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Tuesday, October 06, 2015

The Krays and the Establishment

Blogger Wiggia has passed on some fascinating personal experiences relevant to a recent post Will the Establishment win again?


The Daily Mail piece is correct as far as my knowledge of a small part of it goes, I lived in the area during my formative years and there were few who did not know about the Krays and many had contact of some sort with them or their organisation.

If you had a brain you had nothing to do with them it was that simple. An acquaintance, one of three brothers I knew, none of whom one would knowingly upset worked for the twins. He was the dimmest of the brothers and thought there was some kudos in what he did. It all came to an end over something very minor and he took a very nasty hiding from them for that.

There is also the myth as partly told in the Daily Mail piece that they only were violent towards their own kind, it suits a Robin Hood mindset. This is also not true as favours were done for others and people with no connection would have their meeting with some henchmen as a reward for favours. There was even a well trailed story told first hand of a car driver with his wife who recognised the Krays at traffic lights and indicated to his wife who they were. He was seen doing this, pulled from his car, beaten senseless and left in the road. There are many similar stories.

The night that Jack the Hat was murdered there was a party in a flat opposite that night to the house were the murder happened and I detail some of the party happenings here.

The following Sunday, the local was a hive of information being given as party attendees all knew of the murder. Reggie Kray had come to the door looking for old acquaintances to stand as alibis but nobody offered! The point was, the whole of the East End knew what had happened that night by the morning afterwards, yet it was I think, eight months before any move by the police was made. That in itself was hardly surprising as the local plod were all either in the Krays' pocket for favours done or bought off.

The worst police station for outright corruption was Stoke Newington. A personal incident gives a good example of their operation style. My sister who was only 16 or 17 at the time had been at a party that was raided. Several party goers were charged with drug use - cannabis. As this was the sixties, hardly surprising, but the police took all names regardless of of any evidence and no, my sister genuinely never took anything. 

The police used the incident to blackmail parents into paying money to keep names out of papers. They called at our house several times asking for my father and eventually he gave them £20 to go away. I saw this happen - they were not even trying to hide the reason for their presence.

On the larger scale that police station was some time later "cleansed" of personnel though having got wind of what was about to happen the early retirement wheeze came on strong. Amazingly, a few years later the whole cleansing procedure had to be revisited as the rot had started all over again. 

It was all common knowledge, but it gives an insight as to how things must have been at higher levels. The Boothby affair was also common knowledge in the East End long before it got out in the open, and how difficult it was to clamp down on the Krays without bringing the house of cards down.


Further reading of Wiggia's East End experiences at James' blog.


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James Higham said...

Have linked indirectly via AK Haart.

A K Haart said...

James - thanks.

Sackerson said...

Very interesting, esp. the Stoke Newington remarks.

Nick Drew said...

on the subject of what is known in pubs ... a close acquaintance of mine, a journo, as a junior reporter on a national newspaper was set on to write about a notorious (north-of-England) murder

to the amazement of the Police he quickly turned up at a local nick and told them who had done it, before writing his story

he had solved the mystery crime by the simple expedient of sitting in the appropriate pub, buying plentiful drinks all round and discreetly asking who'd dunnit

needless to say he was (briefly) arrested for hindering a police investigation or some such nonsense, but a call from his editor soon settled that

He had a strong belief in the power of alcohol to resolve problems: once, when he had a scoop on the eve of a print workers strike (in the bad old Fleet Street days), he approached the paper's NUJ Chapel bearing a crate of whisky and asked, as a personal favour, if they wouldn't mind delaying their strike until after his scoop was published. It worked.

Sackerson said...

ND: fabulous!