Blind Beggar Pub

London, England

The Blind Beggar Pub: the setting of a real life gangster shoot-out.

Blind Beggar Pub 6
- Steve Cadman

Exploring the Blind Beggar Pub

At the crossroads of Whitechapel Road and Cambridge Heath Road in London's East End, the Blind Beggar Pub is a meeting point for diverse communities. According to folklore, the Blind Beggar draws its name and mystique from a legend. However, it is the pub's more recent history and associations with the infamous Kray twins, Ronnie and Reggie, that has created its lasting fame.

Today, visiting the pub, with its grand chandeliers, deep red ceiling, vintage pictures, original brickwork and a few fireplaces is like stepping back in time.

Blind Beggar Pub 8
- Maggie Jones

The History of the Blind Beggar Pub

Naming the Blind Beggar

The Blind Beggar pub, constructed in 1894, sits on the site of an inn predating 1654. Its name is said to have originated from the famous ballad and legend of the "Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green".

Legend has it that the pub stands where the beggar once roamed, with some versions suggesting the beggar was Henry de Montfort, a nobleman wounded and blinded in the Battle of Evesham in 1265.

The tale, popularised in the Tudor era and later revived by Thomas Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, paints a vivid picture of the pub's mythical origins.

Blind Beggar Pub 4
- Ben Sutherland

William Booth and the Salvation Army

In 1865, the Blind Beggar witnessed a pivotal moment in social history when William Booth delivered a speech marking the creation of the East London Christian Mission, now known as the Salvation Army.

Booth's passionate speeches and relentless activism stormed through the East End, with the pub serving as a symbolic starting point for his transformative mission. Today, a statue near the pub stands as a testament to Booth's enduring legacy.

Blind Beggar Pub
- Ewan Munro

The Blind Beggar and its Gangster Period

The Blind Beggar's notoriety extends beyond folklore and philanthropy, as it slipped into the seedy shadow of the East End. Rife with gangsters and crime and infamous for its association with the Kray twins, the pub etched its name permanently into criminal lore on March 9, 1966.

On this day, Ronnie Kray, in the midst of a deadly feud, gunned down rival gang member George Cornell in cold blood, a chilling event that would ultimately lead to Ronnie's incarceration and diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Blind Beggar Pub 6
- Gordon Joly

Manns Albion Brewery at the Blind Beggar

Adjacent to the Blind Beggar once stood the Mann, Crosman and Paulin’s brewery, a pioneer of beer-making. The brewery's proximity to the pub resulted in the Blind Beggar serving as its taproom and outlet. The brewery's eventual merger with Watney Combe & Reid in 1958 marked the end of an era, signalling the break of a once-thriving partnership.

Blind Beggar Pub 2
- Ben Sutherland

The Blind Beggar and Monopoly

Despite its tumultuous history, the Blind Beggar remains an enduring fixture in London's cultural landscape. From serving as a pit stop on the Monopoly pub crawl to featuring in Jack the Ripper tours, the pub continues to captivate visitors with its charm and history.

Blind Beggar Pub 5
- Tom Bastin

Visiting the Blind Beggar Pub

The history of the Blind Beggar Pub in London is as colourful as its present-day atmosphere. From live music and comedy nights to sports screenings on large screens, there's always a fun event gracing the pub’s social calendar!

Beyond entertainment, the Blind Beggar has a delicious menu with items ranging from beloved pub classics like fish and chips to more exotic dishes such as Thai green curry and Moroccan tagine. Sunday roasts, complete with a choice of meats and vegetarian options, offer hearty comfort for those seeking that traditional British fix each week.

Blind Beggar Pub 1
- Roger Marks

At the end of the bar lies the 'saloon' type room. Here, a pool table takes centre stage amidst larger-than-life images of notorious gangster brothers and actress Dame Barbara Windsor. This space holds a pivotal role in expressing the pub's history. It was also the site of Cornell’s murder, a chilling touch to its historical significance.

Moving outside, the Blind Beggar also has a spacious courtyard, where visitors can enjoy alfresco dining and drinks amidst classic wooden picnic benches and a quaint newspaper rack. Despite the passage of time, the pub’s popularity endures.

Blind Beggar Pub 3
- Iain Mullan

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