Every Sunday we pluck just one walk from the vast London Walks
repertoire and put it centre stage.
You can check out the full schedule at www.walks.com.
But if you only take one walking tour this week, why not make it…
THE KRAYS' EAST END
When people are afraid of you, you can do anything. This was the maxim of the Ronnie and Reggie Kray. Having twins made Violet Kray feel special, and she rewarded her boys by instilling in them a sense of infallibility. Violet Kray had given birth to a legend; a legend we re-live on every street corner on the Krays' East End Walk.
We visit the site of ‘Fort Vallance’, the Kray family home and the very war-time air raid shelter where granddad nightly lead a convivial knees-up as outside the bombs hurtled out of the sky. By day the tearaway twins honed the art of running a gang as they ran wild in the original ‘adventure playgrounds’ of East End bombsites.
We see the church where Reggie married his ‘East End Princess’ and a second church that formed the backdrop to the most ostentatious of East End gangland funerals, and hear how, apart from the funerals of Winston Churchill and Princess Diana, for the send-off of Ronnie Kray, the local streets were lined with the largest number of mourners that London had ever seen. As for bodies in the Kray story that have never (ever!) been accounted for, we visit the sites that, according to gangster lore, are their most likely resting places.
And pubs! We visit (of course) the landmark Blind Beggar, scene of Ronnie’s cold blooded murder of a rival gangster, but also the typical East End pub from which the twins set out to butcher Jack the Hat Mcvitie and the atmospheric hostelry where the intrepid detective who finally unravelled the Kray case first clapped eyes on his quarry.
True legends are never laid to rest. The Kray story is constantly being reworked as ‘new’ revelations, recollections and confessions filter up from the underworld making the time ripe to walk a while in the Krays' shoes before the streets that shaped their destiny are lost forever to gentrification, and before the quaint Whitechapel Underground Station, where our walk ends, is modernised to accommodate Crossrail. Guided by Jane.
To go on the Krays' East End walk meet Jane just outside the west exit of Bethnal Green Tube this Sunday 13th December at 2:30p.m.
A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.