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The Fascinating True Story That Inspired BBC's 'Peaky Blinders'

Updated 19 Aug 2019 210.0k views14 items

Who were the real Peaky Blinders? On the BBC show, boss Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) violently dominates the streets of Birmingham, England, while wearing tailored, fashionable clothes. And in reality, the gang members did wear a signature dressy look, complete with silk scarves, to class up their extralegal enterprise. But they also sewed razor blades in their caps to injure the faces of their rivals and victims, causing a crime wave that infuriated the police. The Peaky Blinders were one of many groups in Birmingham that resorted to their enterprises because of the city's industrialized poverty, but their tactics made them the most feared gang in all of Britain.

Like Mother Mandelbaum's empire in 1890s New York, the real Peaky Blinders sold pilfered goods, ran illegal betting rings, burgled women on the streets, and recruited children as young as 12. Peaky Blinders is one of the most underrated TV shows on today, and so far the show has only scratched the surface of the real history of the Peaky Blinders, Birmingham's most terrifying gang.

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