Sunday, 22 January 2012


When one has read a number of the fanciful "true" stories of various villains, usually from London, it seems that just when will somebody be completely truthful, no matter what.  Let us start with that old gang boss, Jack Spot.  He claimed that he led the "Battle of Cable Street" with the Blackshirts of Oswald Mosley in the East End of London in 1936.  The truth is, this battle never took place.  The only film footage you will see, is small skirmishes between Police and left-wing agitators.  Many other tales have been contradicted by others.  Author Wensley Clarkson, in his biography of Spot, gives a detailed account of this "battle."  This showed, unfortunately, how little research he did, giving the view that James Morton's ` biog of Spot gave specific attempts to find evidence of this "battle."

    How about the fantasy world of "Kray gang boss" Tony Lambrianou?  The tales he told of how he and his brother "with the Kray name behind us" were going to "take over" a number of major cities in England.  he mentions Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Leicester, Stoke, Bristol and Plymouth.  "We were connected to London teams.  Who was going to stand up to us," he boasted.  It seems that outside London, nothing existed.  I could just imagine if at that particular time, huge and tough doormen like Dennis and Ted Turner would have been gnashing their nails in sheer terror, "Oh my god, it`s the Lambrianou Brothers with the Kray name behind them.  Who is going to stand up to them?  We are so frightened and helpless."  Yeah right.  Plus, all the other villains and tough nuts, would they have crumbled so easily?  you guessed it.  Considering he thought he was such a big villain, it comes as no surprise to know that when he and his brother were arrested over the Mcvitie murder, in Birmingham in 1968, he went along very quietly.  How do I know?  I have seen covertly taken photos of the two of them being brought out of the hotel by seven CID officers.  And they were not all young bruisers!  The photos now belong to an author that I have acquaintance with.  As they say about "The X-Files" the truth is out there.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Historical Crime

There are quite a number of historical crime books that provide much information about what life was like in the "Good old days".  There is a long running series about foul deeds in all major cities and towns, but now books have emerged about the scuttling gangs in Liverpool, Manchester, and other cities.

    Gangs of Liverpool, Tearaways (About Liverpool), Gangs of Manchester, Gangs of Birmingham, Nottingham, etc.  Choc full of info on the various gangs and the areas they operated, all well worth the read.

Bobby Critchley

A new book has just come out , the autobiography of Jimmy Donnelly, or Jimmy the Weed, a leading face in the so-called Quality Street Gang.  He mentions Bobby Critchley, who it transpires that he was the big man in Manchester during te 40`s and 50`s.  He also gives mention to many of the faces of Manchester.  Now I know about a man whom information has been very thin on the ground.  I believed his name was Tainey, but in fact it is Tierney.  Mick Tierney was known as "The Terror", lived in Moss Side, and provided protection for some of the shebeens or illegal drinking dens.  This, apparently, was his main source of income.  Makes a nonsense of the talk of a "Criminal Organisation"

    There is no mention of Critchley having a brother.  It alo seems that Tierney was to have ahd a straightener with Jimmy Swords, the pivotal figure in the QSG.  Tierney, it appears, "did not fancy it".

    Let us hope that it promps more books about the other major cities that have their own underworlds, and get away from London.