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  #1  
Old 11-14-2008, 10:29 PM
Autolycus Autolycus is offline
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Default Curious Affair of the Red Handkerchief

I have been trying to compare the various witness sightings of those who may have been JtR. In general, I have stumbled over the inconsistencies, inaccuracies and possible mis-directions that others on these boards have previously commented upon. However, there is one peculiarity that I do not recall anyone mentioning previously.
On the night of the Double Event, Lawende described a suspect as being
30 years old, 5 foot seven inches tall, fair complexion and moustache and medium build. He was wearing a pepper-and-salt coloured jacket which fit loosely and a grey cloth cap with a peak of the same colour. He had a reddish handkerchief knotted around his neck. Overall he gave the appearance of being a sailor.
When George Hutchinson described the man who accompanied her to Millers Court, part of his statement was that
They both stood at the corner of the court for about 3 minutes. He said something to her, she said alright my dear come along you will be comfortable. He then placed his arm on her shoulder and gave her a kiss. She said she had lost her handkerchief, he then pulled his handkerchief a red one out and gave it to her. They both then went up the court together.

The various witness descriptions of JtR are quite different in detail and yet these two have something as distinctive as a red handkerchief in common!

It is a fragment that could give credence to the argument that Lawende and Hutchinson saw the same man. If they did, it greatly increases the chance that it was JtR. Their descriptions are similar in a number of other respects such as approximate height and complexion.

I don’t buy into the idea of Jack as “The Man of a Thousand Faces”, but with police activity as great as it was by the time of Kelly’s murder he may well have changed the more obvious items of his clothing. Furthermore, knowing that Lawende had seen him, the red handkerchief would then have been tucked into an inside pocket.

As to the doubts over Hutchinson’s honesty: I agree that his complete statement is odd in a number of respects but feel that this could be due to mis-reporting and Hutch fully exploiting his 15 minutes of fame. To finesse a detail like the red hanky would surely have been beyond him.

My apologies if you guys have discussed this snippet previously.
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Old 11-15-2008, 02:03 AM
Ben Ben is offline
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Hi Autolycus, and welcome.

It's important to bear in mind that Lawende's "red neckerchief" detail was very much in the public domain by the time Hutchinson came forward with his statement, which meant that Hutchinson could easily have "borrowed" the hanky detail to lend superficial credence to his own account. There are indications that he "used" other bits and pieces from other witness accounts too; the small parcel/package detail is reminiscent of PC Smith's account and that of Fanny Mortimer, and the "walked very softly" recalls Mary Ann Cox's statement.

I'd agree with your conclusion if it could be satisfactorily demonstrated that Hutchinson and Lawende were independently corroborative, but unfortunately, that wasn't the case.

Best regards,
Ben
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Old 11-15-2008, 02:19 AM
Sam Flynn Sam Flynn is offline
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...besides, I suspect that the "red neckerchief, tied in a knot" that Lawende recalled was a decidedly manky affair, judging by the rest of his man's attire. Hutchinson's man, in contrast, was remarkably well-dressed - certainly the type to have owned more than one handkerchief, and not the sort of man who'd tie one around his Gregory of an evening.
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  #4  
Old 02-07-2009, 07:47 PM
Shelley
 
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Stride and Kelly were different age groups, Kelly was young and pretty, so it is possible that she could have picked up a man that was well enough dressed in any case. It's probable that Hutchinson did borrow some accounts from other witnesses, his memory was probably pretty hazy as to who Kelly would have been with as she turned again her hand at prostitution and he would just have simply believed that Kelly was a Ripper victim as well. I don't believe myself that Kelly was a Ripper Victim, it seems to me more likely that she was a domestic killing, domestic kilings can be nastier because of the run of high emotions involved.
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Old 02-07-2009, 07:58 PM
Ben Ben is offline
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Hi Shelley,

I doubt very much that anyone selecting for youth and relative beauty in their prostitutes would have bee-lined for a locality reputed for it's vicious and semi-criminal element and it's slum-like enviroment, especially if they had the obvious affluence and opulence to go elsewhere. The details of his suspect's appearence tend to point away from a hazy memory, and more in the direction of a conscious effort to fabricate.

Regards,
Ben
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Old 02-09-2009, 01:02 AM
Shelley
 
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Hi Shelley,

I doubt very much that anyone selecting for youth and relative beauty in their prostitutes would have bee-lined for a locality reputed for it's vicious and semi-criminal element and it's slum-like enviroment, especially if they had the obvious affluence and opulence to go elsewhere. The details of his suspect's appearence tend to point away from a hazy memory, and more in the direction of a conscious effort to fabricate.

Regards,
Ben
Hi Ben,
Miller's court was actually quite close to Commercial Street where Mary Kelly lived, Booth's map indicates that Commercial Street was a middle class area, and yes Miller's court where Kelly lived was a semi-criminal vicious area, but less than 4 minutes walk into middle class area.
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Old 02-09-2009, 01:32 AM
Nemo Nemo is offline
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I made a previous post that was lost in the crash regarding red kerchiefs

If I remember correctly, William Bury's wife wore a reddish brown ulster and sported a red kerchief.

I tentatively suggested the kerchief was a trigger to Bury - reminding him of his wife.

Mary Nichols wore a reddish brown ulster
Annie and Catherine had red on their neckerchiefs (I think Annie also had red striped stockings and Catherine had a red thread repair to one of her boots.
Liz had the red flower.

It is a possibility the victims were selected for what they wore/looked like - maybe not by Bury though

It is one thing if the Ripper selected his victim like this - quite another if he was prepared to "set-up" his fantasy situation by providing his intended victim with the prop - the red neckerchief
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Old 02-09-2009, 03:46 AM
Ben Ben is offline
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Quote:
Booth's map indicates that Commercial Street was a middle class area
Not really, Shelley.

It indicates that some parts of the streets were middle class, not all of it or even most of it. I note with interest that some of the red-shaded "middle class" locations were actually pubs, and since the permanent residents there would have been the pub landlords and their families, we're left with a pretty good idea of what was meant by "middle class and well to do", i.e. not hugely wealthy and opulent.
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:04 PM
Shelley
 
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Not really, Shelley.

It indicates that some parts of the streets were middle class, not all of it or even most of it. I note with interest that some of the red-shaded "middle class" locations were actually pubs, and since the permanent residents there would have been the pub landlords and their families, we're left with a pretty good idea of what was meant by "middle class and well to do", i.e. not hugely wealthy and opulent.
Your Right Ben, not all of commercial street was coloured in deep red to indicate it was all middle class-well to do, but most of it was, the other high coloured bits were just the beige/pinky beige classifying it as mixed, some comfortable and others not. Whether any of these indicate a middle class where a public house may be, it's besdies the point, classification is classification and i can't see that all the blocks for indication for middle-class well to do would all be public houses.......Wow, that's a pub crawl and a half!

Last edited by Shelley : 02-10-2009 at 10:05 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:41 PM
Sam Flynn Sam Flynn is offline
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Shelley,

We need to be very careful with the term "middle-class" and "well-to-do" here. They are emphatically not congruent with their modern counterparts, or even their Victorian ones for that matter - they were relative terms, rather than absolutes. Booth certainly had no definitive information about specific incomes, but relied instead on interviews with locals, as well as some information about the occupations of people living in each street at the time.

Remember that Booth's work was designated a "Descriptive Map of London Poverty", and this is how it started out. It began as an exercise in mapping the poverty in Tower Hamlets (or "Whitechapel", in broad terms), but was soon extended to cover other parts of the metropolis. That being the case, I shouldn't wonder that Booth would have preferred to fine-tune his colour scheme from the outset, because he seems to have literally painted himself into a corner. As it turns out, it boils down to pretty much "Yellows" (households with 3 or more servants) and "The Rest" .

In other words, the truly "well-to-do" (Lords and Ladies, high-flying politicians, wealthy bankers and merchants) are all lumped under the "Yellow" category, along with members of the "true" middle-classes with whom they wouldn't have been seen dead.

The top-end of the "Red" category comprised households with one or two of the serving classes in residence, and under this category Booth included publicans, shopkeepers and clerks. This ain't the "middle-classes" by any general definition, although by Spitalfields standards it was almost as good as it got.
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