RIPPEROLOGIST MAGAZINE                                                  Issue 97, November 2008                           ...
A World-Famous Case                                                             in a Famous Location                      ...
ing to be from ‘an American’ in regard to the murder of Elizabeth Stride in Dutfield’s Yard: ‘I was in the crowd at       ...
Mary Jane Kelly — A Family TaleBy Chris Scott     Over the years there have been a number of stories that allege a family ...
family background, her marriage and the various moves she made prior to coming in London. We allegedly know herfather’s na...
but that is a different matter.   It is alleged that Albert Victor became enamoured of a young womannamed Annie Crook. He ...
factual basis on which that tradition is allegedly based historically true.  When my informant was 14 years of age—which, ...
By 1891 the couple had moved back to Lincolnshire, as follows:                                   3 Collins Yard, Clee, Gri...
A few more details can be gleaned from a short newspaper article I found in, oddly, the Bristol Mercury of 29November 1895...
Thomas Turner, 48 Ayscough Street, said he found deceased hanging by a silk handkerchief round his neck in a part of the r...
This is exactly the same year and quarter as Sarah’s death, but the odd thing is that the birth of this Percy Joel wasregi...
Fermoy is in County Cork, near the border with County Limerick, and was a garrison town. Mary’s father, Denis Kelly,was a ...
The oldest son, Matthew Samuel Kelly, married in Edmonton in Essex to Catherine Standring. The couple and theirchildren ar...
Marriage Certificate of Mary Jane married to William Hayes Atkinson at the Crouch Hill Presbyterian Church in 1889:  Other...
Death certificate of Mary Jane Atkinson  Is it likely that Kelly would have married the year after the Millers Court murde...
Mary Jane Kelly:From May Place, Liverpool,to Miller’s Court?     Was Mary Jane Kelly at a girl’s Roman Catholic Reformator...
Ordnance Survey map of 1893 showing location of the Lancashire Roman Catholic Reformatory for Girls, May Place, Broad Gree...
Modern-day photographs of May Place, Old Swan, Liverpool. It seems somehow fitting that this old mansion, the home at one ...
I haven’t investigated this particular girl personally — I found her in [the] 1881 census . . . and, glancing at the1871 c...
Dorset Street                                                                                                         (Duv...
Map of Dorset Street — 1681after 1709, although the exact date is not known, but the architecture would suggest that it wa...
Map of Dorset Street as it was in 1888    Much of the area around Dorset Street, and certainly most of the street itself, ...
The Providence Row Night Refuge    That’s not to say that the entire population of the area were Hellbound; many of the lo...
In the Victorian era the word ‘bully’ did not necessarily mean someone that beat up people smaller than themselvesor intim...
until about 2.00am, by which time most of the   area had either gone home for the night or   found a bed in one of the lod...
were exceptions to this where weekly tickets couldbe bought, such as The Victoria Working Men’shome, and then the resident...
Dorset Street in the late 19th centurycheap cooked food and rot-gut alcohol or beer, and providing them with some entertai...
Maps of Dorset Street and New Court — May 1890erty, McCarthy and his family were hardly living in the lap of luxury.     T...
that frequented the lodging-houses. It was reported in at least one newspaper that ‘the lowest class of unfortunates. Immo...
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Ripperologist Magazine noviembre 2008

  1. 1. RIPPEROLOGIST MAGAZINE Issue 97, November 2008 QUOTE FOR NOVEMBER: ‘So many enemies of promise vie with endless love and care that the wrong buggy is unlikely to turn a St Francis into Jack the Ripper.’ The Daily Telegraph on prams, buggies and other baby carriers. Pushy Parenting, Daily Telegraph, London, UK, 21 November 2008. We would like to acknowledge the valuable assistance given by Features the following people in the production of this issue of Ripperologist: — Rob Clack, Stewart P Evans, Melissa Garrett — . Thank you! Mary Jane Kelly — A Family Tale Chris Scott The views, conclusions and opinions expressed in signed articles, essays, letters and other items published in Mary Jane Kelly: From May Place, Liverpool, to Miller’s Court? Ripperologist are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views, conclusions and opinions of Ripperologist or Dorset Street (Duval Street) Revisited its editors. The views, conclusions and opinions expressed in unsigned articles, essays, news reports, reviews and other An Affair of the Heart: The Case against Joseph Fleming items published in Ripperologist are the responsibility of Christer Holmgren Ripperologist and its editorial team. We occasionally use material we believe has been placed Cutthroat in the public domain. It is not always possible to identify and A detailed examination of the neck wounds sustained by the Whitechapel murder victims contact the copyright holder; if you claim ownership of some- Karyo Magellan thing we have published we will be pleased to make a prop- er acknowledgement. Mary Kelly — Diagrams of wounds The contents of Ripperologist No. 97 November 2008, includ- ing the compilation of all materials and the unsigned articles, The Suspect Series essays, news reports, reviews and other items are copyright © Tumblety: Murderer or Means to a Solution 2008 Ripperologist. The authors of signed articles, essays, let- Stan Russo ters, news reports, reviews and other items retain the copyright of their respective contributions. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No Solved in Minutes? part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval Don Souden system, transmitted or otherwise circulated in any form or by any means, including digital, electronic, printed, mechani- Montie’s Photographer, W. Savage: cal, photocopying, recording or any other, without the prior Winchester College, the Tichborne Case, and King Arthur’s Round Table permission in writing of Ripperologist. The unauthorised reproduction or circulation of this publication or any part The Diary of Jack the Mushroom Hunter thereof, whether for monetary gain or not, is strictly pro- Antonio Ruiz Vega — English Version by Eduardo Zinna hibited and may constitute copyright infringement as defined in domestic laws and international agreements and give rise to civil liability and criminal prosecution. Regulars Press Trawl Chris Scott returns with more from the news from the 19th century News and Views I Beg to Report RIPPEROLOGIST MAGAZINE PO Box 735, Maidstone, Kent, UK ME17 1JF. contact@ripperologist.bizEditorial Team Consultants Advertising Stewart P. Evans; Loretta Lay; Donald Rumbelow; Advertising in Ripperologist costs £50.00 for a full Stephen P. Ryder page and £25.00 for a half-page. All adverts are fullExecutive EditorAdam Wood colour and can include clickable links to your website or email.Editors SubscriptionsChristopher T George; Don Souden Ripperologist is published monthly in electronic for-Managing Editor mat. The cost is £12.00 for six issues. Cheques can SubmissionsJennifer Pegg only be accepted in £ sterling, made payable to We welcome articles on any topic related to Jack the Ripperologist and sent to the address above. The sim- Ripper, the East End of London or Victoriana. PleaseEditors-at-LargePaul Begg; Eduardo Zinna plest and easiest way to subscribe is via PayPal — send your submissions to contact@ripperologist.biz. send to contact@ripperologist.biz Thank you!Contributing EditorChris ScottArt Director Back IssuesJane Coram Single PDF files of issue 62 onwards are available at £2 each.
  2. 2. A World-Famous Case in a Famous Location Editorial by Christopher T. George At the start of this month, the first major exhibition on Jack the Ripper closed at London’sDocklands Museum at Canary Wharf after a duration of five months. I can reveal that we at the Riphave been in contact with the curators to ask them for their thoughts on the event. Specifically, weasked them, did it go as well as they had hoped? Was the line-up of speakers for the talks the rightbalance in hindsight? What will happen with the exhibits, props, artwork panels, etc? We would also like to ask you, our readers, to provide us with your thoughts on the exhibition for an article in theDecember Rip. A ‘post mortem’ as it were. We would like to hear from those of you who went through the exhibition or attended one or more of the associatedtalks. But we also welcome the ideas of you who were not able to go. I have to confess that I am in the latter cate-gory—I was sorely tempted to make a lightning visit to London from my home in the USA just to see it but did not manage itdue to my commitments Stateside and also, of course, because of money considerations in the tanking world economy. Drat! For those of you who like me missed out on the exhibition, what is your opinion of what you have heard about theshow? And anyone, what do you think should be in such an exhibition if there should be a similar event, or even a per-manent exhibition on the case? What could be improved compared to Docklands’ effort? Send your thoughts to us atour new email address of contact@ripperologist.biz. We hear that the target attendance for the Docklands show was 76,000. Hopefully we will hear from the curators and can reveal the actual num- ber that passed through the door. The Whitechapel murders constitute a world-famous case that took place in a famous location. From the many references to ‘Jack’ in the international media, newspapers or electronic media, on blogs, and in everyday conversation, it would seem that people worldwide have at least heard of the Ripper, if only as a stereotypical savage killer. It’s likely also that a hefty number of people know where the murders took place, in the East End of London, even if many could not point out the exact locations of the crimes. Hopefully Docklands will have educated tens of thou- sands more as to the true facts of the case. A few months ago, I read in the Baltimore Examiner that, after the shooting of a young African-American boy, a fireman washed away the blood with a firehose. This description reminded me of the similar descrip- tions in the Whitechapel murders. In regard to the Buck’s Row murder of Polly Nichols, ‘James Green, son of Mrs Green, came outside with a pail of water to wash away the blood from the cobblestones.’1 The killer himself even commented about how the authorities washed the blood away in one murder. That is, if you believe the taunting words of a Ripper letter claim- Ripperologist 97 November 2008 1
  3. 3. ing to be from ‘an American’ in regard to the murder of Elizabeth Stride in Dutfield’s Yard: ‘I was in the crowd at Berners Street [sic] watching the blue boys wash the blood marks away. . . .’2 What is it about the Whitechapel murders that keeps them in the forefront of popular imagination after 120 years when so many other crimes have faded from memory? Undoubtedly it is partly the viciousness of the crimes that attract- ed attention. Also the fact that they were committed in a major capital that could justifiably claim in that day to be the most important world capital. And not the least that the killer apparently got clean away after doing his bloody work. We offer a smorgasbord of articles in this issue of the Rip, the last of our series of issues devoted to the sixth-score anniversary of the Autumn of Terror. We will have a detailed look at Dorset Street, the site of the horrific murder and mutilation of Mary Jane Kelly in the low-rent dingy room at 13 Miller’s Court. In truth, there is about as much mystery about the origins of MJK as the mystery of who her killer was. Some would put the murders down to a Royal conspiracy to protect the monarchy and cover up the illegal marriage of the ‘heir to the throne’ Prince Albert Victor, Victoria’s grandson: a notion that leading MJK researcher Chris Scott debunks in offer- ing us ‘Mary Jane Kelly—A Family Tale.’ Another possibility for MJK’s background is discussed in ‘Mary Jane Kelly: From May Place, Liverpool, to Miller’s Court?’ in which we asked Chris to comment on an 1881 Census listing that apparently finds MJK, or a woman with a similar name, in a Roman Catholic reformatory in 1881 in the Liverpool area. In this piece, Chris discusses the many difficulties of MJK research. After Stan Russo’s recent articles examining the Jewish and Doctor theories, Stan looks at the colourful Irish American quack, Dr. Francis Tumblety. No Royals here, but do we detect the distinct odour of Guinness and boiled cabbage? Did the murders involve another type of conspiracy? Christer Holmgren examines the case against little-known suspect Joseph Fleming. If MJK was not murdered by lover Joe Barnett, from whom she was separated, could she have been killed by ex-lover Fleming? ‘Joe the Ripper’, anyone? We were pleased to publish in our October issue Andrew Spallek’s article revealing to you the reader various newly rediscovered photographs of Ripper suspect Montague John Druitt during his time as a pupil at Winchester College. We publish now a follow-up in a piece on ‘Montie’s Photographer’—W. Savage of Winchester which as part of the Savage story will introduce a number of you to the details of yet another famous Victorian mystery, the Tichborne Case. Why wasn’t Jack caught? The popular perception is that the Met and the City Police were bumblers who bungled the case. Rip editor Don Souden looks at the methods of the coppers of the day, the ‘Bluebottles’ as it were—and gives them a passing grade. Feel free to send us your letters to the editor if you disagree with Don’s conclusion. All this and the last of Karyo Magellan’s series on the wounds inflicted on the canonical victims, fiction by Antonio Ruiz Vega translated by Eduardo Zinna, Chris Scott’s Press Trawl, and ‘I Beg to Report’. If you had not realised it before, now you know why you subscribe to the Rip. Enjoy!Christopher T. George is an editor at Ripperologist. He is a former editor of Ripper Notes.Chris has given presentations at both the UK and US Ripper conventions. Chris is also thelyricist and co-writer for Jack: The Musical, written with French musician Erick Sitbon. Heis currently finalizing work on a book on Jack the Ripper and the Jews, expected out in 2009. 1 The Times, 4 September 1888 2 Jack the Ripper letter headed ‘Spring Heel Jack The Whitechapel Murderer’, dated October 4th 1888, MEPO 3/142, p 195. Ripperologist 97 November 2008 2 Ripperologist 97 November 2008
  4. 4. Mary Jane Kelly — A Family TaleBy Chris Scott Over the years there have been a number of stories that allege a family connection with the Whitechapel murders. The most direct of these claim that a relative was, or knew, or arrested Jack the Ripper. This type of account has been characterised by the disparaging byline of “my grandfather was Jack the Ripper.” In view of the number of years that have now passed since the Whitechapel murders, perhaps this should be updated to take account of the number of genera- tions that have now passed. Since there are so many unknowns in the Ripper case—who he was, when and how he died, why he stopped, where he lived—the whole arena of these events became a blank canvas on which a plethora of claims, fantasies and bizarre accounts have been painted. Most of these claims have, quite rightly in my opinion, been dismissed as either wildly fantastic or lacking any evidence whatever to support their substance. Within this blank canvas, a breeding ground for speculation, we have one area in which this type of fantastic story has run riot. This is the personage and mystery of the last of the so-called “canonical” victims of the Whitechapel mur- derer, a woman known to criminal history as Mary Jane Kelly. The life and background of this woman remains utterly impenetrable and has resisted all attempts at research to verify even the most basic of facts about her. By way of con- trast, the other four canonical victims—Nichols, Chapman, Stride Contemporary sketch of Joseph Barnett, the main source and Eddowes—have been thoroughly and painstakingly researched— of our information about Mary Kelly. notably by Neal Shelden—and the broad outlines at least of their lives are known and established. That is not to say, of course, that there are not areas of their backgrounds that are still to be dis- covered. But of Mary Kelly we know, as ascertained fact, nothing whatever. It would be a mistake to think that Kelly is actually unique in this respect, in that one of the later victims considered by some to have died by the same hand, Alice McKenzie, is just as mysterious in her background and life as Kelly herself. Although a number of details about Kelly were supplied by peo- ple who knew, or claimed to know her, the principal source of what is alleged about her life and childhood comes from the tes- timony of Joseph Barnett, the man with whom she had lived since Easter of 1887. When a researcher first comes to this account — contained in Barnett’s police statement and his inquest testimo- ny—his version of her life appears to present a positive smorgas- bord of researchable material. Here we have details of Kelly’s Ripperologist 97 November 2008 3
  5. 5. family background, her marriage and the various moves she made prior to coming in London. We allegedly know herfather’s name, her place of birth, her husband’s name, his trade, how he died and so on. But, to the researcher’s cha-grin, not one item of this tale checks out, not one detail can be verified by documentation. And it is surely this veryvagueness, this lack of verifiable any fact, which has made Kelly such a prime candidate for speculation, romanticismand fantasy. To this we must add that Kelly, as the last of the canonical victims, has been interpreted in some accounts of themurders as the apogee, in more sense than one, of the series of killings. Firstly, the apogee in the sense of the brutal-ity and extent of the destruction that was wrought on her body, and, secondly, in the sense that she is seen by someas the final target of the killer’s intentions. There have been many examples where the alleged role of Mary Kelly hasbeen woven into a more or less complex version of events surrounding the Whitechapel murders. From the outset it isimportant to differentiate between those accounts that are overtly fictitious and those that are allegedly factual. As anexample of the treatment of Mary Kelly in fiction, a fairly recent example would be the film “From Hell,” starring JohnnyDepp and Heather Graham. In this tale based on the Whitechapel murders, Kelly (played by Graham) is a central char-acter and becomes romantically involved with the handsome and widowed Frederick Abberline, portrayed by Depp. Atthe climax of this version it turns out that the victim found in 13 Millers Court is not Mary Kelly, who ends up back in anidyllic spot in Ireland looking after the young Alice Crook. Of the allegedly factual versions of the murders in which Kelly plays a pivotal role, two examples will suffice. In TheMystery of Jack the Ripper by Leonard Matters, published in 1929, the identity of the Ripper is revealed as a certainDr Stanley. The root cause of the murders is the syphilis infection and subsequent death of Stanley’s beloved son onwhom all his doting father’s hopes rested. It emerges that the source of the fatal syphilis infection in 1886 was Mary Kelly, and it is the hunting down of her by Dr Stanley that precipitates Colourized photograph of Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence the killings. Matters claims that Stanley fled from Britain and eventu- ally died in Buenos Aires in 1918. It was on the basis of a newspaper report that Matters based his story, but this newspaper account has never been traced. We now come to the so-called “Royal Conspiracy” theory. It is some- what misleading to describe this as a theory as it is, rather, a set of the- ories. The Royal Conspiracy story, like the Hydra, although apparently killed off, raises its head in a new incarnation. Here I have neither the space—nor, if the truth be told, the inclination—to go into all the ram- ifications of this complex story. I will briefly summarise what might be called the “classic” version of it. Prince Albert Victor, oldest son of the future Edward VII, is the central character. As a quick aside, I have often seen Albert Victor described as the “heir to the throne.” This is incorrect. He would never have been known by this title in his life- time. Under British Royal custom, there is only ever one heir to the throne at any given time. This heir is designated as “Heir Apparent,” signifying that no subsequent birth can displace him or her from this position. Prince Charles is currently in this position. An “heir presump- tive” is a holder of that position whose claim could be affected by a sub- sequent birth. For example, the present Queen was heir presumptive all the time her father was King, in that if a brother were born, he would have become heir apparent in her place. Albert Victor died in 1892, at which time his father was the Prince of Wales, not King. So Albert Victor was never “heir to the throne.” He was in line to the throne, Ripperologist 97 November 2008 4
  6. 6. but that is a different matter. It is alleged that Albert Victor became enamoured of a young womannamed Annie Crook. He undertook a secret (and illegal) marriage withAnnie and they had a daughter, Alice Margaret Crook. The “powers thatbe” in the form of the Government and/or the Freemasons undertookthe murders as a cover up to preserve the stability of the Throne. It wasalleged that Kelly was a witness at the secret marriage, and in some ver-sions she also nursed the child. When the storm broke and Annie wastaken away and secreted in an asylum, Kelly and her East End croniessaw the main chance and instigated a blackmail plot. It was this plotthat precipitated the killings to silence them. I must nail my colours tothe mast, as it were, and state that in my opinion not one version of theHydra-headed Royal Conspiracy theory has any credibility as an accurateexplanation of the killings. It is a classic fairy story, but only that. The very reason that Mary Kelly has been such fertile ground for storyspinning and outright fantasy—and the brief versions above are only afew among many—is that the verifiable facts about her life numberexactly zero. She is a tabula rasa, a blank canvas on which any fancifulversion of the Whitechapel murders can be depicted with no fear ofprovable contradiction regarding Kelly herself. For the fact that nothingis known about Kelly is a two-edged sword. Just as nothing can be Alleged photograph of Annie Crook, from Jack the Ripper the Final Solution, by Stephen Knight.proved about Kelly from the known documentation, so any fanciful ver-sion of Kelly’s role in the events of 1888 cannot be disproved. And, on the basis that the standards of proof and verifi-cation cannot vary from one version of the story to another, we must be equally wary of family stories that allege somepreviously unknown role for Mary Kelly. I use the word “wary” quite deliberately, for the burden of proof still existsundiminished, but any researcher must remember the existence of the possibility that some previously unknown aspectof the Whitechapel case may come to light. New material does come to light even after 120 years, and any student ofthe case who approaches an alleged new tale with the predetermined opinion that “it cannot be true” does a disserv-ice to himself and his material. In my opinion, the greatest requirement for a researcher in any field is an open butcritical mind. And so we come to the Mary Kelly story in which I have been involved personally. This came about in the followingway. In 2005 there was published my book Will the Real Mary Kelly...? which did not seek to provide a definitive or“final” solution to the problem of Kelly’s identity, but, rather, to take a critical look at the orthodox version of her storyas provided by Barnett and to examine some of the myths that have grown up around the Millers Court killing. Afterthe book had been out for some time I was contacted by the lady who is the source of the story I am about to present.Briefly put, she said that there was a story within her family that cast a very interesting light on the identity and fateof Mary Kelly. Would I, she asked, be interested? I think you can guess my answer! However, it was made clear from the beginning that the lady in question did not want to be identified in any waythat would attract the brouhaha that still attends stories pertaining to the Whitechapel murders. Of course, I gave myassurance that this would be respected and I have since done so and will continue to do so. I have to state for therecord that I have been in contact with the lady in question on many occasions and I have absolutely no doubt as toher sincerity and I am as certain as I can be that the story she told has been relayed to me accurately and faithfully.This inevitably leads to a second caveat, one that I have made clear to the lady in question on more than one occa-sion. Even if she has related the story to me accurately as she heard it—and, as stated, I have no reason to believe thatshe has not—that does not make it true. The fact that a family tradition is reported as it was told does not make the Ripperologist 97 November 2008 5
  7. 7. factual basis on which that tradition is allegedly based historically true. When my informant was 14 years of age—which, I’m sure she won’t mind me saying, was quite some years ago—shehappened to see a copy of the Millers Court photograph of Kelly’s corpse lying on the bed. She mentioned this to hergrandparents, and was told that the woman in the photograph was not Mary Kelly, that, indeed, Kelly had survivedbeyond 1888, had moved to another part of London and was known to her great-great-grandparents, who were namedAlfred and Sarah Joel. Alfred was born in early 1856, his birth being registered in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. In vari-ous census returns his place of birth is given as Hull and Butterwick. Interestingly, there is a variance in the spelling ofhis surname in the birth register, it being recorded as Joels. He was the son of John Joel, a carpenter—a trade thatAlfred would follow—and in 1861 the family is listed as follows: North Street, West Butterwick, Lincolnshire Head: John Joel aged 40 born Flixborough, Lincs — Master carpenter Wife: Elizabeth Joel aged 37 born Amcoath, Lincs Children: William aged 14 born Althorp — Apprentice carpenter Betsy aged 9 born Butterwick George Henry aged 7 born Butterwick Alfred 5 born Butterwick Frederick aged 3 born Butterwick Daughter aged under 1 month born Butterwick The woman who was to become Alfred’s wife was born Sarah Newsom in 1859 in Tottenham. Her family is listed in1861 as follows: Park Lane, Tottenham, Middlesex Head: Edward Newsom aged 38 — Dealer in cattle Wife: Mary Newsom aged 28 Children: Elizabeth aged 4 Sarah aged 2 Julia A aged 9 months All the members of the family are listed as born in Tottenham. The only reason I have listed this information in such detail is to show that the source of this Mary Kelly story werereal people from provable backgrounds. Again, I stress, this does not make the story they told true, but demonstratesthat those who originated the tale are traceable. At what point Alfred and Sarah met we do not know, but they married in Edmonton, Essex, in the last quarter of1880. In the 1881 census the couple are listed as follows: Commerce Road, Tottenham Head: Alfred Joel aged 24 born Hull — Carpenter Wife: Sarah Joel aged 21 born Tottenham Ripperologist 97 November 2008 6
  8. 8. By 1891 the couple had moved back to Lincolnshire, as follows: 3 Collins Yard, Clee, Grimsby Head: Alfred Joel aged 36 born Butterwick — Joiner Wife: Sarah Joel aged 32 born Tottenham Children: Florence aged 7 Annie aged 5 William A aged 3 Fred aged 1 All children are listed as born in Grimsby. If the place of birth of the four children is correct, then this suggests that the couple moved back to Lincolnshireprior to 1884. Those whom I have been able to trace read as follows: Florence Joel born 1884 in Caistor, Lincs Annie Joel in 1886 in Caistor William Alfred Joel in 1888 in Caistor This shows that throughout the period of the murders the couple were living in Lincolnshire and raises the impor-tant question of how they would have found out about the alleged Kelly story. Of course, Sarah Joel had family tieswith Tottenham and it is possible the couple returned there on occasion. Within four years of the 1891 census both of the couple were dead. Sarah Joel died in 1894 and the details of herdeath are: 1894 Quarter 2 Sarah Ann Joel aged 34 Gainsborough, Lincolnshire In the following year, 1895, Alfred died by his own hand in strange circumstances. The details from his death certifi-cate read as follows: Registration District: Caistor County: Lincoln When and Where Died: 28 November 1895 Workshop of Messrs Nightingale of Convamore Road, Grimsby Name: Alfred Joel Sex: Male Age: 38 years Occupation: Joiner (foreman) late of 343 Convamore Road, Grimsby Cause of Death: Suicide by hanging whilst of unsound mind Informant: Certificate received from Coroner for the Borough of Grimbsy. Inquest held 29 November 1895 When registered: 30 November 1895 Ripperologist 97 November 2008 7
  9. 9. A few more details can be gleaned from a short newspaper article I found in, oddly, the Bristol Mercury of 29November 1895: SHOCKING SUICIDE Alfred Joel, foreman for Nightingale and Danby, a building firm at Grimsby, proceeded to his work yesterday morning, pro- cured a sash cord, to which he tied a silk handkerchief, and then hung himself from a beam in the joiners’ shop. He was dead when found half an hour afterwards. The deceased was between 30 and 40 years of age, and leaves a widow and large family. A rather macabre addendum to this newspaper report is a family story relating to Alfred‘s suicide. My informant told me that it is told within the family that Alfred, a carpenter and joiner, made his own coffin prior to taking his own life. However, my grateful thanks are due to Mike Covell who found the following two reports in Hull newspapers, one ofwhich gives substantial detail about Alfred’s suicide:Hull Daily Mail28 November 1895 (Early Edition) FOREMAN HANGED IN WORKSHOP This morning the Grimsby Police report what appears to have been a deliberate case of suicide by Alfred Joel, a foreman join- er, in the employ of Messrs Nightingale and Danby. It is stated that one of the workmen in the same employ, named Thomas Turner, of Ayscough Street, went to Messrs Nightingale and Danby’s workshop this morning, at about 7.10 o’clock, and found Joel hanging by a piece of rope from the ceiling. He immediately cut the man down, and sent for his employers and the police, but when they arrived the man was discovered to be dead. The body was, however, still warm, and it is supposed that deceased went to the workshop between six and seven o’clock as usual, and had then hanged himself. No reason for the suicide has, up to the time of writing, transpired. Deceased was a married man, residing at 343 Convamore Road.Hull Daily Mail28 November 1895 (Late Edition) JOINER’S SUICIDE A joiner named Alfred Joel, of 343 Convamore Road, Grimsby, was found hanging in the workshop of Messrs Nightingale and Danby, on Thursday. The facts were investigated by the Coroner yesterday. The inquest was held in the workshop, and the body of the deceased man was lying in another part of the room. The Coroner, at the commencement of the proceedings, remarked that he had been compelled to accept somewhat hastily improvised accommodation. He had, however, no chance between this and compelling the jury to walk a considerable distance to view the body, for there were, as they knew, no public houses on Mr Heneage’s estate in which an inquest might have been held. He, therefore, had been pleased to accept the offer of Messrs Nightingale and Danby to hold the inquiry in their workshops. Annie Gray, the wife of Harry Gray, engineer, of 308 Convamore Road, said she was aware of the fact that deceased was in debt and it seemed as if this was preying on his mind. His creditors were pressing for their money. Witness was a friend of the family, and was often in the house, so that she knew that the man and his wife were living on bread and butter only, in order to try and get clear of debt. During the last week Joel had received 30s wages, and out of this had paid 16s for rent and back debts. Witness had herself advanced money to pay off a debt and get the bailiffs out of the house during the last month. Ripperologist 97 November 2008 8
  10. 10. Thomas Turner, 48 Ayscough Street, said he found deceased hanging by a silk handkerchief round his neck in a part of the room which he pointed out to the jury. The handkerchief was attached to a cord fastened round one of the beams supporting the roof. Witness cut him down, and he was then apparently dead. There was a lad in the shop at the time, and witness asked him to help him, but he dare not approach the body. Another lad was sent for Messrs Nightingale and Danby and for the police. Witness had known that deceased had undergone a considerable amount of trouble recently, and had been considerably depressed. Ernest Needham, an apprentice in the same employ as the last witness, and Christopher Stephenson, yardman at Messrs Nightingale and Danby also gave evidence. Mr George Thomas Danby, in partnership with Mr Nightingale, said deceased had been recently appointed foreman in their works. Witness was aware of the fact that deceased had been in debt, and he had on one occasion relieved him from pecuniary difficulties. The jury decided no further evidence was necessary, and gave a verdict of “Suicide whilst in an unsound state of mind,” adding an expression of sympathy with the wife of the deceased. The Coroner said he could not help regretting that deceased had not taken legal advice with regard to his pecuniary difficul- ties, if it was possible for persons in positions such as his to be relieved from them pressing upon them in the manner in which deceased had suffered. There is one anomaly in these reports in that there is persistent reference to a surviving wife. The comment that Alfred left a widow is false in that his wife had died the previous year, as we saw above. So whomthis “wife” is that the reports refer to is not clear. It seems likely that Sarah died in, or as a result of, childbirth in thata final child is listed in the 1901 census and his birth was registered in exactly the same year and quarter as Sarah’sdeath. When we trace the location of the five now orphaned children of the Joel family in 1901, we find the following: The child Annie was a servant at Cricklade in Wiltshire, and two of the children are listed as orphans: The Seamans and General Orphan Asylum, Hull Frederick Joel (Orphan) aged 11 born Grimsby Percy Joel (Orphan) aged 8 born Grimsby The other two children were living with an uncle in Grimbsy but under a different surname: 9 Haven Street, Grimsby Head: William White aged 49 born Butterwick, Lincs Wife: Betsy White aged 49 born Butterwick Niece: Florence Todd aged 17 born Grimsby — Domestic servant Nephew: William A Todd aged 12 born Grimsby — Errand boy There is one oddity here, in that the child Percy, whose birth may well be related to Sarah’s death, is listed as 8years old in 1901 and born in Grimsby. That would place his birth in or near 1893. The only Percy Joel born anywherenear that period is: 1894 Quarter 2 Percy George Joel Ripperologist 97 November 2008 9
  11. 11. This is exactly the same year and quarter as Sarah’s death, but the odd thing is that the birth of this Percy Joel wasregistered in West Ham, which suggests that the family had kept up close links with the area to the east of London. The story runs that the Mary Kelly that this couple knew claimed, at some unknown period after the murders, to bethe Mary Kelly of Millers Court fame. When this claim first surfaced is unknown, but as both the Joels were dead by1895 this gives a comparatively narrow window for this story to have emerged. So, what of this Mary Kelly of Tottenham? What do we know of her? Well, she was Irish, she was named Mary JaneKelly and she was born in very early 1864. I have been sent a copy of her birth certificate and it reads: Depot 107th regiment of Infantry Date of Child’s Birth: 24 January 1864 Place and Date of Birth: Fermoy Baptism date: 2 February 1864 Christian Names of the Child: Mary Jane Parents’ names: Christian: Denis and Jane Surname: KELLY Rank of the father: Colour Sergeant 107th regiment Name of Chaplain or other Clergyman by whom ceremony was performed: J.O. Flaherty Chaplain to the ForcesBirth Certificate of Mary Jane Kelly
  12. 12. Fermoy is in County Cork, near the border with County Limerick, and was a garrison town. Mary’s father, Denis Kelly,was a career soldier and the family was certainly mobile. Mary had an older sibling named Matthew, born in 1860, andat that time the family was living in Devon. Again I have been provided with a copy of his birth certificate: Registration District: Stoke Damerel County: Devon When and Where Born: 21 December 1859 Married Men’s Quarters, Raglan Barracks Name: Matthew Samuel Sex: Boy Name of father: Dennis Kelly Name of Mother: Jane Kelly late Quirke formerly Coffey Occupation of father: Colour Sergeant 35th Regiment Informant: Denis Kelly, father, of Married Men’s Quarters, Raglan Barracks, Devonport, Devon When registered: 14 January 1860 The note about Jane Kelly’s name relates to the fact that her maiden name was Coffey and, prior to marrying DenisKelly, she had been married to a man named Quirke. After the birth of Mary I have traced the whereabouts of the family. Rather than Wales, as in the Barnett account,their longest place of residence was the Isle of Man. In 1871 the family was living in Staffordshire: 30 High St, Goldenhill, Oldcott, Staffordshire Head: Denis Kelly aged 38 born Ireland — Pensioner, Staff. Serj. of Volunteers Wife: Jane Kelly aged 36 born Isle of Man Children: Matthew S aged 11 born Devonport, Devon Catherine M aged 9 born Ireland Mary J aged 7 born Ireland John D R aged 5 born Ireland William P aged 2 born Preston, Lancs. Lawrence M T aged 7 months born Goldenhill, Staffs By 1881 the family were living in the Isle of Man: 28 Falcon Street, Onchan, Douglas, Isle of Man Head: Denis Kelly aged 47 born Ireland — Pensioner (Sergt. Major 107th Foot) Wife: Jane Kelly aged 46 born Peel, Isle of Man Children: Catharine M aged 19 born Ireland — Dressmaker Mary J aged 17 born Ireland John D R aged 15 born Ireland — Cabinet maker’s apprentice Paul W aged 12 born England (This is the same as the William P listed in 1871) Lawrence M aged 10 born England Ripperologist 97 November 2008 11
  13. 13. The oldest son, Matthew Samuel Kelly, married in Edmonton in Essex to Catherine Standring. The couple and theirchildren are listed in 1891 as follows: 6 Tancred Road, Hornsey Head: Matthew S Kelly aged 31 born Stoke Damerel, Devon — Civil Service Clerk, Audit Dept. Wife: Catherine Kelly aged 33 born Finsbury E.C. Children: Margery aged 4 Denis aged 3 Kathleen aged 1 All born in Wood Green Mary Jane married in 1889 to a man named William Hayes Atkinson at the Crouch Hill Presbyterian Church: Marriage: When Married: 24 August 1889 Name and Surname: William Hayes Atkinson and Mary Jane Kelly Age: William Atkinson 28 years, Mary Jane Kelly 25 years Condition: Atkinson - Bachelor, Kelly — Spinster Rank or Profession: Atkinson — Commercial Traveller Residence at the time of Marriage: Atkinson — ? Villa, Hornsey, Kelly — 36 Daleview Road, Stamford Hill Father’s Name: Atkinson — Joseph Atkinson, Kelly - Denis Kelly Rank or Profession of father: Atkinson — Independent Means, Kelly — Sergeant Major Witnesses: Esther Catherine Atkinson and John Kelly In 1891 the couple are listed as follows: 32 Fairfax road, Hornsey Head: William H Atkinson aged 29 born St Lukes — Commercial Traveller (Stationery) Wife: Mary J Atkinson aged 27 born Ireland Father: Joseph Atkinson aged 72 born Deal — Drug grinder Step Mother: Ann E Atkinson aged 48 born Lynn, Norfolk and in 1901: 52 Heysham Road, Tottenham Head: William H Atkinson aged 39 born Finsbury — Commercial Traveller in Stationery Wife: Mary J Atkinson aged 38 born Fermoy, Ireland Son: Denis aged 4 months born Tottenham Ripperologist 97 November 2008 12
  14. 14. Marriage Certificate of Mary Jane married to William Hayes Atkinson at the Crouch Hill Presbyterian Church in 1889: Other addresses quoted for Mary, all in the same area, were Daleview Road (at the time of their marriage), VartryRoad and Warwick Road. Mary lived on until 1912, and the details of her death certificate read as follows: When and Where Died: 8 December 1912 109 Warwick road, New Southgate Name: Mary Jane Atkinson Sex: Female Age: 48 years Occupation: Wife of William Hayes Atkinson, Commercial Traveller Cause of Death: Endocarditis, Cardiac failure. Certified by M Steward Smith M.D. Informant: W H Atkinson, widower of deceased in attendance at 109 Warwick Road, New Southgate When Registered: 9 December 1912 The only child I have been able to trace is the Denis Atkinson mentioned in the 1901 census. His full name was DenisWilliam Atkinson and his birth was registered in the last quarter of 1900 at Edmonton. Whether Mary and William hadmore children is not known at present, but I will continue to look. So, was this the Mary Kelly of Millers Court fame? That is, and probably will remain, unknown. All that can be said withsome degree of certainty is that this woman CLAIMED to be the woman of the same name who allegedly died on 9thNovember 1888. She may have been a fantasist, seeking to impress her neighbours or dine out, metaphorically, on such asensational story. The story is — and the lady who brought this story to me is fully aware of this — full of questions. Ripperologist 97 November 2008 13
  15. 15. Death certificate of Mary Jane Atkinson Is it likely that Kelly would have married the year after the Millers Court murder under her real name? Is it likely that the Millers Court Mary Kelly, a Catholic, would have married in a Presbyterian church? Is it likely that Kelly, had she survived Millers Court, would have kept the same name at all? There are so many unknowns, so many questions we would like answered. My reasons for examining this story in suchdetail is twofold: 1) I am satisfied through acquaintance with the lady who told me this story that she did so in good faith. Again, Imust stress, that does not make it true. 2) It is unusual to examine one of these family accounts in such detail and to verify the existence and details of themajor players. There is much research still to be done and this is definitely an ongoing project which I hope will be of interest andthat I will have more to report in the not too distant future! Chris Scott is a contributing editor at the Internet site Casebook: Jack the Ripper and specializes in track- ing down newspaper reports on the case. He is the author of Jack the Ripper — A Cast of Thousands and Will the Real Mary Kelly... His Press Trawl in Ripperologist has uncovered many interesting and unusual snippets from the press for us over the years. Ripperologist 97 November 2008 14
  16. 16. Mary Jane Kelly:From May Place, Liverpool,to Miller’s Court? Was Mary Jane Kelly at a girl’s Roman Catholic Reformatory in the Liverpool area, as the 1881Census might suggest? Well at least we know there was a Mary Jane Kelly at the LancashireReformatory School for Roman Catholic Girls in Old Swan, Liverpool, in 1881. Of course whetherthis was the Mary Jane Kelly who was presumably killed in Miller’s Court, Spitalfields, on the nightof 9 November 1888 is quite another question.Here is the 1881 Census record:Mary Jane KellyAge: 16Estimated birth year: 1865Relation: inmateCivil parish: West DerbyCounty: LancashireCountry: EnglandStreet address: Broad Green Roman Catholic Reformatory for GirlsOccupation: Youthful offender (sch)Registration district: West Derby ‘Carrotty Nell’ at Casebook: Jack the Ripper sent us a message noting that this girl’s age is only slightly at variancefrom that of a ‘Mary Jane Kelley’ aged 22 that Philip Sugden found was fined 2s. 6d. at Thames Magistrates Court on19 September 1888 for being drunk and disorderly.1 Of course whether there is any connection between these twowomen with the similar or identical name is not known at this time. As the many researchers who have tried to traceMary Jane Kelly’s origins have discovered, the name is unfortunately extremely common. Chris Scott provided the following additional information about the Lancashire reformatory as given in the 1881 Census: Lancashire Roman Catholic Reformatory for Girls, May Place, Broad Green Road, West Derby [or Old Swan],Lancashire. Head: Anna Maria Donovan aged 43 born Putney — Superintendent; Officers: Catherine Callan aged 25 bornPreston — Headmistress; Mary Lancaster aged 23 born Ireland — Assistant; Annie McCleod aged 29 born York — Sewing;Annie Carter aged 35 born Ireland — Laundress; Mary Ann Rafferty aged 30 born St Helens — Assistant; Margaret AnnRedmond aged 42 born Ireland — Cook.1 Philip Sugden, The Complete Jack the Ripper. London: Robinson Publishing Company, 1995, p 308. Ripperologist 97 November 2008 15
  17. 17. Ordnance Survey map of 1893 showing location of the Lancashire Roman Catholic Reformatory for Girls, May Place, Broad Green Lane, OldSwan, Liverpool. Courtesy of anonymouse on the Yo Liverpool Forum at www.yoliverpool.com/forum Chris noted, ‘Thirty-six girls are listed, all described as “Youthful Offenders” including Mary Jane Kelly aged 16 birthlocation not known.’ He added, ‘The Superintendent, Anna Maria Donovan, was born in 1837, the daughter of Cornelius Donovan, describedin 1861 as a Professor of Phrenology, and Henrietta Donovan, a schoolmistress. She does not appear to have marriedand is last listed in 1901 visiting an Anne Walshaw in Scarborough. She died in 1916 at age 79 in Lewisham, Kent.’2 A British schools website explains that the Lancashire Roman Catholic Reformatory for Girls was originally begun bythe Sisters of Mercy and located ‘at Blackbrooke House, St. Helens, where it was certified 23rd June 1869. But circum-stances delayed the actual commencement of the school until the following October, when the first girl was admitted.Moved to Liverpool and re-certified 24th November 1876 for 70 girls and again, re-certified 3rd March 1902 for 75 girls.Cessation of certification or closure 1922.’3 The core building that constituted May Place is still in existence, now renovated for sheltered housing. An OwenEllis architects webpage states, ‘The core of the scheme is a late 18th Century house that had been seriously neglect-ed and almost lost under later additions. The original building was uncovered and restored to become the centre of asheltered housing scheme providing 50 self-contained flats around a sunny landscaped courtyard that can be enjoyedby everyone who lives at May Place.’4 In regard to the task of trying to investigate this Liverpool Mary Jane Kelly, Chris Scott told us,2 Chris Scott, email to Ripperologist, 22 November 2008.3 Lancashire Roman Catholic Reformatory for Girls at www.missing-ancestors.com/lancashire_reformatory_school_old%20swan%20liver-pool%20info.htm4 “May Place, Old Swan,” Owen Ellis architects web page at www.owenellis.co.uk/html/projects/project_full.php?id=69 Ripperologist 97 November 2008 16
  18. 18. Modern-day photographs of May Place, Old Swan, Liverpool. It seems somehow fitting that this old mansion, the home at one time (perhaps!) of thefifth canonical victim Mary Jane Kelly, would have had a colourful past. According to the book, A Pictorial History of Old Swan and Tuebrook by ColinGould (Liverpool, UK: Ogre Books, nd), ‘May Place, in Broadgreen Road, was built in about 1760 by a gentleman who was reputedly an African slavetrader and who later married an Indian princess. Later residents were a Mr. Papayanni (a shipowner), Mr. Spence (who allowed the local Methodiststo hold their first meetings in his garden), Mr. Austin (who apparently had 20 children), Reverend Wilson (Chaplain to Lord Derby) and Mr. Walker (awholesale grocer). The house then became a Catholic Girls School and is now St. Vincent’s Hospice [before its present-day incarnation that is, as pic-tured here, newly renovated as sheltered housing].’ Photographs courtesy of Mark Anderson at Yo! Liverpool.
  19. 19. I haven’t investigated this particular girl personally — I found her in [the] 1881 census . . . and, glancing at the1871 census, the nearest match is a Mary Jane Kelly born in Liverpool living with her mother, also named Mary, inBolton. But this match is by no means certain, as with anything to do with Kelly! I am, of course, all for investigating any lead on Kelly but for this particular girl I would say the three main prob-lems are:1) We have so little to go on (not even a place of birth) to trace her backwards or forwards.2) Personally I am convinced that the birth name of the woman who died in Miller’s Court was not Mary Jane Kelly andthat is why it has proved so hard to research her.3) According to the orthodox account of [Joe] Barnett, if any reliance is placed on that, at the time of the 1881 cen-sus we would certainly expect the Miller’s Court Mary to be listed under her married name (she should have marriedsome time about 1879) and also to still be living in Wales. According to all the accounts we have she did not leaveWales until some time about 1884.As I see it, there are two choices:1) The Barnett account is substantially true but her name was NOT Mary Jane Kelly or2) The Barnett account is substantially or wholly invented but her name was Mary Jane KellyChris ended by adding, ‘Either eventuality makes researching her a nightmare!’5AcknowledgementsOur thanks to Carrotty Nell at Casebook: Jack the Ripper for her input on this question, as well as to Mark Anderson atYo! Liverpool who informed us in regard to the recent history of the building that housed the reformatory: ‘May Placeused to be called St. Vincent’s Hospice prior to falling into disrepair and reopening under its original name of May Placeas sheltered accommodation. When it was St. Vincent’s Hospice it was run by nuns and was basically an asylum.’ Weare also grateful to hmtaj at Yo! Liverpool for kindly supplying the information on the history of May Place given in thebook by Colin Gould. Got something to say? Got comments on a feature in this issue? Or found new information? Please send your comments to contact@ripperologist.biz Ripperologist 97 November 2008 18
  20. 20. Dorset Street (Duval Street) Revisited The fourth in a series taking a closer look at the murder sites of the canonical five victims of Jack the RipperPenny Illustrated PaperNovember 17th, 1888 THE MURDER OF MARY KELLY IN WHITECHAPEL. Dorset street, lying almost under the shadow of Spitalfields Church, is a short street, composed largely of commonlodging houses, in one of which Annie Chapman, a previous victim, used sometimes to lodge. About half way down thisstreet on the right hand side is Miller’s court, the entrance to which is a narrow arched passage, and within a fewyards of which, by the way, there loomed grimly through the murky air a partly torn down bill announcing a reward of £100 for the discovery of the murderer on the last occa- Commercial Street, showing the Brittania pub on the left hand side and the entrance to Dorset Street sion. There are six two roomed houses in Miller’s court, all of them owned by a grocer, whose shop in Dorset street forms one corner of the entrance to the court. The houses are let out in separate rooms ‘furnished’ — that is to say, there are in each of them a bed and a table, and, perhaps, one or two odds and ends. For these rooms rents are sup- posed to be paid daily, but of course they will sometimes get a good deal in arrears. This was the case with one of the ten- ants, who had occupied a ground floor room on the right hand side of the court for about twelve months. This was the poor young woman, Mary Kelly, the victim of the murderer familiarly called ‘Jack the Ripper.’ Of all the murder sites, Miller’s Court was arguably the most unsavoury in reputation — which, when one considers the com- petition in the area, is quite a dubious accolade. The narrow entrance to Miller’s Court was situated between No. 26 and No. 27 Dorset Street, a short thoroughfare which ran west to east from Crispin Street to Commercial Street. It was lined by old, brick-built properties mainly dating from the late seventeenth or early eighteenth century, most of which were crumbling and fit only for demolition, as were many of the residents. Nos. 26 and 27 were built some time Ripperologist 97 November 2008 19
  21. 21. Map of Dorset Street — 1681after 1709, although the exact date is not known, but the architecture would suggest that it was built somewhat later in the18th century. The entrance to Dorset Street was almost directly opposite the famous Christ Church, or more accurately the dis-used graveyard of the church, known affectionately as ‘Itchy Park’, which was used by vagrants to doss in when theycould find nowhere else. The western end of Dorset Street was exactly opposite the Providence Row Night Refuge andConvent, which stood at No. 50 Crispin Street. Tradition alleges that Mary Kelly stayed here for a while, although thereis no evidence to support it. Originally Dorset Street was called ‘Datchett Street’, which later became corrupted to ‘Dorset Street’, and in the17th century the whole area was pasture land covered by footpaths. When the landowners closed the footpaths theybuilt the road that was later to become Dorset Street.1 It was officially given the name ‘Dorset Street’ on 22ndNovember, 1867, (it was unofficially known as Dorset Street before that date) its reputation already established as theplace you didn’t want to visit if you were attached to your pocket watch.1 Paul Begg, Definitive History page 290. Ripperologist 97 November 2008 20
  22. 22. Map of Dorset Street as it was in 1888 Much of the area around Dorset Street, and certainly most of the street itself, was run by small-time crooks and ‘bul-lies’, in the form of slum landlords like John McCarthy and Alfred Coates. Alfred Coates, for instance, had a common lodging-house in Flower & Dean Street, Dorset Street’s main rival for the“worst-kept street of the year” award. In addition to his shops, John McCarthy was also the landlord of the propertiesin Miller’s Court — these being referred to as ‘McCarthy’s Rents’ in some newspapers. He also owned the lodging-houseat No. 30. It’s not certain whether or not these rival slum landlords got along together in business, although it’s prob-able they presented a united front against the authorities, covering each others backs if needed — just as was the casein the East End in the 20th century, when the Krays would co-operate with other gangsters in the area, in an uncomfort-able and mistrustful alliance simply for the sake of self-preservation. McCarthy and the other slum landlords were hardlyin competition with each other, in the sense that there were far more weary bodies to occupy their doss houses than theycould possibly ever accomodate. Whether Dorset Street deserved its reputation as ‘The Worst Street in London’, it was certainly one of the most dan-gerous and notorious streets in the area. The Daily News, November 10th, 1888, reports that the lodging-houses therehoused ‘mainly thieves and some of the most degraded women’. Dorset Street and the surrounding streets were oftenreferred to as ‘Tiger Bay’ because of its notorious reputation, and the vicious nature of its residents.2 Rev. Samuel Barnett, who spent many years trying to educate the local poor in the virtues of righteous living, calledthe area the ‘wicked quarter mile’ and Charles Booth, when constructing his poverty map in 1887, designated the area‘black’ — the lowest of his ratings — describing it, justifiably, as ‘vicious and semi-criminal’.2 Ed Fisher, Bluegate Fields [article by reader of www.victorianlondon.org] Ripperologist 97 November 2008 21
  23. 23. The Providence Row Night Refuge That’s not to say that the entire population of the area were Hellbound; many of the locals were simple, decent folkwho were just trying to make a life of some kind, living on subsistence wages and making the best of a very bad lot,but there was certainly a predominance of those on the wrong side of the law. Inspector Walter Dew wrote in his memoirs that one of the worst problems in the area was the presence of organizedgangs, who extorted money from prostitutes, demanded protection money, and generally made life difficult for theauthorities and locals alike. East Ender Arthur Harding, reflecting back on his life in the area at that time, wrote: Dorset Street had an even worse reputation than Flowery Dean Street. That’s where Jack the Ripper done some ofhis murders. We just used to call it ‘the street’. There was such a large number of doss-houses there that they calledit ‘Dosser’s Street’ and they abbreviated it again just to ‘the street’ which is what we called it. There were doss-houseson one side, furnished rooms on the other. McCarthy owned all the furnished rooms down there. He was an Irishman, abully and a rough guy. Marie Lloyd used to see him, because there was a pub round the corner she used to go to. All his daughters werein show business on account of Marie Lloyd. They had plenty of money. McCarthy lived down there. . .”33 Raphael Samuel (1981) East End Underworld: Chapters in the Life of Arthur Harding, London, Routledge and Kegan Paul page 100 Ripperologist 97 November 2008 22
  24. 24. In the Victorian era the word ‘bully’ did not necessarily mean someone that beat up people smaller than themselvesor intimidated weaker individuals, although many of them probably did, quite often and with some enthusiasm. TheVictorian dictionary on viclondon.org gives this definition of it: Bully, a cowardly blustering fellow, pretended husband to a bawd or prostitute. A wider definition in general use by the lower classes was someone who ran a brothel, or some other disreputableestablishment. The slum landlords of Dorset Street generally fitted the bill. An article in the Daily Mail, July 16th, 1901, ran a report confirming that even a decade or more later, Dorset Streetwas still deserving of the title ‘The Worst Street in London’. It gave the account the subheading: ‘Where Our CriminalsAre Trained’. The lodging-houses of Dorset Street and of the district around are the head centres of the shifting criminal popu-lation of London. Of course, the aristocrats of crime — the forger, the counterfeiter, and the like do not come here.In Dorset Street we find more largely the common thief, the pickpocket, the area meak, the man who robs with vio-lence, and the unconvicted murderer. The police have a theory, it seems, that it is better to let these people congre-gate together in one mass where they can be easily be found than to scatter them abroad. And Dorset Street certainlyserves the purpose of a police trap.4 Dorset Street fell within ‘H Division’ of the Metropolitan Police, and was one of the streets that was allegedly dou-ble-patrolled to protect the bobbies on the beat, who were reportedly sometimes set upon and beaten if they daredto venture out on their own. Inspector Walter Dew, who admittedly was not renowned for understating things wrote: ‘A single constable would have been lucky to Outside a typical large common lodging house in Whitechapel reach the other end unscathed’. The fact is, there is at least one report of a con- stable walking down the street on his own, so he was either an outstandingly brave/foolhardy indi- vidual, or as with many of the reminiscences in Dew’s memoirs, a little poetic license was used. For much of the time, residents would hang about in the streets, overspilling from the pubs and music halls that lined the pavements, waiting to get a doss for the night. Most of their lives would have been spent outdoors, as many of the lodging-houses would not allow residents in until a certain time and would throw them out again very sharply in the early morning. Some would be on the streets trying to earn money for the doss, either gambling,5 or in the cases of the women, prostituting themselves — taking their clients to one of the numerous alleys that ran off Dorset Street, for a fourpenny knee-trembler — fourpence being the price of a night’s doss. The street was well-lit from the vast number of lights over the doors of the numerous lodging-houses4 Daily Mail, July 16th, 19015 Daily Telegraph, November 10th, 1888 Ripperologist 97 November 2008 23
  25. 25. until about 2.00am, by which time most of the area had either gone home for the night or found a bed in one of the lodging houses.6 Then the street would quieten down for a few hours, and the only people left on the streets were those who could find no lodging or who were on their way to or from work. The vast majority of the buildings in Dorset Street were common lodging-houses, both reg- istered and unregistered, which could hold as many as 1200 men and women on any one night.7 The large, once-luxurious buildings, designed for the wealthy silk-weavers and their families or for prosperous merchants, were ideal for housing several hundred desper- Contemporary sketch of the interior of a typical lodging house in Dorset Street ate individuals on any one night. It was far too easy for any enterprising soul with a few spare pounds to start a lodging-house in the East End in the 1880s. Furniture could be bought for a pittance, as long as they bought only furniture that was completely unsaleable otherwise. Furniture, for instance, that was bought from the Small Pox hospital at King’s Cross when it was pulled down provided enough furniture for four lodging-houses. Small Pox no extra charge.8 Deputies were appointed to run these lodging-houses, and they acted as managers, running them as they saw fit. As long as the landlord received a good return, they were left to their own devices. It’s quite certain that most, if not all of them, were skimming money from the landlord’s takings, and it’s also quite certain that the landlords knew they were; but as long as they didn’t get greedy, then they would turn a blindCrossingham’s, 35 Dorset Street in the late 19th century eye, as any deputy they appointed would be sure to do the same. Deputies could be male or female, or a couple, legally married or other- wise, and it was quite a cushy number for them, with many little perks. These deputies were paid from 7 shillings to 15 shillings a week each, depending on how much they had to do to keep the houses running, which was a good wage considering they also got free bed and board thrown in. Some of the deputies were decent enough, did their jobs conscientiously, and others allowed more or less anything to go on under their roof for a cut of the takings. This included prostitution and fencing of stolen goods. Their job required that they inspect the bedrooms, especially at night, to make sure that nothing untoward was going on, or if it was that they got a share of it; to see there was no trouble, and to keep the place clean. The better of the lodging-houses would not admit anyone after mid- night, and none later than 1.00am, unless they knew them well. There 6 The Scotsman, November 10th, 1888 7 East London Observer, November 10th, 1888 8 London Labour and the London Poor; 1851, 1861-2; Henry Mayhew Ripperologist 97 November 2008 24
  26. 26. were exceptions to this where weekly tickets couldbe bought, such as The Victoria Working Men’shome, and then the residents could come and go asthey pleased at any hour. The police would go into the property regularly tomake sure that they were being run properly, andinspectors would be sent to make sure that theywere abiding by the Common Lodging Act of 1851,which had certain regulations that were to be fol-lowed. The authorities certainly turned a blind eye tomuch that went on there, simply because there wasno possible way to prosecute all of the offenders,which probably amounted to 97 percent of the localpopulation. It is also certain that at least some of thepolice officers on the beat were taking bribes to lookthe other way. In reality, the whole lodging-house Contemporary illustration showing the entrance toscheme had a solid foundation of corruption that Miller’s Court and the frontage of McCarthy’s shoppermeated through every facet of the operation. The average takings of a lodging-house would be between 17 shillings and 6d a night and 20 shillings a night, butwhen one considers that many of the lodging houses had 400 beds, at fourpence a time, and were almost always fullup, it’s not hard to work out that a great deal of money could be made by some of the larger lodging-house propri-etors. Landlords like McCarthy and Crossingham were raking money in from many sources. The newspapers at the time reported that the lodging-house owned by William Crossingham, which was directly oppo-site the entrance to Miller’s Court, was the one at which Annie Chapman stayed regularly and which she was evictedfrom on the night of her murder, but in fact the Crossingham’s opposite Mary Kelly’s room was Nos. 16-19 and accom-modated some 300 persons, being fully occupied every night.9 The Crossingham’s at 35 Dorset Street was on the sameside of the road as Miller’s Court, closer to Little Paternoster Row. Other known lodging-houses at the time were Nos. 9, 10, 11-12 and 28-29. In all around 750 beds were officially pro- vided in Dorset St, but in reality, half that A typical one room dwelling for a family in the East End in the late 19th century number again would be lodging there, espe- cially when the weather was too cold to sleep in the open air. Most of the properties that were not registered lodging-houses were rent- ed out to families on a room-by-room basis, with as many as ten people sleeping in one small room. There were very few legitimate businesses in the street, as evidenced by the Post Office Directory of 1888, and those there were solely catered for the needs of the local population of dossers and slum tenants. To all intents and purposes, this meant filling their bellies with 9 Times, November 10th, 1888 Ripperologist 97 November 2008 25
  27. 27. Dorset Street in the late 19th centurycheap cooked food and rot-gut alcohol or beer, and providing them with some entertainment while they were consuming it.Apart from the Brittania pub, there was also the Blue Coat Public House at No. 32, run by William James Turner. Just overthe road from Dorset Street was the notorious Ten Bells pub, which Mary often frequented. Grocery shops were sited at Nos. 7 and 36, run by Barnett Price and Alfred Coates respectively. Shopping in DorsetStreet was a risky venture in its own right, as hygiene was hardly high on the shop owner’s list of priorities. If a porkpie dropped on the floor, and it didn’t get snaffled by a passing dog, it was brushed down and put back on the counter.Waste not, want not. Most of the residents of the street would hardly have been bothered anyway, as the alternativewas starving to death. Because of the absence of freezers and refridgerators, shopping had to be done not just on a daily basis, but oftenseveral times a day. The grocers in Dorset Street would have expected to see the local women, particularly, in theirshops every day if not more to purchase not just food, but such things as candles, and firewood. People would gener-ally shop at the grocers nearest their houses, and for the most part the women of Miller’s Court would have usedMcCarthy’s chandlers shop at No. 27 and have been well known by him. Most grocers, if not all, would have allowed credit to certain customers. Having items ‘on tick’ was a way of life formost East Enders at the time, as there were invariably days when they had no money for food, and if the shop ownersknew them well and knew they could be trusted to pay the money when they were able, they would allow them someitems on credit. Mary Kelly was known to be considerably in arrears with her rent, and it’s more than likely that sheowed money in McCarthy’s shop as well. John McCarthy lived in the rooms above the shop with his wife Elizabeth, and children John Jr, Margaret, andElizabeth. His brother, Daniel, also lived with them until 1890, when he took over the grocer’s shop at No. 36, presum-ably from Alfred Coates. Although the premises of Nos. 26 and 27 were large, with several rooms upstairs in each prop- Ripperologist 97 November 2008 26
  28. 28. Maps of Dorset Street and New Court — May 1890erty, McCarthy and his family were hardly living in the lap of luxury. There was a coal dealer, Miss Jane Brooks, at No. 39, although it is uncertain when she started in business, provid-ing the other necessity for those living in the cramped and often damp rooms that were let out in places like Miller’sCourt. Coal was relatively cheap at the time; the transport system allowing for plentiful supplies to be delivered toLondon. The coal dust and smaller lumps of coal was within the budget of most families, although it would be usedsparingly. A pennerth of nutty slack went a long way in those days. The Brooks family was resident at No. 39 in or before 1881, so it is possible that they were operating there as earlyas that date, but were just not registered in a directory before then. There is little evidence of other businesses being conducted from Dorset St in the 1880s, but in the 1890s there weretwo milk contractors listed at Nos. 13A and 14A by William Wright and Amos Payne. There were also several stablesalong the street.10 The Brittania public house, on the corner of Dorset Street and Commercial Street, was also known as ‘Mother Ringer’s’— hardly surprisingly as it was owned by “Mother (Mathilda) Ringer,’ who was said to do a great deal of good work in theneighbourhood. It was demolished in 1928 to make room for the expansion of the Spitalfields Market. This was one of the public houses where Mary Kelly was allegedly seen drinking in company with a man shortly beforeher murder. John McCarthy was reported to have said that at 11.00pm on the Thursday night, Mary was seen in theBritannia public house, with a young man with a dark moustache. She was drunk. The young man appeared to be veryrespectable and well dressed. The Horn Of Plenty stood on the opposite end of Dorset Street, on the north corner of Crispin Street and DorsetStreet. Its address was No. 5 Crispin Street, and in 1888 the proprietor was Christopher Bowen. Again, there was prob-ably an uneasy alliance between the various pub landlords, who, although in competition with each other, would stillneed to support one another to survive in business. For instance, if a beer delivery was late, then a landlord wouldoften borrow a barrel of beer from one of the other pubs. Mutual co-operation was a necessity. There were two small courts leading off Dorset Street, Miller’s Court and New Court, which was about midway alongDorset Street, between Nos. 33 and 34. Both were similar in character and allegedly of an even lower class than those10 East London Observer, November 10th, 1888. Ripperologist 97 November 2008 27
  29. 29. that frequented the lodging-houses. It was reported in at least one newspaper that ‘the lowest class of unfortunates. Immorality is carried on in these houses, openly and with impunity’.11 These courts seem to have been built to try and alleviate the district’s dire housing situation some time around the 1850s, although the exact date has never been ascertained. The name ‘Miller’s Court’ is first mentioned in the census of 1861, when No. 26 Dorset Street was occupied by a glass-blower named Abraham Barnett. There is a mention of ‘Miller’s Rents’ in Spitalifields situated in exactly the right place in an 1851 directory, so it is possible that it was built as early as 1850. There were only three houses there at that time, though, and not the six that were there in 1888. The plot of land occupied by Miller’s Court would once have been the back yards of Nos. 26 and 27 Dorset Street, at least in part, as the houses were built a considerable time before the court was. The Daily Mail of July 16th, 1901 reported: The lodging-houses are bad, but they are the best side of a bad street. They at least have certain official inspec- tion, and a certain minimum amount of sanitation and decency is there secured. But the furnished rooms so-called are infinitely worse. Farming furnished rooms is exceedingly profitable business. You take seven or eight-roomed houses at a rent of 10s. Or 11s. A week, you place on each door a padlock, and in each room you put a minimum amount of the oldest furniture to be found in the worst second-hand dealers’ in the slums. The fittings of the average furnished room are not worth more than a few shillings. Then you let the rooms out to any comers for 10d. Or 1s. A night. No questions asked. They pay the rent, you hand them theIllustration of Miller’s Court — Lloyds Weekly News, November 11th, 1888 key. If by the next night they have not their 10d. or 1s. Again ready you go round and chuck them out and let a new-comer in. Miller’s Court was approached from Dorset St. via an unlit flagged passage that ran under an arch, little more than a yard wide and about twenty feet long. According to one newspaper: A big man walking through it would bend his head and turn sideways to keep his shoulders from rubbing against the dirty bricks.12 A very big man indeed, if he needed to do an impres- sion of a crab to get through a three foot wide tunnel, but allowing for hyperbole here, it was a narrow passage and certainly it would have been very difficult for two people to pass each other going through it. Roughly half-way down this passage on the right hand side was an entrance and staircase leading to the top floor of No. 26, and then a little further down on the right-hand side the door that led to Mary’s room.13 Directly opposite the entrance to Miller’s Court was Crossingham’s lodging house at Nos. 16-19, which was 11 East London Observer, November 10th, 1888. 12 Evening Star, November 10th, 1888 13 According to The Daily Telegraph, November 10th, 1888 No. 26 had seven rooms. Ripperologist 97 November 2008 28

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