Friday, 4 July 2014

Peter Rachman

It is highly unusual for the name of a landlord to enter the dictionary in the UK to describe squalid rented properties, but it summed up perfectly on how a man was able to exploit his tenants.  That term was known as "Rachmanism.  Peter Rachman wasa slum landlord in Notting Hill and Paddington.  He acquired properties, often very run down, and rented them out.  He first exploited the West Indian community in Notting Hill, with his slum apartments charged at extortionate rates.  These people needed a roof over their heads, so had no choice but to pay.  Any objections or delays in paying rents, resulted in Rachman sending thugs in to extract payment, administer beatings or simply violent evictions.  His methods were said to be a major contribution to the riots that exploded in Notting hill in the late 1950`s.  So who was Peter Rachman?

    He was born in 1919 in Poland, served with the Free Polish Corps in North Africa during WW11, then came to Britain in the 1950`s.  He found work as a tailor, then in an Estate Agents, where he found his "calling".  He provided rooms for prostitutes, and then started to buy apartments that were for sale very cheaply.  In no time, he had built up a substantial number of properties and put the squeeze on people desperate for accommodation.  He also started renting rooms to prostitutes who could afford his rents.  Payment was bang on time or else!  Rachman acquired a girlfriend who was to receive infamy just a few years later; Mandy Rice-Davies.  She and Christine Keeler were involved in the Profumo affair, a notorious scandal that rocked the Government in 1963.

    It was said that Rachman was then leaned upon by the Krays to hand over part of his rents money to them.  People struggling to live obviously did not bother the heroes to the mentally retarded, and soon the bully boys of Rachman were getting beaten up by Kray henchmen.  Rachman died suddenly in 1962, but his activities were only openly spoken about, due to our revered libel laws, after his death and the word "Rachmanism" describing slum dwellings rented out at high rates, entered the dictionary.