50th anniversary of Krays shooting of George Cornell in Blind Beggar marked by memorabilia sale

Blind Begger Killing of George Cornell by Ronnie Kray in March, 1966, by artist Joe Machine

Blind Begger Killing of George Cornell by Ronnie Kray in March, 1966, by artist Joe Machine - Credit: Joe Machine

Memorabilia of the Krays gangland family goes on sale at Whitechapel’s Blind Beggar tomorrow on the 50th anniversary of rival gangster George Cornell’s murder.

Reggie and Ronnie Kray and (inset) East London Advertiser's front page reporting their downfall in M

Reggie and Ronnie Kray and (inset) East London Advertiser's front page reporting their downfall in March, 1969. - Credit: Archant

Cornell was callously shot through the head sitting at the bar of the pub in London’s East End by Ronnie Kray in March, 1966.

It led to the Kray twins’ downfall in 1969 when they were jailed for life at the Old Bailey for Cornell’s killing and Jack ‘The Hat’ McVitie’s murder by Reggie Kray in 1967 at a housed in Stoke Newington.

The memorabilia sale from 2pm is being organised by former Page 3 pin-up Maureen Flanagan, with proceeds going to Bethnal Green’s Repton boxing club where the Krays trained.

Maureen Flanagan to hold 50th anniversary charity fundraising of Cornell murder at Whitechapel's Bli

Maureen Flanagan to hold 50th anniversary charity fundraising of Cornell murder at Whitechapel's Blind Beggar pub where she launched her book on the Krays in 2015 - Credit: Shaun Preston

Maureen, now 74, who runs the Paragon charity shop at Wells Street in South Hackney, knew the Krays for 40 years and was a friend of their mother Violet, who died in 1982.


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She launched her book about her friendship with the family at the Blind Beggar last summer, with many of their gangland henchman now in their 70s and 80s turning up.

The twins and their older brother Charlie, who all boxed at The Repton, died between 1995 and 2000.

Maureen Flanagan to hold 50th anniversary charity fundraising of Cornell murder at Whitechapel's Bli

Maureen Flanagan to hold 50th anniversary charity fundraising of Cornell murder at Whitechapel's Blind Beggar pub where she launched her book on the Krays in 2015 - Credit: Shaun Preston

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A collection of artwork based on bedtime stories about the Krays went on public show last year by artist Joe Machine who wasn’t even born when the Kray twins went down for life in 1969.

“Other kids were getting bedtime stories about Rupert the Bear,” Joe recalls. “Mine were mainly my dad’s recollections, his shadowy tales of the Krays fighting and shooting other villains in the smoke-filled dark clubs of the East End.”

The mythology of the Krays and the East End’s underworld of the 1960s is at the centre of Joe’s artwork, like the Blind Beggar shooting.

Painting of Krays "dealing with a liberty taker" by artist Joe Machine (inset)

Painting of Krays "dealing with a liberty taker" by artist Joe Machine (inset) - Credit: Joe Machine

His pictures were on display at Whitechapel’s Lollipop Gallery in Commercial Street until December, a “Who’s Who” of London’s gangland.

Tomorrow’s sale of Krays memorabilia, in aid of Bethnal Green’s Repton boxing clubs, runs 2-10pm at the Blind Beggar in Whitechapel Road.

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