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Real-Life Peaky Blinders Almost Killed A Man For Ordering Non-Alcoholic Beer

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Real-Life Peaky Blinders Almost Killed A Man For Ordering Non-Alcoholic Beer

The real-life Peaky Blinders once almost killed a man for ordering a non-alcoholic beer.

While they were a far cry from the criminal masterminds that viewers have come to know in the hit BBC series, they had a violent side as dark as their fictional counterparts.

A news reports from the Birmingham Mail on 24 March 1890 - entitled 'A murderous outrage at Small Heath, a man's skull fractured' - is believed to be the earliest mention of the gang in print.

It describes how a teetotaller was set upon in a pub after asking for a non-alcoholic ginger beer.

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The report reads: "A serious assault was committed upon a young man named George Eastwood, living at 3 court, 2 house, Arthur Street, Small Heath, on Saturday night.

The Peaky Blinders were a fierce criminal gang. Credit: West Midlands Police Museum
The Peaky Blinders were a fierce criminal gang. Credit: West Midlands Police Museum

"It seems that Eastwood, who has been for some time a total abstainer, called between ten and eleven o'clock at the Rainbow Public House in Adderly Street, and was supplied with a bottle of ginger beer.

"Shortly afterwards several men known as the 'Peaky Blinders' gang, whom Eastwood knew by sight from their living in the same neighbourhood as himself, came in."

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It continues: "From words they came to blows and ultimately all left the public house."

Thomas Mucklow, thought to be one of the gang's founders, struck Eastwood as he made his way home, forcing him to the ground, after which the report states: "It is supposed that his head struck the kerbstone, with the result that his skull was fractured."

While on the ground, Mucklow's pals then beat Eastwood with the buckles of their belts.

Eventually, Eastwood somehow managed to get back to his feet and ran away down Lower Trinity Street.

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He made his way to the home of a Mr Turner, who let him in and allowed him to hide from the Blinders, who were heard shouting for Eastwood outside the property.

They weren't quite the criminal masterminds portrayed in the BBC series, however. Credit: BBC
They weren't quite the criminal masterminds portrayed in the BBC series, however. Credit: BBC

So serious were his injuries that Eastwood was later admitted to hospital, said to be in a 'dangerous condition'.

Doctors then operated on him, with Eastwood undergoing 'trepanation', which is where a hole is drilled into the patient's head.

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He spent the next three weeks in hospital recovering from his injuries before he was allowed home.

According to reports, a letter was sent out to the local newspaper a couple of weeks later claiming that the vicious attack had been carried out by the 'Small Heath Peaky Blinders'.

Mucklow was the only one of the gang who was later identified and arrested by the police.

If you want to find out more about the criminal gang, once lockdown is over, you can visit Victorian jailhouse where a number of the real life Peaky Blinders were held at one time.

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The creepy Steelhouse Lane Lock-up, in Birmingham, operated from 1891 until 2016 and housed the notorious gang of criminals.

Featured Image Credit: BBC

Topics: Police, UK News, TV and Film, Birmingham, BBC, crime, UK Entertainment, Peaky Blinders

Dominic Smithers
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