The Real Peaky Blinders

The Real Peaky Blinders

Exploring the origins of the real Peaky Blinders phenomenon in Birmingham, starting with the first mention of the term in the popular press in 1890 and the street gangs that stretched as far back as the 1860s, when they were known as slogging gangs. 

Through the experiences of a number of individuals, who we learn about through court and press reports, we build up a picture of the gang movement that has its roots in the working-class areas where territorial loyalty was all and gambling was a national pastime driven underground by Victorian middle-class morality. We follow the work of Professor Carl Chinn as he uncovers the stories of the real Peaky Blinders. We also interview several renowned experts on the gang phenomenon and Steven Knight, the writer of the Peaky Blinders drama, who based the series on his own family’s anecdotes. 

The phenomenon arose in all the major British industrial cities, but Birmingham’s Peaky Blinders were the most notorious. With growing populations crammed into the new industrial slums, this territorial gang violence became an obsession of the press and the Victorian middle classes.

The Real Peaky Blinders – Friday 11.05pm on BBC2

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