Blind Beggar Pub
The original Blind Beggar Pub is in London on Whitechapel Road. It was built in 1894 on the site of an inn established before 1654, and named for Henry de Montfort who lost his sight in battle in the 13th century, and became the Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green. The story of how he went from riches to rags became hugely popular.
The Blind Beggar is known as the site on which the Salvation Army started. Founder William Booth preached his first sermon outside in 1865.
The Blind Beggar is notorious for its connection to East End gangsters the Kray twins, who used the pub as their headquarters during their reign of terror during the 1950s and 60s.
Reginald “Reggie” Kray (1933 2000) and Ronald “Ronnie” Kray (1933 1995) were identical twins and the foremost organised crime leaders dominating London’s East End. Ronnie was known for his violent outbreaks and suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.
The Krays were involved in armed robberies, arson, protection rackets, violent assaults including torture, and murder. On 9 March 1966, Ronnie Kray shot and killed George Cornell, an associate of rival gang the Richardsons, as he was sitting at the bar.
As West End nightclub owners, they mixed with celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and Diana Dors, as well as politicians. This gave them a perceived respectability and in the 1960s they became celebrities in their own right, being photographed by the likes of David Bailey and appearing in interviews on television.
They were eventually arrested on May 9, 1968, leading to convictions and sentences of life imprisonment.