Meet the Knights

John and Ronnie Knight grew up during and after the Second World War in Dalston, a poor area of East London.

John began thieving at the tender age of ten, and by his early twenties, he had his own 'firm', which specialized in stealing goods from parked-up lorries.

Ronnie married Barbara Windsor, a rising star of the stage, whom he had met through Reggie Kray. He set up clubs and businesses, some legal, most not, in London's West End. 

Their elder brother Jimmy went into the scrap metal business, as did two other brothers, Billy and David.

In 1969 Billy died of a brain tumor, and, the following year, tragedy again struck the family when David was stabbed to death in a vicious clubland brawl.

Ronnie was later accused of arranging the murder of the man who had killed David.

By the end of the 1970s, John, Ronnie, and Jimmy, were wealthy men. John owned a pub, a large repair garage, a beautiful house in the Herefordshire countryside and, with Ronnie, a sumptuous Spanish villa.

Mingling with villains and stars alike, Ronnie was by now earning a fortune from his illicit businesses.

Although John and Jimmy kept well away from the limelight, Ronnie, through his turbulent relationship with Barbara Windsor, had become something of a celebrity himself.

All photographs John Knight