History: Peaky Blinders, World War I, Tunnelers, and Post-World War I

This is by no means comprehensive — it’s just interesting pieces I’ve found.


Source: Daily Mail
Source: Daily Mail

•Richard Ault’s “Way We Were:  Meet Jack Wilson, the Leader of the Potteries’ Answer to Peaky Blinders” (The Sentinel).

•Michael Bradley’s “Birmingham’s Real Peaky Blinders” (BBC).

•Graeme Brown’s “Birmingham’s Urban Myths:  From Peaky Blinders to Vampires and Vinegar Floods” (Birmingham Mail).

•Matt Cannon’s Peaky Blinders:  The Real Story of Birmingham’s Italian Quarter, ‘Little Italy'” (Birmingham Mail).

•Zoe Chamberlain’s “Godfather of Crime Kimber Fled Brum for Crime Kimber Life in America” (Birmingham Mail).

•Zoe Chamberlain’s “Real Truth Lack Razor-sharp Edge of Peaky Blinders (Birmingham Mail).

•Zoe Chamberlain’s “We Had No Idea About the Shady Past of my Great/Great Grandfather, Notorious Birmingham Gangster Billy Kimber” (Birmingham Mail).

•Carl Chinn’s “Kimber’s Boys Always Gained Bloody Revenge” (Birmingham Mail).

•Kieran Corcoran’s “The Real Peaky Blinders” (Daily Mail).

•Hayley Dixon’s “Police Release Photographs of the Real Peaky Blinders(The Telegraph).

•Robert Fulford’s “A Tip of the Cap:  Crime History Pays on BBC’s Peaky Blinders (National Post).

•George Campbell Gosling’s “On Peaky Blinders (Musings:  A Blog).

•Justine Halifax’s “How a Row Over Ginger Beer Launched Peaky Blinders Legend” (Birmingham Mail).

•Justine Halifax’s “When Sloggers Wreaked Terror on Birmingham’s Streets” (Birmingham Mail).

Billy Kimber
Billy Kimber

•Eleanor Halls and Wil Bostock’s “The Peaky Blinders Are a Romanticised Myth” (GQ UK).

•Bob Haywood’s “Was Grandad Part of the Infamous Peaky Blinders Gang?:  Pat’s Quest to Find Truth” (Sunday Mercury, 12 May 2013:  12).

•Tony Larner’s “When Peaky Blinders Ruled the Streets with Fear” (Sunday Mercury [Birmingham]).

•Nick McCarthy’s “The Real Peaky Blinders: Television: Back in the Early 20th Century They Terrorised Brum” (Birmingham Mail).

•Emma McKinney’s The Gangs Author Robbed of Credit for Peaky Hit” (Sunday Mercury [Birmingham].

•Michael Noble’s “The World of the Peaky Blinders” (Den of Geek).

•Aubrey Page’s “Was Tommy Shelby a Real Person?  The Peaky Blinders Characters Inhabit a Real World” (Bustle).

•Leda Reynolds’s “Revealed:  Real Life Peaky Blinders Gangster Was so Scared He Begged for Help” (Express).

•Heather Shore’s “Peaky Blinders and Gang-related Histories” (Leeds Beckett University Media Centre).

•Guy Walters’s “The Brummie Sopranos:  As Brutal and Brazen as the Mob, They Made the Streets of Birmingham Run with Blood” (Daily Mail).


•Philip Gooderson’s The Gangs of Birmingham.

•Brian McDonald’s Gangs of London.

London Traffic, 1922
London Traffic, 1922


The Real Peaky Blinders (Documentary Film).


Black Country Living Museum


Books — Nonfiction

•Philipp Blom’s Fracture.

•Winston Churchill’s The World Crisis, 1911-1918.

•Paul Fussell’s The Great War and Modern Memory (Oxford UP, 2000).

•Robert Graves’s Goodbye to All That (1958).

•Paddy Griffiths’s Battle Tactics of the Western Front:  The British Army’s Art of Attack, 1916-1918 (Yale UP, 1996).

World War I
Horse in World War I

•Allastair Home’s The Price of Glory:  Verdun 1916 (Penguin, 1994).

•Gary Sheffield’s Forgotten Victories:  The First World War — Myths and Realities (Endeavor, 2014).

•David Stevenson’s 1914-1918:  The History of the First World War (Penguin, 2012).

•Norman Stone’s World War One:  A Short History (Basic, 2010).

•Hew Strachan’s The First World War (Vintage, 2004).

•Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August (Random House, 1994).

World War I
World War I

Books — Fiction

•Sebastian Faulks’s Birdsong:  A Novel of Love and War (Vintage:  1997).

•Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms.

•Anton Myrer’s Once an Eagle (Harper/Torch, 2001).

• Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front.

•Jeff Shaara’s To The Last Man:  A Novel of the First World War (Ballantine, 2004).

Articles & Links

•Alex Q. Arbuckle’s “July 1-Nov 18, 1916:  The Battle of the Somme” (Mashable).

“The Battle of the Somme:  141 Days of Horror” (BBC)

•Vanessa Barford’s “The 18 Sewer Men Who Changed the War” (BBC News Magazine).

•David Frum’s “The Lessons of the Somme” (The Atlantic).

•Joseph Loconte’s “How J. R. R. Tolkien Found Mordor on the Western Front” (New York Times).

•Jessica Meyer’s Peaky Blinders and the Ubiquity of Poetry” (ArmsAndTheMedicalMan:  A Blog).

•Rachel Orbodo’s “‘Heavy Casualties.  Wounded, Wounded, Wounded’:  Stories of the Battle of the Somme” (The Guardian).

“Voices of the First World War” (BBC Radio).

World War I
World War I

“Who Were the Real War Horses of WWI?” (BBC).

“WWI Graffiti Found in France: ‘These Guys Wanted to Be Remembered'” (Mashable and AP).


The Great War, 1914-1918

Lochnagar Mine Crater Memorial, La Boisselle, Somme Battlefields


Source: tunnelersmemorial.com
Source: tunnellersmemorial.com
•Stephen Badsey’s “A Muddy Vision of the Great War” (History Today).

Other Resources

@RealTimeWWI — A Twitter feed for following every day events during World War I:  “It has officially started with the 100 year of the assassination of the Archduke on 28 June 2014.


•Neela Debnath’s Peaky Blinders Season 4:  Historian Slams BBC Drama over THIS Blunder” (Express).

•Sarah Hughes’s Peaky Blinders Makes a Star of 1920s Firebrand Jessie Eden” (The Guardian).

•Roz Laws’s “Who Was Jessie Eden?  New Peaky Blinders Heroine Was Real Birmingham Hero” (Birmingham Mail).

•Graham Stevenson’s “She Led Her Fellow Workers out on Strike when Bosses Tried to Break Them — How New Peaky Blinders Character Was One of the Great Women of the Working Class” (Mirror).

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