Guide to East London

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The Underworld Connection

In retrospect, the 1960s era portrays the East End of London with a glamorous underworld image. We have a David Bailey impression of young men wearing sharp suits and narrow ties; street fights and gangland activities.

The East End was a place you might have to pass through, but it wasn't where you'd normally visit. It was an almost separate world, a tight-knit community, close to the London Docks. The area was dominated by trade, more so than manufacturing industry, inevitably a percentage of the goods would be siphoned off, with a portion going for illegal distribution within the East End.

Aiming to achieve the good life of wealth, property, cars, fame and power the Kray Twins dominated the London Underworld in the 1960s. Tried for the murders of George Cornell and Jack 'The Hat' McVite in 1969, Ronnie died in Broadmoor Prison Hospital in 1995 and Reggie remains in Wayland Prison, Norfolk. As we approach the 31st anniversary of his arrest on 8 May 1999 his future remains uncertain. There are no firm plans, but it is hoped that his case will be reviewed next year.

At the same time that the Krays were operating in East London, south of the Thames, Eddie and Charlie Richardson's gang controlled the south of the river with a much lower profile.

Tales of murder, extortion and torture; a portrait of life growing up in poverty in south east London, with its money lenders, prostitutes and abortionists have been revived by former Gang Member Mad Frankie Fraser.

Mad Frankie conducts tours (phone (0) 171 477 2598 or (0) 171 837 5307 for reservations; tickets are 25) between April and October for parties of at least 12 people. Participants will be taken by minibus to some of the gangland haunts frequented by him and the Kray Twins. A meal on a boat on the River Thames is included in the price. Frankie is also available for After Dinner Speeches, Functions and Boxing Tournaments. He has his own Internet Web Site and has written a book that charts his life and times as a gangster... 'Horrific, brutal and at times funny. One of Britain's most dangerous men. Violence was his trademark. This book gives an insight into who and what moulded MAD FRANK. Did the system make him or break him? Over 40 years in prisons and mental Institutions.'

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