Peaky Blinders gangster boss Tommy Shelby would be worth an enormous £450million in today’s money.
A superfan calculated the mobster’s assets, which include his properties, his bookmaking empire, his bars and clubs and his other business interests, which added together would make him one of Britain’s richest men.
The fan shared his calculations on Reddit, where he broke down Tommy’s personal and business assets in impressive detail, coming to a total worth for the gangster of £301million.
When the fan accounted for Shelby’s property ‘rising by 6% per annum’, the figure was closer to £450m, they said.
The rise of Tommy – played by Cillian Murphy – and his family, is charted in the hit BBC series which is set to hit screens again for its fifth series this Sunday.
The new season is set in 1929, the year of the Wall Street Crash, and Tommy is set to lose a lot of money in the crash.
However, Tommy’s hefty list of assets as set out below might protect him from the worst of the crisis.
Small Heath Terraced Houses – £120m
The fan, PeakyBroker, writes that Tommy has 225 streets of terraced housing in the Small Heath and wider Birmingham area.
Referring to public records from 1798, he explains that a house would have cost around £700.
The fan, PeakyBroker, writes that Tommy has 225 streets of terraced housing in the Small Heath and wider Birmingham area
Accounting for inflation, this cost in 1920 would be £2,393 per house and when multiplied by an estimated number of houses in each street, Tommy is thought to have £2,692,395million worth of terraced properties, in 1920 money.
In today’s money, that means that Tommy’s homes would be worth roughly £120million.
London Houses and assets, including sister Ada’s home – £6million
PeakyBroker then lays out Tommy’s London properties. His main domestic asset in the capital is his sister Ada’s home, which he bought for her to keep her out of poverty.
The home, which is depicted as being in a nice area and fairly substantial, has an estimated value of £13,000 in 1920s money if it is a standard four storeys.
PeakyBroker then assumes based on Tommy’s request to Ada that she look at other places for him to buy that he might have two smaller homes worth around £9,000 each in 1920 money.
The fan then adds other his other assets in the capital, coming to a figure of £112,000, which is £5.93million in today’s money.
Tommy’s main domestic asset in the capital is his sister Ada’s home, which he bought for her to keep her out of poverty (pictured: a London street)
Docking Licenses – £8million
Tommy has an extensive portfolio of docking licenses in both England, Canada and the U.S. PeakyBroker assumes an average warehouse near a popular dock would go for £8,000 per warehouse.
He then calculates that Tommy has around £108,000 worth of licenses and £72,000 worth of warehouses. This adds up to around £180,000 worth of docks in 1920 money for the Birmingham-based gangster.
In today’s money then, Tommy’s docking licenses and warehouses would be worth around £8million.
Tommy has an extensive portfolio of docking licenses in both England, Canada and the U.S. PeakyBroker assumes an average warehouse near a popular dock would go for £8,000 per warehouse. In today’s money then, Tommy’s docking licenses and warehouses would be worth around £8million
Factories – £40million
As Blinders’ story develops, Tommy acquires an array of factories, employing hundreds of workers.
In season four of the show his entire workforce goes on strike, putting pressure on his finances.
But fan PeakyBroker estimates that Tommy has at least 15 factories in his ownership at the height of his powers.
He estimates that each factory would be worth around £60,000, meaning a total value of £900,000 in 1920 money.
That works out at roughly £40million in today’s money.
Stately Home – £13million
Tommy’s stately home Arrow House, which appears regularly in season three of the show, is certainly impressive and is maintained by dozens of staff at the Shelby family’s beck and call.
The setting for the home is the real-life Arley Hall, in Cheshire, which was built in 1832.
PeakyBroker concludes that the house was likely worth around £380,000 in 1920, including the value of Tommy’s horses (£50,000) and decorations (£50,000).
In today’s money then, he estimates Tommy’s home to be worth £13million.
Tommy’s stately home Arrow House, which appears regularly in season three of the show, is certainly impressive and is maintained by dozens of staff at the Shelby family’s beck and call. The setting for the home is the real-life Arley Hall, in Cheshire, which was built in 1832
Bookmaking – £13million a year
A significant part of Tommy’s business empire is his bookmaking, both legal and illegal.
His rise begins when he is able to obtain a share of horse racing betting revenues from season one villain Billy Kimber, and from there the gangster goes on to obtain licences at racecourses around the country.
PeakyBroker assumes that Tommy makes an average of £2,000 per race from betting, if there is at least five bookmakers at each race making around £400 each.
A significant part of Tommy’s business empire is his bookmaking, both legal and illegal. He makes around £13million a year in today’s money from his racing and betting revenues
Assuming there are 60 races a year, the gangster makes around £120,000 in 1920 money from racing but PeakyBroker adds on an additional £18,000 when accounting for a cut of allies’ betting revenues.
Alongside the racing, there is also his illegal gambling dens. PeakyBroker assumes the Shelbys’ might make £250 a day per den and that they have perhaps 3 dens making £750 a day in total.
Minus the cost of payouts, he writes, the dens might make £550 a day in profit, which works out at £171,600 a year in 1920 money.
When added together, Tommy makes around £13million a year in today’s money from his racing and betting revenues.
Other investments, including protection rackets – £100million
As well as the above, Tommy has his bars, pubs and clubs, investments in London, any U.S. properties.
PeakyBroker points out that it is difficult to estimate the value of each of these because of the scant data which can be gleaned from what appears in the show.
But he estimates that Tommy’s total net worth is £6.8million, which translates as £301million in today’s money.
As well as the above, Tommy has his bars, pubs and clubs, investments in London, any U.S. properties. He estimates Tommy’s total net worth to be £6.8million in 1920, which translates as £301million in today’s money
The fan adds that the increasing value of his properties over time, averaging 6% per annum, means that his total worth ‘is more likely closer to £450million.
He adds that ‘this is not accounting for the growth of the company between 1920 and 2019’.
One Reddit member joked below the post: ‘Shelby LTD would like you to look after the books.’
Who were the real Peaky Blinders?
With their flat caps and jackets, the crooks in these old mugshots might remind you of the Artful Dodger, the lovable rogue from Oliver Twist.
But the Victorian boys and men, pictured in photos from a police archive, did much worse than pick a pocket or two.
Harry Fowler, Ernest Bayles, Stephen McHickie and Thomas Gilbert, pictured, were members of the notorious ‘Peaky Blinders’ gang which terrorised Birmingham around the turn of the 20th century.
(From left) Harry Fowler, Ernest Bayles, Stephen McHickie and Thomas Gilbert were all members of the real life Peaky Blinders gang that inspired the BBC show
The gang earned their name because they sewed razor blades into their flat caps, which they would use to headbutt rivals. Pictured are a group of young members in the early 1900s in Birmingham
The gang earned its chilling nickname through the practice of sewing razor blades into the peaks of their flat caps, so that they could blind rival gangsters by headbutting them.
They ruled the industrialised areas of Bordesley and Small Heath from the 1880s through to the early 1900s, when the city was one of the world’s most important manufacturing hubs.
Charge sheets from 100 years ago show that, despite the reputation of the gang for terrible crimes, these men and boys had been hauled up on relatively trivial offences.
Fowler and Bayles, aged just 19 in the photographs, were charged with ‘bike theft’ after stealing the unattended item and attempting to sell it on.
Police had such trouble with the gang but were eventually only able to charge some members with relatively minor offences. Pictured are Fowler, left, and Bayles, right, who were caught for bike theft
Stephen McHickie, 25 when pictured, was charged with breaking into a drapers shop which was just 11 doors from his own home.
Thomas Gilbert, much older than the others at 38, was arrested for the crime of ‘false pretences’.
All four gangsters are shown wearing the traditional Peak Blinders outfit, of donkey jackets, silk scarfs, bell-bottom trousers, steel-capped boots and a distinctive flat cap.
Court reports from the time refer to the gang members as ‘foul mouthed young men who stalk the streets in drunken groups, insulting and mugging passers-by.’
But theft and muggings was by no means the only illegal activity of the Peaky Blinders, who built a criminal empire on illegal betting, protection rackets and Birmingham’s black market.
The were known to fight with rival gangs, and at times would even turn on the police.
McHickie, left, and Gilbert, right, were also charged over lesser crimes than the gang was known for. McHickie was caught over a burglary while Gilbert was arrested for fraud