The Bucks Row Project part 2
This is just an update.
I had planned to start posting part 2 next Monday however cricket watching commitments at Lords mean this will be delayed until probably Thursday.
Part 2 is lengthy and so will not all be posted at the same time. At the moment it will probably be 3 separate groups of postings over a 5-7 day period.
I wonder which South Africa will turn up?
Actually it's county 4 day cricket. Middlesex.
Bucks Row Project - Part 2 :
Witness Statements, Police Reports
and Press Reports.
So we are finally at Part 2 of the Bucks Row Project, or nearly there.
It has taken longer than I expected due to issues over how to present this section.
Like the first part this will be fairly dry so to speak, It will contain most of the sources directly relating to the events in Bucks Row on the morning of 31st August 1888. Again much like part 1 it should be viewed as an appendix to the upcoming Part 3 and a research tool to allow me to asses others views on some issues, and for others to easily search for quotes and information.
The sources are basically made up of:
a. Official police reports of which there are several. I consider these to be the most reliable sources which we have relating to the events.
b. Press reports of the inquest, the original transcript having apparently not survived.
c. Press interviews with individuals, or statements given by individuals to the press, these are of varying reliability.
d. General press reports of events.
While this is not an exhaustive list of sources, it does include many which will be useful for anyone researching the matter in the future, who wishes to see the basic sources, in one easily accessible place.
This information is present over the following pages as a series of tables, one for every named individual in the case. Each table lists a number of different sources. Each separate source is given a reference to allow for easier discussion.
There are however several exceptions to the one table per individual approach, Official police reports are on a table of their own, excluding Spratlings of the 1st which is on the Spratling table.
Some witnesses such as Holland and Walker share one table, as do the workers from the Slaughter house.
The tables include all 3 of the first 4 types of source listed above, however sources are identified by use of (A), (B) or (C), directly after the date of each source, which equate to above to allow easy reference.
The fourth type D- General press reports have there own table.
A few comments should be made about the press reports of the inquest, it is known that agency reports were used at times, or papers basically used the copy from others.
David Orsam some time back posted an interesting thread on the coverage of the Nichols inquest,
Thread: “Inquest Reports of Mizen/Cross Evidence”
While this was not universally agreed upon, it still makes a useful background the subject of press reporting of inquests in the Late Victorian Period.
Each table will have some basic interpretation and analysis, but much like part 1 it is meant as a precursor to part 3. However few comments are made on the general press reports.
Each table stands on its own so it should be easy for posters to comment freely on each table. And that is to a great degree the aim of this work, to get feedback from others on issues.
Of course we don’t need the types of replies for normal threads where arguments go back and forth incessantly, clearly disagreeing with something will do, with either reference to other threads or concise reasons.
I may respond to some small degree but again the main debate will be in part 3 when I carry out full analysis and present some theories, at that point, gloves off, helmets on and argue as much as you want then.
Again I would like to pay thanks to those who’s work as made much of this possible. They have not all agreed with all or anything have posted, but without their input this work would not be possible,
There are many but in particular Fisherman, David Orsam, Joshua Rogan, Dusty Miller, Patrick S, Frank0, Simon Wood, Jerry Dunlop, Monty, Kjab3112, RichardH and Pierre.
And Evans and Skinner for the Ultimate Source Book, where would we be without it.
And for any mapping once again I use :
Steve Blomer (Elamarna) 09/08/17
Bucks Row Project part 2 post 2
Above are a selection of the reports of the inquest statements made by Charles Cross/Lechmere.
As in these reports he is referred to as Cross, for this section alone I will refer to him by that name alone.
There are several points that need to be seen.
Firstly most of them appear to be based on a few common reports rather than each on individual reports, the similarity is very striking in some case.
Some contain more evidence than others, this may indicate that a reporter was present from that particular paper, or that the report has been less heavily edited by the publishing paper..
Secondly there is no common consensus on the time he said he left home:
5 say “at 3.30” ( Reports 1,2, 4, 6, 9)
5 say “about 3.30” (reports 3, 5, 6, 7, 12)
2 say he left “at 3..20”. (reports 10, 11)
The two stating 3.20 also give an arrival time of 4am at Pickfords as does the Echo which states he left home at about 3.30. this may be either a mistake by those two reports #10 and 11 above, the Times and the Star, or it could be that this was the time he normally left home, and such was not included by the other papers.
All the reports say he crossed to the middle of to look at the object he saw. Given this was on the Southern side the reports therefore appear to agree he was walking on the Northern side of the road,
The comments on Paul’s opinion at the murder site differ between “she is dead” and “not sure”. 8 in favour of some possible little movement (Reports 3,4,5,7,8,10,11,12 ); 4 that she was dead (Reports 1,2,6,9 ). This suggestes that Paul may have been unsure at first, but seemed to think he felt some movement later on, but was not 100% certain.
8 of the 12 reports, (1,2,5,6,7,9,10,12 ) mention that Paul tried to pull the clothes down but could not, this implies that the clothing was somehow restrained, maybe by being pulled up at the back and held in place by Nichols weight.
2 of the 12 (4and 8) make the claim that they heard a policeman approaching but left!
The same two papers however also claim that it was Paul who refused to touch the body, not Neil, this strongly suggests a common source
Both points appear to be at odds with all other reports, but will be looked at in more detail in part 3,
In all of the reports Cross says he told Mizen that a woman was lying in Bucks Row, either dead or drunk
In 2 Reports Cross specifiably says he believes Nichols to be dead, as a follow up to dead or drunk( 4,8) and in 5 Reports he says Paul said she was dead( 3,5,7,10,11).
He denies in all reports saying that Mizen was needed by another constable.
In report 10 he agrees with Paul that Mizen continued to knock up and suggests to to this he did not walk towards Bucks Row, however he does not say where he actually knocked up. In reports 4 & 8 he just says the policeman walked on with no other details.
It is unclear exactly where they met Mizen, the Evening Post(report 12) being the only one to suggest a location, “ met a constable coming out of Montague-street”, this is corroborated by Paul in his statements, reports 3 & 8 of his own tables.
One point is where did Paul and Cross part company, some reports imply that they may have gone separate ways after Mizen, but are not specific, others say they parted “soon after”, only the times(11) gives a full answer which is
“ The other man left witness at the corner of Hanbury street and turned into Corbett's court.”
This makes sense as that was Paul’s place of work and also on a direct route for Cross. However to say they parted soon after is incorrect the distance is approx 807yrd so would take 6-8 minutes
Congratulations on good work. This will be very interesting.
Bucks Row Project part 2 post 3
Here we have two different types of source, both are newspaper reports, however they are of a distinctly different type reports 3 – 11 are the standard inquest reports, reports 1 & 2 are interviews with Robert Paul, these need to be assessed differently from the inquest reports. We need to see if there is any overriding view or feeling expressed in the interview, a tendency.
There are two tendencies obvious from reports 1 & 2:
Firstly that Paul takes centre stage in all the actions following meeting Lechmere, he wants to appear the man in control, this may even extend to his very exact comments on timings.
Secondly there is an hostility which runs throughout his interview towards the police, from the comments about the area had not been checked recently, to his open disdain towards PC Mizen.
This may be because of a deep seated dislike of the Police in general or maybe just a dislike for Mizen, which spilled over as an attack on the Police in general, it is not possible to say which.
Taking both of those points into account, it seems clear that these reports are not reliable, however we should not just reject them outright, we should see if they can be corroborated by any other sources, in this case either Lechmere or Mizen, in which case they may still provide valuable data on the chronology of the events,
Paul claims he was in Bucks Row at exactly 3.45, he gives no explanation of why he is sure of this, and why should he? But it does remain an exact time which is odd, others have claimed he may have heard a clock strike, however such is not reported by others close by in particularly Lechmere and Thain and Neil, nor by Mulshaw.
The important issue over the 3.45 timing is that this is in complete contradiction to the sworn Statements of no less than 3 Police Officers, his view is not corroborated at all in this instance, and should therefore be treated with great caution
He gives an impression of a dangerous place to be, maybe trying to suggest he is a brave man.
He clearly says says Nichols is dead when he examines her, this is somewhat contrary to his inquest testimony, but is more in keeping with that of Lechmere on the exchange.
It may well be that having learnt she was indeed dead before giving his interview he pushed the dead suggestion to again make himself look in control.
Again we see him creating an impression of he is in control, he left on his own, he does all the talking to Mizen, who ignores him.
Very little mention of Lechmere, who is a bit player. Overall it shows an attempt to place himself as centre of attention.
However there are some useful points, that he speaks to Mizen is corroborated by Lechmere, however it is in a minor role, just apparently chipping in that the woman is dead.
Mizen of course does not mention this, but such should n ot be seen as a denial that Paul never spoke, just that Mizen did not notice it, or bother to report on it.
However Mizen does corroborate Paul’s comments about continuing to knock up to a degree , he says he did one more, or finished the one he had been about to start when approached by the Carmen. Lechmere in his turn says much the same in the Star 3rd September, that Mizen did at least one more knock up. (Report # 10 Cross Table)
Of course Paul goes much further, implying that Mizen ignored what he was told and carried on knocking up full stop.
It needs to be noted that the name "church row" is used for where Paul and Lechmere meet Mizen, it has been suggested that this may have been an older name for the area, however it is not clear if the name is from Paul of the journalist, the same is actually true for much of this report, is it Paul pushing himself or the journalist leading him in that direction.
The Inquest reports give a somewhat different viewpoint :
On the issue of the time he arrives in Bucks Row he now says in reports 3 and 11 “about 3.45”. report 4 says “at” and Reports 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10 “just before”. Report 8 makes no comment at all. The very precise mention of exactly 3.45 in Bucks Row is now gone.
On Nichols condition, his view has also changed from report 1& 2
Believed was dead could not hear breathing, but maybe slight movement breathing detected by feel. Hands and face cold ( reports: 3 8 10).
Appeared dead, hands and arms cold (report : 4).
Hands and face cold no mention of if dead or not (reports: 5 & 6).
Faint breathing and body partly warm (7 & 9).
All of which is far more circumspect and indeed contrary to reports 1 & 2
only report 11 says she was dead and nothing more.
Does this mean that Paul was sure about the condition of Nichols, I feel not 100% we shall look at it again in part 3.
With regards to Lechmere and their departure to find the police there is also a difference from reports 1 & 2, which implies that Paul went on his own..
Reports 3 & 8 says they left together and meet Mizen on the corner of Old Montague Street there is another report which (report 12 from cross table) which suggested where they actually meet, such needs to be noted as it gives us a possibly more precise location than anything else and may be of use in reassessing certain issues in part 3.
Reports 9 & 11 say that Paul and Lechmere went together, while report 7 suggest together
There is no comment from reports 4 & 10
At odds with all the above, including reports 1 & 2 are reports 5 & 6 which claim Paul sent Lechmere to find a Police officer, however it is clear hat these 2 reports have a common source and so it is probable it is a simple case of misreporting.
In no inquest report is there any mention that she must have been dead some time, nor any comments about Mizen, there seems to be a wish to disassociate himself as far as possible from reports 1 and 2 completely.
We will look at this again briefly in part 3
Couple of very minor corrections,
"The same two papers however also claim that it was Paul who refused to touch the body, not Neil, this strongly suggests a common source"
I'm assuming you meant Cross, not Neil;-)
And with Paul's Lloyds interview,we have to consider the possibilty that the beefing up of Paul's role my be attributed to the reporter. The article doesn't read like natural conversation or story telling.
But all in all, great work.
Yes Lechmere/Cross not Neil.
Proof reading letting me down.
2nd point very true, I was going to raise this in part 3 but it's good to have it highlighted now.
More to follow in next few hours.
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