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You Can Visit The Prison Where The Real Peaky Blinders Were Kept

You Can Visit The Prison Where The Real Peaky Blinders Were Kept

The Victorian jailhouse where the real life Peaky Blinders were held has now been opened up to the public. Check it out in the clip below:

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The creepy Steelhouse Lane Lock-up, in Birmingham, operated from 1891 until 2016 and housed the notorious gang of criminals who inspired BBC's gritty period drama.

Intrigued? Yeah, us too - luckily the general public are free to have a look around the 128-year-old building, where mug shots hang on the walls depicting gang members such as Harry Fowler, Ernest Bayles, Stephen McHickie and Thomas Gilbert, wearing the now-iconic flatcaps.

The Peaky Blinders are said to have earned their chilling nickname after sewing razor blades into the peaks of their flat caps, so they could blind rival gangsters by headbutting them.

Members of the real-life Peaky Blinders gang. Credit: SWNS
Members of the real-life Peaky Blinders gang. Credit: SWNS

They ruled Birmingham's industrialised areas, Bordesley Green and Small Heath, in the early 1900s, a time when the city was one of the world's most important manufacturing hubs.

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Police records reveal they were jailed for relatively minor offences from breaking into shops, bike theft and 'false pretences' in October 1904.

Inspector Steve Rice, who works on the West Midlands Police Heritage Project, said: "People often ask me if the Peaky Blinders are a real gang - they were and they caused misery to a lot of people in the city so we are careful not to glorify their actions.

"We like to give people the facts about them. They are criminals at the end of the day.

The Birmingham gang's story has been turned into a gritty BBC drama. Credit: BBC
The Birmingham gang's story has been turned into a gritty BBC drama. Credit: BBC

"Our records have them down for offences like stealing but we know they moved into illegal practices involving horse racing and betting."

Visitors can walk in their footsteps, tracing the tunnels criminals made and used to walk to court, and also have a poke around their jail cells.

The building also features stained glass windows, art deco door handles and old fashioned interview rooms.

It also houses what's believed to be the oldest police custody photograph in the world.

The former jail once held the notorious Peaky Blinders gang. Credit: SWNS
The former jail once held the notorious Peaky Blinders gang. Credit: SWNS

Inspector Rice went on: "The building also has a tunnel where thousands of criminals would have made the walk from the cells to court to learn their fate.

"It's quite chilling to think what would be going through their heads as they made this walk, sometimes to face the death sentence.

"We aim to educate visitors mainly about all aspects of policing and the history of the force. There are old helmets, uniforms, body armour and handcuffs people can try on.

"Going forward our plans are to move the police museum in Sparkhill to this location and we currently have a bid in place with the National Lottery Heritage Fund."

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Topics: uk news, Birmingham, BBC, Interesting, UK Entertainment, Peaky Blinders

Dominic Smithers

Dominic graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in French and History. Like you, Dom has often questioned how much use a second language has been. Well, after stints working at the Manchester Evening News, the Accrington Observer and the Macclesfield Express, along with never setting foot in France, he realised the answer is surprisingly little. But I guess, c'est la vie. Contact us at [email protected]

 

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