Peaky Blinders in real life – Shelbys DID exists and weapons are more terrible


They are back, for the last time. From tonight, the men in the deadly flat hats we know as The Peaky Blinders will start their business in the coal-covered and shadowed streets of Birmingham.

The popular Friday BBC series, sadly without the late Helen McCrory as Aunt Polly, will be a dramatic finale to Steven Knight’s epic portrayal of a post-World War I gang .

With its state-of-the-art sound set and gorgeous set, it’s always as vivid as the violence – but what’s real life like?

Birmingham historian Professor Carl Chinn has had an in-depth look at real Peaky Blinders – his great-grandfather, Edward Derrick, was one of them.

Peaky Blinders is airing its sixth season


BBC / Caryn Mandabach / Robert Viglasky)

But he makes it clear that the term is a generic term for a loan shark, not a gang name.

Professor Chinn said: “He attacked a police officer, was convicted of assaulting an officer, jailed for three years for a vicious attack on a man whom he attacked with a shovel and The next step is to cut the skull with a knife.

But what are the Shelbys, their allies and enemies? Here Professor Chinn describes their real-life equivalents.

The Sheldons

These three violent brothers – Samuel, John, and Joseph – are the maternal uncle of Peaky writer Steven Knight and the seed of the Shelbys family – but in reality, are nothing like them.

Violent, sure, but without influence or riches, and they’re certainly not chiseled or tightened (Samuel, born 1869, 5ft 1ins tall). And they don’t wear flat hats.

Instead, they chose Billycock melon hats. In fact, one person saved Samuel Sheldon’s life.

Professor Chinn describes how a rival gang burst into Sheldon’s locality one night with a pistol. “A man hit him in the head with a metal weapon and when he fell, another shot twice, one through his hat, the other hit him on the side of the head but didn’t kill him. he.

“The hat is Billycock – the worker’s melon hat. That was worn by the original Peaky Blinders. ”

The Sheldons family are responsible for the worst gang fight in Birmingham history, against Billy Beach’s people, while Samuel “was a really nasty man,” Prof Chinn said.

“They beat people up for the love of it. They like to fight with each other, hunt constantly, and bully most of the poor among them live.

“No honor for the Shelbys. In 1889, Samuel and others went to a woman’s home, smashed a window, and committed a ‘most heinous assault’ according to the newspapers. She is 16 years old ”

Social historian Carl Chinn


Graham Young / BirminghamLive)

Billy Kimber

In the show, he’s the great leader of the London gang, when in reality he’s a “burly” Brummie, closest to Tommy Shelby’s (Cillian Murphy) character and “big gang leader” Britain’s first.”

Originally a street fighter, “he used to punch men into the solar plexus so much that it would send them rolling to the ground,” says Professor Chinn.

After a period of slashing bookies for the racecourse, he led the Birmingham-Boys, a collection of smaller gangs, which then made their way to the capital in 1912.

Professor Chinn said: “He moved to London and befriended George Sage from the Camden Town Gang and Wal McDonald, a leading figure on the Baby Elephant Team.

“The Birmingham boys are dominating the Midlands and North. Kimber wanted to take over the racecourses of the south – and in 1920, with his allies in London, he did.”

It was only when, in 1921, that a vicious gang war broke out – the first in Britain – between Kimber and the Sabini gang in London that he lost his southern territory and finally went straight.

Ottavio ‘Darby’ Sabini

On the show, he dresses like a mafia don, “but the character is really Anglo-Italian – and never wears fancy suits! He is famous for his flat cap and collarless shirt,” said Professor Chinn.

In March 1921 the sabini’s gang went to war with Kimber’s.

The Sabinis succeeded, and after the armistice was declared the boss of the southern racecourse. Chinn said: “He became the most powerful gangster in London.

Sabinis mob became the first organized crime gang in London.

Public view in Salford, Manchester, 16 July 1974



Alfie Solomon

Alfie Solomon (Tom Hardy’s Alfie Solomons on the show) is “one of the most dangerous men in Britain”, says Professor Chinn. “He killed a man, but evaded it by manslaughter.”

Instead of Orthodox Jewish East Ender Hardy plays, he was a secular Jew from north London.

He is part of the broader Sabini gang and was integral to sparking a fight between The Birmingham Boys and Sabinis after being battered when he refused to place a £30 bet on a Birmingham thug. at Sandown.

Professor Chinn said: “He’s a really nasty character, but not as deranged as Hardy’s character.”

View of Brymbo Steel Plant near Wrexham, Wales


Nice pictures)

The Peaky Woman

Professor Chinn found no Aunt Polls in her research, women were kept separate from the gangs. But Peaky Blinders’ mother, sister, and wife are tough.

Samuel Sheldon’s wife Ellen attacked a neighbor for giving evidence against her gang, but Professor Chinn “wouldn’t put her in the same league as Aunt Poll”.

More inspired, it was his great-grandmother, Ada, who left her violent husband Edward.

“I found the divorce papers in the National Archives,” explains Chinn.

“I read that he hit her, threatened to kill her.”


The Peaky Blinder Flat Razor is a legend.

But the gangs had good weapons. “Peaky Blinders love buckled belts,” he said.

“The racecourse gangs from London, they love cutting razors.”

*Professor Chinn is the author of Peaky Blinders The Real Story and Peaky Blinders The Legacy (John Blake, 2019 and 2020).

https://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/peaky-blinders-real-life-what-26333164 Peaky Blinders in real life - Shelbys DID exists and weapons are more terrible

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