NOTORIOUS LONDON GANGLAND FIGUREHEAD – “MAD” FRANKIE FRASER

 TRUE CRIME, GANGLAND,MAFIA, MURDERABILIA AND BEYOND…. IT’S ALL HERE AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION , LITTLEDEAN JAIL 

HERE’S AN INTERACTIVE INSIGHT INTO THE MAD AND VIOLENT WORLD OF MAD FRANKIE FRASER

HERE AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION WE FEATURE AND INCLUDE A GREAT MANY GANGLAND FIGURES INCLUDING “MAD” FRANKIE FRASER AS PART OF OUR TRUE CRIME AND GANGLAND  COLLECTIONS.

ALSO BELOW ARE SOME MORE INTERACTIVE BACKGROUND VIDEO FOOTAGE RELATING TO THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THIS NOTORIOUS CRIMINAL AND FORMER MEMBER OF THE RICHARDSON GANG WHO RULED THE LONDON GANGLAND SCENE IN THE 1960’S ALONG WITH THEIR RIVALS – THE KRAY TWINS .

 ABOVE IS ONE OF THE MANY PERSONALLY SIGNED GANGLAND MEMORABILIA ITEMS ON DISPLAY AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL .

Early life

Born in Lambeth, south London, Fraser was a deserter during World War II, on several occasions escaping from his barracks. It was during the war that Fraser first became involved in serious crime, with the blackout and rationing, combined with the lack of professional policemen due to conscription, providing ample opportunities for criminal activities. In 1941, he was sent to Borstal for breaking into a Waterloo hosiery store and was then given a 15-month prison sentence at Wandsworth Prison for shopbreaking. Such were the criminal opportunities during the war, Fraser later joked in a television interview that he had never forgiven the Germans for surrendering.

Fraser confirms in his book ‘Mad Frank & Friends’ that his grandmother was a Canadian Red Indian.[4]

[edit]Post-war

After the war, Fraser was involved in a smash-and-grab raid on a jeweller’s for which he received a two-year prison sentence, served largely at Pentonville Prison. It was during this sentence that he was first certified insane and was sent to the Cane Hill Hospital, London, before being released in 1949. During the 1950s his main occupation was as bodyguard to well-known gangster Billy Hill. He took part in more bank robberies and spent more time in prison. He was again certified insane while at Durham Prison and this time sent to Broadmoor. Aware of the punishments for bad behaviour in that institution, Fraser stayed out of trouble and was released in 1955. In 1956, the British mobster Jack Spot and wife Rita were attacked, on Hill’s say-so, by Fraser, Bobby Warren and at least half a dozen other men. Both Fraser and Warren were given seven years for their acts of violence.[5]

[edit]The Richardson Gang

It was in the early 1960s that he first met Charlie and Eddie Richardson, members of the notorious Richardson Gang and rivals to the Kray twins.[6] One member of the criminal fraternity was quoted as saying that “Mad Frank joining the Richardson’s Gang was like China getting the atom bomb”.[citation needed] According to Fraser, it was they who helped him avoid arrest for the Great Train Robbery by bribing a policeman. Together they set up the Atlantic Machines fruit machines enterprise, which acted as a front for the criminal activities of the gang.[7] In 1966 Fraser was charged with the murder of Richard Hart who was shot at Mr Smiths’s club in Catford while other members including Jimmy Moody were charged with affray. The witness changed his testimonyand the charges were eventually dropped, though he still received a five year sentence for affray. Fraser has always maintained that, while he fought with Hart, he did not shoot him. He was also implicated in the so-called ‘Torture trial’, in which members of the gang were charged with burning, electrocuting and whipping those found guilty of disloyalty by a kangaroo court. Fraser himself was accused of pulling out the teeth of victims with a pair of pliers. In the trial at the Old Bailey in 1967 he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.[8]

[edit]Violence

Fraser’s 42 years served in over 20 different prisons in the UK were often coloured by violence.[9] He was involved in riots and frequently fought with prison officers and fellow inmates as well as attacking various governors. He was one of the ringleaders of the major Parkhurst Prison riot in 1969, spending the following six weeks in the prison hospital, owing to his injuries. Involvement in such activities often led to his sentences being extended. Whilst in Strangeways, Manchester in 1980 Fraser was ‘excused boots’ as he claimed he had problems with his feet so he was allowed to wear slippers. He was released from prison in 1985, where he was met by his son in a Rolls Royce.[10]

In 1991 Fraser was shot in the head from close range in an apparent murder attempt outside the Turnmills Club in Clerkenwell, London. He has always maintained that a policeman was responsible.

[edit]Later life

Fraser has become something of a celebrity, appearing on television shows such as Operation Good Guys,[11] Shooting Stars,[12] and the satirical show Brass Eye,[13] where he said Noel Edmonds should be shot for killing Clive Anderson (an incident invented by the show’s producers), and writing an autobiography. In 1999 he appeared at the Jermyn Street Theatre in London in a one man show, ‘An Evening with Mad Frankie Fraser’ (directed by Patrick Newley), which subsequently toured the UK.

He also appeared as East End crime boss Pops Den in the feature film Hard Men, a forerunner of British gangster movies such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and had a documentary made of his life Mad Frank which was released as part of the DVD The Ultimate Gangster DVD (2003 Gangster Videos), which featured crime figures Charles BronsonJohn McVicar, Paddy Joe Hill, Albert Reading, Dave CourtneyRoy ShawNorman Parker, Marilyn Wisbey and axe victim Eric Mason. This programme was also shown on The Crime & Investigation Channel & Biography Channel in the UK and was directed by Liam Galvin.

He now gives gangland tours around London, where he highlights infamous criminal locations such as the Blind Beggar pub. He lives in the Walworth area of London.

Fraser is also a big Arsenal fan, and his grandson Tommy Fraser is a professional footballer,[14] and formerly captain of League Two side Port Vale. According to legend, when he was at Brighton, Tommy was asked by a local reporter if his grandfather ever came to watch him play. “No,” came the reply. “But he reads your reports and he was unhappy you only gave me six out of 10 last week.” Tommy never got less than seven again.[citation needed] Another of Fraser’s grandsons, James Fraser, also spent a short time with Bristol Rovers. Another grandson, Anthony Fraser, was being sought by police in February 2011 for his alleged involvement in alleged £5million cannabis smuggling ring.[15]

[edit]Books

  • Fraser, Frank & Morton, James (2000). Mad Frank’s Diary: A Chronicle of the Life of Britain’s Most Notorious Villain. Virgin Books. ISBN 1-85227-874-9.
  • Fraser, Frank & Morton, James (1995). Mad Frank: Memoirs of a Life of Crime. Time Warner Paperbacks. ISBN 0-7515-1137-4.

[edit]Film

London-based production company Classic Media Entertainment has secured the film rights to Mad Frankie’s life. A feature film production is currently in development and the production has Fraser’s endorsement[16].

[edit]External links

[edit]References

VICTORIAN (circa 1850’s) LITTLE DEAN PRISON WARDEN /GUARD TUNIC BUTTONS NOW ON DISPLAY AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL

A RARE FIND AND A HISTORICALLY SIGNIFICANT PART OF LITTLEDEAN JAILS HISTORY NOW HERE ON DISPLAY

EARLY VICTORIAN (CIRCA 1850’S) PRISON WARDEN/GUARD TUNIC BUTTONS AS WERE ATTACHED TO THE TUNIC AND WORN  HERE AT THE THEN CALLED ” LITTLE DEAN  PRISON ” AS CLEARLY INSCRIBED  HERE ON THE FRONT OF THE BUTTON …COMPLETE WITH  THE VICTORIAN CROWN EMBLEM , ON REVERSE STAMPED WITH THE BUTTON MAKERS NAME …. CHADWIN & SONS BIRMINGHAM .

 Probably insignificant to most visitors …. however I personally treasure these historic and rare original memorabilia items which have recently been, discovered, sourced  and acquired for permanent display here .

Intriguingly these early Victorian Prison Warden/Guard tunic buttons are clearly inscribed LITTLE  DEAN (AS TWO WORDS) WITH PRISON BENEATH (INSTEAD OF GAOL )  … as opposed to it’s early title as having been “Littledean Gaol”.

Littledean Gaol was built during the Georgian Period in 1791 at the same time and by the same architect as Northleach Prison and Horsley Prison . Horsley  Prison having long since been demolished .

Below : Original canvas type early Victorian straight jacket complete with leather straps , as was found in the attic of Littledean Jail during it’s renovation work back in 1986.

This was more than likely used during the Jail’s former use as a “House of Correction” as well as possibly during it’s time as a Victorian Jail ….. In any event a great historic piece here on display at the jail .

THE HISTORY OF LITTLEDEAN JAIL ..PAST AND PRESENT

Here is a brief pictorial history of Littledean Jail from Victorian times to present day …..

A VERY EARLY POSTCARD IMAGE OF LITTLEDEAN GAOL,  WHEN IT WAS USED AS A “HOUSE OF CORRECTION “.


About Littledean Jail – Alcatraz of the Forest…

Standing at the gateway to the Royal Forest of Dean, this former House of Correction – Littledean Jail was designed and built by the Pioneer of Prison Reform – Sir George Onesiphorous Paul and leading Prison Architect of his day – William Blackburn. As a result of the sudden death of Blackburn it was completed under the supervision of his new brother-in-law, architect William Hobson in 1791.

This remarkable Grade II* listed building was built as the most up-to-date, revolutionary House of Correction of its time, and was later seen as the Government’s role model for London’s Pentonville Prison and taken across the seas for the world famous Philadelphian Cherry Hill Penitentiary System in America. It was built for the miserly sum of £1,650. The building work was started in 1788 by Gabriel Rogers, who went bankrupt as a result of not being able to complete the work at such low costs. London Builder J. Fentiman was brought in to finish the job.

Behind the austere gatehouse entrance, the prison, with it’s formidable sandstone façade remains much as it was when first built. Steeped in history and infamy, its awesome appearance provides a stark reminder of the hard labour and craftsmanship needed to build this architecturally important jailhouse.

EARLY VICTORIAN PRISON WARDEN/GUARD TUNIC BUTTON

 Probably insignificant to visitors …. however I love this item which has been recently discovered and acquired for display here . Intriguingly this early Victorian Prison Warden/Guard tunic button is worded LITTLE DEAN (AS TWO WORDS) WITH PRISON BENEATH (INSTEAD OF GAOL )  … as opposed to it’s early title as having been “Littledean Gaol”.

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Littledean Jail – ‘The Crime Through Time Collection’

Previously set up and housed at a former police station and courthouse at Nicholson House, Newent in Gloucestershire between 1998 – 2003. It had soon outgrown its previous home and as a result of this has been relocated lock, stock and barrel to its much larger home, here at Littledean Jail.
Over the years its owner Andy Jones has become a (some say) controversial and distinguished county personality, with his much-publicised battles with Tewkesbury Borough and Forest of Dean Council planning officers. His ‘Crime Through Time Collection’ is of worldwide interest and is in itself a magnet for publicity… being regularly covered in newspapers, magazines and TV programmes around the globe.
Despite much publicised threats of enforcement, imprisonment and boycotting actions imposed upon the owner over some two decades or more… his collection has been highly acclaimed as being one of the most unorthodox, interesting and historically significant of its kind, providing a unique niche in the Tourism Market place.


Littledean Jail Admission Prices 2012:

Price includes admission to the Quadrophenia Collection.

  • Adults: £7.00
  • OAP’s: £5.95
  • Children (aged 8 – 16): £4.95
    Children under 8: FREE
  • Family: £21.00
  • If you’re 100 years young then admission is FREE!

How to AVOID Littledean Jail!

When you approach Littledean, the ‘Gateway to the Forest of Dean’,
follow the brown tourist signs.
Cars can be accommodated at the entrance to the jail whilst COACHES should simply use the Littledean village bus stops as ‘drop off points’. These are situated approximately 80 metres from the entrance to the jail on either side of the road.


Escape from Littledean Jail!

Gloucester is just 20 minutes from the Jail, but if you want to get further away, Bristol, Cheltenham, Hereford and Cardiff are about 40 minutes. Birmingham is a round hour, whilst London is only just under 3 hours away – but who would want to go there!


Opening times:

  • Open from April 1st to October 31st
  • Day visits are only allowed from 10am to 5pm (last entry 3.45pm)
  • Visiting Orders are not necessary!

Please kindly note that we are only OPEN from Thursdays to Sundays & Bank Holiday’s (or at other times solely at The Jailers discretion).

Occasionally special Corporate, Mystery Tours and Evening Visits for groups of 20 or more can be arranged, but only by kind permission from The Jailer (He’s only a little scary!)
Schools and College visits are also welcome, but must be under strict supervision, as
The Jailer has been known to lock trouble makers in the spare cells if compromised!

ABOVE ARE A FEW IMAGES OF LITTLEDEAN JAIL AS IT IS NOW, BOTH OUTSIDE AND IN.