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

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

Angels or Demons

Promiscuous, irresponsible, outrageous and glamorous where just a few of the things that The Bright Young Things of the 1920’s prided themselves in being famous for.

Capers that started of as harmless jolly japes, elaborate treasure hunts through nighttime London and extravagant fancy dress parties turned disastrously wrong when fueled by excessive use of alcohol and drugs such as hashish, cocaine and heroin.

Their ‘Carpe Diem’ Seize the Day attitude was considered to be their mutual reactions to the 1914-1918 war as these where the sons and daughters of the aristocracy and wealthy middle-classes who felt that they had no position or reason in life and therefore spent their time indulged in licentious behaviour.

The Bright Young Things where notorious for patronising the numerous cocktail bars, night clubs and jazz clubs where they danced and drank till dawn.

They became obsessed with jazz which they saw as modern, raw and anti-establishment, stylized debauchery.

Noel Coward was simply considered the best all-rounder of the theatrical, literary and musical worlds of the 20th century. He invented the concept of celebrity and was the essence of chic in the Jazz Age of the 20s and 30s.

The Bright Young Things where notorious for patronising the numerous cocktail bars, night clubs and jazz clubs where they danced and drank till dawn.

They became obsessed with jazz which they saw as modern, raw and anti-establishment, stylized debauchery.

Noel Coward was simply considered the best all-rounder of the theatrical, literary and musical worlds of the 20th century. He invented the concept of celebrity and was the essence of chic in the Jazz Age of the 20s and 30s.

The popular black cabaret entertainer of the day, Leslie “Hutch” Hutchinson is who The Bright Young Thing’s loved to patronise.

One of “Hutch’s” greatest hits was Cole Porter’s song, “Lets do it, let’s fall in love “, to which it is said that “Hutch” supposedly made up some 70 new verses.

Leslie “Hutch” Hutchinson and Edwina, Lady Mountbatten’s, the last Vicerine of India

They were said to have been lovers, however as a result of the scandal this illicit affair caused, “Hutch” found himself shunned by many of his former patrons.

Jack Ross in the TV series Dalton Abbey was supposedly loosely based on “Hutch” and  Edwina Lady Mountbatten.

“Hutch” Hutchinson and composer Cole Porter were also said to have been lovers.

Cole Porter apparently maintained a luxury apartment in Paris, where he entertained lavishly.

His parties were extravagant and scandalous, with “much gay and bisexual activity, Italian nobility, cross-dressing, international musicians and a large surplus of recreational drugs.

Another of The Bright Young Things was Brenda Dean Paul, an actress dubbed the ‘Society Drug Addict’ by the press of the day.

Her life was that of either rehab or prison, she reportedly ‘lived on brandy cocktails and salted nuts for years’.

Conceivably the best known ‘celebrity’ of the times was Stephen Tennant, the youngest son of the Earl of Glenconnor.

Outrageous in both his clothes and behaviour, it was said he spent most of his life in bed furthermore it is said that he was constantly dogged by the paparazzi of the day.

Tennant’s style was androgynous, like many of the men within his circle, and although gay and lesbian relationships were against the law in Britain in the 1920s, they were accepted by the Bright Young Things.

The famous Mitford Sisters were most certainly main players within The Bright Young Things Scene.

Nancy Mitford claimed that she and the other Bright Young Things “hardly saw the light of day, except at dawn” but what fun we had…….

Nancy is believed to have based the character Cedric in her novel ‘Love in a Cold Climate’ on Stephen Tennant.

Nancy’s sisters Diana married Sir Oswald Mosley 6th Baronet of Ancoates. Mosley was the leader of the British Union of Fascist.

Diana now Diana Mosley with her sister Unity, who were equally as famous as Nancy, were supporters of Mosley’s fascist “Blackshirts” movement and devotees of the German dictator Adolf Hitler.

later to become the film Bright Young Things.

Evelyn also wrote also wrote A Hand Full of Dust, Brideshead Revisited and many more, and was also part of this elitist set.

As was Society Photographer Cecil Beaton who took the wedding photographs of Wallis Simpson when the twice-married divorce married the Duke of Winsor in France in June 1939

And so were they Angels or Demons…….

I most certainly think Angels as I am of the opinion that each and every one of them played an enormous part in the history of the 20th Century as we know and love it.

Our bookshelves would be empty as would our vocabulary
Some of their amazing Slang is still in use today and should be used more often Bank’s closed,  an expression meaning “no kissing or funny business.” Bee’s knees; an expression meaning “the very best.”
Clam, noun; a dollar
Fly boy, noun; an aviator
Gin Mill, noun; a bar where hard liquor is sold.
Handcuff, noun; an engagement ring

and even our DVD collection would be some what depleted if they had not lived their lives as they did, on the edge, with no by your leave to anyone, but with no true malice of forethought.
And so my advice to myself and any of you kindly taking the time to read this is to read every  every book written by Evelyn Ward and Nancy Mitford.

Watch all the films based on these books and TV series and read all and any book written about each and every one of these decadent,promiscuous, irresponsible, outrageous and glamorous people and enjoy life throw their eyes…

After all in less than four years time The 20’s will be upon us again…..

Early Bird Tickets for our November 2016 Themed Dance are now on sale On–liverpool/the-adventures-of-fu-manchu/?mode=search


img268                             img269

Until next time……
Rosie Lea xxx


Hello Chaps & Chapettes

I hope you have all been enjoying our little bit of summer and been out there either  topping up your tan or hiding like me under your parasol.

We have Fashion Legion Coco Chanel to thank for the fashion of  getting a sun tan, as after accidentally gaining a tan whilst sailing getting a sun tan became fashionable.

Coco Chanel also decided at this time that to keep cool whilst out in the sunshine baggy pyjama-style trousers – complete with a loose-fitting shirt or a sleeveless top – could combine elegance and comfort and allow her to keep reasonably cool.

And so the sparks of a new fashion tend were ignited.

Beach Pyjamas

Initially women in trousers in the 1920’s was still considered very risqué and many pyjamas suits were advertised for wearing whilst smoking.

Beach pyjamas however are recorded as being first seen on the Riviera in about 1927 worn by the smart set over their swimming costumes.

The very transgressive temperament of the seaside ensured that the creation of these outlandish garment became fashionable.

As a rule most beach pyjamas were made of crepe de chine, jersey, eponge (early towelling)  however, due to the ever-growing interest in creating synthetic fabric allowed beach pyjamas to be made of silk.

The Art Deco craze added another dimension to this eclectic fashion, that of geometric prints.

And so a trip to the coast, The British Riviera became a requirement to maintain an aspirational fashionable lifestyle.

It could be said that the seaside pier became the first catwalk as promenading became an essential part of “being seen” and held such high social significance.

Beach pyjamas gave women an unprecedented look, freedom and a more relaxed attitude which allowed them to be cheekier more playful, but always elegant and sophisticated.

The “BlueTrain”  as featured in Agatha Christie Poirot was a colloquial term for the train that rushed the rich English tourist to the Cote d’ Azur for the summer season.

It was members of  returning British Raj who brough pyjamas back to England from India, Middle and Far East as exotic leisure wear.

There is a strong Oriental influence to the beach pyjamas of the 1920’s and 30’s and this can be seen in the inspirational  lounge wear of the time.

Film star Anna May Wong is possibly the most famous Oriental film actress of this time.

The Oriental influence on beach pyjamas could be considered suitable for oue next dance event.

The Adventure of Fu Manchu Dance.    Early Bird Tickets Now On sale.

So with that in mind I will sign off and hope you have enjoyed my latest blog post.

It would be lovely to see you in person at our next dance, but if not please leave a comment.

Please also check out our pintrest pages

Until next time

Rosie Lea xx

What about Mabel’s Naval.

What Ho Chaps & Chapettes,

This week saw the bikini turns 70 years of age.

Invented by former engineer turn lingerie designer

Louis Reard.Bikini 1

Le Bikini was invented in an attempt to win the race to produce the smallest swimwear; to win it was required to be able to fit through the wears wedding ring.

The Le Bikini was made up of four triangles made from just 30 inches of fabric, so small and indecent at the time in 1946 that Reard could find none of the models of the day willing to model it and so used erotic dancer Micheline Bernardini.

Bikini 1

Consequently the bikini arrived to an astonished and most unadventurous post world war world, many of whom could still remember when a glimpse of stocking was shocking but now Le Bikini was showing of the wears naval, hardly surprising that it was banned immediately in Austria, Spain, Italy and Belgium.

Although two piece swim wear were seen during the war years due to war time 10% reduction of fabric allowed for use of woman’s swimwear it was still out-lawed in many cities in the USA.

In 1951 the bikini was introduced at the first Miss World Contest in London causing such uproar and disgust that it was banned from pageants globally.



It took the stars of the mid 50s to make the bikini commercially popular, even so, in 1961 at the beginning of the swinging 60’s more than 50 bikini clad woman or unclad depending on your view-point were ordered off Bondi Beach Sydney Australia.

Many actresses of the time such as Jayne Mansfield who wore a leopard print  bikini in the 1956 film  Wild Thing.bikini 4

And the likes of Rita Haywood and the young starlet Brigitte Bardot who were snapped wearing the outrageous Bikini on the beach. 

Helped the bikini  become more acceptiable.

bikini 5          bikini 7

The release of the chart topping Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini by Brian Hyland in 1960 sent bikini sales soaring.    bikini 9

1962 saw Ursula Andress in Bond film Dr No iconic moment when she emerged from the sea wearing the now famous white belted bikini, which sold in 2001 for £41.000, Andress always stated that bikini was my golden ticket , it made me into a success.

bikini 8

Rachel Welch however, always claimed to have felt exposed in the fur clad bikini she wore in One Million Years BC.              bikini 6

But my favourite quote of the time is that made by legendary fashion designer Diana Vreeland who is quoted as say “It reveals everything about the girl, but her mother maiden name”.

And to think Louis Reard Le Bikini was invent purely to win a contest and now most female on the beach this summer will be clad or unclad in one.

I personally prefer Beach Pyjamas bikini 10

Until next time

Rosie Lea xx


The End of an Era Goodbye Madame Holloway.

And so Madame Holloway is to close, not the beautiful and draconian Holloway prison that was opened in 1852 and became a female-only prison in 1903 through whose "grand turreted" gateway so many infamous prisoners passed and which was tragically lost during the redevelopment on the original sight between 1971 and 1985.

Hol 1                        

But the modern carbuncle which is the pretender / imposter that she is.

The real Madame Holloway housed Infamous prisoners such as aristocrat and Hitler admirer and supporter Diana Mosley who during World War Two, was imprisoned in Holloway after being deemed "A danger to the King's Realm"

                                                                        hol 2

 "Crime of Passion"                                                

Later in 1955 the tragic Ruth Ellis was also detained at Holloway Prison after being convicted of the murder of her lover, David Bleakley .

David Bleakley was said to be a alcoholic and a woman beater.

After receiving a blow to the stomach Ruth Ellis is said to have miscarraged his child.

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Ruth Ellis was drawn into the world of London nightclubs and became a nightclub hostess through nude modeling work, and finally turned to prostitution.                                                                                                     

13 Jul 1955, England, UK --- Dies on Gallows in London Holloway Prison. London, England: Twenty-eight year old Ruth Ellis, shown in a photo made prior to her arrest, died on the gallows in London's Holloway prison today for the murder of racing car driver David Blakely. The streets outside the prison walls were jammed as the one time model an nightclub hostess went to her death. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

In 1951, while four months pregnant, Ruth appeared, un-credited, as a beauty queen in the Rank film Lady Godiva Rides Again starring Diana Dors.

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 Please Read our previous Blog and find out more about Diana Dors.

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Ruth Ellis and Diana Dors became friends during the film and were often seen out in London  together.


On Easter Sunday 1955, Ellis shot David Blakely dead outside the Magdala public house in Hampstead, and immediately gave herself up to the police.

On 20 June 1955, Ellis appeared in the Number One Court at the Old Bailey, London, before Mr. Justice Havers.

Ruth Ellis was dressed in a black suit and white silk blouse with freshly bleached and coiffured blonde hair.

Her lawyers expressed concern about her appearance (and dyed blonde hair), but she did not alter it to appear less striking.

At her trial, she took full responsibility for the murder; and her courtesy and composure, both in court and in the cells, was noted in the press.

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On Wednesday 13 July thirty seconds before 9 am, the official hangman, Albert Pierrepoint,    hol 9 and his assistant, Royston Rickard, entered the condemned cell and escorted Ruth Ellis the 15 feet (4.6 m) to the execution room next door.

Ruth Ellis had been weighed at 103 pounds (47 kg) the previous day and a drop of 8 ft. 4in (2.54 meters) was set. Pierrepoint carried out the execution in just 12 seconds and her body was left hanging for an hour. Her autopsy report, by the pathologist Dr. Keith Simpson, was made public.

Ruth Ellis was hanged at HM Prison Holloway she last woman to be executed in the United Kingdom.

Public opinion at the time of Ruth Ellis’s hanging was that she should have been reprieved as her crime was considered by many a “Crime of Passion”

Thousands of people signed a petition asking for the death penalty to be lifted in the case of Ruth Ellis, including 35 members of London County Council who delivered their plea to the House of Commons

"The personification of evil"

The next infamous woman to be imprisoned at Holloway was Myra Hindley who along with her lover Ian Brady was sentenced two concurrent life sentences

On 6 May 1966, at Chester Assizes soon after 5 p.m. Myra Hindley mounted the 18 steps into the glass-screened dock for the last time.hol 11


Myra Hindley, 23, was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences for the murder of Edward Evans and Lesley Ann Downey and found not guilty of the killing of John Kilbride

Myra Hindley was reported as having left the dock fully composed.

Some prison officers continued to insist Hindley should not be trusted, describing her as “cold, calculating and devoid of emotion” — an “arch manipulator with a massive ­superiority complex”.

Myra Hindley transferred from Holloway Prison  to Highpoint Prison, Suffolk in 1998, and was serving her 36th year behind bars when she died in nearby West Suffolk Hospital at Bury St Edmunds on November 15, 2002.

No female murderer has been so despised as Myra Hindley.

No multiple murderer who has come to light since has replaced her as the face that personified evil;

Public opinion was that she should have hanged and was known as until the day of her death. "The most Hated woman in Britain".

The bricks and mortor that made Holloway Prison may be razed to the ground and erased from our vison but the impact it had on so many woman lives and our history will never be erased.

Until next time

Rosie Lea x


Freddie Foreman once took an Elephant for a ride.

Greetings Chaps & Chappettes.

I have a question for you..... Lets see if you know the answer?

What have Freddie Foreman the famous Cockney Gangster, Elephants and a Diamond Girl... Not Diamond Geezer but Diamond Girl have in common....... Don't know then let me tell you .

During the late 1940's a very young, keen to learn and very cocky Freddie Foreman learnt his trade with his first foray into the world of organised crime as the well like driver for notorious and  scandalous Forty Elephants an all female crime syndicate who specialised in shop lifting.

Freddie Foreman went on to become a self-confessed killer and enforcer for The Krays, becoming know as                "Brown Bread Fred" FF 3


elephant & castle

The street of The Elephant & Castle were as rough and as dangerous as it was possible to get without actually declaring war...

Formed in the 1870's The Forty Elephants got their name because they mainly lived in and around The Elephant and Castle and was a play on The Forty Thieves.

Alice Diamond was the first acknowledged "queen" of The Forty Elephant and she and her girls cause mayhem and chaos in London's West End shop and were once quoted "as being like a plague of locus"

ff 7            Alice Diamond

Scotland Yard called Alice Diamond the “most expert shoplifter in the world.” Alice Diamond’s last conviction was probably in 1929, and she died in the 1950s.

By the 1960's The Forty Elephants was presiding over by their then "queen" Shirley Sarah Pitt who continued to maintain the lineage of The Elephant & Castle.

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            Shirley Pitt      

In all probability Freddie Foreman drove for Shirley Pitt and possibly even Alice Diamond as he was driving for The Elephants in the late 1940's early 1950's.

Shirley as a bright and enthusiastic 13-year-old met Alice Dimond for the first time at her home when she visited Shirley's parents.

Shirley was instantly enraptured with Alice, her lifestyle, and the way she funded it.

The Pitt family were long-standing members of the ‘Elephant and Castle’ gangs but Alice showed  young Shirley that a women didn’t have to depend on their men, but could enjoy the benefits of a life of crime.

Alice most certainly passed on her ‘wisdom’ to a future queen of the Forty Elephants, Shirley Pitt.

ff7                 Shirley Pitt was nicked named "shoplifter to the stars"

Shirley Pitt stole to order and many of her customers relied on her own amazing dress sence.

Often customers placed their orders by just tell Shirley their size, what shop and where to find it.

London criminals such as Albert Dimes,  enforcer  for gang leader William "Billy" Hill, brought suites for himself and dresses for his wife from Shirley Pitt.

ff 9  Albert Dimes & Wife.


Unbelievable as it may seem Actress Diana Dors was a customers of Shirley Pitt and purchased the dress that she wore to the film premiere of The Amazing Mr Blunden in 1972.

ff 10             Diana was known as "The Hurricane in Mink"


Like Shirley Pitt Diana Dors was acquainted with The Krays and their family
Related image
Charlie Kray Senior, Diana Dors, Violet, Diana's husband Alan Lake and standing Charlie Kray.
As with all of the girls that belonged to The Forty Elephants Shirley was born into a life of crime and associated with many known names, Buster Edwards, Charlie Richardson, Frankie Frazer, Ronnie Knight who was married to actress Barbara Winsor ff15 
By the 1960's when Shirley Pitt became the last acknowledged "queen" of The Forty Elephants security in shops had gained a level of sophistication through the use of electronic and magnetic devices nevertheless, professionals such as The Forty Elephants were always able to find always around these devices.
Shirley Pitt rained as the last "queen" of The Forty Elephants from the 1960's until her death in 1992.
It is said that a funeral cortege of twenty-one Daimler crossed South London carrying any one who was anyone in the world of crime, probably including Freddie Foreman who once took an Elephant for a ride.



Dexys Midnight Runners Kevin Rowland goes Gangster.

Hello Chaps & Chapettes.

Following on from my recent blog  Wolves in Mens Clothing.  20/02/2016 

I became aware of  Kevin Rowland  singer/songwriter/co-founder of Dexys Midnight Runners when I saw Dexys Midnight Runners  Woman of Ireland Video on You Tube and his panache for wearing overcoats with fur shawl collars and my doesn’t he wear them well.


dexy 1

He appears flamboyant and confident in his style choices and is one very dapper chap.

It also appears that maybe Kevin and Sugar Ray  might also own the same coat or that they are coat sharing?

Either way they both look very debonair and pleasing to the eye.

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As with all Dapper Chaps both Big Al and Kevin Rowland appriciate an elegant lady on their arm and manage to do Sauvé with such casual ease.

 isabel & Al                       dexy 2 

So for all you wonderful  chivalrous Dapper Chaps out there please keep dressing flamboyantly with a touch of  Sauvé and dash of Debonair as you bring style, sophisication and elegence to a some what  dull and boring world.

Rosie Lea  xx