It comes from when Lord Salisbury (Robert [Bob] Cecil) appointed his nephew Arthur Balfour to a senior position when no one thought that he should get the post. Therefore he only got the job because 'Bob was his uncle.'
I never knew the origin of the phrase, HS. Thanks for that.
But in any attempt to 'prove' that the diary could have been written in 1888/9 any test would have to show that there were no components in the paper or ink that would disprove it. So it's difficult to dismiss offhand, say, the tests that were done in 2005 at Staffordshire University which concluded 'The optical examination reveals no characteristics that are inconsistent with a diary written in the 1880's'. I just find facts like these hard to square with the phrase 'amateurish.' Now I know absolutely nothing about the relevant science involved. I can't say that this 'proves' anything. All I'm saying is that I can't dismiss it,unless a scientist comes along and tells me there's a reason to do so.
I wish that we knew a document forger who could tell us how easy it is to 'create' a Victorian document that 'fools' a load of scientists. Maybe it is easy? But until someone can come on here and say ' yeah, piece of cake. There's even a video on YouTube showing you how it's done,' I personally can't dismiss it, yet.
I'd say that the fact that ink testing is unclear, in that some have said it could've been done recently to when it was "found," and others have claimed it had shown signs of being older, makes the whole ink thing a bit of a non-starter. There's been evidence to suggest it was written around the time it was presented, and the same is true for the other scenario, so it's 50/50, and thus is not a decent method of deciding the diary's authenticity.
In terms of it not matching Maybrick's hand, that's a bit of a glaring error for any person claiming it's the real-deal. There's just no way to get around that, tbh. You don't generally find that people write in two completely different styles. There are common traits and visible mannerisms within every persons style of writing. We saw it being called into question on the recent H.H. Holmes program on History. As far as I'm aware, Maybrick's hand did not match that of the diary's, and though guys like Ike enjoy musing that it wasn't his formal hand, this outright ignores the fact that it wouldn't matter one iota whether the hand was formal or informal, those traits do not disappear depending on the manner of writing. Pressure points, upward/downward strokes, angles, etc, etc, these are things that professionals can study and verify. Unless Keith Skinner has any actual evidence of that sort to suggest that Maybrick did indeed write the diary, I'm going to have to stick with it being a fake.
I know that you haven't read the new book Mike, and it's true that things can't always be explained conclusively, but about the pub.
And I'm just repeating Robert Smith here.
He looked at loads of Victorian dictionaries and found that 'post office' and 'post house' were synonyms (but I think we all already knew that any house/building that accepted and distributed mail tended to be called post houses.) There was a pub called The Post Office Tavern which adjoined the GPO very near to the Maybrick family home. It can't be impossible that this pub could have been known as The Post House (especially to someone whose family lived pretty much next door to it.) Yes the diary writer spelt it 'poste' but apparently he misspells post 4 times, for eg using 'poste haste' rather than 'post haste.'
Now, obviously this isn't conclusive proof but it's a reasonable/possible explaination.
When you say the Maybrick family home, do you mean Battlecrease? Because as far as I'm aware, and I do own books on all of the local books from Liverpool and Merseyside, I can't find any information of a pub by that name in my area. There's the Kingsman pub, over the road from Riversdale, and it's been there since the whole of Aigburth road was a dirt-road, long before the dual carriage-way was put in. The pub that existed before the Kingsman was was known by a different name, which without checking, I can't currently recall, but it's position is in the same place as the Kingsman is now, and is opposite the chemist. IIRC, an inquest into James's death was held at this pub.
From all of my personal research, I simply cannot find any information for a Poste House before the one which we know came into being after the Muck Midden in the city-center. I do not recall any pubs being in my area other than the Kingsman, and further down, the Fulwood Arms.
Caz has mentioned the Post Office Tavern, and for the life of me, I can find no reference to this pub as being known as the Poste House.
For me, being that I know how many people are aware of the Poste House's age, in that it's understood to be a very old pub, I think it's a much clearer indication that the forger slipped up when making reference to the old pub, assuming it to be older than it actually was under that name.
It just seems really odd that "Maybrick" would name a pub like that, when there's no actual evidence of any pub by that name besides the obvious one in town.
If Robert Smith has evidence of a pub in Aigburth called the Poste House, I'd very much like to see it, as it seems a bit untrue to me, being that I live here and am interested in local history.
We only found out after our book was published, when Keith finally obtained the time sheets proving there was work carried out that involved lifting floorboards in that room on one day - 9 March 1992
Does the 9th March timesheet really prove that the floorboards were actually pulled up on that day, Caz? I see total hours worked, and a bill of materials, but not a list of tasks (e.g. lifted floorboards, tea break, replaced floorboards, pee break, painted skirting). Perhaps they did some other stuff on the 9th and didn't pull up the floorboards until later? I'm not being facetious or disingenuous; I'm just not entirely sure that the timesheet definitively nails the matter... pardon pun.
"Ye olde countrye fayre" and similar are often seen, but inauthentic. Some ill-informed people seem to think that adding an "e" to a word confers a stamp of historicity.
For me, it's the fact that the Poste House, under that spelling, is a well-known and historic pub in Liverpool. I've looked into other possible pubs going by that name and have found nothing whatsoever.
People have told me that another pub might have gone by that name, but research into this is sorely lacking, and I think that lends credence to the idea that whoever wrote the diary made a mistake, as opposed to being correct in naming a very very obscure nickname for a pub I cannot for the life of me locate.
How else do you imagine it could have come out, given that it arrived in London 'in its complete form' on 13 April?
It bemuses me how some people are suggesting the time would be too tight for anyone to get word to Mike about 'the' diary on 9 March and for him to make a couple of exploratory phone calls the same day to test the waters.
Yet the time would not apparently be too tight for word to get to Mike on 9 March about some old scrapbook with blank pages being found under floorboards; for Mike then to devise a cunning plan, based on those floorboards being in the former bedroom of James Maybrick, in the house once called Battlecrease, to frame him as Jack the Ripper by faking his diary using the blank pages; then to obtain all the materials and books needed to execute that plan; and finally to take the finished product to London on 13 April?
And not one of the electricians was willing to say that Mike had turned this worthless old book, which had been 'liberated' from the house, into a serial killer's diary and made a shed load [or greenhouse load] of money out of it in the process?
The thing is, though, the electricians took the book, presumably at the end of their shift, to the university, and then to the pub straight after? How did they pass it to Mike and have Mike make a call on the same day, or was it the day after? From Aigburth to any university in town is a good 20+ minute drive depending on traffic, which around 4/5pm is hectic, making a 20 minute journey more like a 35 minute one. The university isn't a 24-hour inquiry center, and is closed to the public after normal business-hours.