The Blind Beggar Pub

The Blind Beggar is a famous pub on Whitechapel Road in Whitechapel, East London, England. It is was here that the first modern Brown Ale was brewed for Manns Albion brewery. It was built in 1894 and takes its name from the legend of Henry de Montfort, a son of Simon de Montfort (who led the rebellion against King Henry III of England).

The Blind Beggar pub is notorious for the murder of George Cornell (one of the rival Richardsons gang) by Ronnie Kray. On 9 March 1966, East End gangster, Ronnie Kray, one of the Kray twins, walked into the saloon bar of the Blind Beggar Pub and in full view of the customers, shot George Cornell through the head, as he was sitting at the bar,

It is also the location of William Booth’s first sermon, which led to the creation of The Salvation Army. The pub is also a popular starting point for the Monopoly Pub Crawl, and was previously owned by Bobby Moore.

Henry de Montfort legend
in 1265, Henry De Montfort was wounded and lost his sight in the Battle of Evesham. He was nursed to health by a baroness, and together they had a child named Besse. Percy’s Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, published in 1765, tells the story of how he became the “Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green” and used to beg at the crossroads. This story of how he went from landed gentry to poor beggar became popular in the Tudor era.

My visit to the Blind Beggar Pub
As the Blind Beggar Pub is in my book, Dominion First Blood, I decided to visit the pub and got chatting with a friendly local, Bob Fox, retired from the 2nd Royal Regiment Infantry. We had a couple of pints of beer together and he reminisced of the days when Mad Frankie Fraser (a notorious member of the Richardson gang) used to visit the pub and pointed out where George Cornell was shot.

This friendly pub (the gangster days are gone now!) is run by Landlord David Dobson. It has an excellent selection of ales and craft beers and friendly staff.

In my book, Dominion First Blood, the Blind Beggar is the local pub of East End gangster Vinnie “the Terminator” Carson.

Our hero, Bulletproof Pete is helped by childhood friend Vinnie (two SAS heroes) and Lucia, a sexy vampire. What can possibly go wrong?


HERO Out now on Amazon in paperback and kindle

One Man Can Make a Difference-How one Englishman saved 669 Jews from the Holocaust

Amongst the recent furore about far right violence in Charlottesville, USA involving Neo-Nazis, KKK and White Supremacists,  comes a story so compelling that it restores your faith in human nature – that there are good people in this world who do good things.

I’m talking about the remarkable story of Sir Nicholas Winton, son of  a British banker, who during World War II organised the evacuation of 669 Jewish children destined for Nazi concentration camps, from German occupied Czechoslovakia.

One Man Can Make a Difference-How one Englishman saved 669 Jews from the Holocaust

Nazi anti-Semitism had reached boiling point on 9 November 1938. Throughout German occupied territory, including Czechoslovakia, a wave of violent protest broke out against the Jews. Synagogues were burned, businesses attacked and windows smashed in what became known as Kristallnacht – the ‘Night of Broken Glass’.

Kristallnacht set warning bells ringing. As a result, Britain agreed to open its borders to refugee Jewish children.

Sir Nicholas, a Jewish stockbroker, knowing time was running out for Jewish families, made arrangements for trains to carry Jewish children out of occupied Prague to England, fighting bureaucrats every step of the way.

How did he do it? He placed adverts in newspapers and organised foster families for Jewish children in Britain. He rescued 669 mostly Jewish children who traveled on eight trains, known as Kindertransport, across four countries. From Prague / Bohemia they travelled through Sudetenland, (annexed by Nazi Germany), then through Germany itself (no doubt a perilous passage) and then escape from the Hook of Holland to Harwich, then to London. Sir Nicholas and his team fought British custom officials to allow all the children in despite their incomplete documents. Many of the parents were to perish in Auschwitz concentration camp. The last batch of 250 children never left Prague as the war had just started. Only two survived.

Unknown Hero. He met his wife Grete in 1948, but remarkably never told her about his wartime heroics. In fact nobody knew about his unheralded acts of courage until she found some diaries in the loft some fifty years on listing all the Jewish children that were rescued.

He was made an MBE and knighted by the Queen in 2003 and became known as the British Schindler.

His son Nick said of his father’s brave legacy: “It is about encouraging people to make a difference and not waiting for something to be done or waiting for someone else to do it.”

My book Dominion First Blood, although a work of fiction, stands as a warning against Nazi ideology and all it stands for. In my story, Professor Picard is a young Jewish boy who flees Nazi Germany with his parents to occupied France – narrowly escaping death. While his parents join the French Resistance he hides in the loft reading books. Back to the modern day, Earth is invaded by desperate aliens who have adopted the Nazi ideology. Mankind seems doomed but one man stands alone to fight the alien menace.

Our hero, Bulletproof Pete is helped by childhood friend Vinnie and Lucia, a sexy vampire. What can possibly go wrong?


HERO Out now on paperback and kindle