Doomed to Hang....... Why? For being a "Tarty" Blonde.

As valentine’s Day approaches I find myself weeping silently for not Miss Bonnie Parker of Bonnie & Clyde fame but for the beautiful, tragic Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hung in Britain.

On the morning July 13th, 1955 regardless of strong public opinion Ruth Ellis was hung by hangman Albert Pierpont

at HM Holloway Prison who afterwards stated of Ruth

Ruth met her death courageously, I have seen brave men die, but nobody braver than her,” he said.

Ruth was of a petite build, fragile, at only 5ft 2in in her stocking feet and weighing less than 7st. Bottled platinum blonde whose hair colour choice and career choices were chosen for her by society, the very same society that condemned her, but then at the eleventh hour attempted to save her life……

Ruth Ellis’s life can be considered nothing but tragic and heart-breaking…… Life was unquestionably not kind to her.


At seventeen years of age Ruth found herself pregnant by her married Canadian boyfriend, she gave birth to a son and at first his father sent money, but within a year this money had stopped driving Ruth to make the decision to send her son Andy Hornby to live with her mother and father.

It was at this point in her life that Ruth chose to turn to nude glamour photography as it paid considerably more than any of the shop or factory work which was predominately what a girl of her class and education standing.

It was after this life choice that thing began to spiral out of control, Ruth went to work as a night club hostess at the Court Club in Duke Street, London, it was here that she turned to prostitution.

In early 1950 she found herself pregnant for the second time, this time allegedly by a regular customer, this pregnancy was terminated (illegally) in the third month and she returned to work at the Court Club.

On 8th November 1950, Ruth married another Court Club customer 41-year-old George Ellis, a divorced dentist with two sons

Gorge Ellis was apparently a violent alcoholic, jealous and possessive, and the marriage deteriorated rapidly because he was convinced she was having an affair.

Ruth supposedly left George Ellis several times but always returned to him.

In 1951, while four months pregnant, Ruth appeared, uncredited, as a beauty queen in the Rank film Lady Godiva Rides Again.
Her long-time friend Diana Dors who was starring in the film and is said to have gotten Ruth the part.
Ruth gave birth to a daughter who she named Georgina, but George Ellis refused to acknowledge paternity of the baby and they separated shortly afterwards.
Ruth moved herself and her daughter in her parents who were already caring for her son and once again she went back to prostitution, by now this was the only work that Ruth knew, or thought she was capable of.

And so, Ruth’s life downward spiral continued
In 1953, Ruth became the manager of one of London numerous sleazy nightclubs The Little Club.
Whilst managing The Little Club Ruth was often lavished with expensive gifts by admirers, and supposedly had numerous celebrity friends.
But it is here at The Little Club that she disastrously met racing driver David Blakely, three years her junior, Blakely was a well-mannered former public-school boy, but also a hard-violent drinker.
Within weeks Blakley had moved into Ruth’s flat above the club, this regardless of him being engaged to another woman, a Miss Mary Dawson.

Ruth became pregnant for the fourth time and once again aborted the child, feeling she could not reciprocate the level of commitment shown by Blakely towards their relationship as she had already taken another lover a former bomber pilot named Desmond Cussen, who supposedly wanted to marry her.
This Ménage à trois provoked fierce jealousy on all sides often resulting in drunken heated rows between Ruth and Blakely.

Ruth was frequently seen severely bruised and in March 1955, pregnant once again, Ruth miscarriage the baby after being viciously beaten once more by Blakely.

Ruth by this time was seemingly giving Blakley most of the money she earnt working as a prostitute, Blakley was therefore living of immoral earnings, which was a criminal offence.

Ruth became both physically and mentally unwell at this time and
because of her association and lifestyle with Blakley she lost her job, and with it her flat.

Desmond Cussen, stepped in and gave Ruth a place to live and it appears it was now that he began to plan ways of getting and keeping Blakely out of Ruth’s life, so he could have Ruth to himself.

Being aware of Ruth’s delicate and fragile state of mind should Desmond Cussen rasoning behind not only finding the time to teach Ruth how to use it a gun that he had in his possession but he also chose to give it to her…….

So, in a pique of jealousy and rejection on Easter Sunday afternoon 10th April 1955, Ellis took a taxi from Cussen’s home to a second floor flat at 29 Tanza Road, Hampstead, the home of Anthony and Carole Findlater, where Ruth knew Blakely had gone.

As she arrived, Blakely’s car drove off, so she paid off the taxi she was in and walked the quarter mile to the Magdala Public House Hampstead, where she found Blakely’s car parked outside.

Ruth waited for Blakley in the doorway of the Henshaw News

Agent shop next-door to the Magdala Public House.

Blakely passed Ruth when he came out to his car but chose to ignore her when she said “Hello, David,” Ruth then allegedly shouted “David! “it is now that she fired the first shot using the 38 calibre Smith & Wesson revolver that Cussen had not only taught her how to use but also given to her, Ruth then pursued Blakely round the car firing a second shot, which caused him to collapse onto the pavement.

Ruth then allegedly stood over Blakely and emptied the remaining four bullets into him, as he lay wounded on the ground.

At least one bullet was fired from point blank range and left the tell-tale powder burns on Blakely’s skin.

During this commotion drinkers came out of the Magdala Public House. to see what was happening and Ruth was arrested by an off-duty policeman, Alan Thompson, Ruth was found immobile holding the smoking gun.
Ruth was taken to Hampstead police station where it is reported that she appeared to be calm and not noticeably under the influence of drink or drugs.
However, from the moment of her arrest, Ruth was questioned only by men: policemen, solicitors and barristers.

It is difficult to escape the assumption that they all allowed themselves to be swayed by class prejudice — the fact she was a former nightclub hostess……

While the man she had murdered was from a well-respected and wealthy family.

Cussen was interviewed by the police after the murder, as he was the last person to see Ruth before she killed Blakely.

Cussen however, chose not to enlighten the police with the knowledge that it was he who had not only given Ruth the gun, but also taught her how to use it —


Whilst awaiting trail Ruth gained several pounds in weight, undoubtedly because for the first time in her life eating a proper diet.

Whilst being held on remand in prison Ruth’s blonde hair faded and she was reportedly desperate to dye it, so she would not appear in court with dark roots.

Her defence team were uncomfortable about her hair choice, sensing that her bleached hair would only encourage the jury to view her with disdain.

Even Ruth’s defence team were conscious that she was being judged by class prejudice.

Ruth is reported to have cried only once after her arrest— when she asked for, and was given, photographs of Blakely’s corpse.


Ruth’s outward calm masked her inner turmoil. Notes by the prison doctor record that she was ‘extremely distraught with regards to her children’s future…  And ‘deeply regrets that she won’t be able to see them grow up’.

On 20 June 1955, Ellis appeared in the Number One Court at the Old Bailey, London, before Mr Justice Havers and a jury of her piers of twelve men.

As Ruth was lead from the cells dressed in a black two-piece suit and white silk blouse with her recently bleached and coiffured blonde hair. a shout came from the public gallery “Blonde Tart”


Upon being asked by the Prosecution “When you fired the revolver at such close range into the body of David Blakely, what did you intend to do?”

Ruth relied,

 “It’s obvious when I shot him I intended to kill him”.

When the jury retired to deliberate it was no surprise that they found Ruth guilty after deliberating for only 23 minutes.

It was hard to see how any other verdict was possible.

Today it seems clear that, driven to the edge of insanity by her ill- treatment both physically and mentally at the hands of Blakely, she was undoubtedly suffering from post- traumatic stress.

But in 1955 PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Disorder did not exist.

Nor did the defence of diminished responsibility, which would almost certainly have saved Ruth from the hangman’s noose.

She was systematically beaten and abused by every single man in her short often frightening and always lonely life before finally cracking and shooting dead her faithless, violent lover David Blakely.

Ruth Ellis was tragically a woman of her times…

Until next time

Zelda x

The Lure of the Cane.

Good evening Chaps & Chapettes tonight I wish to bring to your attention The Lure of the Cane.

For the purist there can only be the walking cane, never the walking stick.
The walking cane is aesthetic and elegant, the walking stick is robust and functional…. And please... never…. Ever mix the two up….

The walking cane is held in such high esteem that is has been sung about,
In an English Man in New York, Sting sings of taking his ‘everywhere for a walk’, he was as we know singing as in the first person as the amazingly, flamboyant, Quintin Crisp.

In the hall way of any Victorian gentleman home a stand would have been found containing a variety of walking canes some with tops fashioned into a dog’s head, with the mouth open to accommodate evening gloves. />

Other walking cane’s who’s tops concealed watches,
compasses, an ivory skull with rolling eyes.

The arch dandy Beau Brummell was said to own a walking cane, it’s top fashioned into the likeness of George IV.
Which leads us to the hugely popular … But rarely spoke of… Walking Cane Erotica.
Erotica is where the tops and handles of canes were fashioned into………...
Reclining studio nudes,
and opium- den trollops,
to name but few of the themes that were used …...

For the most part these shockingly unconventional carvings remained clandestinely hidden under the hand of the often outwardly pious cane user….

Many of the finest and most intricate and complicatedly carved outré examples were by the Asian and Japanese

designers / carvers of the Victorian and Edwardian era.

The outré walking canes are as highly prized today as they were by the decadent Victorian and Edwardian owner, gentelmen of position of infulience, gentelmen of breeding.

The lure of these Erotic Cane Tops are as popular now for collectors who are known as Rabologist (Cane Collectors) .

The Antique Cane Society members have in their collections thousands of astounding examples of outré and there are many books published on this most fascinating, bizarre and eccentric subject.
So whilst you are out and about socialising in 2018 you never know what you might see ….…….. or find…..

Until next time,

Zelda x

Template The Lure of the Cane

Good evening Chaps & Chapettes tonight I wish to bring to your attention The Lure of the Cane.
For the purist there can only be the walking cane, never the walking stick.
The walking cane is aesthetic and elegant, the walking stick is robust and functional…. And please… never…. Ever mix the two up….

The walking cane is held in such high esteem that is has been sung about.
In an English Man in New York, Sting sings of taking his ‘everywhere for a walk’, he was as we know singing as in the first person as the amazingly flamboyant Quentin Crisp.

In the hall way of any Victorian gentleman home a stand would have been found containing a variety of

Other walking cane’s who’s tops concealed watches, compasses, an ivory skull with rolling eyes

walking canes some with tops fashioned into a dog’s head, with the mouth open to accommodate evening gloves.

The arch dandy Beau Brummell was said to own a walking cane, it’s top fashioned into the likeness of George IV.
Which leads us to the hugely popular … But rarely spoke of… Walking Cane Erotica.

Erotica is where the tops and handles of canes were fashioned into ………

Reclining nudes, mermaids and opium den trollops, to name but a few  of the themes that were used……


For the most part these shockingly unconventional carvings remained clandestinely hidden under the hand of the

Event - Miss-Bamboos-Tiki-Lounge

Miss Bamboo's Tiki Lounge ************28th April

Event - Miss-Bamboos-Tiki-Lounge

The Gangster Squad Presents: Miss Bamboo’s Tiki Lounge.

You will spend the evening at Miss Bamboo’s Tiki Lounge where you too can fall under the seductive spell of the Polynesian exoticism.

Location: The Canberra Club, Salmesbury Aerodrome, Balderstone, Nr Blackburn, BB2 7LF. (Junction 31 – M6)

Date: Sat 28th April 2018
Time: 7.30 till Midnight

Tickets: £10.00 available on the door.
 Or call: 07719907818 or 07739231991

Love & Bullets Cabaret & Dance

Saturday 17th February 2018

Join us for a night in 1930's Harlem,

where a mixture of high- and low class society co-exsisted

Tickets £10.00 on the door.

Contact 07719907818 or 07739231991


Walking in the footseteps of The Mob

Whay HO!

As our Cuban Pete's Havana Club Valentines Dance draws ever near we though that maybe we should give you an explanation of why we picked such a theme.

Meyer Lansky  as you may or may not know was the first New York Mobster to see the opportunities that Cuba’s closeness in miles to Florida could offered to the Mob.   

Lansky relised that with a friendly government in Cuba, there was no telling what the Mob could accomplish."

Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista was only too happy to turn a blind eye to the mafia's activities as long as he got a cut of the profits.    

And so he himself invested in Cuba and encouraged other mobsters to also invest in Cuba.

In Cuba's "business friendly" environment Lansky eventually owned or had financial interest in at least three casinos:                 


The hotel Rivera which Lansky had built


Rivera Havana Cuba.

the Habana,

The Hotel Nacional de Cuba

and the Hotel Nacional de Cuba.   


The Hotel Nacional which is Havana’s oldest Hotel opened in 1930, when Cuba was a prime travel destination for Americans long before the United States embargo against Cuba. In its 80+ years of existence, the hotel has had many important guests.

Among its first illustrious guests were artists, actors, athletes and writers such as Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Mickey Mantle, Johnny Weissmuller, Buster Keaton, Jorge Negrete, Agustín Lara, Rocky Marciano, Tyrone Power, Alberto Simões, Rómulo Gallegos, Errol Flynn, John Wayne, Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper, Marlon Brando, Ernest Hemingway.

The hotel's reputation is backed by patrons such as Winston Churchill,

Winston Churchill at play.

the Duke and Duchess of Windsor,

The beautiful Duchess  & her Duke.

The Hotel Nacional de Cuba was where we stayed our self for our time in Havana during out stay in the spring of 2016.

Havana, Cuba had long been on our list of “places we must visit” and so before the ink was even dry on the agreement that The American Consulate was  to reopening in Havana we had booked our flights and stay at The Hotel Nacional de Cuba.

As we board the plan for the 9hr 27 min flight covering 4550 miles we had no doubt that we would be walking in the foot steps of the Mob.










Fashion on the Ration IWM June 2016.

Zelda & friends with Julie Summers Author of Jam Busters. ITV Home Fires TV Series.

Witch Queen of New Oreleans...... Mama Voodoo.....

Witch Queen of New Orleans.

What Ho Chaps & Chapettes,

So Who do Voodoo, You do Voodoo, Hopefully at Our  Saturday April 8th Themed Dance,

Sugar Ray’s Voodoo Lounge.

Marie, Marie, La, Voo-doo Yeady
She’ll put a spell on you
Marie, Marie, La, Voo-doo Yeady
She’ll put a spell on you
Marie, Marie, La, Voo-doo Yeady
She’s the witch queen oh, of New Orleans
Of New Orleans

So who was The Witch Queen of New Orleans that……. Redbone.

Sang so enthusiastically about in their 1971 chart topping song?

“The Witch Queen of New Orleans” was Marie Laveau a 19th-century practitioner of voodoo

Marie Laveau was a Creole Voodoo Queen who was famous for the great power that she exercised in and over her community and her enthusiastic leading of the numerous ceremonial meetings and ritual dances.

Marie Laveau was beautifully portrayed by Angela Bassett in the TV show American Horror Story “Go to Hell” 2014.

Our kind of  Voodoo is founded more in 1930s Pre Code America when the 1932  Pre-Code horror film   White Zombie starring Béla Lugosi    

was considered most risqué as it portrayed Voodoo as exotically dark and moody.

White Zombie is also considered to be the first feature length zombie film.

Because of this film many popular songs of the time had names that included “Voodoo” 

such as The foxtrot “Voodoo “and “Voodoo Moon”.

And so we look forward to seeing you  in April

when all your favourites from the 1930’s & 1940’s will be the order of the night at  Sugar Ray’s Voodoo Lounge

We look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones…….

Rosie Lea xx

Bonnie & Clyde Love was almost enough !!!

Once again we have arrived at Cupids busiest time of year.

Many of you may automatically think of Romeo & Juliet or maybe even Marie & Tony of Westside Story.
Here however, at Gangster Squad HQ
we think of Bonnie & Clyde.

Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow a.k.a. Clyde Champion Barrow was America’s most famous criminals lovers who traveled the central United States with their gang during the Great Depression.

Although often depicted as Depression-era Robin Hoods who stole from rich and powerful financial institutions, Bonnie and Clyde staged far more robberies of mom-and-pop gas stations and grocery stores than bank heist.
Often their haul amounted to only $5 or $10.

On May 23, 1934, a six-man posse led by former Texas Ranger captain Frank Hamer ambushed Bonnie and Clyde and pumped more than 130 rounds of steel-jacketed bullets into their stolen Ford V-8 outside Sailes, Louisiana.

With acrid gun smoke still lingering in the air, gawkers descended upon the ambush site and attempted to leave with macabre souvenirs from the bodies of the outlaws still slumped in the front seat. According to Jeff Guinn’s book “Go Down Together,” one man tried to cut off Clyde’s ear with a pocket knife and another attempted to sever his trigger finger before the lawman intervened.

One person in the throng however managed to clip locks of Bonnie’s hair and swathes of her blood-soaked dress.

Although linked in life, Bonnie and Clyde were split in death. While the pair wished to be buried side-by-side, Bonnie’s mother, who had disapproved of her relationship with Clyde, had her daughter buried in a separate Dallas cemetery. Clyde was buried next to his brother Marvin underneath a gravestone with his hand-picked epitaph:

“Gone but not forgotten.”

There have been two films telling their tragic love story
The 1967 film Starring Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway is included in the best 25 Crime Films of all times.

And a TV Mini Series 2013 that Starring Emile Hirsch and Holliday Grainger

There have been two films telling their tragic love story and   of course their untimely deaths by police ambush made the front paper of every news paper in America. Th Tv

And the recently made TV series Timeless Series 1 Episode 9 was called The last Ride of Bonnie & Clyde and their love affair.

And of course nemouse books have been written  I even remember reading Burt Hirschfeld’s book and probably still have my copy in the loft.
Jeff Guinn book also published in 1967.

The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde” recorded by the English R&B singer Georgie Fame. Released as a single, the song reached number one in the UK Singles Chart on 24 January 1968, remaining for one week.

The song reached number seven in the United States later the same year. … Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde” (1967),
And so the criminal lovers died together in a hail of bullets …
And in doing so they enter the annual of American History…
The final verse Of Trail’s End

A poem written by Bonnie Parker:
Some day they’ll go down together;
And they’ll bury them side by side,
To a few it’ll be grief—
To the law a relief—
But it’s death for Bonnie and Clyde.

Murder on the Dance Floor

What Ho Chaps & Chapettes

Following on from my previous blog  Angels & Demons

I thought I share with you the perceived terror that was The Yellow Peril and on which The Author Sax Rohmer’s based his Archetype Evil Criminal Genius Dr Fu Manchu.

And so from across the China Seas from the mystic east came the Yellow Peril, the dealers in The White Slave Trade and The Dope Trade.
The most renowned of The Dope Traders was Brilliant (Billy) Chang
(real name Chan Nan ) was said to have arrived in England in 1913 and went on to become a Chinese restaurateur and Drug Dealer.

He was to become one of the ultimately vilified, but enthralling characters of the decade.

It is said that Brilliant Chang was introduced to the “Dope Scene” and to the Heroin, Cocaine, Opium, Hashish and other substances that he dealt in by the hansom Jamaican Musician and criminal Edgar Manning who was known to have several white woman as lovers.

Manning became known as the “dope-king” of 1920s London and is believed to have used a hollowed-out, silver-topped walking stick to carry the cocaine in.

Brilliant Chang is known to have had a predilection for young aristocratic gals.   Many of them went on to become his customers, and some he said to have even taken as lovers.

It is said that his favorite technique to entrap these young gals was to have a waiter in his restaurant pass a note to appealing girls saying that he admired them and would like to have a quiet dinner with them sometime.

It is said that he had a laid-back manner was charismatic and his exotic appeal meant that he was able to build up a large female clientel, all vying for his attention.

One of the many London Night Clubs that Brilliant Chang supply to was The Silver Slipper, run by the infamous Mrs Kate Meybrick

Kate Meybrick was the wife of a respectable doctor, turned to running nightclubs as a means of funding her six children’s education at Harrow and Roe dean.

Ma’ Meyrick’s as Kate’s numerous night clubs including the Silver Slipper where to become know as were frequently raided for breaking the drinking curfew.

At the time it was illegal to sell alcohol after midnight, a law that Kate Meybrick chose to often break resulting in her going to prison five times and once for bribing a vice squad detective.
Ma Meybricks patrons however where not deterred by any of her criminality.

Patrons who included European Kings Prince & Princes, Dukes & Earls, she employed her own daughters as dance girls this was a smart move, as three of her daughters married into the peerage.

Gangsters, Heiress, Showgirls and the screen idols Rudolph Valentino and actress Tallulah Bankhead also patronised Ma Meybricks.

Tallulah Bankhead was beautiful and brilliantly witty actress with a breathy voice that captivated theatre audiences.

Tallulah was also notorious for her bisexuality and promiscuity behaviour and renowned for her Exhibition/Voyeurism.

Cocaine became associated with the nightclub scene and jazz, the new music imported from America, the drugs genie was out of the bottle.

Disapproval by the establishment of their chosen lifestyle and music choice only fuelled the younger generation’s obsession with jazz and the new, energetic dances that accompanied it, such as the Black Bottom

and Charleston to go to extremes and to use Cocaine keep them awake.

The extent of drug use among dance girls became known as a result of the tragic death of a pretty young woman named Freda Kempton, who worked at Brett’s dance hall, one of Mrs Meybrick’s establishments.

A middle-class girl who had become a dancer after her father abandoned the family, Freda began taking cocaine to remain vibrant and full of energy even at 4am. She died from a cocaine overdose in 1922.

In the last few weeks of her life, Freda became one of the many lovers of Chinese restaurateur Brilliant (Billy) Chang.
It is said that Brilliant (Billy) Chang supplied Freda Kempton with cocaine in return for sex.

Police however found insufficient evidence to connect Brilliant Chang to the cocaine that killed Freda Kempton.

Brilliant (Billy) Chang by now in his 30s was small — barely 5ft tall — but is said to have been exceptionally dapper.

Brilliant Chang was known to wear grey suede shoes, fur-collared coats and his thick black hair was said to be so shiny women rushed to run their hands through it.

Chang was easily cast in the role of the evil Chinese opium mastermind of the popular imagination by both the police and the public.

Brilliant Chang fitted the bill perfectly as the personification of depraved Oriental cunning, the evil foreign dope king corrupting innocent white girls.

The combination of drug taking and the consequence of inter-racial sex between white women and a Chinese man reflected popular worries about “white slavery” that was prevalent  at the time, driven by press reporting.

Brilliant Chang  was depicted as the “Limehouse Spider” in the American press, 1924

Just two months after the tragic death of Freda Kempton, in May 1922 the film Cocaine was released which told the tale of a girl from the country who becomes a cocaine addict in London, helped by a Chinese dealer

Novels by the  British author Sax Rohmer’s
Fu-Manchu series which had been published since 1913 and featured a Chinese villain based in Limehouse reflected popular worries about “white slavery” and the evil foreign dope king corrupting innocent white girls.

Dr. Fu Manchu however, was an entirely fictitious character introduced in a series of novels by British author Sax Rohmer during the first half of the twentieth century,
Dr.  Fu Manchu conversely became the archetype of the evil criminal geniu.

In 1925 the author Sax Rohmer book Yellow Shadows was published which featured a Chinese villain by the name of “Burma Chang”, it has been suggested “Burma Chang” was created on Brilliant Chang
In 1931 Sax Rohmer returned to the series of Fu Manchu with
The Daughter of Fu Manchu.

Many actors of the Silver Screen have played This archetypal evil criminal genius .
Boris Karloff was Fu Manchu in the 1932 film The Mask Of Fu Manchu.

Christopher Lee played the Evil Fu Manchu is numerous films.

as did Peter Sellers, however his portrayal was more “Tongue in cheek”
The character of Fu Manchu has featured extensively on the wireless / radio, in comic strips, and comic books and in cinema and television,  for over 90 years.

And so we decided that as we love to live “Outside The Box”  with plenty of “Blue Sky Thinking” thrown in we have based our next dance loosely on this Evil Criminal Genius.

And therefore with the venue dressed we
Welcome everyone to Fu Manchu’s China Town for a Night of Dancing & Frivolity.

Until Next Time
Rosie Lea xx