On another trip to London, we decided to do The Kray Twins Walk, as I have said previously we are both really into crime and the many stories within this area of life.
We could not start at the correct tube station, Bethnal Green, as it had been closed for renovations,
We got off at Whitechapel instead and made our way to the first stop in the book. You can buy a great book called The Kray Twins Walk from Amazon.
Use this if you don’t want to do the usual escorted tour, to be honest, it was more fun on our own.
We arrived at The Lions public house, a meeting place of the twins, this was just at the end of an arch under the railway lines. This was recorded to be where the twins heard George Cornell was in the Blind Beggar, the night George Cornell was shot dead in the Blind Beggar.
Next on the tour is W English and Son Funeral Directors who took care of all three Kray brothers funerals, the bodies of all of them were laid in the Chapel of Rest here until they were taken to St Matthews Church for their funerals. Ronnie in 1995, Charlie in early 2000 then later in 2000 Reggie. During each of the funeral processions, it was said the streets were lined with family friends and strangers. Visiting some of the stops on the walk brought about the reality of the Krays lives and despite being notorious criminals they were also in my personal opinion just ordinary people, who lived in the reality of their own lives. They did love their family and did what it took to protect them as well as being generous to some of those in need. I am not excusing what they are accused of doing but I do sympathise as they were not all bad.
The next point on the walk was a cafe (we really needed a cuppa and a rest by now the east end is big) Pellicci’s. It has been here for about a hundred years…. WOW…
We went inside for a cup of tea but it was packed and the only seats were on a table with a lady sat having a cup of tea. She must have noticed us looking for a seat and gestured us over and offered us two empty seats at her table. We accepted of course and sat with her while we all ate full English breakfast We presumed she was local due to the accent and came to the conclusion the East End was a very friendly place. By the way, Pellicci’s serve the best breakfast ever.
Just opposite the cafe is what used to be a church, St James the Great Church although it has been converted now to flats you can still tell it was a church. This was where Reggie married Francis in 1965, sadly a few years later this is where the funeral for Frances took place……
Daniel Street School below is the school attended by the Kray Twins when they were eleven, reported as being happy here they often played tricks on the teachers pretending to be each other. A good trick I bet they had fun doing this, I would have.
The next spot on the walk is St Matthews Church, where all of the funerals of the Kray Brothers, Ronnie, Reggie, and Charlie, also their mum Violet took place.
The Carpenter Arms is the 8th stop and the halfway point of the walk. Ronnie and Reggie Kray bought this old public house in 1967. This was described as a difficult time for the twins as it was around this time Frances, Reggie’s wife had died. Cornell had been killed. The twins wanted somewhere they could call their own and feel safe and the Carpenters Arms offered them the safety they needed
Cheshire St was stop 9 this is the location of the Carpenters Arms, simply an old back street in the East End. The Kray Twins are recorded as drinking here before they went to find Jack ‘the hat’ McVitie, who had been accused of ripping off he twins on a murder for hire plot. This night they reportedly killed ‘the hat’
Wood Close School was stop 10 but for some reason, we did not get a photo of it which is weird as we have photos of all of the other stops on the walk
Below is Repton Amateur Boxing Club. This is the venue for the twins to train. They each went on to win amateur boxing titles.
Stop 12 is Cheshire Street baths. It was a public bathhouse used by locals as back then not all houses had baths so regularly visited by the Twins. It has been said the furnace used to heat the bath water helped some of the Kray Twins victims ‘disappear’, although this has never been proven.
The house the Kray family lived in no longer exists but on the site of 178 Valance Road is a block of houses built on the site where the house once stood, adorned with a plaque giving the exact position of the house, I was disappointed this house was not there, not just because it was the Krays Home but as usual all of history gets erased eventually and all that remains is a plaque….
267 Whitechapel Road is the address of the next stop on the walk. This is the site of the Grave Maurice Public House. This was Ronnie Krays local pub and was only closed in 2010, what a shame, another piece of history lost in time. It is now a bookie.
Then the penultimate stop on the walk The Blind Beggar. This is the site of the infamous murder of George Cornell, mentioned earlier. As I have said previously my husband and I are complete crime buffs so for us this was the opportunity of a lifetime. To go into The Blind Beggar and have a drink where the Krays had once walked, the whole walk was like walking in the footsteps of history. We stayed and had a drink again very friendly old East End Public house. We would recommend you stop in for a drink
We could not miss the opportunity to take our photos outside either.
Basically, this was the end of the walk apart from the short walk up the street to the Whitechapel Tube Station
I must say although we love the criminal aspect of this walk it was also a very historically enriching walk as so much history is embellished onto the streets around here. The East end has truly seen some of the most memorable episodes in history.
If you visit London, you must do this walk.
If you are a fan of crime, you must do this walk.
If you are a fan of history, you must do this walk
As always loving being me …..
Thanks for reading…..
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