London’s Real Peaky Blinder.

What Ho Chaps & Chappettes.

peaky blinders 1

Darby Sabini in flat cap fourth from right – picture Islington Local History Centre.

We like most people watched and enjoyed Steven Knight’s historical crime drama Peaky Blinders.

The story as we all know follows a group of Birmingham gangsters led by Tommy Shelby, a veteran of World War One, who seeks his fortune by aiming to control racecourse gambling.

Rosie Lea and the London crime scene.

In the second series the Birmingham Peaky Blinders attempt to muscle in on the London crime scene.

Rosie Lea already knew of the London Peaky Blinders and knew the history of the many real people places and events that are referenced in the series two.

Take the vicious but elegantly dressed head of the Italian gang Darby Sabini he was most certainly one of the most well-known criminal bosses in London in the 1920’s.

Sabin was however not a particularly snappy dresser as portrayed  it is said he only ever wore one jacket in his life and habitually wore a checked flat cap and black muffler.

Charles "Derby" Sabini (born Ottavio Handley 1888, Saffron Hill, the illegitimate son of an Irish mother and Italian father Sabini grew up on the mean streets of II Quartere– Clerkenwell’s Italian Quarter, and after a short-lived spell as a boxer, became a runner to a local bookmakers.

Sabini came to prominence in 1920 during an altercation with members of the Elephant Gang (so-called because they came from Elephant and Castle) who came to the Griffin pub in Clerkenwell Road intent on causing trouble.
Sabini broke the Elephant Gang leader’s jaw with a knockout punch.

This act propels Sabini to the top of the tree in II Quartiere.

The TV series Peaky Blinders portrays Sabini Clerkenwell based organisation which he ran out of  The Griffin Public House as the most powerful in London, Sabini organisation dominated the local underworld for nearly 20 years during the inter-war period and is alleged to have perpetrated more than 300 razor attacks.

Sabini left London for Brighton in 1926 – and established a similar racket there, using the name Fred Handley (his mother's maiden name).

During the 1930s, Sabini is alleged to have been the permanent resident of a penthouse apartment at the Grand Hotel Brighton.

In April 1940 Sabini was arrested at the Greyhound Stadium at Hove and interned for a year as an enemy alien despite his mixed parentage and inability to speak Italian.

In 1943 Sabini was found guilty of receiving stolen goods and sentenced to 3 years in prison.

Meanwhile, his only son was killed on active service for the RAF in Egypt.
After the war, his empire was taken over by the White family led by Alf White and subsequently by the organizations of Jack Spot and Billy Hill.

After the war, Derby Sabini worked as a bookmaker and was resident in Hove.

Derby Sabini was immortalised as the gangster Colleoni in Graham Green’s Brighton Rock.

Brighton Rock

And so we wait with bated breath the Autumn and Series 3 of PeakyBlinders.

Rosie Lea x

Que Sera Sera. What ever will be will be !!

Que Sera, Sera
(Whatever Will Be, Will Be)

Welcome Chapettes & Chaps to our world.

Ladies I am sure you can all empathize with me when I say I love wear original vintage dresses... but... they are rather fickle... And just a little bit flighty.
This is me and Marie-Eileen original at the beginning of the evening isn’t she lovely...The dress not moi!




However by the time we arrived at the dinner dance Marie-Eileen had decided it was to be her night.

And so the fun and games began.....

The small zip at the back on the neck line teeth had decided to part company, but never one to be flustered I dug out my trusty small gold safety pins...

A gal  I was wisely informed should never travel without them don’t you know ..... after all your knickers elastic could go at any time.....

So after pinning the zip at the neck line I continued to enjoy the evening......

However, Marie-Eileen had other ideas.

The petticoat that I was wearing under her,  appeared to have conspired in a pact with Marie-Eileen.
As throughout the middle part of evening the sizable side zip periodically opened from top to bottom, sporadically exposing my beautiful vintage petticoat as I dance and twirled on the dance floor.

I thought to myself as I once again sought out another trusted tiny gold safety-pin to come to the rescue of my modesty …..
I was winning the battle of the dress…. How misguided could I be?

In-between sipping champagne cocktails and delighting in the company of the exotic and eccentric people who I was privileged to be with I dance on into the night ….

She who should not be named Marie-Eileen.  Now decided to fall apart at the seams, I ask you and not a drop of alcohol had been soaked up by her..... but she behaved like a tipsy floozy.

The side seams of the dress under my arms promptly became such a gap I expected at any moment to hear the dulcet tones of the famous Peter Lodge announcer on my beloved London Underground
“Mind the Gap, Please” ……

But never one to be defeat.... I carried on regardless.

And so on arriving home at the end of our night Marie Eileen was as always place carefully and lovingly on to a padded coat hanger but on this occasion she was put to one side to be repaired in the near future.

And as for moi I fell into bed tired but grateful for the opportunity to be out in the company of a beautiful creation Marie-Eileen Original of which I am proud but know that I am but her temporary custodian.

Rosie Lea x