The Online Mod/ern/ist Archive

archive of original modernist recollections and information .
we are glad to hear from anyone with memories of the time, but we do not rewrite history .

2 Sep 2007

London : Beardy Pegley

I got it from a book called "Buttons - The Leader Of The British Hells Angels", an autobiography written in the early 70s by a legendary rocker....It was later confirmed to me by a mod called Les Hall from Stepney Green, who I interviewed for a book. It goes like this...

In early 1963, Buttons was the leader of a gang of east end Teddy Boys. They were based around Dalston and haunted both the Locarno and the three late night cafe's nearby. They were hard and sharp dressed. Drapes, Beetle Crushers, Bootlace Ties and the duck's arse/tony curtis hair cuts were the order of the day. The Teds were getting a bit pissed off with the plethora of young mods on their territory, so Buttons sanctioned a few beatings. Les told me that the word soon spread through the East End that mods were getting a regular hiding in Dalston. Sooner or later the Pegley brothers, the generally accepted faces of the Stepney Green mod crew heard about it. Although Dalston was well out of their patch, the elder, Beardy, decided to do womething about it. On the night concerned he asked for volunteers. Twenty or so Stepney and Canning Town mods met up and made the journey across London to seek revenge...

The last part of the story comes from Buttons himself. Les was there but he didnt see the final confrontation.

"It was a normal wednesday, the Teddy Boy crew were all out and hanging around the haunt in Dalston. The mod fights had reached their peak. A few mod youngsters had been cornered earlier in the evening and my boys were on a high. At about 10 o'clock a couple of cars and a dozen scooters pulled into the car park. It was obvious that they wanted trouble, they were mob handed and looked like they were tooled up. I thought I could deal with the situation. I walked out in front of my boys. They were ready, but I thought we would see what they wanted before the situation blew up. Their leader came round the corner. He was about 6 foot, dressed in a leather coat. Sharp, but I knew I could take him. He looked like a queer... As I walked towards him he stood foursquare, hands out, shouting at me to come on. I started to run, pulling my tool from my jacket, momentum giving me the edge. When I was about 20 yards from him he simply flicked back his leather trenchcoat and pulled out a hidden sawn-off shotgun. He laughed, pointed it at my legs and pulled the trigger..."

(source Eddie Piller)

1 comment:

sparky Victoria Park said...

As far as I know Buttons only wrote the one book.
He should have written more.
I knew him a long time ago.
I found him to be a really nice guy.I wonder where he is now.