16 Dec: The Krays in Soho
The Hideaway Club, now part of London’s Chinatown, opened on 16th December, 1964. Ronnie and Reggie Kray didn’t turn up for the big night, even though they had booked a table.
It was an opening gambit in a war of intimidation against the manager of the club, Huw Cargill McCowan – to whom the gangsters had proposed a protection racket; threatening him when he turned down their offer.
In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how the Krays’ (first) trial fell apart; consider how the brothers used the glamour of their West End nightclub to sanitise their personal brand; and explain how journalist John Pearson shaped the public understanding of these notorious bad boys while they were behind bars…
• ‘The Kray Twins – Just Pictures’ (Rich2015, YouTube, 2020):
• ‘An Evening at El Morocco with the Kray Twins and Barbara Windsor’ (Flashbak, 2016): https://flashbak.com/evening-el-morocco-kray-twins-barbara-windsor-59411/
• ‘The hidden history of London’s Chinatown’ (Telegraph, 2018): https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/united-kingdom/england/london/articles/london-chinatown-history/