Hi Richard, having not read your book, if I understand correctly, what you have written in your book is that Francis Thompson was staying at the Providence Row Night Refuge, Crispin Street in November 1888. And you argue he was there in November 88' and in November 88' only, to the exclusion of any of the other three winter seasons he was in London 1885, 86' and 87'. And you argue this because it was in May 1888 he met Mr. Meynell, and therefore had the proper reference to obtain admission to the Providence Row Night Refuge when it opened in November for the season. Again correct me if I am wrong. You stated it in this and other threads. And Paul Begg also wrote you made a plausible case about November being the only time he stayed there in his review of your book. And by the way we are all indebted to Paul Begg for the reviews he does in Ripperology magazine. I look forward to them every issue.
I find the idea counter intuitive that Francis Thompson could have stayed at the Providence Row Night Refuge in November 1888 only and in none of the previous three years he was in London. In fact, I find it much more likely his stay there was during one or more of the three entire winter seasons previous to November 1888. At that point in 1888 there were only two months remaining until he was taken away to the monastery in Surrey.
For the simple reason, I ask myself - how in the world did all those hundreds of people who did in fact gain admittance to the night refuge those three years ever manage, against all odds, to do so, when Francis Thompson could not? Did those other people have clout, or especially glowing recommendations, or references from influential people? Did they game the system? How did all those other people succeed in obtaining the coveted ticket? After all, Francis Thompson came to London in 1885 an intelligent young man, son of a doctor from Manchester, a Catholic, a well read and erudite soul whose only failing was his addiction. Surely he could have figured a way to gain admittance to the night refuge along with the others.