During the 1920s and 1930s, Glasgow gained
an unenviable and enduring notoriety as Britain's gang city - the
'Scottish Chicago'. Out of the most dilapidated and overcrowded
tenements in Britain stepped young men and women dressed like Hollywood
gangsters and their molls. On the city's streets they took centre stage
in dramas of their own making, fighting territorial battles laced with
religious sectarianism and running protection rackets modelled on those
of the American underworld.
Drawing on fifteen years of original research, Andrew Davies, author of
the acclaimed The Gangs of Manchester, brings to life the reign of
terror exerted by gangs like the Billy Boys, the Kent Star, the Savoy
Arcadians and the South Side Stickers.
He reveals the fascinating role played by the media in creating myths of
the underworld. During what the Daily Express described as 'The War on
the Gang', Glasgow's police were led by Chief Constable Percy Sillitoe
(who later became head of M15), determined to maintain his image as a
tough, gang-busting cop forged in Sheffield during the 1920s. This
dramatic story, played out against the backdrop of the most volatile of
Britain's cities, provides a new window onto the most turbulent period
in modern British history and a timely reminder of how deprivation,
unemployment and religious bigotry are a toxic cocktail in any era.