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February 06 , 2008

Gangs of London

100 Years of Mob Warfare


Long before the Kray twins, London was plagued by gang warfare as vicious as anything that was to come. From the 19th century onwards, violent mobs fought pitched battles for territory and local pride. The Bethnal Green Boys hunted Hackney's Broadway Boys, Clerkenwell took on Somers Town, the Red Hands prowled Deptford and the Silver Hatchets terrorised Islington, while the police and judiciary seemed powerless to stop them.

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The first-ever history of these intriguing street mobs traces them from Jonathan Wild, the archetype for Dickens' Fagin, to sprawling super-gangs like the Titanic and the Elephant Boys. It tells the bloody story of the racecourse wars, when Darby Sabini and Billy Kimber slugged it out for control of gambling pitches, and of such big hitters as George Sage, the guv'nor of Camden Town, Dodger Mullins and the McDonald brothers. Eventually these local 'firms' spawned notorious gangsters such as Jack Spot, Billy Hill and Johnny Carter, who carved out organised crime rackets across the capital.

Gangs of London is a riveting journey through the dark underbelly of one of the world's great cities.

  • 'Lifts the lid on London gangs of the last two centuries'  THE WEEKLY NEWS
  • 'Lays bare the truth behind the capital's underworld far before the Krays and the Richardsons became well known'  THE WHARF
  • 'Incredible real-life tales'  SOUTHWARK NEWS
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