British history is filled with crooks and criminals. Over the years, any number of people have tried to take control of local populations, inflicting a reign of terror over those who chose to get in their way. When it comes to recent British history, however, there have been few figures as unnerving as the Kray twins. Living their lives alongside the rich and famous, the brothers held a large grip of land under their influence, using their clout to have their way.
Born in 1933 in East London, Ronnie and Reggie Kray loved to fight from the very first moment they could. Having joined their local boxing club, the brothers soon built up a reputation and during one friendly fight, Ronnie almost died from an injury inflicted by his brother. Brought up by their single mother, the boys were devoted to their family, maintaining particularly strong ties to their mother and grandfather.
While they endured their fair share of scuffles during childhood, it wasn’t until their later teenage years that they started to really gain a reputation for themselves. In the 1950s, the Krays were known for picking fights outside of the boxing ring, practicing their skills on real victims. Their fighting skills soon became so developed that the Krays were rumored to have never lost a professional match. Gaining money from their wins, the twins began to spend their cash on expensive suits and nightclubs, mingling with the rich and famous as they did so. Soon, they had bought their own snooker club in Bethnal Green and put up their services for extortion. After meeting a huge stretch of clientele, they began offering their services to some of the city’s most notorious gangs.
As they got older, the Krays decided to take matters into their own hands. Using their grandfather as a figure of influence, the brothers started up their own gang, known as The Firm. Bosses of the crew, the twins were infamous for giving out favors to the local community and taking a violent hand against their enemies. Before long, they were racking up crimes of arson, robbery and hijacking, turning to various weapons to aid them on their excursions. They soon had a massive criminal empire under their wings, gaining notoriety across the country.
While things were already bad for the twins, they were soon to become a whole lot worse. After his young bride killed herself, Reggie Kray became even more easily manipulated, giving into his brother’s violent whims. During his phase of depression, Reggie was convinced to kill a man who owed the Krays £1,500, letting other gang members take the fall. Despite this, the brothers continued to climb the social circles. At one point in their lives, they were known to be close to Frank Sinatra, hiring out a fleet of bodyguards to the singer.
Over the years, the Krays were involved in a huge number of brawls and killings but their influence was not set to last for long. After having killed a man in public surroundings, the twins were taken in for police questioning. Despite having constructed a wall of silence around themselves, the twins were eventually given up by those closest to them, who sensed things were coming to an end. The brothers were destined to spend the rest of their lives in prison, paying for amm of the crimes they amassed over the years.