Maltese Brothers And The Krays

Topics: Crime

The Kray twins were born in 1933. They lived in the east end of London and soon took up the traditional way of life that their family had led for generations. They got involved with two local gangsters Billy Hill and Jack Comer. This is what eventually led to their rise to gangland supremos. A popular view, is that the media orchestrated the Krays transition from villains to heroes, antidisestablishmentarianists to conquering idols. There are various sources to back up these two statements and the question itself suggests that this is the case.

There will always be different views on the Krays, some more sensationalist papers will portray them as being glamorous and that their life’s that they led were fine and generally above the law. The source by Gordon Burn of the Observer sport monthly does just this. The Krays are compared to Ronnie O Sullivan and his dad. The fact that his dad is in prison for murder is not really touched upon.

Their situation is described as, ‘ no problem. Nothing is a problem. Lovely. ‘ Further into the article more famous gangsters and hoodlums are mentioned including the Richardsons, the Lambrinous and the Maltese Messina brothers.

When Was The Krays Born

The paper continues to glorify the O Sullivan’s by hailing them ‘the fighting O’Sullivans. ‘ Some similarities are suggested between the Krays and the O Sullivans, mainly that they both have a strong sense of family loyalty and stick up for each other. With newspaper articles like this we can see how the Krays may have been made from villains into heroes.

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There are other sources that take a different view to this. ‘The cult of violence’, by John Pearson is another modern article but is more blunt and doesn’t seem to side with the Krays. It expressively calls them killers on more than one occasion.

He also talks about their less endearing qualities that he picked up on. This source, most importantly, tells us that the Krays set him up to tell the world about their killings and butchery. This deffinatly means that the Krays tried to manipulate the media to increase their fame and recognition. This source also shows that the whole of the media were not totally bias in the Krays favour and that some people tell it how it really was. If there is one source that is most guilty in the glamorisation of the Krays and of the gangster lifestyle

then its ‘The Kray twins; Brothers in arms’ by Thomas L. Jones. The source reminds us of how poor the conditions were for the people of the East End. At this point the article might be trying to make us feel sorry for the way that the Kray twins grew up. It could also provide an explanation of why they turned out the way they did. There are other points in this source that also show positive points about famous criminals by using the word celebrated about Jack the Ripper. The Krays are later described as famous and infamous gangsters.

This, as well as other parts of the source like ‘their success’, and ‘ease of achievement’ show the support the Krays had from the media and helps us to understand how they became famous. The source also tries to excuse the two murders that they committed by calling the victims ‘miserable, lowlife street thugs with little to redeem and as about as sympathetic a due as Goebbels and Himmler. The source then goes on to say that they received the heaviest prison sentence ever handed down by a British court of law.

This source would be heavily influential on people about the Krays and you can deffinatly see how they were made from villains into heroes. Another important aspect of the media support of the Krays is that there is a film made about them. This is deffinate proof that at least some media glamorised them. The Krays had previously tried to have a film made about them. That is a good example of how they influenced the media to make themselves into famous heroes. The front cover of the Krays film shows them wearing dark suits and ties. Therefore rich and successful.

There is another source which gives us more of an insight into why the media might have wanted to give the Krays so much attention. It is by Edward Lawson and it is called The story of the Daily Telegraph. It tells us how the paper thrives on crime and how most writers and biographers do. It also admits that sometimes papers over do it when reporting crime. This suggest that it might not have been down to the Krays, to get their fame, more the papers trying to make some money. There is one more source that I will discuss. That is ‘End of a murderous duo’ by John Macleod from the Herald.

This takes a negative view on the Krays, ‘Society has earned a rest from your activities’. This source shows that their were papers apposed to the Krays and that they couldn’t influence everyone. However the article was written in 2000 and so it doesn’t necessarily reflect what the papers were saying in the sixties and the seventies. The papers have said a lot of things about the Krays throughout the decades. Some have been good and others have taken more of a negative approach to their existence. There has been a film made about them and numerous documentaries.

Their rise to fame was partly due to the media’s hype about them and partly due to the way they manipulated the media into supporting them and getting good publicity from them. There are many source we can use to support this view like the Observer sport monthly and ‘The Kray Twins: brothers in arms. ‘ They show us how crime is glamorised by the media and how the Krays were able to manipulate the papers. So overall the Krays would not have made the transition from low life villains to famous heroes without the help of the papers and the media.

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Maltese Brothers And The Krays. (2019, Dec 05). Retrieved from

Maltese Brothers And The Krays
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