Hackney, London, England
Westminster, London, England
|Other names||King of Soho|
Bernard "Bernie" Silver(December 1922 – 2002) was an English criminal, who was a leading crime boss in the London underworld of the 1950s to 1970s. Active in prostitution, pornography and racketeering, Silver was described as "a working-class East Ender with a taste for fine restaurants and flashy clothes."
Silver was born in Hackney, London,into a Jewish family to Emily V (née Saunders) and Louis Silver, and had three younger brothers: Raymond, Dennis and Ronald.
Silver's rise to prominence began in the mid 1950s with the absorption of the remnants of the Messina Brothers prostitution operation into what came to be known as "The Syndicate",a criminal organisation headed principally by Silver and former Maltese traffic policeman "Big Frank" Mifsud who worked in olive oil importation when he first came to London. In 1956, Silver was arrested and charged for living off immoral earnings but was inexplicably let off by the judge who decided there was no case to answer. Starting off with one stripclub in Bower Street, by the late 60's the duo controlled 19 of the 24 stripclubs in Soho.
During the heyday of the Syndicate (1967–1972), most of the Metropolitan Police Obscene Publications Squad were in its pay, including the squad's head, Detective Chief Superintendent Bill Moody.
Silver's influence began to wane as the 1970s wore on, a decline prompted by major investigations into police corruption that by the end of 1972 had led to the resignation of eighty detectives.The discovery of a detailed ledger of the Syndicate's police payoffs during a raid on the home of Silver's associate Jimmy Humphreys led to the dismissal or forced retirement of hundreds of Metropolitan Police officers; corruption trials in 1976–77 resulted in thirteen detectives—including two ex-Commanders, the highest-ranking British police officers ever to be convicted of corruption—being sentenced to a total of 90 years in prison.
In 1973, Silver was again arrested and charged for living off immoral earnings for renting out a room above one of their stripclubs to dancers who also worked as prostitutes. He was sentenced to 6 years in prison, with Mifsud going on the run before getting caught in Switzerland and deported back to England. However, Mifsud appealed and got his sentenced quashed and he then returned to his native Malta.
Silver was convicted on 8 July 1975 of 25 June 1956 murder of Tommy "Scarface" Smithson.He was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and to ten years imprisonment for conspiracy to murder, but later cleared on appeal. Smithson was a former boxer and navy merchant stoker who had been attempting to control prostitution in Soho.
The film character Lew Vogel in the film The Bank Job is based on Bernie Silver.
Silver's later activities and death in 2002 remain unreported. However, he was a director of "JOEL Limited" from 1992 and re-located from London to Home Farm in Newton, Rugby with his wife Joyce and son Gerard.He died in Westminster, London.
Joanna Pettet is a retired English actress.
John Ernest Briggs, is an English actor. He is best known for his role as Mike Baldwin in the soap opera Coronation Street, in which he appeared from 1976 to 2006 and again in 2012 in the Text Santa special as a ghost. He received a lifetime achievement award at the 2006 British Soap Awards for his thirty years of contribution to the soap.
Arthur Joseph Davis was an English architect.
The Richardson Gang was an English crime gang based in South London, England in the 1960s. Also known as the "Torture Gang", they had a reputation as some of London's most sadistic gangsters. Their alleged specialities included pulling teeth out using pliers, cutting off toes using bolt cutters and nailing victims to floors using 6-inch nails.
Alan Robert Webster is a high-profile English prisoner who pleaded guilty to several counts of rape against a 12-week-old baby girl, and making indecent images in January 2006. The girl was being babysat by his girlfriend Tanya Louise French, who also pleaded guilty to charges related to the attack. Webster also pleaded guilty to the rape of a 14-year-old girl and possession of child pornography.
Michael Henry Pertwee was an English playwright and screenwriter. Among his credits were episodes of The Saint, Danger Man, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, B-And-B, Ladies Who Do, Hong Kong and many other films and TV series.
George Cornell was an English criminal and member of the Richardson Gang, who were scrap metal dealers and criminals. He was shot and killed by Ronnie Kray at the Blind Beggar public house in Whitechapel in the East End of London. Kray was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder three years later and remained in Broadmoor Hospital until he died of a heart attack in 1995.
Vincent Michael Palmer was a notorious English criminal, whose criminal activities during the 1990s saw him labelled the most wanted criminal in the English Midlands. 60 foot high mugshots of Palmer were displayed outside West Midlands Police headquarters in Birmingham.
The Messina Brothers were five brothers who led a criminal organisation in London from the 1930s to the 1950s.
Brian James Regan is an English actor known for playing Terry Sullivan, one of the lead roles in the Channel 4 soap Brookside, during the 1980s and 1990s. He has also had small parts in other television series.
Imelda Anne Crawford was a British film actress, born in Palestine of an English mother and Scottish father and brought up in Edinburgh.
Rodney H Gordon was an English architect. He was the primary architect of the Tricorn Centre, Portsmouth, and Trinity Square, Gateshead. Architecturally, his works were primarily in concrete; he was said to be a Brutalist and his buildings have been described as "dramatic, sculptural and enormous" as well as "futuristic".
Francis Edward Caws was an English architect.
David Charles Gower Hunt is an English sailor. He won a silver medal in the Tempest class with Alan Warren at the 1972 Summer Olympics.
Michael Michael is the ex-boss of a criminal empire called the Organisation which was involved in drug smuggling, prostitution and money laundering. Following arrest, he turned supergrass/police informer, with his evidence leading to 34 people being jailed for a combined 170 years, and the dismantling of 26 different drug syndicates.
Peter Samuel Cook was a serial rapist who attacked women in Cambridge, England and so became known in the press as the Cambridge Rapist. The majority of Cook’s victims were students of the University of Cambridge, whom he attacked after breaking into their bedsits and flats. He was active between October 1974 and April 1975, and was also called the 'hooded rapist' because of a distinctive leather mask he wore whilst carrying out his crimes. The mask was reported to be "stitched from an old leather shopping bag. The zipper-mouthed mask had the word 'rapist' painted in white across the forehead".
Patricia Ann Hopkins, Lady Hopkins is an English architect and joint winner, along with her husband Sir Michael Hopkins, of the 1994 Royal Gold Medal for Architecture.
David Charles Hunt is an English organised crime boss linked to violence, fraud, prostitution and money laundering. He heads a gang dubbed The Hunt Syndicate, which has been described as being an extensive criminal empire that has so far evaded significant penetration from law enforcement. Hunt is known in gangland circles as Long Fella due to his height of 6 ft 5 inches.. In a confidential police report from the early 2000s which was later leaked online, Hunt's gang was said to include family members and the father of a well known reality TV star.
Anthony "Tony" Thomas Lambrianou' was an English criminal known for his association with the Kray Twins. He was born to a Greek Cypriot father and English mother from Consett.
James William Humphreys was an English businessman and criminal who owned a chain of adult book shops and strip clubs in London in the 1960s and 1970s. He was able to run his business through the payment of large bribes to serving police officers, particularly those from the Obscene Publications Branch (OPB) of the Metropolitan Police. His diaries—which detailed meetings he had held with police officers, the venues of the meetings and the amounts of bribes paid—provided evidence for the investigation by anti-corruption officers of the Metropolitan Police.
Cox, Barry; John Shirley; Martin Short (1977). The Fall of Scotland Yard. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-052318-9.
Tomkinson, Martin (1982). Pornbrokers: Rise of the Soho Sex Barons. Virgin Books. ISBN 0-907080-41-3.
Wickstead, Bert (1985). Gangbuster. Futura Publications. ISBN 0-7088-2478-1.