Gangsters in East London

Despise the figures presented on an earlier post that showed the decline of crime in East London boroughs, this area has a particularly bad reputation for being dangerous, no matter what police reports prove. Thus, it is easy to realise that this is only one of the various representations society have of East London. However this specific representation may be traced down throughout history and linked with the figures of serial killer Jack the Ripper, and more recently, gangster twins Ronnie and Reggie Kray.


The Kray twins were the foremost perpetrators of organised crime in the East End of London during the 50s and 60s. The Guardian (2001) wrote after the last twin’s death that they ‘were the undisputed rulers of London’s East End’.

Some notorious places in the history of the Krays remain still ‘alive’ today, such as The Blind Beggar pub, where Ronnie Kray shot and killed rival gangster George Cornell, situated in Whitechapel Rd.


And this is why the Kray’s legend has never left the East End , infamous for protection rackets, turf wars and the murders of George Cornell and Jack ‘the Hat’ McVitie. By some, they are remembered for their criminal activities but others especially in this area of London remember them for generosity and friendship.

The existence of historical figures like these ones, and their story, have a real impact in the way we perceive our surroundings, and thus, the way society portraits the area and its inhabitants.

Brooke, M. (2015). Krays, Lucan, Ruth Ellis and Jack the Ripper on murder list linked to pubs. [online] East London Advertiser. Available at: [Accessed 2 Mar. 2015].

Hill, A. (2001). Kray’s deathbed secrets revealed. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 3 Mar. 2015].

Post by: Marta Santillana

Gangsters in East London

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