Screen tourism is at its peak right now (pun intended), and if you think that wasn’t going to include prisons where famous gang members were held in the past, think again. The Victorian jailhouse that held the real-life Peaky Blinders, the infamous Birmingham gangsters who are now even more infamous thanks to the highly successful television series, is now open to the public.
The eery prison used to operate from 1891 until as recently as 2016, and you can now visit the prison where mug shots of the gang members Harry Fowler, Ernest Bayles, Stephen McHickie, and Thomas Gilbert, wearing the now-iconic flat caps, hang on the walls. If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll know why the gangsters earned their sort of cheeky name – they used to sew razor blades into the peaks of their flat caps in order to be able to blind rival gangster with it. Gave a whole new meaning to killer fashion.
The gangsters were mainly ruling the industrialized areas of Bordesley Green and Small Heath in Birmingham in the early 1900s. Records show that they were arrested for minor offenses like stealing, but it is known that they used to do other illegal practices involving horse racing and betting. Birmingham has been getting a flood of tourists since the show aired, even though the series is actually filmed in parts of Liverpool and Manchester.
Inspector Steve Rice, who works on the West Midlands Police Heritage Project, trying to steer the focus away from the romanticized criminals, said that "The building also has a tunnel where thousands of criminals would have made the walk from the cells to court to learn their fate. It's quite chilling to think what would be going through their heads as they made this walk, sometimes to face the death sentence. We aim to educate visitors mainly about all aspects of policing and the history of the force. There are old helmets, uniforms, body armour and handcuffs people can try on.” Oh, we know, we know, crime is terrible, yada yada yada... but look, you can visit the prison where the real peaky blinders were held. These are our lives now.
Source: Lad Bible