The Blind Beggar Pub
The Blind Beggar Pub is a famous East End Pub in Whitechapel, East London. Sadly many pubs are closing in London and England because of taxes and the fact that most people now prefer tp buy cheaper
Sadly many pubs are closing in London and England because of taxes and the fact that most people now prefer to buy cheaper alcoholic drinks in supermarkets and cut-price shops to drink at home. These closed pubs end up being demolished or converted by property developers into apartments and flats. Such is the building boom in London that houses & former commercial property are now being turned into apartments to make a quick profit on sale or rental. We have lost three local pubs each over 100 years old to such in the last few years.
These closed pubs end up being demolished or converted by property developers into apartments and flats. Such is the building boom in London that houses & former commercial property are now being turned into apartments to make a quick profit on sale or rental. We have lost three local pubs, each over 100 years old, to such in the last few years.
Numerous history and convivial social meeting places are now disappearing from the London landscape and culture.
The Blind Beggar was built in 1894 on the site of an Inn dating from 1654.
Notable events in its history include where William Booth preached his first open air sermon then forming a Mission that led to the founding of The Salvation Army.
The first modern Brown Ale ( my first beer when a teenager) was brewed and sold in the pub which was then part of Manns brewery.
The pub’s name is linked to a popular legend concerning a local connection with a knight, who was the son of the famous Simon de Montfort , an Earl, who rebelled against King Henry III in the 13th century.
His son Henry de Montfort, lived in a grand manor house in the area. One story of the legend is that de Montfort was wounded and blinded at the Battle of Evesham and was left wandering and with no memory. He became a beggar. He was found by a nobleman’s daughter, who married him. Their child, Besse, could not find a husband as her father had no status, as he was the blind beggar of Bethnal Green. At that time, a woman needed a sizeable dowry to be able to marry a suitable husband. Marriage was a way of bringing wealth and prestige to a union of families.high-classNoblemen,
Noblemen, merchants, and knights courted her but when they found out that there was no dowry they all left, except for a lone Knight, who was not concerned about a dowry and loved Besse as she was; as herself.
This union was blessed when Besse’s father revealed that far from being the poor beggar, he was a rich nobleman and so rewarded the Knight. As Shakespeare would have said: “All’s well that ends well” 🙂
Now, what captured my imagination to the Blind Beggar many years ago, is my interest in major historical crime cases of London.
In March 1966, a murder took place in the Blind Beggar, which later became part of London crime legend.
Ronnie Kray, the twin brother of Reggie, the notorious, infamous and any other ..’ous’! Kray Twins walked into the pub and calmly took out a pistol and shot and killed another criminal, George Cornell, in front of a few witnesses.
Ronnie Kray had a long-standing score to settle with Cornell, who was apparently as ruthless as the Krays, but who was nowhere in their league.
Such was Krays power & influence in the 1960s London’s criminal underworld, many involved kept quiet about the Twins activities for years before they were arrested and sentenced to 25-30 years in prison.
There have been many books about the Krays & by the Krays too, which are interesting to read, if one is interested in major crimes.
Two movies have been made about the Krays too.
They are truly legends in the criminal history of London.
It appears from current on-line reviews that the Blind Beggar today is a shadow of its former standing as a popular east end pub.
I hope the pub remains as a pub for many years to come as London cannot keep affording to lose such culturally important pubs.