top of page

Reggie & Ronnie Kray

Updated: Feb 14

A few Interesting things you probably didn't know about the Cray brothers...

"Notorious, epic, scandalous, the Kray twins ruled the East End of London, building a criminal empire that rocked the Fifties and Sixties. The biopic Legend, starring Tom Hardy, highlights the rise and fall of these infamous gangsters. *GQ *reveals some amazing facts surrounding the history behind the terrible twosome." #GQ

"They enjoyed poetry

It's difficult to believe that gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray enjoyed writing poetry. But according to childhood friend Laurie O'Leary the twins did just that as he owns many of their unpublished poems.

Reggie Kray's funeral looked more like a doormen's convention than a funeral

Some officials at his funeral wore a red badge bearing the initals RKF (Reggie Kray Funeral), and a red armband. "They symbolise all the blood and tears that have been spilt over the years," said the head of security, Richard Grayston.

Ronnie Kray cooked with Ian Brady in prison

During their time together at Durham A Level Security Wing, Kray and Brady used to cook for other inmates. "Ronnie Kray cooking for his landing, I was cooking for mine... we were sick of eating steak", claimed Brady. They were imprisoned in the Tower of London Not after their 1968 arrest but way back in 1952. The twins were held at the tower for a few days due to failing to report for National Service. They were among the last prisoners ever to be held there. Lucien Freud owed the Krays money Freud racked up £500,000 in gambling debts to the Krays. (Lucien: great at painting, ropey with cards.) At one point Freud cancelled an exhibition in case the Krays got wind and demanded their cash.

The twins were keen boxers in their teen years inspired by their granddad Jimmy Cannonball Lee.

Reggie Kray was nearly a professional boxer © PA Photos

Reggie was invited to turn professional, but he was turned down because of his criminal activity. There was a third Kray brother Their old brother, Charlie Kray, was also a member of their gang "The Firm." However Charlie was the "quiet Kray" and never received the notoriety of Ronnie and Reggie. In 1997 Charlie was convicted of a £39 million cocaine smuggling plot and, aged

70, jailed for 12 years.

Ronnie Kray openly, Reggie less so. The former was rumoured to have had a sexual relationship with Conservative politician Lord Boothby. In fact, he shot George Cornell at The Blind Beggar pub for calling him a "fat poof". Although others believe that Ronnie wanted to avenge the death of one of their gang members.

The Firm didn't mind According to O'Leary, members of the Firm were tolerant of the Kray's sexuality."Even if they objected, Ron just smiled at them and told them they didn't know what they were missing," O'Leary has stated.

They were photographed by David Bailey

Fashion photographer David Bailey famously photographed the London gangsters in a Box Of Pin Ups published in 1965, which was a collection of poster prints featuring some of the most elite celebrities in the swinging sixties such as The Beatles, Jean Shrimpton and Mick Jagger.

Reggie could break your jaw with one punch

Reggie perfected a "cigarette punch". He offered his victim a cigarette directly to the mouth, then stuck when their guard was down and their open mouth guaranteed a broken jaw. Never accept gifts from gangsters.

Reggie slept with Babs © PA Photos

Barbara Windsor aka Eastenders' Peggy Mitchell once had a one-night stand with Reggie Kray. Windsor clearly had a taste for a bad boy, as she later married gangster Ronnie Knight. Frank Sinatra hired Kray muscle In 1985, Frank Sinatra was said to have hired 18 bodyguards from Krayleigh Enterprises, which was the Kray twin's protection company.

They were imprisoned in the most haunted prison in the UK The Krays were imprisoned in Shepton Mallet Prison, Britain’s oldest prison, in the 1950s after going AWOL from the National Service. During their stay, the twins met future rivals Charlie Richardson and George Cornell, who Ronnie Kray later shot dead."

Written by Arya Chapra for GQ UK, Film // #repost

Want to read more?

Subscribe to to keep reading this exclusive post.

Subscribe Now
49 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All