation called The Firm. The characters Ronnie and Roxy Mitchell are modelled on The Krays, hence their names. As Reggie is a male name, it was changed to Roxy for the EastEnders role of one of the Mitchell sisters.
  • Kate Kray – the ex-wife of Ronnie Kray – showed the glamorous yet restricted lives of women who married gangsters in the documentary Gangsters’ Wives.
  • The time-travelling hero of Goodnight Sweetheart has several passing encounters with the Kray twins as children in East-End London of the 1940s.
  • In episode 3 of the second series of the BBC programme Monkey Dust, a minor character who frequently marries criminals, has her surnames read out in a marriage ceremony to Ivan Dobsky. Two of these surnames are “Kray” (among surnames of other infamous criminals).
  • The Krays were the inspiration behind the Monty Python “Piranha Brothers” sketch. This sketch was rooted in fact; even the tale of nailing someone to the floor is based on the murder of Jack “the Hat” McVitie, who was pinned to the floor with a long knife. Inspector Leonard “Nipper” Read became “Superintendent Harry ‘Snapper’ Organs”.
  • In the TV series Top Gear, during a challenge to decide the best van, each presenter was timed to see how long he would take to be caught by a police car driven by The Stig. Here, James Maywas called James Kray in light of the comical criminal challenge.
  • The British TV series, Waking the Dead, featured a two-parter called “Deathwatch” in which the cold-case detectives investigated a murder related to a pair of East-End gangster brothers from the early 60s called the Suttons, who were clearly based on the Krays: one was described as psychotic and the photos used to depict them were similar to those of the Krays.
  • In 1991, a children’s TV puppet show called The Winjin Pom featured two crow siblings called Ronnie and Reggie (the “Crows”) who were always after the goodies to steal their magical camper van named after the show title, but always failed.
  • Association with (or former association with) the Krays is also seen as a sign of prestige in many social circles, or an indication of Cockney authenticity. This attitude was spoofed in the British television series The Young Ones with Robbie Coltrane as a bouncer claiming “…and I was at Violet’s funeral”, a reference to the twins’ mother.
  • Whitechapel II, a 2010 ITV drama series in which supposed descendants of the Kray twins copy their crimes.[38]
  • Hale and Pace, a UK comedy double act, regularly performs as ‘The Management’ where they dress in the black suit and tie style of bouncers. Their conversations are delivered in a monotone stereotypical East London gangster accent. Throughout the dialogue they both refer to each other as ‘Ron’.
  • On the Final episode of The Inbetweeners, Jay tells simon that his dad is playing Poker with Danny Dyer and The Krays, which Will says Aren’t The Krays dead.
  • Reginald Kray was mentioned in “Russell Brand’s Ponderland S02E03 Education” in a joke as comparison to a school truant’s mother.
  • In Only Fools And Horses the Driscall brothers are portraited as the Kray twins.

[edit]In theatre

  • Peter Straughan‘s play, Bones, features a character who claims to be Reggie Kray and begins to heavily influence the actions of the other characters.

[edit]In video games

  • In The Getaway, a gangster named Charlie Jolson says that he used to run London “with real men like Ronnie and Reggie”.
  • In The Getaway: Black Monday Danny introduces Arthur, the cleaner of the operation, saying “He used to work for the Krays ya know.”
  • Grand Theft Auto Mission Pack #1: London, 1969 features a pair of twin gangsters named Albert and Archie Crisp who are a reference to the Kray twins.
  • Privateer 2: The Darkening features a mission in which the player has to deal with a pair of gangsters named the Bray Twins.

[edit]In science and engineering

For many years the British Met Office in Bracknell ran a pair of Cray-1 supercomputers named Ronnie and Reggie.[39]