The Peaky Blinders are the world-famous gang operating in Birmingham, England in the early 1900s. World-famous not due to their questionable actions, but due to the series called the Peaky Blinders. We all know the story behind the series. The gang has gained notoriety for their unique method of blinding their opponents with razor blades sewn into the peaks of their hats. And their notorious use of violence against anyone who gets in their way or crosses them. What the series do not explain is how many of the Peaky Blinders came from other families than Shelbys. And how disorganised the entire movement was. To the point, where one peaky blinder would blind another peaky blinder from a different part of Birmingham.

Who was John Allard?

John Allard was a plumber and one of the best known Peaky Blinders. Known for his crimes, rather than his plumbing skills. Although he seemed to do well in his plumbing job, at times, he was described as the most feared man in Birmingham who threw away his plumbing career by committing hundreds of crimes including burglary, rape and murder. It is safe to say that he wouldn’t gain his fame if he stayed in his plumbing job… Some say he dreamed of becoming famous. There are rumours that he would commit a crime and then go straight back to work, completely unphased by what he had just done. His methods were brutal, often unexpected, yet highly effective. He liked to commit some of his crimes after disarming his victims with ether, so it could not be detected by doctors and therefore traced back to him.

The other Peaky Blinders referred to him as Jack, and to his son William, as Jack Junior. He was born around 1873 in Birmingham. In 1893 John married Mary Ann O’Hare at St Gabriel’s Church. His father’s occupation on the marriage certificate is shown as a painter. As in painter/decorator, not an artist.

We now know that John died in 1935 and his death certificate shows his address as Ladypool Road Sparkbrook. This address is associated with his long criminal past and many crimes, including manslaughter in 1912. In March 1912, our infamous plumber feloniously killed and slew Charles Cutler, and left his body in a gutter for the victim’s mother to find. John served 7 years for this action. Why did he do that? Some say it’s to do with John’s gambling career. The others say it was a “family business”.

In 1921 John wounded someone and got prosecuted for this crime too. Raping wasn’t considered a crime as such at the time, so there aren’t as many mentions of it in his criminal record as in the records of how his neighbourhood remembered him.

There is an army record related to John Allard the plumber. At the age of 18, in February 1891 he failed to attend the army training. How’s that for a heros we know from the Peaky Blinders series?

Another John Allard?

There are odd records of another individual called John Allard. Referred to as Johnnie Allard, who’s best known as a notorious criminal in early 20th century Birmingham. He was convicted and hanged for his part in what’s been described as the last case to stir Victorian Britain, but new evidence has now come to light suggesting that he wasn’t responsible for most of his crimes. In fact, it appears that Johnnie may have just been an unfortunate man in some very unlucky circumstances.

And another one?

Thank God this one was from America. This John Allard was also a plumbing worker, who was born on June 26th 1866. He had five siblings; Thomas A (born in 1861), Emma J (born in 1863), Nellie S (born in 1865), Edward A (born in 1867) and John H (born in 1870). When he first began to work at his plumbing job he earned $300 annually working for several companies such as United States Steel Corporation and Amtrol Water Heaters. With all these jobs combined, he made about $1000 a year. However, he ended up moving away from these big companies to start his own business. In 1893 he started out by himself with only two employees but then later grew into a company that employed around 300 people.

Who’s this John Allard?

In 1854 John Allard was seen travelling to London on a train headed to Euston Station. He was never heard from again and his body went missing. Some say he was kidnapped by two men in their early 20s, a butcher and an engineer. It’s said that these two men got killed several months later when a steam boiler exploded in the butcher’s face and the engineer’s neck respectively. The most common theory is that this particular John Allard was murdered because he refused to fix a pipe for one of the real Peaky Blinders of Birmingham… Apparently, the 1950’s leader of the gang had a brother who owned most of Birmingham at the time. This brother is believed to have ordered John’s death. Another theory states that John had discovered something about the Peaky Blinders whilst carrying out a plumbing job for one of the said brother of the gang leader.

Moral of the story

Don’t employ a plumber called John Allard. Also, remember to check if your plumber is certified and CRB (former DBS) checked. All our plumbers undergo CRB checks before they’re given a job. And we only employ those with a clean record. Besides, none of us is called John. Or Allard. So you’re safe when using our services.