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A Life of Crime - Arthur and the Vendettas

Arthur was at all times the natural leader and though he did have a close circle of friends who were always by him, other people he hung around with would regularly change. His closest friends were Tommy Taylor, Spencer and Danny Isaacs. Whenever any of his friends had a vendetta, no matter who it was against, Arthur and his boys would pursue it with gusto, placing loyalty over money.

Arthur had different enemies at different times, but all through his criminal days he faced the continual pressure of a policeman named DDI Fred Wensley AKA ‘The Weasel’. Other notable foes included Ikey ‘The Coon’ Bogard, famed for his criminal lifestyle, large cowboy hat, unbuttoned shirt and faked American accent; Georgie King, who shot Arthur’s close pal Spencer in the mouth (but did not kill him) following Arthur’s bid to overthrow his reign of terror at the racetracks Find out more; and other gangs such as the Titanic Mob.

Police at the siege of Sidney Street

The police in Bethnal Green were to Arthur a mixed bag. Some were solid characters eager to do a good job, whilst others, it seemed, were simply out to make money and send innocent people to jail. The City of London Police however, respected and admired Arthur after they witnessed him fearlessly confront a group of men who the police themselves were too scared to approach. Find out more

How the police dressed in Arthur's time, taken at the siege of Sidney Street in which Jewish Anarchists fought off Policemen who wished to evict them from their three-storyed tenement house (above)

The infamous ‘Bluecoat Boy’ case started with Tommy Taylor, an old friend of Arthur’s, asking to settle a vendetta against none other than Ikey ‘The Coon’ Bogard himself. Arthur and his gang strolled into the pub where Ikey and his boys were drinking, was offered a drink, promptly threw it back in ‘The Coon’s’ face and then beat the entire gang up.

Vendetta headline from the Illustrated Police News 

This headline from the 'Illustrated Police News' of the 23rd December 1911.  This gave the gang the name: 'Vendettas'

Arthur’s gang was dubbed ‘The Vendettas’ after this case, owing to its non-money based, loyalty motivation. They even attacked ‘The Coon’ gang after the gang had just asked for police protection and were coming out of the courts. The result was a fi

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