When you book yourself onto a Krays Tour you will learn lots about the twins, the good and bad things they did and the ways and the places where they killed other gangsters in London’s East End, but sometimes you don’t get to hear about the family behind the Kray Twins.
When the Kray Twins were born they had an older brother called Charlie, named after their father. They also had a sister who died within her first year of life. Baby death after childbirth was normal in these days so it was not thought of as unusual.
The twin’s mother was called Violet; she had a hard job on her hands as her husband Charlie was often away with the army or on the run from the authorities. The twins grew to hate the authorities as they grew to understand that the authorities were the reason that their Dad did not come home often.
Violet was always singing or laughing, although softly spoken she had great will-power and perseverance. Although her life was not always perfect she was never heard to complain about anything. Violets’ main ambition in life was to bring up her children the best she could; she always ensured her children were well dressed, knew the value of prayer and they were taught to treat people less fortunate than themselves with the respect that they deserved.
Violet enjoyed the company of her family and ensured she was always surrounded by them, so much so she had her sisters, Rose and May living in homes either side of her house, her brother Jimmy slept in the living room while her mother and father (Grandad Jimmy ‘Cannonball’ Lee and Grandma Lee) lived across the street with her brother / their son John and his wife.
The Kray Twins favourite aunt was Aunty Rose; she was a real friend and confidante to the twins and Violet. When she passed away it was said that this was what finally tipped Ronnie Kray over the edge into madness.
The Kray Twins Grandad ‘Cannonball’ Lee was a real character, he was well known as a bare knuckle fighter and in time a legend in his earlier years, he was a complete tee-totaller and this was often a source of heated debate between him and the twin’s father.
Grandad Lee was a performer, he was famous for sticking a white hot poker on the end of his tongue, tap dancing, singing and playing a whole multitude of musical instruments.