September 6


Peaky Blinders: Who were the real Billy Boys?


Cat Behavior

Image copyright Caryn Mandabach Productions Ltd. 2019 Image caption Tommy Shelby has been sent a warning by Glasgow gang the Billy Boys

The fifth series of Peaky Blinders has watched the arrival of the Billy Boys from Glasgow.

The gang sent a gory alerting to Tommy Shelby( played by Cillian Murphy) and their own families as they stimulated their mark on the BBC TV series, which is set in 1920 s Birmingham.

Who were the real Billy Boys?

Image copyright Caryn Mandabach Production Ltd. 2019 Image caption Peaky Blinders is set in Birmingham in the late 1920 s

Like Birmingham, Glasgow was famous for its razor gangs.

Author Robert Jeffrey told BBC Scotland the two main gangs in the 1930 s were the Billy Boys and the Norman Conks.

“It was a religious divide, ” he said.

“The Billy Boys were protestants and the Conks, who centred on Norman Street, were Catholics.”

Mr Jeffrey said the main aim of the Billy Boys was to terrify the Catholic population, who were mainly Irish immigrants, and induce them feel as unwelcome as possible.

Their name came from William of Orange( King Billy ), whose victory at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 procured Protestant rule in England and Scotland, as well as Ireland.

The Billy Boys came from an area to the east of Glasgow city centre called Bridgeton, or Brigton as it was known.

The staunchly protestant gang was initially set up to fight against Irish immigrants but as well as the rampant sectarianism, the gang ran the entire neighbourhood, operating illegal swindles, protection rackets and providing “stewards” for political meetings and open-air boxing bouts.

Who was their leader?

Image copyright Caryn Mandabach Image caption In the Tv present the Billy Boys are led by Jimmy McCavern( Brian Gleeson)

The gang took their orders from Billy Fullerton.

Former journalist Mr Jeffrey, who has written a number of books on Glasgow’s gangs, said: “Like in gangster cinemas and TV presents, such as Peaky Blinders, you needed someone at the top who has got to have the intestines and the respect and carry the troops with him.”

Fullerton always claimed he had been attacked by a gang of Irish Catholic immigrants after performing well in a football match against their squad.

He regularly gave overtly sectarian speeches which aimed to inflame feelings against immigrants.

Who was Sir Oswald Mosley ? Peaky Blinders on the BBC iPlayer Image caption British fascist leader Oswald Mosley is played by Sam Claflin in the series

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