Milo Books

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Gangs Of London

Long before the Krays and the Richardsons, London was plagued by gang warfare. From the mid-Nineteenth Century onwards, territorial mobs fought pitched battles for honour and pride. As the Bethnal Green Boys hunted Hackney’s Broadway Boys, Clerkenwell fought Somers Town, the Red Hands prowled Deptford and the Silver Hatchets terrorised Islington, while the police and courts seemed powerless to cope.

This first ever history of these fascinating bands of thugs and villains traces them from Jonathan Wild, the original gang leader and archetype for Dickens’s Fagin, to sprawling super-gangs like the Titanic and the infamous Elephant Boys. It tells the full story of the ferocious Racecourse Wars, when Darby Sabini, Billy Kimber, Freddie Gilbert and others slugged it out for control of bookmaker’s pitches, and of such big hitters as George Sage, the guv’nor of Camden Town, Tommy Benneworth, Dodger Mullins and the McDonald brothers. Also included are lesser-known female villains, such as the Forty Elephants, who were every bit as tough as the men they worked for and protected.

Every district had its ‘firm’, from Kings Cross to Chelsea and Peckham to the Angel, some forming alliances to rout their deadliest rivals. Even as they gave way to more organised gangsters like Billy Hill, Jack Spot and Johnny Carter, the street gangs still supplied many of their henchmen and most feared fighters. Featuring many rare photographs, Gangs of London is a riveting journey through the dark underbelly of one of the world’s great cities.

Read more about the book Gangs of London online:




‘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

‘Lifts the lid on London gangs of the last two centuries’ THE WEEKLY NEWS

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