You seem like a sensible and decent person and I hope to be able to discuss the Diary with you in a productive way. Nevertheless I am not going to go easy on you so here is my response to your post:
I don't entirely agree with your sentiment that I was 'preaching' - nevertheless, I do stand-by the point that unless one is willing to go and initiate some discourse with those involved, one's conclusions will be rather ineffectual.
In which case James I have to repeat my point that if none of the electricians were involved in finding the diary then speaking to the electricians is pointless and certainly one’s conclusions will be rather ineffectual to say the least.
Seeing as you do not seem to have understood what is meant by 'involved' - please allow me to explain. I use the term to signfy that an individual has had some active role in the story - or - has been associated with the Diary at some point in this investigation. I think it resonable for me to conclude that the electricians are associated on the basis that they were interviewed by Scotland Yard etc.
That’s an odd expression there James. “I think it is reasonable for me to conclude that the electricians are associated”. What does “associated” mean? Is it supposed to be a synonym for “involved”? And if you are saying that it is reasonable to conclude that the electricians were involved in finding the diary simply because they were interviewed by police officers from Scotland Yard then I’m afraid to say that, no, that is not a reasonable conclusion.
As for my predisposition - allow me to provide some context. I became actively involved with this story in 2015 and, I'm sure like many of us who frequent these boards, was quickly made aware of comments made at 'The Trial of James Maybrick' in 2007 - insinuating that the Diary had been found in Battlecrease House. Naturally - and given the source (K.S) - I felt that this was as good a place as any to begin my investigation. That progression naturally led me back to the electricians from Portus & Rhodes...however...that is not the only area of the story which I have investigated. The essay which I wrote for the Liverpool Conference was an abridged chapter from a much larger dissertation - which is still in the works. The larger dissertation includes stand-alone chapters dealing specifically with; Anne Graham's provenance; Michael Barrett's claims of Forgery; The Scotland Yard Investigation; The 'Maybrick Watch' - to name but a few.
Thanks for that background but I don’t really see how it assists with an understanding of your predisposition.
Given that my brief for the Conference was to provide a succinct narrative of the alleged Battlecrease provenance - (in no more than ten/eleven pages) - it simply wasn't possible, nor practical to include these additional chapters. Further to that - and it is ironic that you are here likely to agree - I do not believe that Anne Graham's account of the Diary's provenance to be true.
It’s all very well you saying this now but in the essay you told us that its purpose was “to present clearly the facts, testimonies and sequencing of events to explain how the journal came into the possession of [Mike Barrett]”. That is rather different to presenting a succinct narrative of the alleged Battlecrease provenance. You must surely agree that your essay has to be judged by what it says and if it doesn’t adequately present the facts, testimonies and sequencing of events to explain how the journal came into Mike’s possession it is open to criticism on that basis.
As for Barrett returning with the Diary to his home on Goldie Street on09.03.92 - I made quite clear that I no longer believe this to be true. I am now of the opinion that MB obtained the Diary at a later date - albiet before the 13 April 1992.
Sure but, as you will appreciate, I was dealing with your essay and my point was that having told us, as a matter of fact, that Mike returned home with the diary on the very day it was thought to have been discovered, it was not surprising that you came to the conclusion that the diary was discovered on 9 March 1992. In fact, such a conclusion was unavoidable.
With respect to 'relying on interviews to establish truth' - of course that is not my sole means of arriving at a conclusion. Personal recollections must always be weighed against the hard documentation - in Paul Dodd's case, the timesheets obtained from Portus & Rhodes. I notice that you are quick to label it an 'assumption' that Colin Rhodes has released all the timesheets relating to Battlecrease. If you have some reservations about this - I would urge to you to contact Colin Rhodes directly.
No, I will not be contacting Colin Rhodes directly about this or anything else. The onus is on those who believe the timesheet is significant to support their claims. As to that, I have absolutely no idea what Colin Rhodes was asked to produce from the records of Portus and Rhodes nor what he represented that he produced. The way it was put in this thread was that Colin Rhodes is unlikely to have released an incomplete set of records but that is no more than an assumption. It was only a few days ago that we saw in another thread in respect of the Tumblety deposition records how dangerous it can be to assume that a complete set of records has been released on any issue. What really surprises me is that you don’t seem to have any further information (or, if you do you, are keeping it to yourself) yet you are perfectly happy to rubbish the many quotes from Paul Dodd which fill over half a page of your space-restricted essay about the extensive electrical work that took place in Battlecrease between 1989 and 1992 on the basis of what can only be an assumption that all the timesheets have been released.
Correct - I have not found an electrician who will admit to having discovered the Diary. As mentioned previously - I do not find that terribly surprising - especially as their livlihood relies on working in private homes etc. I cannot force that information from them. To the best of my knowledge - you have never been in the field with me during these interviews - nor have you attempted to elicit the story from those involved for yourself. I think that says an awful lot more about your research technique...imho.
Well as I said in my post, it would also not be a terribly surprising response if no electrician actually discovered the Diary would it? As for my “research technique” I have already told you that I am not actively researching this issue. But if the diary is a modern forgery by Mike and Anne (and/or others) there isn’t a great deal to research is there? At least not without having police powers of search, arrest and interview under caution.
As for Brian Rawes - this essentially boils down to whether you believe his account to be accurate or not. From having spoken to Brian on several occasions, and having read his documentated accounts down the years - his story has remained substantially the same & his dating of the event in question has since been verified with a corresponding timesheet Personally - I am quite satisfied Brian is telling the truth, and that Eddie did inform him that he had discovered a book beneath the floorboards, which he thought could be important. But what would give Eddie the notion that the book he had discovered could be important? I speculate that Eddie was aware of concurrent events in London - involving publishers, cash & a team of professional researchers etc.
Right, but you’ve dodged the point I made which is: did Eddie tell Brian it was “a book” or “a diary” or “something”? Do you accept that it is possible that Eddie told Brian that he had found “something” under the floorboards and then after being questioned by Feldman about a diary, Brian’s memory became affected and the notion of a book or diary was placed into his mind? Perhaps Brian’s memory actually became clearer in 1997 when he toned it down from a "diary" to "something" when speaking to Robert Smith.
I notice that in effort to dismiss Brian's account, you have resorted to some speculation yourself - "The electricians probably chatted amongst themselves, discussing which of them had found this amazing and valuable diary and when." Any evidential support for that one David?
Well if you appreciate that it is speculation then you will know that I don’t have evidential support for it. What I would ask you is whether it is plausible that the electricians chatted amongst themselves. I mean, they probably did didn’t they? It’s human nature. Feldman clearly mixed it up with his questions. Surely it would only be odd if, after Feldman asked all the electricians individually if they had found a diary in Battlecrease, they didn’t discuss it amongst themselves.
With respect to the opening of APS - I have tried to obtain some documented verifaction of this date. In actual fact - I contacted Mr. Dodgson on Tuesday afternoon - and he was adament that the shop opened for trading in October/November 1992. Tim Martin-Wright dated his conversation with Alan Dodgson/Alan Davies to December 1992 - months before before Feldman contacted the electricians.
Hmmmn. You contacted Mr Dodgson on Tuesday afternoon but your post, in which you stated that it has been “confirmed” that APS “opened for trading in November 1992”, was written last Saturday. I don’t wish to be unduly critical, especially given that you are now taking the trouble to check the facts, but why on earth did you tell me that it has been confirmed that APS opened for trading in November 1992 if you then had to contact Mr Dodgson on Tuesday afternoon for confirmation of this fact? And you don’t even appear to have had confirmation of this fact because you are now telling me that it might not have been November 1992, it might have been October. For that reason you may appreciate why I am troubled with your new information that Tim Martin-Wright dated his conversation with Dodgson/Davies to “December 1992” especially as, in your book, you quote Dodgson as saying that his conversation with Davies was “a few months” after the shop opened. Furthermore, according to Harrison, Tim Martin-Wright not only recalled this conversation occurring “at the end of 1991” but confirmed that it happened “a month or two” after his shop opened in October 1991. Even if one allows that he got his years muddled why doesn’t he appear to have told Harrison that it happened in December 1991? And you must appreciate that one of the easiest mistakes to make with memory is to misjudge the passage of time. Unless there was something specific about the conversation which makes TMW sure it happened in December I would suggest it could easily have been a few months after the opening of the shop and thus in early 1993. Yes, I am aware that Smith states that Martin-Wright believes that Davies came into the shop “close to Christmas” but that needs explanation and frankly, if it was at Christmas, given that the first telling of the story was that this was an event from 1991, can we even be sure it all didn’t happen in Christmas 1993? That’s the problem with memory, it plays tricks.
As for Alan Davies' mention of a 'Gold watch' - in actual fact it was Davies who first mentioned the watch to me. I have reproduced the relevant extract from our conversation below, and as you can see, I was actually trying to investigate mention of the 'Gold ring' - which Davies had alluded to back in 1997:
JJ: Ok, last thing. Can you remember any mention of the book being found in a biscuit tin with a gold ring?
AD: That’s right yeah! And a watch as well.
JJ: And a watch?
AD: Yeah, I remember a watch I think. I never seen anything, but I remember it was Brian or someone, telling me that it was in a tin under the floor.
Right thanks for the Q&A. You do realise you asked a leading question about the biscuit tin and the gold ring? How valuable is an answer which goes “That’s right yeah!”? But do you have any explanation as for why Davies did not apparently mention the watch when he was first asked about the contents of the biscuit tin? i.e. Smith makes no mention of it when summarising what Davies said. Do you think there is a danger that, at some point prior to your interview, someone else had asked Davies about whether there was a watch in the biscuit tin and the idea had now planted itself into his head so that he couldn’t remember whether he had been told this in 1992 or subsequently, hence the addition of “I think” after he mentions the watch again? Btw, any chance of reproducing the entire interview? Especially as we don’t know why you mentioned “the book” in your question.
I'm happy to concede that this is far from evidential support for the watch having been discovered alongside the Diary - but in the interest of defending my research technique...
Well fair enough but you did then, ironically, expose yourself as having asked a leading question - about what I would have thought was a crucial part of Davies’ recollection but what seems to have been an afterthought in your interview. Did you go on to ask Davies when he was told about the biscuit tin and under what circumstances that conversation took place? Did he explain what induced him to try and sell the diary to Dogdson/TMW?
You are correct in thinking that Graham Rhodes could not provide any information which would have furthered the conclusions of my chapter. Nevertheless, his recollections & experience were transcribed & documented.
Great, any chance of posting the transcript?
As for the following quotation: “two [electricians] went drinking in the Saddle, where they might have talked about their work in the house famous for its murder”. This quote is definitely from The Times & is actually reproduced on screen in the 1993 documentary on the Diary. I'm sure you could get in touch with Mr. Chittendon to question his sources, if you're that way inclined.
When you say “This quote is definitely from The Times” are you crossing your fingers and hoping for the best? As soon as I read this statement I knew it wasn’t true because, if it was, you would have told me the date of the Times in which it was published. In fact, I can tell you that it definitely was not from the Times. I’ve done your checking for you James. The source of the original quote is the Sunday Times of 19 September 1993. Not the Times of April 1993. It is in a report by Martin Chittendon and Christopher Lloyd. Here is the full context:
"Colin Rhodes, boss of the building firm which did the rewiring at Battlecrease, Maybrick’s former house has questioned most of his workforce. They deny finding anything under the floorboards, but two say they went drinking in The Saddle, where they might have talked about their work in a house famous for its murder."
Would you agree that I was right to suggest in my post that you were very confused as to the source of this quote?
With respect to D.S. Thomas (who has read most of my interview material) - he stated the following: 'It would have been very interesting if this case had gone for trial what the witnesses would have said. They now state something completely different as to that in their written statements which they signed as being true, knowing that if it was tendered in evidence that they would be liable to prosecution if they had stated in it anything they knew to be false or not to be true.'
Well this is something not in your essay and I don’t know what the detective means when he says that witnesses are now stating something “completely different” as to what is in their written statements. Other than the single extract you have provided from the statement of Brian Rawes I have no idea what any of the electricians said in their written statements (although I thought they denied finding the diary and still do) nor what they subsequently said that was “completely different” to this. So can you help in explaining what he means?
So why the discrepancy? Which witnesses have changed their story, and more importantly, why (assuming they have nothing to hide) ?
Well the allegation as set out in Inside Story and attributed to Paul Dodd (if I have read it correctly) is that the story of the electricians finding the diary in Battlecrease was “a scam”. If that was the case, it might explain why there was some disarray when the electricians were interviewed by the police but I really don’t know what they said or how they changed their stories.
In response to your concluding points: "The problem is that it is not explained exactly how or why he comes to this conclusion. Not unless it is on the basis of a single timesheet, which, if that is the case, doesn’t say very much for his thesis about the importance of getting up to Liverpool and speaking to those "directly involved".
I think it is worth reiterating the concluding paragraph of my chapter;
"As outlined in the opening paragraph, the purpose of this chapter is to present clearly the facts, testimonies and sequencing of events which have been put forward to explain how, ‘The Diary of Jack the Ripper’, likely came into the possession of Michael Barrett. Given the weight of circumstantial evidence, including the first-hand accounts of those directly involved, it is the opinion of this researcher that the journal was discovered and removed from Number 7 Riversdale Road, Aigburth, on Monday 9th March 1992, by one or more electricians working for Portus & Rhodes Fabrications Ltd. This opinion has been reached through an assimilation and assessment of existing research and documentation, as presented in; Shirley Harrison’s The Diary of Jack the Ripper: The Chilling Confessions of James Maybrick (2010), Paul Feldman’s Jack the Ripper: The Final Chapter (1997); Seth Linder, Caroline Morris & Keith Skinner’s Ripper Diary: The Inside Story (2003); Bruce Robinson’s They All Love Jack: Busting the Ripper (2015), and Robert Smith’s Twenty Five Years of The Diary of Jack the Ripper (2017)."
I quoted most of the first bit you have underlined and I understand that you have, like me, read all the relevant books, but I still don’t know how you came to your conclusion given the conflicting stories of the electricians and the fact that the timesheet does not show Eddie Lyons as having worked in Battlecrease but please do feel free to explain it now.
You are welcome to disagree with these conclusions - and I would encourage you to get out there and ask the difficult questions for yourself.
I’m more than happy to ask questions of anyone who posts on this forum but I am not going to waste my time going “out there”, wherever that is, and attempt to cross-examine people I don't know and who may not even have any relevant information.
I'd also be interested to hear your thoughts & conclusions on the other chapters from the Conference tie-in; especially Robert Anderson's 'Ink: A Recipe for Madness and Death".
Underwhelmed. Regarding the Anderson article, in a nutshell, as you ask, the focus on Diamine ink is understandable but what should not be overlooked is that, if Barrett did purchase ink to forge the diary from the Bluecoat Chambers art shop, it might not have been Diamine ink. The owner of the shop, when asked in June 1994, said Barrett would “probably” have bought Diamine ink and then Barrett quite possibly simply parroted this in his Jan 1995 affidavit. I certainly wouldn’t expect Barrett to necessarily know what exact type of ink he bought. For the rest, I don’t think Anderson claims that the scientific tests have proved the diary was written in the nineteenth century or that they have disproved it was written in 1992. That being so, I can only repeat that I continue to focus on Barrett’s acquisition of a Victorian diary in March 1992 and the use of the expression “one off instance” to guide me to the conclusion that the diary was not written in the nineteenth century and, therefore, did not come up from the floorboards of Battlecrease.
Have I really just read a post in this thread which starts off by saying that everyone is acutely aware of the danger of coincidence only to conclude that a coincidence is the reason for thinking that the diary came from under the floorboards of Battlecrease on 9 March 1992?
I fully appreciate that someone is agitated by any mention of the June 1993 meeting and just keeps on returning to it, only serving to show that the lady doth protest too much. Someone clearly knows they have made an error but yet simply cannot admit to it.
Here is what was said in post #49
"We know Mike and Eddie Lyons knew each other by June 1993 because he actually came into the Saddle one night when Robert Smith was there with Mike."
That is such a simple and easy to understand sentence. It is being said that we know Mike and Eddie knew each other by June 1993 BECAUSE he came into the Saddle one night when Robert Smith was there with Mike.
But that is a false statement. It is not the reason we know Mike and Eddie knew each other by June 1993. We know that they must have already known each other before this because Mike confronted Eddie at his home. Further, the fact that Eddie came into the Saddle one night when Smith was there with Mike does not actually demonstrate anything. Robert Smith had asked Mike to set up the meeting. So the fact that Eddie came into the Saddle one night when Robert Smith was there with Mike is not the reason we know that Mike and Eddie knew each other. Had the story been told properly it would have been said that it is the fact that Robert Smith asked Mike to set up a meeting with Eddie in the Saddle which shows that Smith knew that Mike knew Eddie. But that itself would have been irrelevant bearing in mind that we know from Feldman that the two men already knew each other. So why was it ever mentioned in this thread?
We know why Robert Smith mentioned the June 1993 meeting in his book. It wasn’t to show that “Mike and Eddie knew each other by June 1993”. It was to relate what Eddie had told him at this meeting.
As for what was said in #49, it was a simple point I made in #51 when I said:
“There is nothing remarkable about Mike and Eddie Lyons knowing each other in June 1993 and Eddie sitting with Mike and Robert Smith in the Saddle at that time. This is because, as Feldman, tells us, Mike had already confronted Eddie Lyons at his home about his claim that he had taken the diary from Battlecrease "in 1989". In June 1993 it had actually been arranged by Mike that Lyons would be in the Saddle in order to meet Robert Smith so there was nothing odd about Lyons sitting down with them.”
And that was all I said. No accusation there that anyone had been misleading anyone else into thinking that Mike and Eddie must have been old buddies for years before that as the Great Misunderstander has simply imagined was said.
What amuses me though is the changing stories as to why the June 1993 meeting was mentioned in the first place.
In #54 were told that “the point” was that “Robert Smith has no doubt he was being 'set up' by the two pals. Eddie was to come in, as if by chance, tell Robert his story and go.”. It was, in other words, that the story had nothing to do with Mike and Eddie knowing each other by June 1993 as originally stated, it was to do with a “set up” of Robert Smith by Mike and Eddie. Something Smith does not even mention in his book! And it wasn’t something mentioned in the original post (#49) either!
By #73 we are told that the point of interest about the meeting is that Smith couldn’t work out how Mike got the message to Eddie that his suggestion was to meet that evening in the Saddle. It’s not what we were told was the reason for mentioning the June 1993 meeting in #49.
The latest excuse for mentioning the June 1993 meeting is that it was “more about what Eddie chose to say to Robert in front of Mike” (which is clearly not true bearing in mind the wording of #49) or at least that is what was said in #169 but in #171 it is said and that June 1993 was the earliest date for Mike and Eddie being “friendly enough” to agree to a rendezvous with Robert Smith. So the story has changed again. Now the June 1993 meeting is not actually a demonstration of Mike and Eddie knowing each other but of them being sufficiently friendly to agree to meet even though the meeting was expressly requested by Robert Smith!!
And all these pointless posts because one individual physically cannot admit to making an error in posting a false point but instead has to go and on in a futile attempt to try and justify the unjustifiable.
I see that the person who was telling us that Martin Earl’s request for three Jack the Ripper books in the same advertisement as the Victorian diary was such a remarkable coincidence that it was being noted on a special list of coincidences has nothing to say about the various other advertisements I have posted which included requests for Jack the Ripper and Maybrick books in 1991 and 1992 except a baffling and unintelligible one line comment about obsession.
Now let's just pause a moment and think about the amazing coincidence of a book being found by Eddie (if he really did find a book) which he threw into a skip.
One of the things we know as a fact (or as close to a fact as we can get) is that an old newspaper was also found in Battlecrease by an electrician, although we don't know when it was found or by whom. This information came from Colin Rhodes.
So, if the JTR Diary was also found in Battlecrease, we have the coincidence of another old item being found in the same property (probably on a different date by a different electrician).
If two old items could be found in Battlecrease then why not three? What would be so amazing about it?
And if three old items could be found, then - if we assume the diary was a modern forgery which did not come out of Battlecrease - why would it be so surprising that just two old items were found, namely an old newspaper and an old book?
An old book that was found by Eddie and thrown into a skip. Something that he paid no attention to at the time but was built up into a massive discovery after Feldman started making his enquiries.
I don't see this as anything remarkable. It would certainly explain a lot of the stories. But then the stories would also be explained by the electricians being involved in a scam to extract money from Feldman.
Anyone reading this thread might think that I happen to believe that Eddie's story about finding the Diary in Battlecrease in 1989 was true!! Of course, the reality is that if he said he found the Diary in Battlecrease in 1989 he was lying, regardless of whether he did or did not do any work in Battlecrease in 1989.
After months and months of me banging on to no effect that the only sensible explanation for Mike Barrett trying to acquire a Victorian diary with blank pages is that he wanted to forge a Victorian Diary, and being told in response that there were a number of other (barking mad) explanations for his actions, we finally have an agreement that well, yes, actually, this does seem to be a sensible explanation after all.
It tells us everything that this is only admitted now that a light bulb has gone off and there is seen to be a way that Mike could have wanted to forge a Victorian Diary without actually being involved in forging the JTR Diary! Just shows how objective some people are.
But I entirely agree with that as a possibility. Someone could have offered to sell Mike the Diary of Jack the Ripper - or asked Mike to sell the Diary on their behalf - and Mike, knowing or suspecting the Diary to be a forgery, could have thought that he could do a better job himself. That could explain why he tried to acquire a Victorian Diary in order to create his own Diary of Jack the Ripper but eventually realised he wasn't up to the task.
The weakness of this theory is that it fails to explain why Mike said in his affidavit that it only took 11 days to write out the Diary when most people would have said this task would have taken much longer, yet 11 days is just about the optimum time between the arrival of the red Victorian diary and the journey to London with the JTR Diary.
That aside, though, I have no problem with saying it is possible. And if one really wants to take this scenario further then one could even imagine that the idea for the Maybrick as Jack diary idea came as a result of the electrical work being carried out in Battlecrease in 1989 and one of the electricians, or a friend of one of the electricians, was responsible for the forgery.
If one simply cannot accept the notion of Mike telephoning Doreen by coincidence on the same day as work being carried out in Battlecrease then perhaps the connection was that the electrician in question knew of the work to be carried out on 9 March and this prompted the decision to use Mike as the cut out to sell the diary to a publisher or to actually sell the diary to Mike.
Now, in the past I would have expected an objection that no-one in their right mind would have used Mike Barrett as a front man to sell the Diary but I don't expect to see any such objection today now that we are told that Mike was the first choice person to be given the Diary because of his perceived literary and publishing connections (alternatively because he was a master fence of stolen goods, they can't make up their minds). In fact, he was so much the first choice that the sun had not even set following the Diary's discovery before Mike had been contacted and shown the Diary.
So yes I have no problem and never have had a problem with someone other than Mike or Anne forging the Diary. I don't really care who forged it. What I have repeatedly asked is why Mike and Anne could not have done it. But no-one has been able to answer that question.
I would also like to make clear that I have absolutely no problem with James Maybrick being Jack the Ripper and writing the Diary. If that's the case then great, we've solved the whole mystery.
The point I have made is that it is such an important conclusion that we have to be certain that it is the right conclusion. We can't just base such a conclusion on a single coincidence or a series of assumptions. We can't say "Oh I can sort of see how this might all fit". It has to be much better than that.
I pointed out earlier that I don't think most people accept that the diary came from under the floorboards. I said that not because I think that the truth is found in a majority vote but because I understood that the evidence that was going to be presented in support of a Battlecrease provenance was going to be so impressive that it would convince a jury.
At the moment I don't think a jury would be convinced by the evidence that has been produced. In fact, so far, the "Battlecrease provenance" argument seems to have been a complete disaster. The whole thing is in tatters. We get a different theory virtually every single day about how it all played out in 1992 and it's all based on speculation and assumption.
Maybe once they've actually worked out what they think happened, and they've finally found some evidence to support it, they can get back to us. Otherwise they are just wasting our time.