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"With the benefit of hindsight, it seems astonishing that the Firm lasted as long as it did. It was brilliantly organised in an instinctive way, but hopelessly disarrayed when it came to expansion"
―Martin Short in his book with Albert Donoghue, The Kray's Lieutenant 1996

The Firm was an English crime gang based in East London, England, in the late 1950s to late 1960s. Participating mainly in protection rackets, fraud and other organised crime, The Firm operated in Bethnal Green, Bow, Mile End, Whitechapel and Hackney, including many other areas surrounding East London.

They used 178 Vallance Road as a main base, and also venues such as The Lion public house and The Carpenters Arms to meet up and discuss plans. Lead by twins Ronnie and Reggie Kray, with help from older brother Charlie Kray, The Firm had an array of members from its more than ten year lifespan.

MembersEdit

Ronkray1975

Ronnie's mugshot in 1975, after the downfall of the firm.

Reggiemugshot1975

Reggie's mugshot, 1975.

Many members came and went, and often some would have been present in The Firm years before another. In the height of The Kray's reign during the mid to late 1960s, the main inner firm consisted of:

With supporting 'fringe' members consisting of:

HistoryEdit

Thefirmdock

An artists impression of The Firm in the Old Bailey dock, 1969.

Charlie Kray didn't play a big part in the Firm and was often left out of many of the Twins enterprises, he was, however, a partner in the Double R club and ran others.

Leslie Payne and Tommy Cowley were the brains of the outfit, often giving credibility and respectability to many of their dubious deals. Some gang members were recruited after acts of violence had been inflicted upon them by the Twins. For example, Albert Donoghue had been shot in the leg by Reg for uttering a threat against them, weeks later he was welcomed into the Firm and put on a pension. He became one of their most trusted members.
Newspaperfirm

The newspaper front dated 1969, shortly after the Kray trial.

The Firm worked on an information basis. The Twins would always help small-time crooks who had just been released from prison or when they were down on their luck in return for favours in the future. They were to be the eyes and ears of the Kray Firm. Nothing happened in London without the Twins knowing or without them getting their piece of the action. The Firm also worked on a sort of franchise system where certain members of the gang, such as Tony Lambrianou and Chris Lambrianou, who would use the Kray name and reputation to conduct their business activities. The Lambrianou brothers operated all over the country content in the knowledge that they had the backing and the muscle of the Firm. The Twins weren't interested in what they were doing so long as they received their percentage.

It was felt by many that if the Twins had taken more of a back seat when it came to settling disputes, and recruited more able business partners then the history of gangland Britain would probably have to be rewritten. However, The Twins eventual downfall came about with the help of many of the "loyal and trusted" members of their the Firm.