Keeping the Krays out of Brum

There’s a fascinating, if all-too-brief, snippet on the BBC website this morning about the Fewtrell brothers.  This family of eight, led by Eddie Fewtrell, ran a series of nightclubs in Birmingham in the 1950s and 60s – and were apparently the main reason the Krays never managed to break into the city’s gangland culture.

The story is all set to be made into a film, and I hope it has more detail on who the Fewtrells were and how they operated.  Were they every bit as dangerous in their own way as the Kray twins were in London?  Did they engage in organised crime, or did they run their club empire ‘clean’?  And just how true is the legend that Eddie Fewtrell kept the Krays out of an entire city more-or-less single-handed?

I’d heard remarkably little about the Fewtrells in spite of living in one area of Birmingham’s club-land (along the Hagley Road) for over three years.  If nothing else, it’s fascinating to discover that a very similar celebrity-meets-organised-crime culture was growing up in another of Britain’s cities at exactly the same time.  Crime, even violent crime, seems to have had a real aura of romance back then.  I wonder how much that’s changed over the years…

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