I am well-read on the history of Gangland [tag]East London[/tag], due to having a grandmother who isÂ madÂ about the [tag]Kray Twins[/tag]- she had a penpal friendship with Reg Kray and occasionally he would call her from jail.
She would give me Kray books to read, as I would also buy books for her and often read them first before I could see her to pass them on. Well needless, to say, with my interest in this area of [tag]London[/tag], as well as London and [tag]London pubs[/tag]Â in general, and also the Kray era I was really looking forward to [tag]drinking a beer[/tag] in the Blind Beggar Pub. (For those of you in the dark, the Blind BeggarÂ is where notorious gang leader Ron Kray shot George Cornell dead. The [tag]Blind Beggar Pub[/tag] is situated in Whitechapel Road, a bustling streetÂ in the heart of London’s East End).
I had expected, due to the notoriety of the pub, that the place would be a shrine to the Krays- a tourist haunt cashing in on it’s gruesome history.Â Well, I was wrong, as on occasion I am. There are several Kray pictures on the walls but they do not dominate the place. The furniture had seen better days, and the overall impression was one of shabbiness, and slightly depressing- but this did not put me off the place, I found it quite fitting and intruiging.
I returned some months later- my grandmother, after mourning the death of the Krays for a suitable length of time turned her affections to [tag]Mad Frankie Frazer[/tag], who had been a rival gang leader in the 60s, who later had become very close to the Krays after spending a fair bit of time with them in various slammersÂ all overÂ the UK.
Frankie now supplements his old age pension with Gangland Tours,Â the tour takes around 3 hours, and includes a stop at the Blind Beggar Pub for a drink. In this setting, on a sunny September day, as part of an animated Gangland Tour crowd, the pub appeared much more cheerful. Frankie also,Â of course being the perfect drinking partner for such a setting.
The Blind Beggar Pub is definately worth a visit, itÂ plays aÂ part of London’s more recent history, and if you are in the area should not be missed.
Mad Frankie and Nanny Munday-both 82 years young
It was nearly two years since IÂ went onÂ Frankie’s tour, he was 82 then, but all that porridge must have done him some good, because he looked 10 years younger. I do not know if the tours are still running, but there is contact information on his website- MadÂ Frankie Fraser.Â
Frankie gives a fascinating insight into [tag]pub and club life[/tag] during the Kray’s rule of East End gangland.
Incidently, the Blind Beggar has quite a fascinating website with history, a virtual tour, and even a few ghosts thrown in!