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Kray Brothers themed walks around the East End

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by Kat Parr Mackintosh (subscribe)
Young and coffee in varying degrees, Kat also says stuff @ThoroughlyMode
Published July 6th 2010
There's something thrilling about bad boys like the Kray twins. Even though we know we shouldn't laud criminals they do seem to lead more colourful lives than the rest of us. A well researched walk visiting the scenes of Kray crimes will put a naughty tingle down the spine of even the most law abiding citizen. You don't even have to go to prison for the pleasure – just walk round their 'manor' visiting their favourite haunts and the places their violence put on the map.

What you need to know about the Krays: Ronnie and Reggie were twin gangsters who 'ran' London's East End during the 50s and 60s – this was the period of 'organised' crime and the celebrity criminal, when people knew who was up to no good but the police just couldn't catch them. Part of the reason the police couldn't catch them was that they ran protection rackets, as well as being involved in arson, armed robberies, torture and murders – one of the most memorable was the murder of George Cornell at the Blind Beggar Pub, 337 Whitechapel Road, Whitechapel, which is somewhere you should definitely plan to stop on this walk.

Some of the other landmarks to visit are their childhood home at 178 Vallance Road, Bethnal Green, their schools, the Wood Close School in Brick Lane and the Daniel Street School, Pellici's Café, right by their boxing club – they never lost a bout until they turned pro at age 19 – St Matthews Church in Bethnal Green where their funerals were held, and where Reggie married his first wife, and Chingford Mount Cemetery where the whole Kray family has now been laid to rest.

There's a book available on Amazon for £2.99 that gives you all the background to guide yourself, and there are several companies running Kray walking tours where the enigmatic guides dress up and know all the grizzly details. If you enjoy a bit of atmospheric acting then this is the way to do it.

Any Kray themed walk will be greatly enhanced by a background in Kray lore – and the easiest way to get that if you don't have it already is to watch the film: 'The Krays', starring Spandau Ballet's Martin and Gary Kemp.
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Why? Because you like a bit of true life crime
When: Whenever you're up for it, but after you've done your Kray homework
Where: Round the young Kray's manor: Bethnal Green and Whitechapel
Cost: Free if you guide yourself.
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