The Blind Beggar
The Blind Beggar is a public house on Whitechapel Road, Whitechapel in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It is notable as the former brewery tap of the Manns Albion brewery, where the first modern Brown Ale was brewed. It's also where Ronnie Kray shot and murdered George Cornell in front of witnesses, and as the location of William Booth's first sermon, which led to the creation of The Salvation Army. It was built in 1894 on the site of an inn which had been established before 1654, and takes its name from the legend of Henry de Montfort.
The Blind Beggar is the site on which the Salvation Army started. In 1865 William Booth preached his first open air sermon outside the public house which led to the establishment of the East London Christian Mission, later to become the Salvation Army. William Booth is commemorated by a nearby statue.
The Blind Beggar is notorious for its connection to East End gangsters, the Kray twins. On 9 March 1966, Ronnie Kray shot and murdered George Cornell, an associate of a rival gang, the Richardsons, as he was sitting at the bar. The murder took place in the then saloon bar.
The pub is also a popular starting point for the Monopoly Pub Crawl, despite being located on the board's third space.
The freehold ownership of the pub was sold at Allsop auction on 17 May 2010, the buyers being a family of Indian descent who previously owned a casino in Whitechapel at the time of the Krays.
Henry de Montfort legend
In the Blind Beggar legend, de Montfort was wounded and lost his sight in the Battle of Evesham in 1265, and was nursed to health by a baroness, and together they had a child named Besse. He became the "Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green" and used to beg at the crossroads. The story of how he went from landed gentry to poor beggar became popular in the Tudor era, and was revived by Percy’s Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, published in 1765. The legend came to be adopted in the arms of the Metropolitan Borough of Bethnal Green in 1900.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to The Blind Beggar.|
- Bethnal Green: Settlement and Building to 1836, A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 11: Stepney, Bethnal Green (1998), pp. 91-95 accessed: 6 December 2007
- General William Booth - Salvation Army accessed 3 Dec 2007
- Inside the Firm: The Untold Story of the Krays' Reign of Terror Tony Lambrianou (Pan Books 2002) ISBN 0-330-49014-1
- BBC News: Kray twins guilty of McVitie murder
- "The Blind Beggar". eastlondonhistory.com. Retrieved 2012-07-15.