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SABINI at National Archieve Kew

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duell Report 16 Jul 2009 16:54

I have been successful in tracing the SABINI family from Alberto di Borgotaro Parma Italy to England thanks in a large part to St Peters Italian RC Church in Clerkenwell,Holborn. Along the way learnt a valuable lession about data quality - BDM / Baptism records /used name have a miriad of variations..!

I have also found reference to records held at the National Archieves Kew. They seem intriguing as the family are catalogued as notorious racecourse gangsters and racketers, involved in gangland shootings in Mornington Meadows. A real shock as my grandmother was apparently a really gentle lady. Definately a few skeletons in my ancestral cupboard....!

Sadly the archieve have confirmed the records can only be viewed on site - so my plea is for help from anyone who may be able to view +/- transcribe the records.

If you can help the catalogue references are:
HO 45/23691 about Octavius Sabini.
HO 45/25720 about Harry Sabini.
HO 144/10430 about activities of the Sabini gang.
MEPO 3/1581 about shooting Sabini gang v Birmingham gang.
MEPO 3/444 about Jospeh Sabini bribing prison officers.


AnnCardiff Report 16 Jul 2009 16:58

Charles Sabini commonly known as Darby Sabini, was a British criminal of mixed Italian and English parentage who, as leader of the Sabinis and 'king of the racecourse gangs', dominated the London underworld and racecourses throughout the south of England for much of the early twentieth century. [1] [2]

He was born in Saffron Hill, an area then known as London's Little Italy and his Clerkenwell-based organization, although rivalled by the Birmingham Boys, the Cortese family, the Yiddishers and the White family, dominated the local underworld for nearly 20 years during the inter-war period[3]. Sabini's organization, notorious for razor attacks, which had an estimated 300 members including imported Sicilian gunmen in addition to local criminals, was involved in criminal activities including extortion, theft and illegal gambling (specifically horse racing) as well as operating several nightclubs. The core of his income came from racecourse protection rackets operated against bookmakers.

At its peak, Sabini had extensive police and political connections including judges, politicians and police officials. Sabini's power rested on an alliance of Italians and Jewish bookmakers. For this reason, the coming of the Second World War and the rise of Fascism in Italy threatened his powerbase, with antisemitism infecting London's Italian community. With the outbreak of war itself, Sabini was interned as an enemy alien, despite his mixed parentage and inability to speak Italian. Meanwhile, his son was killed in active service for Britain. After the war, his empire was taken over by the White family led by Alf White and subsequently by the organizations of Jack Spot and Billy Hill.

During the 1930s, Sabini was said to be permanently resident in a penthouse apartment in the Grand Hotel, Brighton. After the war, he worked as a bookmaker and was resident in Hove. He was immortalized as the gangster Colleoni in Graham Greene's Brighton Rock[4] [5]


AnnCardiff Report 16 Jul 2009 17:00

if you go here you can read the archive details


AnnCardiff Report 16 Jul 2009 17:00

this is it

HO 45/23691 1940-1941 WAR: Octavius Sabini, alias Darby Sabini, alias Frederick Handley, notorious racecourse gangster and racketeer: internment

Details of the arrest and detention of Octavius Sabini, alias Darby Sabibi, alias Frank Handley, a leading member of the notorious 'Sabini gang'. The gang terrorised race courses and dog tracks during the 1920s through a series of blackmail, extortion and protection 'rackets' which levied a toll on bookmakers and racecourses and greyhound stadiums and clubs.

Sabini was arrested at Hove dog track and subsequently interned under Defence Regulation 18B in April 1940. The file contains numerous letters and testimonials to his good character and his work for numerous charities. It also contains various memoranda and letters giving the rather different view of his character held by the Metropolitan Police and the Security Service (MI5). They had him detained because they believed him to be a 'dangerous gangster and racketeer of the worst type' with fascist sympathies who was 'liable to lead internal insurrections against this country' at the behest of an occupying power.

The file also contains contrasting reports from the local chief constable who felt Sabini's criminal activities were now largely in the past having been suppressed some 20 years previously by the local police. The chief constable also cast doubt on MI5's belief that Sabini had fascist sympathies because in his opinion, 'his brain could not possibly function in his direction.'

Sabini's detention appears to have been prolonged because of confusion over his identity caused by his profusion of aliases and his nationality (he was British, not Italian).


AnnCardiff Report 16 Jul 2009 17:02

Charles Sabini - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Charles Sabini commonly known as Darby Sabini, was a British criminal of mixed Italian and ... although rivalled by the Birmingham Boys, the Cortese family, ... - 24k - Similar pages
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AnnCardiff Report 16 Jul 2009 17:04

List of criminal organizations - Wikipedia, the free encyclo...
Messina Brothers (Mafia); Sabini gang (Mafia); Hoxton Gang · Elephant and Castle Mob · Birmingham Boys · Noonan family · Quality Street Gang · Aggi Crew ... - 111k - Similar pages
decided to run the Our Gang silent TEN YEARS. OLD (1927) along with its remake ... The Sabini Theater. Angora Love. L&H. Laughing Gravy. L&H. Ten Years Old. Our Gang. Birthday Blues .... Birmingham for the '98 Convention it is indeed ... - Similar pages
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John Report 7 Oct 2013 11:33


My grandfather was involved with The Sabini clan as he was a horse owner who raced at Greenford Middlesex in the 1920's. A course that has long gone .It was A trotting track. Very popular in those days and still widely promoted in Europe and the States. The Sabinis were very pro active at this course as well as many more established in The Home Counties.


Reggie Report 7 Oct 2013 11:37


This a very old which the person who posted hasn't, as far as one can see, ever bothered to return

If you feel you wish to try to contact him/ on the name


duell Report 11 Nov 2013 09:27

Hello John. Thank you for the information - it all helps paint a picture.

Contrary to the observation made by Reggie -" to which the person who posted hasn't, as far as one can see, ever bothered to return" - this was an old thread which I had not revisited. I have only done so today after being prompted by another member who had helped with a recent enquiry. I was new and inexperienced and didn't realise that there was a thread follow up option.