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truebluedub
02-01-2009, 07:02 PM
I decided to look at the account of Hutchinson given by his supposed son to Melvyn Fairclough in 'The Ripper and the Royals' (1991/2003) usually this is dismissed just because of which book it appears in, which really is insufficient a reason to dismiss it.

First the account:
"Hutchinson's seventy-four-year-old son, Reginald Hutchinson, whom Joseph Sickert and I interviewed recently (May 1992), thinks otherwise. 'Reg' worked with his father for many years and was very close to him. 'Dad took careful note of details,' he said, 'and could remember things accurately. Part of his job was to work out estimates, and, no matter how big the job, he always remembered exactly which materials were needed, and in what quantities, without ever writing it down.' (245)
'I remember,' said Reg, 'he mentioned several times that he knew one of the women and was interviewed by the police, but I'd never seen his actual statement until today, when you came round. But if that's what he said, that's what he saw. Dad was a very down-to-earth man, and didn't elaborate anything. It just wasn't in his nature. He knew more than he told though, but he kept it close to his chest. Whenever the subject of Jack the Ripper came up, as it often did in the East End in the twenties and thirties, because many people who were there when it happened were still alive, he used to say: "It was more to do with the Royal Family than ordinary people." And when asked who he thought it was he always said: "It was some one like Lord Randolph Churchill." Until you told me that about Abberline's diaries and that he named Churchill, I thought my father was merely saying that in his opinion the murderer was someone high up, like Churchill. Now I can see that he knew all along that the man he saw actually was Churchill, but he didn't want to come straight out with it. He said that at the time he was paid a hundred shillings, but he never said why. Perhaps he was paid to keep quiet about what really happened, and say nothing about what he really knew.' (246)

Time to look at this as a piece of oral history:

As with any qualitative account we have to work on the assumption that Reginald Hutchinson (from now on RH) was being totally honest.

The account was given to Royal Conspiracy theorists and this has to be kept in mind (I will return to this towards the end of this post).

The only point in this argument that can be confirmed in the police files is "'I remember,' said Reg, 'he mentioned several times that he knew one of the women and was interviewed by the police"

On the face of it this is 'our' GH, however there are problems:

As Stewart P. Evans has shown the RCT cannot be traced further than the 1960's http://www.casebook.org/dissertations/dst-evansorigins.html. However it is not impossible that vernacular accounts predate that, it is unlikely in this case as there is considerable evidence that RG's account has been contaminated by the researchers: "Until you told me that about Abberline's diaries and that he named Churchill, I thought my father was merely saying that in his opinion the murderer was someone high up, like Churchill. Now I can see that he knew all along that the man he saw actually was Churchill" (1)
This contamination has implications for believing this is our GH "I'd never seen his actual statement until today, when you came round." It is probable that RH's father had stories about Jack the Ripper but poor interviewing has rendered it valueless as this account may be an attempt to reconcile old information with new info. This interview should have been conducted in an open ended fashion, the interviewers should have asked what RH had heard in his childhood or later about JTR, and if he raised for example 'he mentioned several times that he knew one of the women and was interviewed by the police' try and draw more out from him on that point.
With this in mind this account is of little value for determining if this is our GH.

(1) Contamination could have entered the narrative through other sources, considering the popularity of the RCT.

Regards,
Chris Lowe

Ben
02-01-2009, 07:46 PM
Hi Chris,

With this in mind this account is of little value for determining if this is our GH.

True enough, although it serves as a very reasonable indicator that Toppy wasn't the witness of Kelly notoriety.

Besides the inescapable impression that the interviewers had contaminated the evidence, as you suggest, by effectively telling Reg who his father was and was he said, it's equally significant that the biographical details we do learn about are not compatible with those of the real individual. For example, we're told that Toppy cultivated the habit of taking "careful notes" and "remembering things accurately" as a result working as a plumber (who was "rarely, if ever, out of work" with his father. This is impossible to reconcile with the real Hutchinson's claim to have been a labourer who was formerly employed as a groom.

Then of course there's the total mismatch when it came to the handwriting comparison.

I would add, though, that at times it appears that Reg was rather too willing to embrace the views of the interviewers, and it can't be ignored that he was pinning such statements on his dad as "It was someone like Lord Randolph Churchill" and "It was more to do with the Royal Family than other people". I can't quite shake the suspicion that Sickert and Fairclough simply blitz-contacted anyone living in the right area with the surname Hutchinson, and that, in answer to the question "Are you related to the George Hutchinson who claimed to have seen one of Jack the Ripper's victim", they were simply met with a willing "Ummm....yeah".

I'd agree that the interview was pretty useless for bolstering the case for Toppy as the witness in question, but spoke volumes for the likelihood that he wasn't.

Best regards,
Ben

Bob Hinton
02-02-2009, 11:54 AM
I find that contamination of information is a big problem when interviewing people. If you lay out what you believe then you will often find that subconsciously or otherwise the interviewee’s version will subtly change to take account of this.

My golden rules are quite simple. Always tape record the interview. This has two functions, one you can always check back on what was actually said and two you can check that you are not giving any hints albeit innocently.

Two, don’t ask questions just let the person talk. You will get a lot of garbage using this method but it will pay dividends in the end.

One of my most successful interviews concerned the great, great grandson of a murderer. I had my own theories about the case but when I met him I just said ‘Tell me what you know about the incident”. He then recounted everything he knew including a very detailed oral tradition that had been handed down. I was really pleased with this as the oral tradition completely backed up my own theory on the case. It isn’t proof, of course not, but it is quite satisfying to know that your own ideas are not so outlandish after all!

ChrisGeorge
02-02-2009, 12:32 PM
Hello Chris, Bob, and Ben

Chris, quoting Fairclough you said:

"'I remember,' said Reg, 'he mentioned several times that he knew one of the women and was interviewed by the police, but I'd never seen his actual statement until today, when you came round. But if that's what he said, that's what he saw. Dad was a very down-to-earth man, and didn't elaborate anything. It just wasn't in his nature. . . .'"

You know, I wonder if it isn't beyond the realm of possibility that this could have been a second George Hutchinson who happened to have been interviewed by the police about the murders, maybe not the Kelly murder but one of the others? There was the George Hutchinson who saw Kelly and Astrakhan man and who gave the statement to Abberline, but then there was this other George Hutchinson who was interviewed among the many thousands of East Enders who spoke to the police during the enquiry?

Of course, Reg, being approached by Fairclough, and maybe not knowing much about the murders beyond vague details, would think that it was his father who made the statement. So it's a natural mistake to make.

As for George Hutchinson saying anything about the Royal conspiracy, that's just the same gossip that any East Ender or person who lived at the time might know and repeat, so it doesn't mean anything. It's akin to Billy Graham in the Maybrick Diary affair saying he knew something about Jack the Ripper and Maybrick but it's really only stuff anyone might know and say. Although Fairclough, like Paul Feldman, because of their need to believe in the Royal story or Maybrick, respectively, sees significance in what this George Hutchinson had to say, when there actually is none in terms of actually knowing what the murders were all about.

All the best

Chris

Jeff Leahy
02-02-2009, 12:44 PM
Yes I think you should be very careful considering a TV interview as ‘Oral History’ unless that was the aim of the TV production.

Interviewing by its very nature requires the Producer/Director to get his question into the talking head, as it’s the only way to cut the interview in edit.

So it is normal procedure for the Director to ask the interviewee to put his question at the beginning of the sentence. This creates an easy sound bite that can be edited making ‘sense’ when used as a ‘Stand alone’.

So if I wanted to know what you had for breakfast “Egg bacon and tomato’ would not be a very good reply. I would try and get you to say “What I had for breakfast this morning was egg, bacon and tomato.”

I’m not saying that TV fabricates things but there are some necessities when creating a program for getting clean sound bites out of people, and this is an art form in itself.

Yours Pirate

Chava
02-06-2009, 03:47 AM
How old was this kid's father? The boy was born in 1918 if his age is given correctly. Which is 30 years after Hutchinson gave his immortal statement to Abberline. It's not impossible, of course. But by the time the kid was old enough to hear Ripper stories, Dad must have been getting on in years. If Hutch was 25 or so at the time of the Kelly killing, then he's 55 when he has little Reg there. And I assume he doesn't tell Reg all the nasty truth before he's at least 12 or 14. Maybe even later. Must have had a wonderful imagination..ahem...memory for an old codger.

richardnunweek
02-06-2009, 12:18 PM
Hi,
I can almost see one or two people squirming , however I simple have to repeat my party piece.
I appreciate that 'The Ripper and the Royals' has been cast aside by many as being a complete farce, and because of that Reg Hutchinson was branded an accomplice to Fairclough, and words were feed into the conspiracy angle to the story.
However back in the early-mid 1970s without faircloughs intervention, Reg did [yes did] appear in a radio programme which was intitled something like 'The man that saw jack' he featured in the end part of the programme, and mentioned that his father told him he saw the woman he knew with a man dressed respectably.
He stated that he assisted the police, and he was paid a sum of money equivilent to five pounds[ five guineas/hundred shillings] and stated it was his fathers biggest regret that nothing came of it.
The above is a true account of what I heard, alas sadly no one on casebook can verify it, therefore it remains 'Good on Nunners' we dont disbelief him, but what does it prove?
I would say it says quite a bit, remember this radio show[ advertised in the radio times[fact]] was some 18years before Fairclough arrived on the scene, and before any such thing as Casebook was invented, infact at that time Barnett was just the poor man that had lost his common law in terrible consequences, and George Hutchinson was just a witness of the 9th november, not a mugger. pimp. liar. an alias for Fleming, or indeed a murderer, infact until Bob wrote his excellent book, nothing more then a witness with good observation.
All Reg did on that radio show was to say he was the son of a witness, and most certainly not a notorious one, he did not aquire instant fame, or reconigtion from that oral broadcast, magazines were not waving their checkbooks, neither did Russell harty plead with him to be a quest on his show.
No big deal, its a bit like Mrs Longs grandson saying 'My granny saw a man with a woman just before she was killed... intresting but not a lie.
And last but not least.
The only mention of any payment to George Hutchinson came from a rare publication 'The wheelers directory' it states that the witness was paid the sum of approx five weeks wages for his assistance.
It is extremely unlikely that George Hutchinson had access to that report during his lifetime, and the same applies to Reg, infact even Casebook were not made aware of its exsistance until recently.
That regardless of anything else is a reasonable assumption to make.
It is irrelevant that the police apparently dismisssed his account[ according to the press] was that before, or after he received that healthy sum of cash?
Regards Richard.

Bob Hinton
02-06-2009, 12:46 PM
Once again Richard is trying to put snippets before us and demands that we take them as 'fact'. For example he says in his latest post:

I would say it says quite a bit, remember this radio show[ advertised in the radio times[fact]] was some 18years before Fairclough arrived on the scene

How many times Richard? THIS IS NOT A FACT!!!!! It is something that you believe to be true but cannot find anything at all to back it up. Not one other person on these boards can remember such a thing; exhaustive searches of the BBC archives and back copies of Radio Times have turned up nothing. There is not one scrap, not one iota not one slightest hint that this programme ever existed yet you still keep demanding we accept it as a fact!

I have done my best to find it for you, I even turned up a Radio Script about Jack the Ripper that was broadcast about the time your broadcast was supposed to have aired and it didn’t contain anything in it along the lines you suggest.

I sincerely hope that one day you will find this programme and then present the evidence to us – but even if you do it will still not be proof, merely what someone who is now dead might or not of said to someone who is now also dead.

Bob Hinton
02-06-2009, 12:51 PM
Richard you have to stop twisting details to fit your story. According to you Reg stated that his father was paid £5.

Now again according to you this is backed up by an account in Wheelers Directory which states the same. But it doesn't there is no mention of £5 in Wheelers directory simply five weeks wages which can be zero if the man is out of work to anything you like.

Those two things are not the same, and besides the interview with Reg took the form of giving him all the information first and then him saying "That's right" which is not an interview at all.

You then go on to say:

It is irrelevant that the police apparently dismisssed his account[ according to the press] was that before, or after he received that healthy sum of cash?

Again you offer no evidence that this ever happened just expect us to accept your word. If you come on the boards and post a picture of a petty cash voucher from a file in the archives, which you give the full reference to, stating that the sum of £5 was paid to Mr George Hutchinson on 13th November 1888 and signed by a police officer, that is evidence. Anything else is just wishful thinking.

richardnunweek
02-06-2009, 01:37 PM
Bob,
With respect as much as I enjoyed your book[ fact] you will be the first to acknowledge I am sure, that a lot of it was sheer speculation based on possible happenings.
I appreciate you admitted you fingered the wrong GH, and respect is due to you for that honesty.
My story however is not speculation, such a radio programme did exist, regardless of casebook members not hearing the broadcast life, we are after all talking of an event some thirty five years ago, and it therefore [ because it was aired] is a fact that any transcript of that programme [ if in exsistance]would have contained exactly what I have maintained rigidly for many years, infact ever since I heard it..
The sum of five pounds was mentioned, although five guineas, or one hundred shillings i believe was the way it was mentioned, and if one takes the average manual worker as earning around a guinea a week back in 1888, then five weeks wages [ average] would approx total that amount..
My whole reason for sticking to my guns on this issue is ,it would appear to me that Reg Hutchinson was simply relaying the truth to anyone who asked him , even though I would accept that the version of a well dressed man with Lord Randolph appearance, would have suited Faircloughs theory, and would be a asset to his publication in his eyes.
I cannot present proof Bob, it was advertised in the Radio times, I distinctly remember reading it, otherwise I would not have sat myself down on my aunts leather settee, and tuned in to the 40minute airing, simply I would not have known it was on.
I fail to see why it is so impossible why Gwt D.O.B 1/10/66 is not the George Hutchinson of fame, is the handwritten evidence absolutely gospel?
I realise that my insistance annoys you Bob, also my spelling, also my phrases, etc, etc, but I will always believe, until proven otherwise, that Regs father was George Hutchinson, and that he relayed his story to his son as stated, that is not to say that it contains all the truth.
Regards Richard.

Ben
02-06-2009, 02:29 PM
Hi Richard,

No police force was remotely likely to have paid off a witness, otherwise they'd be bombareded with false "witnesses" all eager to be paid off for their stories, and as Bob mentioned, 5 times the salary of a man currently out of work would have amounted to zero pounds. Besides which, you ignore the fact that the alleged "pay-off" was for entirely different reasons. In the Wheeling Register, under the heading of "Gossip" we're told that a man who had "invented" a description had been paid to accompany police round the district, whereas according to Reg, he was paid to keep quiet about what he "really knew".

however I simple have to repeat my party piece.

No you don't, Richard.

Regards,
Ben

richardnunweek
02-06-2009, 02:53 PM
Hello Ben,
It all boils down to interpretation, and who one chooses to believe.
Pray tell me if George Hutchinson was unemployed how he was able to stay at the Victoria home, I was not under the impression that it was a a hostel for the unemployed.
He told kelly that sorry he had no money as he had spent all going to Romford, how many times have you said a similar line to a friend in need?
Reg in my opinion was used by fairclough to enhance his theory, and Hutchinson seniors posh gent was just what the doctor ordered.
According to Reg, his father never told him exactly what the payment was for, so speculation was the order of the day.
I would never suggest that the payment of witnesses was normal practise, for the very reasons you suggested, however if GH did venture out and assist the police then he could well have received payment, it hardly is uncommon for payments to be made nowadays to informers, and expenses occured by helpers.
George hutchinson whoever he was, must have at least occupied himself with casual work, even if he was not employed in his normal profession at that time.
So what is meant by 5 times zero =zero, you and Bob are simply making a assumption, not based on logic, in order to reject a point made by yours truely to back up the story of Reg.
Regards Richard.

Ben
02-06-2009, 09:46 PM
Hi Richard,

Pray tell me if George Hutchinson was unemployed how he was able to stay at the Victoria home, I was not under the impression that it was a a hostel for the unemployed.

Well, exactly.

That's another aspect of Hutchinson's account that doesn't add up.

That doesn't ennervate the more germane point that he told the police that he was temporarily unemployed, and the police clearly believed him when he said so (at that stage, at least). As far as the police were concerned, he was temporarily unemployed and therefore not entitled to reimbursement for money he wasn't even earning.

He told kelly that sorry he had no money as he had spent all going to Romford, how many times have you said a similar line to a friend in need?

Not very often as it happens, but I'm not sure what point you're making. Cherry-picking one innocuous snippet from an otherwise implausible and suspicious account and claiming that it makes the rest of it believable is obviously fallacious.

I would never suggest that the payment of witnesses was normal practise, for the very reasons you suggested, however if GH did venture out and assist the police then he could well have received payment

Extremely unlikely.

If one witness came forward and received payment, the police would have been deluged with other "witnesses" as soon as that payment was made public knowledge. It wasn't as if Hutchinson had any choice in the matter. If police wanted him to accompany them round the district to aid in the biggest manhunt London had ever witnessed, it wouldn't be a question of "Awww...please come!". He would have been obliged to jump to it. It certainly is uncommon for police to pay witnesses and informers, especially the ones that couldn't claim a loss of earning.

So what is meant by 5 times zero =zero, you and Bob are simply making a assumption, not based on logic

Well that's just utter bumkum, Richard.

All we've done is dismiss the fallacy that two highly dubious sources - a bloke who said his dad saw Lord Randolph Churchill in a discredited book, and a press article that was headlined "Gossip" despite that gossip being contradicted by aall other press sources - somehow equate to good provenance.

Regards,
Ben

Bob Hinton
02-07-2009, 01:12 PM
Dear Richard

In your post you say:

I realise that my insistance annoys you Bob, also my spelling, also my phrases, etc, etc, but I will always believe, until proven otherwise, that Regs father was George Hutchinson

Lets take this in order. First of all your spelling and phraseology have improved beyond all recognition – top marks for effort there! Somewhat similar to another poster “Hoo culdent spel becos ime dysxwlic”, who after being taken to task strangely enough managed to find where the spell checker lived and now offers posts that have improved out of all recognition.

However it is the part that says:

, but I will always believe, until proven otherwise, that Regs father was George Hutchinson

But that is not the way it works. You are putting forward the theory that Reg’s father was the GH. This is your theory and up to you to prove it – it is not up to others to disprove it. In my book I always made quite sure the reader could differentiate between what was fact and what I thought was fact.

You need to focus your mind on accuracy, for example I notice you keep saying £5 or 5 guineas, treating them as the same thing. They are not. A guinea was £1 1s so £5 would be 100 shillings and 5 guineas would be 105 shillings, in those days a considerable difference. Unless you can nail down points like this you will never get anywhere.

Brenda
02-07-2009, 02:29 PM
Hi Richard -
about your radio program, do you recall if this interview was presented as a "companion piece"? For example, here in the US, it is unusual for historical events to be portrayed in the popular media unless it ties in to something, like the anniversary of the event a book or movie being released, some kind of new evidence found, that sort of thing.

Also, was the entire broadcast interviewing GH's son, or were there other things covered during it also?

Does Reg Hutchinson have descendents?

David Knott
02-07-2009, 02:51 PM
I contacted the family last year. They were extremely helpful, but did ask that I didn't post their information on the internet, so I have to respect that.

I did ask them about the radio interview, however, and let's just say that if it did ever happen, then some members of the family that would have surely known about it at the time can no longer remember anything about it ever taking place.

This, combined with other information, makes me 99.99% sure that Reg never appeared in such a radio interview.

Jeff Leahy
02-07-2009, 03:00 PM
OK Bob Hinton, lets get this absolutely straight once and for all before you wonder around these boards in your own little fantasy world spilling your own brand of up your own *** Dyslexic xenophobia.

People with Dyslexia simply have Dyslexia. They are born that way; they are permanently disabled for life. It happens in the womb. It is the result of damage between the two halves of the brain.

At no point do Dyslexics get any better or any worse (unless tiered). They don’t miss –spell things to deliberately upset ‘crotchety old Welshman with a xenophobic attitudes, they simply do not notice that letters and words are missing when they check them back…its that simple…

FACT-Pirate Jack always puts his posts through word and spell check. And has apologized, if while posting in haste in ‘pub talk’ one night he did not….however he always try’s his best to make posts as clear as possible and uses Spell checks..

FACT-Spell checks have there limitations for Dyslexics because they only show words that are miss –spelled, so spelling errors that are actually words do not show up.

It is clear, that like Carol Thatcher, that you simply enjoy causing offence to people.

As I said before Bob while I find it frightening that people like Ally might be left in-charge of impressionable young children who suffer from Dyslexia. I only feel pity for someone who claims his own brother suffers from dyslexia, can treat people the way he does. Especially a man who views himself as a Historian, an Author, and man of learning.

Why do I find you and Ally’s attitude to Dyslexia so offensive? Well one of my earliest memories of school was being made to stay in every play time, while the offer kids went out to play, and being made to write the alphabet over and over again till I got it right.

Of course I never managed to write it correctly and never understood why. And the witch of a teacher who made is do it, never bothered to show me the error I was making.

I have however learned to stand up against such repulsive people.

Pirate

Jeff Leahy
02-07-2009, 04:34 PM
P.S. Just as a perfect example of what I am trying to knock into Bobs rather dense skull is the example above of the word ‘OFFER’

Clearly this word is meant to read ‘OTHER’ as a dyslexic I know exactly what I mean and even how to spell OTHER. However somewhere in writing the line it got muddled in my brain and I wrote the word OFFER. This did not show up as a spelling error because it is NOT according to the spell check. I must have checked this post several times. However when I read it, I only see the word OTHER. Its only when I come back at a later time that my brain registers the error.

I don’t do this to irritate or annoy anyone. Unfortunately its how my brain works. And no amount of petty insults aimed at Dyslexics is ever going to change that. They simply are the way they are. FACT.

Brenda
02-07-2009, 06:24 PM
I contacted the family last year. They were extremely helpful, but did ask that I didn't post their information on the internet, so I have to respect that.

I did ask them about the radio interview, however, and let's just say that if it did ever happen, then some members of the family that would have surely known about it at the time can no longer remember anything about it ever taking place.

This, combined with other information, makes me 99.99% sure that Reg never appeared in such a radio interview.

Wow! Is there anything you are able to tell us about your meeting with Reg's family? I'll bet that was an interesting meeting.

Slimsid2000
02-07-2009, 07:31 PM
I find it hard to believe that Lord Randolph Churchill was JTR. There would be a pretty awful irony though if it was him - Sir Winston Churchill was vote the gretest Briton of all time and JTR was voted the worst Briton of all time.

But as I say I think he is a very unlikely candidate.

David Knott
02-07-2009, 07:45 PM
Hi Brenda

We corresponded rather than meeting in person, and like I say, they requested that I didn't post the information on the internet.

Essentially I wanted to establish whether or not G W T Hutchinson was really the Kelly witness. In this respect I failed - I still don't know.

There were three main objections to G W T Hutchinson being the right man: -
1. Known biographical details did not seem to tie in
2. Lack of corroborative support for Reg's story
3. Bob H had already discovered that his signature did not match those on the witness statement

In my opinion, and trying not to give too much away, 1 is no longer an issue, 2 is definitely an issue, and 3 is only an issue if you believe that the signatures on the witness statement were Hutchinson's, but as the signatures on each page are very different from each other, there must be a fair argument to say that none of them are actually Hutchinson's.

David

Ben
02-07-2009, 07:53 PM
Hi David,

There's a fair argument to be made that only one of the signatures was Hutchinson's, but it would be far less convicing to argue that none of them were. In fact, the differences between them would most strongly suggest that Hutchinson had signed the first page, but someone else may have been responsible for the other two.

I would have to disagree that "1 is no longer an issue".

The biographical incompatibility is crucial. The lack of corroboration of Reg's story is not as problematic for me as the actual content of his account, and it's association with a discredited Royal Conspiracy theory and the accompanying proposal of Churchill as Mr. Astrakhan the Ripper is unquestionaly a "con" (in both senses of the word!)

Best regards,
Ben

David Knott
02-07-2009, 08:45 PM
Hi Ben,

Well, 1 is no longer an issue for me in the sense that there were previously strong question marks over whether GTWH would have been in the East End at the time, and also there was the suggestion that he was always a plumber.
It's only a personal opinion, but from the information provided neither of those now stand in the way of me believing that GTWH was the witness ... I don't believe that there is any longer a major 'biographical incompatibility'.

The lack of corroboration in itself would be a small concern to me, but coupled with other information provided it is an enormous concern.

As to the signature, I think it perfectly possible that none of them are Hutchinson's.

But if I had to get off the fence, I would come down on the side that GTWH was not the witness.

David

Ben
02-07-2009, 09:01 PM
Hi David,

There's no evidence that he couldn't have been in the East End at the time, certainly, but there's equally no evidence that he had any East End connections until he met a girl who came from the East End in a music hall several years after the murders in 1895, whom he subsequently married. There are at least three other "George Hutchinsons" in the census records who can at least attest to East End connections at the right time.

More biographically problematic to my mind is the recorded occupation of Toppy, which had ostensibly been that of a plumber all his life, apprenticed by his father as soon as he become of age, and who was "rarely, if ever out of work". That simply doesn't compute with someone who was an unemployed former labourer by the age of 22.

I believe the spidery-scrawl signature on the first page was Hutchinson's, and that the latter two may have been added subsequently by a policemen who had perhaps forgotten that official protocal dictated that all pages should have been signed.

Best regards,
Ben

David Knott
02-07-2009, 09:33 PM
Hi Ben,

What I'm trying to say is that I agreed with the points you make before I contacted the family, but now I don't.

There are more than reasonable grounds to believe that he was not a plumber in 1888, and there are links with the East End. I just haven't posted them.

Where are you getting the information that he was apprenticed by his father? Certainly his father was also a plumber, but the evidence I have suggests that he was not apprenticed by his father, and was very possibly not living with his father in 1888.

Like I said though, for me he probably wasn't the witness. I had a number of objections before I contacted the family, some of which have now disappeared, but others of which are now greater than they were before.

David

Ben
02-07-2009, 09:46 PM
Hi David,

Yes, I remember you saying you felt it less likely that Toppy was the witness after you'd been in contact with the family.

I'm only going on the strength of Reg's claims to the effect that his father worked as a plumber and was "rarely, if ever out of work". Given the paucity of employment opportunities, I naturally assumed that he took advantage of his father's connections and experience to obtain work. I'd be extremely surprised if he didn't take that opportunity, and became a plumber entirely independently of his plumbing father, but if your source says otherwise, fair enough. He needn't have lived with his father in 1888, but if he wasn't a plumber by that stage, it would certainly militate against Reg's claims.

I don't doubt that he became acquainted with the East End, but not until after he met his "East End" wife in 1895.

Best regards,
Ben

Bob Hinton
02-08-2009, 03:09 PM
You’ve got to hand it to Mr Pirate, nothing like a good rant to brighten up a chilly morning!

Not quite sure what who he is referring to as an “old Welshman with a xenophobic attitudes”.

According to my dictionary xenophobia means “intense or irrational fear of people from other countries”. I didn’t realise that Dyslexia was a country!

So I really don’t consider myself xenophobic, actually I don’t consider myself a Welshman since I was born in England.

So 10 out of 10 for ranting (although the hair pulling could use some work) but nothing at all for accuracy.

How did I know that Mr Pirate would be against Carol Thatcher!

No Mr Pirate if I deliberately wanted to offend you I might lower myself to your level and borrow your burgeoning lexicon of offensive words. I do find it slightly amusing that people like you find it impossible to carry on a discussion or debate without resorting almost immediately to personal abuse.

Well you carry on being a foul mouth yob Mr Pirate, and I’ll carry on being me!

The thing is that you’ve already admitted that your poor presentation before was as a result of sheer laziness, which is exactly what Ally and I said it was. Since then your posts have improved, in structure if not content, immeasurably.

As for you finding things offensive I really don’t care what you find offensive. Why do assume the rest of the world must tip toe around in case we offend you? Where is it written that no one must ever offend you in any way? Why don’t you stop to consider that people might find your rather immature name calling offensive. Or is it that no one is allowed to offend Mr Pirate but he reserves the right to offend everyone else?

richardnunweek
02-08-2009, 09:35 PM
Hi David,
With respect my friend if you are a betting man[ I am] then your 99.9 percent would be classed a a sure thing, but dont wager on it David, because you, along with Regs relatives, and the entire legions of Casebook will lose their hard earned cash.
I heard that broadcast, and during the last quarter of the airing, the son of the witness was heard discussing his fathers character, like which was to be included in the 'Ripper and the Royals'.some eighteen years later.
We know that Faircloughs informer was Reg Hutchinson, and we know that his father was Gwt Hutchinson, so unless someone impersonated Reg on that broadcast, I would suggest that he recorded that tape, and it was the voice of the late Reg Hutchinson that yours truely exclusively heard.
With respect to the relatives, it was after all some thirty five years ago, also the wavelength was not a popular one[ cant remember which], but it most definately advertised in the radio times, simply because I remember reading it a few days previously.
It was to my knowledge advertised as 'The man that saw Jack' and apart from a summary of the Ripper case, concentrated on what the witness Hutchinson observed on the early hours of the 9th November, I remember that at the end of the tape the man who appears to have Reg stated 'My father said it was his 'biggest regret,' that dispite his efforts he was unable to get any result.
Some events tend to stick in the mind, and even though thirty five years is a long time past, i can remember vividly sitting on my aunts settee , and listening to that broadcast [ approx forty minutes].
Regards Richard.

Ben
02-09-2009, 02:55 AM
It's a bummer when you can remember something but can't produce the goods, Rich. It's like that damned confession from the archives of Claybury asylum. Just can't seem to find the dratted thing. ;)

Jeff Leahy
02-09-2009, 03:47 AM
You’ve got to hand it to Mr Pirate, nothing like a good rant to brighten up a chilly morning!

Not quite sure what who he is referring to as an “old Welshman with a xenophobic attitudes”.

According to my dictionary xenophobia means “intense or irrational fear of people from other countries”. I didn’t realise that Dyslexia was a country!

So I really don’t consider myself xenophobic, actually I don’t consider myself a Welshman since I was born in England.

So 10 out of 10 for ranting (although the hair pulling could use some work) but nothing at all for accuracy.

How did I know that Mr Pirate would be against Carol Thatcher!

No Mr Pirate if I deliberately wanted to offend you I might lower myself to your level and borrow your burgeoning lexicon of offensive words. I do find it slightly amusing that people like you find it impossible to carry on a discussion or debate without resorting almost immediately to personal abuse.

Well you carry on being a foul mouth yob Mr Pirate, and I’ll carry on being me!

The thing is that you’ve already admitted that your poor presentation before was as a result of sheer laziness, which is exactly what Ally and I said it was. Since then your posts have improved, in structure if not content, immeasurably.

As for you finding things offensive I really don’t care what you find offensive. Why do assume the rest of the world must tip toe around in case we offend you? Where is it written that no one must ever offend you in any way? Why don’t you stop to consider that people might find your rather immature name calling offensive. Or is it that no one is allowed to offend Mr Pirate but he reserves the right to offend everyone else?

Clearly your failour to understand the English Language speaks for it self. I suggest you look up the word ‘FOREIGN’ which states: of or from or situated in or characteristic, a country or language other than ones own.

So as you can see I choose my words carefully which is more than can be said for you.

Never had an accident in his life, Bob Hinton…seen thousands.

Lets just remind ourselves who actually started this abuse and xenophobic behaviour (i.e. act against a foreign language) which is what, from a perspective, Dyslexia is.

And of course I berate Carol Thatcher for her insidious racial abuse. Surprise, Surprise we have Bob Hinton sticking up for her. Speaks loads doesn’t it.

As for ‘offensive’ let me remind everyone that Bob Hinton Started this attack on Dyslexics. And clearly re-started that attack on this thread. I merely want to show the world the sort of narrow-minded bigot that he is.

Even more ironic (you better look that word up Bob) that you choose to berate people about ranting while choosing to rant about them…

You might be able to spell, but when it comes to actually contacting the grey matter between the two halves of your brain…well your pour old, supposedly normal brain never really got off the starting blocks did it…

As for your accusation that until you pointed out the fact that I couldn’t spell (which news flash everyone else on casebook has known for a long long time) that I’d never used a spell check. Well its utter ******** like most of the posting that you create around here….

As for whether or not you are offended. Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn.

I make the effort to try and make my posts as legible as possible out of consideration to the majority of posters on casebook, who are actually interested in JtR rather than making themselves seem important.

Pirate

richardnunweek
02-09-2009, 11:44 AM
Hi Ben,
But I am not maintaining that I had come across earth shattering revelations, just a forty minute obscure radio broadcast that proberly had a audience of a few hundred.
I can not produce the goods for it appears that nobody has come across a copy of the relevant radio times which advertised it..
The case of JTR, will never be solved with absolute proof, these boards are full of people that [ including myself] confidently believe they know best, and get annoyed when their opinions are slated.
I happen to believe that is no great deal that its a good possibility that Gwt was the man in question.
So what.?
Its not the identity thats important, just the truth of his account.
Regards Richard.

Bob Hinton
02-09-2009, 12:23 PM
Dear Richard,

The point is though that even if you found the broadcast, assembled all the cast to give another performance and find a letter signed and attested by Reg saying that he made the broadcast it would still prove nothing!

It would simply mean that a dead man once made a broadcast in which he repeated something said to him many years ago by a man who is also dead.

As I said if you want to prove your case go and find real evidence and then present it.

Secretly though I hope one day you do find the broadcast, I know how annoying it can be when you are sure of something yet just can't pin it down.

For example I once read somewhere that GH was 28 years old. I discussed this Brian Marriner in about 1996 and we had both read the same article. When I couldn't find it for my book I phoned Brian and asked him to send a copy, unfortunately he died before he could do so. So there you have it, I am convinced I read a newspaper article which gave his age as 28, another person had read the same article, but for the life of me I can't prove it so it must go in the 'nice idea but can't back it up tray'.

Bob Hinton
02-09-2009, 12:26 PM
I'm afraid I've go to mark this one down for repetition, paranoia and frankly being boring. Nice to see you are still keeping up with the personal abuse!

4/10

richardnunweek
02-09-2009, 01:10 PM
Hello Bob,
I accept the annoyance factor,one fact is absolutely certain then, one of us is wrong.
If you are correct then Hutchinson was born around 1860, and therefore puts a line through Gwt born 1/10/1866, it would also mean that either the broadcast was not aired, or the son of the man'That saw Jack' was infact an imposter, and not Reg at all.
For that to be correct.
a] I would have to have suffered from delusions at the time,
b] If the speaker was not Reg, or was not directly linked to him, how is it that the information relayed in that broadcast was the same that Reg Hutchinson[ not disputed] stated in Faircloughs book, some 18 years later?
So I quess its check Bob, both of us are adamant that our memories are correct, however as odds is my profession I would lay 1/2 in my favour , simply because your source comes from a obscure press report, and mine comes from an obscure radio broadcast, also a published book, the later unlike your snippit, is avaliable as proof that Reg Hutchinson did infact tell that tale.
Was Gwt the man that claimed to have saw the last victim of JTR, he was the right age 22, to have associated with a woman just a couple of years his senior, he was according to his son very observant, [ which explains the debated detail from GH] he appears from Regs character referance to have been, a respectable hard working , honest individual, who took a pride in not only his work , but his appearance, who appeciated music, and ice skating.
not the kind of man one would associate with being a stalker/pimp/mugger/attention seeker/...murderer.
Anyway Bob, we can only hold our breath until hopefully one day, one of us will have to eat humble pie.
Regards Richard.

Jeff Leahy
02-09-2009, 01:31 PM
It’s good that Bob Hinton has finally given up trying to defend an indefensible position. As for his attempt to twist some sympathy as though he didn’t start this abusive fiascos well really Bob, don’t blunder into the kitchen, with your insults half baked.

At least he has had the good sense to be a little more pleasant to Richard, who is quite clearly sincere in his belief about what he heard on the Radio. A word of caution however, any dyslexic can tell you that the brain and memory can often play tricks on you. The brain is basically an interpretation machine that is selective in what it sees/hears and records. I ‘m not saying our brains lie to us but they are not always as accurate in recalling information, as we would like. Or think that we would like.

Hutchinson has become a hot bed of Ripper speculation of late. Perhaps all we have is the obvious, and that is that his tale to Abberline was simply ‘over egged’.

Anyway I shall leave you to your debate but will be keeping an eye out for any Dyslexic xenophobic activity.

Cheers for the information and debate everyone.

Pirate

Ben
02-09-2009, 03:12 PM
however as odds is my profession I would lay 1/2 in my favour , simply because your source comes from a obscure press report, and mine comes from an obscure radio broadcast, also a published book, the later unlike your snippit, is avaliable as proof that Reg Hutchinson did infact tell that tale.

In favour of what, Richard?

Reg being the son of the witness, or Reg having aired the broadcast? Because if the former, then I'd bet all my worlds goods that he wasn't. The latter is simply worth zero provenance until evidence that it occured is forthcoming. Until that happens, it's better not to mention it. It's significant the sources used to bolster Toppy as the witness of Kelly fame are highly dubious in themselves.

Was Gwt the man that claimed to have saw the last victim of JTR, he was the right age 22, to have associated with a woman just a couple of years his senior

Doesn't mean much considering we have no idea how old the real George Hutchinson was. For the record, there were other "George Hutchinsons" living in the East End at the time who were also close to Kelly's age. No particular reason to think that any one of them must of been the witness, but they all fit the bill better than Toppy.

Being "observant" doesn't bestow upon someone wildly implausible or superhuman powers of observation and recollection, and the problem here is that Reg recalled that his father became "observant" as a result of his plumbing work. Too bad the real George Hutchinson wasn't a plumber, but a labouring former groom.

Best regards,
Ben

Jeff Leahy
02-09-2009, 03:51 PM
As I matter of interest Richard I happen to know that Farson made a TV program after discovering the Abberconway draft of the McNaughten memoranda. Which has since gone missing. I gather from a number of respectable Ripper authors that this program contained some unique interviews that have been lost. Your radio program couldn’t have been connected to this program in some way or by any chance?

Just a thought. I don’t recall mention of Hutchinson but they did interview people who claimed to have connections to the case.

Pirate

Bob Hinton
02-09-2009, 06:54 PM
Anyway I shall leave you to your debate but will be keeping an eye out for any Dyslexic xenophobic activity.

Pirate

If Dyslexia is a language - it must be a bugger to teach! Just imagine on Monday the teacher assures us the correct way to spell apple is domendj and on Tuesday it's knwisqsn.

Jeff Leahy
02-09-2009, 08:19 PM
Ah.. you have given up the masquerade that this is anything other than an attack on people that suffer from dyslexia then BOB.

Yes of course it’s about language and how our brains perceive language in a written form. It might be amusing for you to mock, but for those people who suffer from it, it is a highly frustrating, nay exasperating condition. Especially when trying to communicate in that language that is the cause of the problem. i.e. Letters.

But yes in your mocking, buffoonery, your probably closer to the truth than you realize. Someone who suffers from Dyslexia is never going to spell a word the same way twice (although some errors in some dyslexics do become a repetitive mistake ‘I’ and ‘e’ being my main problem) because spelling isn’t actually the problem it’s the way his or her brain perceives letters and patterns. Which is simply different from yours.

But of course trying to explain that to someone who has long since turned off to anything that doesn’t exist in his own narrow-minded view of the world is impossible.

Pompously strutting around the place with a plank stuck in his eye…giving lectures about why people should use dictionaries when they themselves appear not to know the meaning of most of the words it contains…and then having the audacity to mock others.

No doubt having just **** stirred his usual xenophobia he will now try and plead innocence and in mocking disbelief, fane that he has been ‘ranted against’ and ‘abused’ ....my heart goes out to you Bob Hinton.

David Knott
02-09-2009, 09:38 PM
With respect my friend if you are a betting man[ I am] then your 99.9 percent would be classed a a sure thing, but dont wager on it David, because you, along with Regs relatives, and the entire legions of Casebook will lose their hard earned cash.


Richard,

I certainly am a betting man - I used to do it for a living, and still do very nicely out of it thankyou! I am also a qualified statistician, and for three years worked as an analyst for one of the world's largest insurers. I understand probability theory, and I stand by my 99.99%

As you work in the betting industry, perhaps your employers would like to offer me some odds on being able to prove that the radio broadcast never took place? I might be interested.

Cheers
David

richardnunweek
02-09-2009, 10:20 PM
Hello David,
Its a rare treat to be able to communicate with a punter that actual does all right, i have been in the trade since 74 and that honour is a very unusual happening.apart from a few privileged gentleman that are usually syndicated,most of us struggle to make it pay.
Anyway without giving any family secret away, can you convince me that Gwt Hutchinson was fabricating the truth to his son Reg, and if this were so , how he got hold of the payment story when it was not mentioned in the press.?[ apart from a rare paper.
Also without giving away any family secrets, can you convince me that Reg Hutchinson made the whole story up, rather like Joseph Sickert?
I can only repeat my claim, I heard a radio broadcast aired about 8pm weekday approx 1974, and the son of the witness named as Hutchinson gave a taped interview, as that interview repeated what Reg featured in the Ripper and the Royals I must state the obvious, ie, Reg Hutchinson proven son of GWT Hutchinson gave that interview for the programme in question, and therefore Gwt Hutchinson was the actual GH we all discuss.
Regards Richard.

David Knott
02-09-2009, 11:39 PM
Richard,

Well, I think that there's more of us about than there used to be thanks to betting exchanges - not least of all because they don't stop taking your bets when you're winning!! I'm not one of those shady characters with inside information .. it's all down to statistical analysis and I do my betting on the internet.

I will think about what information I can post.

In the meantime, I don't really understand why, if the interview was on an obscure station with only a few hundred listeners, it would feature prominently in the Radio Times.

Incidentally, I don't doubt for a moment that you did hear an interview of the nature that you describe ... I just don't think it was with Reg.

Can you describe the Radio Times piece - I might be able to track this down next time I'm in Colindale.

Cheers
David

richardnunweek
02-10-2009, 12:25 AM
Hi,
Betting exchanges are not for me, rather old fashion in my approach.
Regards to my memory, I can only recall it was featured in the Radio Times, the only downfall is the actual year73-75 would be a good estimate, it had a small paragraph advertising it, the wavelength it was to be on etc, and it refered to the man that saw jack.
I recall that it was on a weekday, and was aired at 8pm, and lasted approx 40minutes, it most certainly had a taped interview with a man who was named as the son of the witness.and i recall not only this persons account of his fathers description[ astracan] but also a payment paid, also he recalled his fathers stating 'It was his biggest regret' that nothing came of his help.
By using the term obscure, I mean it was mot a popular wavelength like radio 2/radio 1, more a radio 5/4, because I had some trouble finding it on my radio.
I am sorry, I cannot be more precise.
I would like to know why you appear so confident that Reg Hutchinsons father, was not the observant Hutchinson in commercial street that morning, and witnessed kelly and our Mr Astracan?
Regards Richard.

Stephen Thomas
02-10-2009, 12:43 AM
In the meantime, I don't really understand why, if the interview was on an obscure station with only a few hundred listeners, it would feature prominently in the Radio Times.



You must be a young man, David.

There was no such thing as an obscure radio station in Britain in those days.

Jeff Leahy
02-10-2009, 01:01 AM
You must be a young man, David.

There was no such thing as an obscure radio station in Britain in those days.


Could you be more precise about the date?

Pirate

David Knott
02-10-2009, 01:07 AM
Richard,

I'm not particularly confident that Reg's father was not the witness. I am confident that Reg didn't appear on the radio in the early 70s. Could you let me know what region the broadcast took place in - I understand that the Radio Times varies from region to region.

Stephen,

Well ... I was young in 1974!

Thanks
David

Stephen Thomas
02-10-2009, 01:25 AM
Could you be more precise about the date?

Pirate

Early to mid 1970s according to Richard. I don't know no date and I am not the man to be blamed for nothing.

Maybe you thought I was somebody else.

Jeff Leahy
02-10-2009, 01:40 AM
Sorry Stephen, I was just interested generally.

But thanks for the information, I will ask around.

Pirate

Ben
02-10-2009, 03:46 AM
I can only repeat my claim

Don't keep saying you "have" to repeat things when you don't!

Please. :)

Anyway without giving any family secret away, can you convince me that Gwt Hutchinson was fabricating the truth to his son Reg, and if this were so

Not the way it works, Richard. If your theory if that Toppy was the witness in question, it's encumbant upon you to prove it. The onus is not upon everyone else to "convince" you that he wasn't. As for "getting hold" of the payment story, who's to say he didn't just make it up? The circumstances surrounding the payment story are highly dubious - Reg's suggestion being that Toppy was paid to keep quiet about spotting Lord Randoph Churchill the Ripper. Doesn't that give you some sort of clue, like "Hey, maybe there's a nonsensical element involved in all of this?" It really should.

Reg Hutchinson proven son of GWT Hutchinson gave that interview for the programme in question, and therefore Gwt Hutchinson was the actual GH we all discuss.

Uhhh, no.

That doesn't follow at all.

The fact that one bloke said that his dad saw Lord Randolph Churchill the ripper in the 1970s - if Reg ever participated in such an interview, and I don't believe he did - doesn't prove that he was the Hutchinson who claimed to have been Kelly, and it certainly doesn't bolster the veracity of the "original" Hutchinson's claims. The assumption seems to be that, if Reg gave an interview about Toppy being the witness, that somehow increases the likelihood that the real Hutchinson told the truth, and that's a truly scary leap of logic.

richardnunweek
02-10-2009, 09:36 AM
Hello Ben,
Many people including yourself, firmly believe that Reg Hutchinson did not appear on tape on a radio broadcast on the subject in the 1970s.
Well lets say for one moment you are all right in that assumption.
The taped interview from Mr X, was not Reg, but someone impersonating him, talking about his bogus fathers integreity, and a suspicious looking man seen with the last victim,the person appearing to be repectable and looked like someone up the social ladder,talking about his [bogus] father assisting the police on patrols, talked about receiving payment of one hundred shillings for his efforts, and finally mentioning it was his fathers[bogus] 'Biggest regret'.
OK fair play.
Answers please.
Does that not ring a bell, is that not what [not disputed] Reg Hutchinson mentioned in the infamous 'Ripper and the Royals?
If you agree...
Does it therefore follow that as there is a major simalarity between the two that the same person was responsible for both?
I must also ask the question.?
The British press did not mention any payment to any witness during the whole of the Ripper period, the only mention of any payment was discovered not that long back, and came from the Wheelers directory, which although was suspicious of the truth behind the man 'who saw Jack', mentiioned that the man [Hutchinson] was paid the equivilent of five weeks wages, for accompanying police patrols, which would be approx what the bogus man on tape said, was it not?
There has been some [Bob for one] who have mentioned the term Zero=zero, suggesting a person like Hutchinson was a penniless vagrant, which is completely ridiculous, he resided at the Victoria home which was not a free institution, he even went there at 6am on the morning of the murder, although proberly not in regular employment, he certainly earned money, what was his own words'Ive spent all my money going down to Romford. Zero=zero Bob?
Ben.
You keep refering to Lord Churchill.
I am not disputing that Reg and Fairclough plugged that suggestion in order to highlight the latters book, but all Reg was doing was suggesting [ as his father suggested] the man his father saw appeared to be more up the social ladder, then people Kelly associated with.
I shall not use the term 'I can only repeat' again, as if I have not made my point clear by now, i never will.
Regards Richard.

celee
02-10-2009, 09:53 AM
I find it hard to believe that Lord Randolph Churchill was JTR. There would be a pretty awful irony though if it was him - Sir Winston Churchill was vote the gretest Briton of all time and JTR was voted the worst Briton of all time.

But as I say I think he is a very unlikely candidate.

At last the missing part. I have never read the Abberline diaries. It all makes sence, perfect sence, to me. Lord Randolph Churchill along with Tumblety and Druitt committed the Jack the Ripper murders. Case Closed!

Okay, I believe Hutchinson. I know the press claimed his account was discredited. However, I think the police dismissed the man that Hutchinson saw not George's story.

I find it hard to believe that any Detective worth anything would not put the time of Kelly's murder around 3:45 based on the cry that two independant witnesses heard. One witness claimed the cry was loud and sounded like it was comming from right outside. If the Detectives believed Kelly was killed an hour and a halve after George saw her enter her home with well dressed man then they may well dismiss Hutchinson's man as just another client because they probably thought, as I do, that the Ripper would finish Kelly off soon after entering her home.

I know that they still would have wanted to question Hutchinson's well dressed man and I would be willing to bet that Hutchinson's description led to a few men being questioned.

Your friend, Brad

David Knott
02-10-2009, 11:05 AM
Richard,

I expect you've been asked this already, but are you sure it wasn't the Radio 4 broadcast on 1st June 1972, the script of which has been released as a limited edition booklet under the name Michell Raper?

David

Bob Hinton
02-10-2009, 11:52 AM
Poor old Mr pirate - off again! As anyone with one brain cell still functioning could tell you I’m not poking fun at dyslexia, merely poking fun at your preposterous assertion that dyslexia is a language!

You’re such a funny little man that I think I will keep you as my amusement monkey. Every time I am feeling a little blue I shall just look up the latest Mr Pirate Rant.

By the way for someone who seems to want to accuse other people of being xenophobic. (I still don’t get that) you seem to have a severe problem with me being Welsh. Which I’m not, but you seem to think it’s very important to emphasise that. What to you have against the Welsh? Perhaps you do protest too much about xenophobia?

celee
02-10-2009, 11:55 AM
HI,

I think I may have some Welsh in me.:scratchchin:

Your friend, Brad

Bob Hinton
02-10-2009, 11:57 AM
Richard,

I expect you've been asked this already, but are you sure it wasn't the Radio 4 broadcast on 1st June 1972, the script of which has been released as a limited edition booklet under the name Michell Raper?

David

Dear David,

This is the broadcast I found while trying to put this one to bed. It fitted perfectly with what Richard says he remembers but doesn't contain anything along the lines of what he is looking for.

I personally believe this is the correct broadcast, I can't think that the BBC put out two such programmes within such a short space of time.

I think that Richard has been confused. I believe he listened to this broadcast and then later watched the Ripper File (Barlow & Watts) on BBC TV and over the years the two have become merged in his memory. ( PS anyone interested I will have some copies of the Ripper File for sale)

I even obtained a copy of the script, but have since sold it.

Nemo
02-10-2009, 12:18 PM
It has been speculated recently that George Hutchinson may even have been an alias

I would like to point out that a George Hutchinson illustrated the 1888 book edition of "A Study in Scarlet" which was released in July I think

It could be a source of the alias if that is the case

celee
02-10-2009, 12:21 PM
Poor old Mr pirate - off again! As anyone with one brain cell still functioning could tell you I’m not poking fun at dyslexia, merely poking fun at your preposterous assertion that dyslexia is a language!

You’re such a funny little man that I think I will keep you as my amusement monkey. Every time I am feeling a little blue I shall just look up the latest Mr Pirate Rant.

By the way for someone who seems to want to accuse other people of being xenophobic. (I still don’t get that) you seem to have a severe problem with me being Welsh. Which I’m not, but you seem to think it’s very important to emphasise that. What to you have against the Welsh? Perhaps you do protest too much about xenophobia?

LOL,

That is a funny post. I sometimes get a kick out of reading the fighting back and forth. It is pointless but fun to read and educational. I am just an old surfer from Daytona Beach so I had to look up the definition of xenophobia.

Your friend, Brad

Ben
02-10-2009, 03:16 PM
However, I think the police dismissed the man that Hutchinson saw not George's story.

No.

We've just been through this, Brad! :)

An investigating officer cannot discard a witness account purely on that assumption that maybe this suspect wasn't the ripper because maybe someone else arrived on the scene afterwards. It was still absolutely imperative for the police to track down the Astrakhan man in order to interview him and "eliminate him from their inquiries", and to do that meant keeping Hutchinson's statement in the frame and using it for potential identity parades etc.

As of the 15th November, we learn that the account was "discredited" and subsequent police memoirs, interviews and reports would tend to bear this out, but you don't discredit a witness account on the assumption that the suspect mentioned might not be the killer. Hutchinson's account must, therefore, have been discarded for a better reason than "maybe" the real ripper arrived after Astrakhan left.

Hutchinson's account may well have led to a few men being questioned, but it's clear that after a very short time, this ceased. There may have been members of the public who reported Astrakhan men in the months after the murder, but they would have been clueless as to the current status of his account.

Best regards,
Ben

Ben
02-10-2009, 03:46 PM
Answers please.
Does that not ring a bell, is that not what [not disputed] Reg Hutchinson mentioned in the infamous 'Ripper and the Royals?

Does what ring a bell, Richard?

If we have no evidence - only your say-so - that someone appeared on the radio in the 1970s, and stated that his father's "biggest regret" was that nothing came of his having seen a well-dressed man (etc etc etc), then there is simply no bell to ring. In the absence of anything tangible to bolster your claim that this radio show occured as you said it did, there can be no "interesting coindicence" with the Fairclough book.

The British press did not mention any payment to any witness during the whole of the Ripper period, the only mention of any payment was discovered not that long back, and came from the Wheelers directory

Which should ring all manner of alarm bells already.

Think about it; all those meticulous journalists in London all frantically in search of a scoop and one obscure American newspaper headline entitled "Gossip" carries the story of one clever individual being paid-off for his efforts? Doesn't seem very likely to me, but let's assess some of the other "gossip" from that same article to assess its worth. Most British newspapers claimed that Barnett conducted himself well at the inquest and appeared respectable. In stark contrast to all these observations is the Wheeling Register which claimed that Barnett was roaring drunk!

So it's not only "gossip", it's gossip that's contradicted by all other accounts.

Using one deeply dubious source (this one) to bolster an even more dubious source ("my dad saw Churchill the ripper") will simply never fly, besides which I've already explained why a police force were very unlikely to have paid witnesses. They didn't offer rewards for the same reason. Once money enters into the equation, you can only expect to be deluged with bogus witnesses all eager to be paid too.

There has been some [Bob for one] who have mentioned the term Zero=zero, suggesting a person like Hutchinson was a penniless vagrant, which is completely ridiculous, he resided at the Victoria home which was not a free institution

Nobody has ever described Hutchinson as a "penniless vagrant". It was simply observed that the police believed him to be temporarily out of work. In other words, he wasn't currently earning. Unfortunately, "not currently earning" times 5 equals zero pounds. Did he lie about being out of work? Very possibly, but the point is that the police believed him when he claimed he was presently unemployed.

but all Reg was doing was suggesting [ as his father suggested] the man his father saw appeared to be more up the social ladder, then people Kelly associated with.

Sorry, I'm afraid there's no evidence that Reg ever made such a claim.

Best regards,
Ben

Jeff Leahy
02-10-2009, 06:40 PM
Poor old Mr pirate - off again! As anyone with one brain cell still functioning could tell you I’m not poking fun at dyslexia, merely poking fun at your preposterous assertion that dyslexia is a language!

You’re such a funny little man that I think I will keep you as my amusement monkey. Every time I am feeling a little blue I shall just look up the latest Mr Pirate Rant.

By the way for someone who seems to want to accuse other people of being xenophobic. (I still don’t get that) you seem to have a severe problem with me being Welsh. Which I’m not, but you seem to think it’s very important to emphasise that. What to you have against the Welsh? Perhaps you do protest too much about xenophobia?

Ok Bob lets try just one last time. Do try and keep up I gather that the ape-men of the Inca’s have managed to master this…

Dyslexia is abnormal difficulty in spelling caused by a condition in the brain. It is the miss communication of language caused by damaged nerve endings.

Xenophobia is an irrational Intolerance of, or dislike of, foreigners i.e. people from different places who speak different languages.

As I am trying to explain to you that my brain communicates in a different way to yours i.e. speak a different language. And as you appear to have an IRRATIONAL INTOLLERANCE to other peoples spelling. I have described your view of Dyslexics as Xenophobic. i.e. Irrational Intolerance.

Like most forms of bigoted intolerance, such as racism, the key trigger is usually one of Fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of people who are different.

Well news flash Bob you don’t have to be afraid anymore…dyslexics don’t bite they just need a little more time and understanding when communicating in what is to them, basically a foreign language called……. Letters.

As for the Welsh stuff its clearly self-deprecating, ironic humour as my grandfather Lewis is welsh, and ever since the TV series Black Adder “O my god she’s not welsh is she” has been a family use for ironic jest…I’m also part Irish (though I discovered the Parnell’s are actually descended from the Tudors) and part Scottish. Not that that really has any relevance, as according to the latest historical DNA analysis we are all descended from a handful of people who managed to survive the last ice age only 15000 years ago (except the Aborigines and some tribe living up the Amazon- and No I have no irrational fears of these peoples-they are cool by me)

So no I’m not poking fun at you for being Welsh or English for that matter, I’m poking fun at you for being Irrational and intolerant of people who have a disability when it comes to spelling…

Heaven preserve us :rolleyes2:

Pirate

PS Couldn’t find the Welsh gag so I thought I’d put this out for the ladies, sexism, surely not.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ML1139cijVU&feature=related

Bob Hinton
02-10-2009, 07:32 PM
Lovely Black Adder clip Mr Pirate, extra peanuts for you tonight!

Blues
02-10-2009, 08:15 PM
...But if I remember correctly, George was brought around the East End with 2 policemen "looking" for the man that he saw that night. Is it possible that the 5 pounds that he was paid was for his services looking for the man and/or for lost wages while walking around instead of working?

Just a thought...as I said - someone else may have already asked or clarified this idear.

Blues

Ben
02-10-2009, 08:29 PM
Hey Blues,

Is it possible that the 5 pounds that he was paid was for his services looking for the man and/or for lost wages while walking around instead of working?

That was the "gossip" from the Wheeling Register, but since the police believed Hutchinson to be out of work at the time, his walking around with police would not have eaten into his "working" time...because he wasn't working, as far as the police were concerned.

Ben

Blues
02-10-2009, 08:41 PM
I suppose it could have been for "services rendered"...although that sounds a bit much for what he did...a fiver at the time sounds more like a payoff than a payment...

Again, thanks.


Blues

Jeff Leahy
02-10-2009, 09:10 PM
Lovely Black Adder clip Mr Pirate, extra peanuts for you tonight!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaB7BQ6PlHs

Your a love

DVV
02-11-2009, 01:01 PM
I suppose it could have been for "services rendered"...although that sounds a bit much for what he did...a fiver at the time sounds more like a payoff than a payment...

Again, thanks.


Blues

Hi Blues,
and actually, this payoff is the only plausible detail in Reg's account...
As to the the rest... just compare: "He knew more than he told though, but he kept it close to his chest" with the mention of the royals and R. Churchill whenever East End people talked of the Ripper in the 20's and 30's...
Funny enough! And btw, did Astrakhan Man looked like Churchill?
Funny again is Topping's "biggest regret"...when we know that Hutch said he has seen the suspect again on Sunday morning.
My opinion is that Reg and his father have nothing to do with Hutch the witness, except that they are all liars.
Amitiés,
David

Jeff Leahy
02-11-2009, 01:39 PM
Hi David

I think you should be careful about the use of the word ‘Liar’. It implies that someone knows the truth and has deliberately set out to deceive. People can tell and say things that are not true but not necessarily be liars.

There are a number of examples of this in Ripperology where people have gotten things wrong but have appeared very plausible, and may not have been liars, just miss-taken, which is a very different thing altogether.

For a start I draw your attention to an earlier post I made on the functioning of the human brain. As I’ve said it is an interpretation machine. It does frequently deceive us. It carefully re-analysis and re-files memories as we sleep. Often removing the painful parts.

If you’re told something when you are young by a mother or uncle you tend also to take it at face value and the truth. Digging into my own family tree I now know not everything I was lead to believe when young was the exact truth.

The problem with any Oral history is, do you dismiss it as a whole or do you investigate the kernels of possibility?

Throwing a blanket term like ‘Liar’ over information might be throughing the baby out with the bath water.

Trusting you are well

Yours Pirate

richardnunweek
02-11-2009, 01:43 PM
Hello David,
The payoff is exactly that plausible, but excuses are being offered as .
a]No police force would pay for services rendered.
Reply.. In the good old days I have often been [ being well known in my area] approached and offered some pittance for imformation about possible crime in that area[ not that I did]
b] Hutchinson was a unemployed groom.
Reply... an unemployed groom mayby, but penniless?, his alleged words to kelly' I have spent all my money going down to Romford' would indicate some caual earnings, also the Victoria home was not for the penniless vagrant.
c] In Faircloughs book, Reg painted a picture of the highest in the land, and his father knew 'more then he let on'
Reply... As that publication was all to do with conspiracy, and the highest in the land , is it any surprise that Regs father[ alleged] sighting resembled someone like Lord churchill, infact GWTH may have actually said that, when the conversation arose, after all its a bit like me saying to my son, 'you know that girl you used to go with years ago Susan, well I saw her yesterday with a bloke, who looked just like Brad Pitt.
It would not be possible of course , rather like Lord Churchill wandering down commercial street in the early hours of the 9th November, with a common prostitute on his arm, it was just a way of describing a likeness.
Regards Richard.

Ben
02-11-2009, 05:23 PM
The payoff is exactly that plausible, but excuses are being offered

They're not "excuses", Richard.

They're an important pointers against the suggestion that Hutchinson, whatever his identity, was paid off for his efforts, and I'm troubled that it has become necessary to repeat them again:

a) You say you were paid off in the good old days, but unfortunately, that is hearsay as far as I'm concerned on a par with the radio interview you keep mentioning, and since it can't be accepted as evidence for that reason, it has no bearing on the issue of Toppy being paid off.

b) No, as I've told you before, Hutchinson may well have been more than an unemployed groom. He may well have had money, but the salient fact is that he informed police he was currently out of work, and they clearly believed him.

is it any surprise that Regs father[ alleged] sighting resembled someone like Lord churchill

If Reg was simply feeding Fairclough and Sickert whatever conspiratorial guff they wanted to hear, than no, it isn't any surprise at all. If Reg was simply recounting his father's genuine experiences, it would be extremely surpising for him to start flinging Churchill and "It was more to do with the Royal family than ordinary people" around.

Best regards,
Ben

Nemo
02-13-2009, 05:54 PM
Hi all

Regarding the possibility of Hutchinson being paid...

Originally posted by Ben
"No police force was remotely likely to have paid off a witness, otherwise they'd be bombareded with false "witnesses" all eager to be paid off for their stories"

Originally posted by Richardnunweek
I would never suggest that the payment of witnesses was normal practise, for the very reasons you suggested, however if GH did venture out and assist the police then he could well have received payment, it hardly is uncommon for payments to be made nowadays to informers, and expenses occured by helpers.


Originally posted by Ben
"Extremely unlikely.
If one witness came forward and received payment, the police would have been deluged with other "witnesses" as soon as that payment was made public knowledge."



I came across the case of HENRY GLENNIE, tried for murder, 22nd October 1888.

Mary Dominey who was a witness in the case stated...

"I have not been at work at all lately, not since this affair; I have been allowed a guinea a week from the police, since then I have been doing nothing at all — Sergeant Mackenzie pays me the guinea a week, he brings it to me — I believe Phœbe Field is living under his care...

—it was after I had been taken to Whitehall that I knew I was to be a witness — the allowance of a guinea a week began about three weeks ago, after I was examined at the police-court on 12th October — I then gave evidence of what the prisoner had told me—the guinea a week commenced three weeks before that, a week or a fortnight after I went to Whitehall—

Police constable Robinson came to me about half-past 9 at night; from what he said, I went to the police-station in Upper Street, Islington, and' I was detained there all night, in the library; Sergeant Robinson came out with me to fetch my baby, and I returned and was there all night; I had breakfast there in the morning, and then I was taken in a cab to the solicitor's office at Whitehall—I had not said anything to the police during the night—I made a statement at Whitehall, which was taken down; I went there twice, and then went home—"


...Which was confirmed by THOMAS GLASS (Police Inspector)

"I pay Dominey a guinea a week—it comes from the Treasury—I advance it out of my own pocket, but I send my bill to the Treasury—I have got leave of the Treasury to give her that; I can give you the reason why she is having it—I do not think a guinea a week is too much to give to a witness of that kind"

Full transcription can be read at...

http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t18881022-977&div=t18881022-977&terms=1888

As well as showing that witness payments were not unknown at the relevant time, it also opens up the possibility of finding a reference to Hutchinsons payment as it seems that an application would have had to have been made to the Treasury office.

There should be a paper trail to follow somewhere...

Notice that Mary was not working but was being paid 1 guinea per week. She was also practically arrested and detained in her role as an important witness.

PS
Phoebe was another witness in the case and I think Mary alludes to her also receiving payment.

Ben
02-13-2009, 06:02 PM
Thanks for that, Nemo.

The crucial difference here is that the witness in question wasn't being "paid off". She was being reimbursed for loss of earnings while she helped the police. That occurs very regularly, and if you spent a week doing jury service, you can expect similar reimbursement. That's quite different to what was being alleged with regard to Hutchinson, which was an unambiguous up-front payment of five-times his normal sallary. He couldn't even claim reimbursement since the police were under the impression that he was out of work.

If it became public knowledge that you could receive appreciably more money than you'd normally get for working (i.e. a whopping pay-off as opposed to standard reimbursement), the police would have been deluged with money-seekers all churning out invented stories. One guinea per week for continued assistance over that period is of course worlds away from five guineas up front.

Best regards,
Ben

Nemo
02-13-2009, 07:06 PM
Hi Ben

From what I can gather from this thread, Hutchinson was paid a hundred shillings, but he never said why. Alternatively he was paid five weeks wages for his "assistance".

I don't see where a "pay-off" is mentioned.

If a guinea per week can be paid to one or possibly two people to retain them as witnesses in a "minor" murder case, would not Hutchinson be offered a higher rate considering he was initially thought of as being the most important witness in the land at the time?

He may well have been in line to get £5 per week - until his statement was discredited shortly afterward (according to the press etc etc)

Unlike the witness Mary, receiving 1 guinea as a retainer, Hutchinson was ACTIVELY seeking the suspect, accompanying detectives around the East End. This may also account for the high payment for inconvenience, expenses and a form of wage.

Ben
02-13-2009, 07:29 PM
Hi Nemo,

From what I can gather from this thread, Hutchinson was paid a hundred shillings

Not "the" Hutchinson, but G.W.T. Hutchinson, who is a poor contender for the real witness. The chief difference here is pay-off as opposed to reimbursement. In the extract you provided, the witness was being reimbursed for loss of earnings while she assisted police. This happens all the time, most notably for jury service.

The moment you start offering to pay witnesses appreciably more than they would normally be earning, you're unwittingly giving any number of fraudsters an invitation to come forward as witnesses in order to receive a similar payment. It doesn't matter how serious the crime was - in fact, the more serious the crime, the greater the incentive to avoid resorting to financial arrangments that are likely to attract frauds hoping to get paid loads for skiving off work.

£100 was a huge sum for an out-of-work Spitalfields labourer, and was ludicrously over-the-top for the assistance of accompanying the police on an Astrakhan hunt, especially if he had little choice in the matter anyway.

Best regards,
Ben

Nemo
02-13-2009, 08:35 PM
Hi Ben

I can see your point, but these were exceptional circumstances.

At one point at least, for whatever reason, Inspector Abberline regarded Hutchinson as the most important lead he had in the investigation.

I would have expected him to put Hutchinson in some Victorian equivalent of a witness protection programme.

Abberline may well have feared the Ripper killing Hutchinson. There had been speculation about threats to witnesses before, including some threatening letters purporting to have come from the Ripper.

Abberline would also have not wanted to lose sight of Hutchinson himself - for obvious reasons.He kept Hutchinson under the control of some of his detectives for a while, actively employing him to seek the Ripper,but he had to let Hutchinson loose at some point.

I can imagine Abberline wanting to actually house Hutchinson in a "safe-house" rather than releasing him to return to the lodging house or wherever.


Hutchinson's initial information was voluntary - not monetary. He would as you say, probably have had no choice in the matter regarding being taken with the detectives,but he could not be "detained" in any way past a reasonable time. He was a witness, not a suspect.


The money could have been expenses, ie new lodgings and clothes, and/or a retainer to make sure he reported back to the police if so required.

I therefore see a good possibility, almost a probability, of Hutchinson receiving money for his overall "assistance" - and I don't think £5 /100 shiilings was an outlandish sum considering the circumstances.

It would be interesting if someone can access Treasury records from the period. If a list exists it would surely show such a substantial sum being paid, if it were ever paid. It may even state something like "payment to witnesses" and if it does, then I'm sure that witness would be named.

Has anyone got the expenses records from the police stations/detective dept. etc?



Best Regards

Nemo

Ben
02-13-2009, 08:49 PM
Hi Nemo,

Abberline may well have feared the Ripper killing Hutchinson

In which case, it would have been the worst possible decision to pay him such a ludicrously high sum of money for assistance that he would have been compelled to provide anyway, before allowing him to blab about it to the press. The greater the severity of the case, the more essential it was to ensure that any informers or witnesses were honest in their motives. The moment you start introducing silly sums, the honest incentive runs the perilous risk of being supplanted by a dishonest one, wherein hoards and hoards of dodgy, hard-up geezers bombard the police with "important information" all expecting to be paid equally large sums for their bogus information.

No police force could have expected anything less, unless they were seriously naive, and it was the Home Secretary's policy not to offer "rewards" for the very reason I've outlined. The promise of large sums of ready-money would have seriously derailed the investigation, while all the bogus leads were investigated and hundreds of pounds wasted. You don't give him money to pay for new lodging and clothes either - what message does that give to the impoverished droves who didn't like their lodgings and wanted/needed new clothes? Just invent a witness account and wait for the cash to roll in.

Totally and hopelessly inpractical, which is why I find it impossible to accept that Hutchinson would have been paid off, especially not to the tune of so hefty a sum, and especially if the police were under the impression that he wasn't even suffering from a loss of earning.

Best regards,
Ben

Peter F Young
02-23-2009, 01:17 AM
Nunners, would you or any of your supporters like to listen to 26,000 cassette recordings my mother taped from the radio every day from early 60's to late 90's comprising much pop music, military band music, poetic discourses, funerals (Churchill, Diana etc) to try and find your elusive programme?
I reckon 10 hrs per day for 5 days a week would take you 20 years...
Best Regards,
Peter.

richardnunweek
02-24-2009, 12:12 AM
Hello Peter,
I bet those tapes hold a few gems, however even that amount of material, would i fear not produce such a elusive recording.
And as for supporters, I am looking around, and i cant see any, never has been, never will be, unless a certain first time poster, can add fuel to fire, and reveal some evidence to the fore concerning his wifes grandfather.
I live in anticipitation...
Regards Richard.

Bob Hinton
02-24-2009, 12:11 PM
, unless a certain first time poster, can add fuel to fire, and reveal some evidence to the fore concerning his wifes grandfather.
I live in anticipitation...
Regards Richard.


And this is precisely your problem; you are doing a Mr Macawber and hoping that something will turn up. But what could our elusive poster possibly bring to the table that would be evidence? Let us assume that what he says is correct and there is oral history that supports his story. That still proves nothing. You cannot do it that way round.

When I researched the Tremble murder there were certain things that just didn’t add up. So I carried on digging until I had enough pointers to suggest a hypothesis. All the evidence I had fitted my theory. Then by a stroke of good luck I found the great great grandson of the murderer and interviewed him.

I let him talk about his family and he told me the oral tradition in his family about his forbears.

What he told me exactly corroborated what I believed – but it still didn’t prove anything, it merely was an interesting indicator that I might be on the right track.

I still would never dream of presenting my theory as fact and saying that it was proven to be so because the family tradition backed it up.

Peter F Young
02-24-2009, 04:53 PM
Hello Peter,
I bet those tapes hold a few gems, however even that amount of material, would i fear not produce such a elusive recording.
Regards Richard.
Give me a memorable event that occured around the time you listened to that programme & I will peruse either side,
Regards,
Peter.

Fisherman
06-09-2009, 02:38 PM
Just some information on the issue of Reg Hutchinsons statements about Randolph Churchill in that Fairclough book!

To begin with, this is how it is worded in the book: ”Whenever the subject of Jack the Ripper came up, as it often did in the East End in the twenties and thirties, because many people who were there when it happened were still alive, he used to say: "It was more to do with the Royal Family than ordinary people." And when asked who he thought it was he always said: "It was some one like Lord Randolph Churchill." Until you told me that about Abberline's diaries and that he named Churchill, I thought my father was merely saying that in his opinion the murderer was someone high up, like Churchill. Now I can see that he knew all along that the man he saw actually was Churchill, but he didn't want to come straight out with it."

What is Reg saying here? Is he saying that Toppy believed the man he saw was Randolph Churchill, or does he say that he himself believes that this is what Toppy thought?
The latter, obviously – Toppy only says that ”It was some one like Lord Randolph Churchill”. To me, this is more or less the same as saying that it was NOT Churchill himself, but somebody that resembled him in some fashion.

And what fashion would that be? Well, it could be one of two things – or a combination of them. Either he looked like Churchill – or he seemed to belong to the same uppermost class.

Let´s begin by comparing the two men involved when it comes to looks. We know how Hutchinsons man looked:

”Age about thirty four or thirty five; height five feet six inches; complexion pale; dark eyes and eyelashes; slight moustache curled up at each end and hair dark; very surly looking; dress – long dark coat; collar and cuffs trimmed with astrakhan and a dark jacket underneath; light waistcoat; dark trousers; dark felt hat turned down in the middle; button boots and gaiters with white buttons: wore a very thick gold chain with linen collar; black tie with horseshoe pin; respectable appearance; walked very sharp; Jewish appearance.'”

Could this apply to Churchill? No, it could not. In Arthur Anthony Baumanns book ”Persons & politics of the transition”, we have a descrition of lord Randolph. He was 39 years old at the time of the Kelly murder, and he was 5 foot 9 inches tall, a man of slight and fragile body construction. Moreover, his eyes were of the light blue colour that ”seemed to be hereditary in the royal family”.

So, wrong age, wrong height and completely wrong eye colour – Churchill displayed nothing of a Jewish appearance at all.

In conclusion, the resemblance Toppy was talking about was one in status, and not one of looks. In fact, we need not even accept that Toppy knew what Churchill looked like – he knew his position in society, and that would have been where he meant that Astrakhan man resembled Randolph Churchill.

Where does that leave us? It leaves us with a man who once used the highest in the land to make a useful comparison when he needed to describe a man he had (or claimed he had) seen in Dorset Street with Mary Kelly, and a son of that man who makes his own interpretation of what his father had said – and gets it wrong.

What I do not think we can read into this is any reason to believe that neither Toppy nor Reg were careless with the truth. To my mind, I don´t think that this passage should merit any dismissal at all of Reg´s honesty or good will, and it should absolutely not pave the way for dismissing the suggestion that Toppy was the Dorset Street witness.

The best, all!
Fisherman

Ben
06-09-2009, 03:17 PM
The latter, obviously – Toppy only says that ”It was some one like Lord Randolph Churchill”.

Well, there's our first problem:

The original George Hutchinson didn't describe anyone remotely similar in appearance to Lord Randolph Churchill, so if Toppy was referring to someone of Churchillian appearance, already that engenders a feeling of scepticism. Mr. Astrakhan was clearly not "someone like Lord Randolph Churchill". If you want to describe someone of a higher class, you can simply say so: he was someone from a higher class. You don't provide a confusing and hopelessly inapplicable individual paralell such as Lord Randolph Churchill and hope everyone realises that you only meant he was "like" him in terms of class, and that he was dissimilar in pretty much all other respects.

Moreover, there is absolutely nothing about Mr. Astrakhan's appearance that remotely hints at aristocracy of the order that Churchill belonged to, or the "uppermost class", as you term it. The man described was more of a flashy bling merchant, and obviously not one of Churchillian breeding, or else he would not have "lived in the neighbourhood" as Hutchinson claimed. Another crucial Toppyism is the observation that the murders "had more to do with the Royal family than ordinary people". Again, the original Hutchinson never conveyed any remote hint that the man he described had anything to do with royalty.

I'm afraid it looks very much as though Reg was simply milking the Royal Conspiracy cow that had become popular at the time, although if Toppy was the originator of the Churchill nonsense as well as the alleged involvement of the Royal family, I'm afraid he's no better.

Best regards,
Ben

Jane Welland
06-09-2009, 03:26 PM
Hello

Sorry to barge in - I always thought this was interesting (well, along with a dozen or so other case-related things). I just wonder though, did Hutchinson actually say Astracan 'lived' in the neighbourhood? I thought he said he thought he might have seen him again, which is not the same thing.

I could be wrong, and quite happy to be.

Jane x

Ben
06-09-2009, 03:33 PM
Hi Jane and welcome,

Hutchinson's exact words were: "I believe he lives in the neighbourhood, and I fancied that I saw him in Petticoat lane on Sunday morning, but I was not certain."

I doubt very much that he'd subscribe to this belief if he seriously believed the man in question belonged to the aristocracy!

All the best,
Ben

Jane Welland
06-09-2009, 03:40 PM
But then, isn't that a bit odd?

Jane x

Oh, and thanks for the welcome!

Fisherman
06-09-2009, 03:57 PM
Ben (who else?) writes:

"The original George Hutchinson didn't describe anyone remotely similar in appearance to Lord Randolph Churchill, so if Toppy was referring to someone of Churchillian appearance, already that engenders a feeling of scepticism."

...which I why I say that he never did - he would have been speaking of status, not looks.

"If you want to describe someone of a higher class, you can simply say so: he was someone from a higher class."

...and would it not be nice if we all always chose the best semantical option, clearing away all possible mistakes. But we don´t, do we? We use metaphores and pictures, and we are not always crystal clear when doing so.
I think we need to weigh in the fact that the Churchill comparison was something Toppy fed his kids and friends - we have no reason to believe that the same dish was served Abberline.
And when you realize that you have played a peripheral part in the crime of the century, you may well embellish things a bit some years down the road. Besides, the kind of effect Toppy would have been looking for was that Astrakhan man was a man of apparent wealth and obvious status, and one may easily go slightly (or massively) over the top at such times. A man who sees a nice sports car without knowing it´s make may say "it was kind of like one of them Ferraris" when he speaks of it - although it could have been a Toyota Celica he saw.

"Moreover, there is absolutely nothing about Mr. Astrakhan's appearance that remotely hints at aristocracy of the order that Churchill belonged to, or the "uppermost class", as you term it. The man described was more of a flashy bling merchant"

To begin with, we do not have his appearance in that much detail, I think - there are incredibly expensice and elegant Astrakhan coats and there are flashy, cheap ones. Same goes for seal stones and spats - how do we know that the red seal stone was not a priceless ruby? Correct - we don´t.
And, in the end, I think we need to realize that the poor man on the street is a lot more impressed by "flashy" wealth than he would be by discreet, incredibly expensive elegance. To Toppy, the display of jewellery and clothing may have matched his own ideas of how he would have dressed if rich.

"Again, the original Hutchinson never conveyed any remote hint that the man he described had anything to do with royalty."

..and, like I said, that may have emerged in chats with friends in pubs. Moreover, on an adjacent thread, you have told us that we do not know what parts of Hutchinsons testimony that was never put on print by Abberline. As for the press, they do not seem to judge Astrakhan man´s status to any significant degree.

"I'm afraid it looks very much as though Reg was simply milking the Royal Conspiracy cow that had become popular at the time, although if Toppy was the originator of the Churchill nonsense as well as the alleged involvement of the Royal family, I'm afraid he's no better."

And THAT is the vulgar picture of Reg and Toppy that has been painted out over the years, in spite of the fact that there is very little to bolster it with. If Toppy was quite impressed with Astrakhan man´s wealth, and genuinely believed him to be of large means and high status, then it does not matter that he MAY not have been - and that is only a "may" since we can´t possibly know - a genuine top of society. To TOPPYS eyes, he would not be speaking "nonsense" - and, consequently, it would not be nonsensical to convey his words on Reg´s behalf. We may be dealing with genuine good will and honesty, and to categorically dub it nonsense is to allow oneself far too much in my wiew.

Fisherman

Fisherman
06-09-2009, 03:59 PM
Jane Welland writes:

"But then, isn't that a bit odd? "

Absloutely, Jane - it is. We need to offer at the very least the benefit of a doubt here.

The best,
Fisherman

Jane Welland
06-09-2009, 04:12 PM
Isnt' it a bit odd that he would say 'I believe he lives in the neighbourhood'? How would he know that? Even if true, seeing him a couple of times need not imply residence, need it?

I dont' know anything about Toppy - when, if, I get up to speed on that one, I might feel qualified to comment, but not at the moment.

Jane x

Ben
06-09-2009, 04:22 PM
...which I why I say that he never did - he would have been speaking of status, not looks.

But Churchill is a total mismatch on pretty much all counts, so it doesn't matter what aspect he was alluding to for the comparison.

I think we need to weigh in the fact that the Churchill comparison was something Toppy fed his kids and friends - we have no reason to believe that the same dish was served Abberline

Why would he feed his kids anything different to what he told Abberline, let alone drastically different? It's just a little bit suspicious that the "dish" Toppy just happened to have fed his kids in later years coincided with a popular myth that just happened to have entrenched itself in ripper lore at the time of the Reg interview; the Royal conspiracy. So when Toppy goes "over the top" to the extent that he mutates a surly Jewish bling-parader who lived in the district to an aristocrat associated with the Royal family (who clearly would not have lived in the district), it just happens to tie in nicely with the suspicions of a modern day conspiracy theorist.

The Reg interview has all the regrettable hallmarks of an individual who simply told the interviewer what he wanted to hear, from the claim that his father was involved in the whole sorry mess to the sudden "support" for the possibility that royalty may be involved. It's Fairclough's fault; if he didn't announce his agenda from the outset (by showing Reg the "Abberline Diaries"!!!), it wouldn't have happened.

A man who sees a nice sports car without knowing it´s make may say "it was kind of like one of them Ferraris" when he speaks of it - although it could have been a Toyota Celica he saw.

If the glance was a fleeting one, yes, but the one alleged in Hutchinson's case wasn't fleeting at all. It was lavishly and implausibly detailed, enabling him to distinguish very easily between a genuine aristocrat (who obviously would not have lived in the neighbourhood) and a Jewish flashy man who ostensibly did.

Same goes for seal stones and spats - how do we know that the red seal stone was not a priceless ruby? Correct - we don´t.

It wouldn't matter. There was no reason whatsoever for believing that the aristoracy were in the habit of parading their priceless rubies on proud display, especially when they ventured into the heart of the worst pocket of the East End. By indentifying the individual as someone who apparently lived in the area, he clearly wasn't conveying the impression that he belonged to the aristocracy.

If Toppy was quite impressed with Astrakhan man´s wealth, and genuinely believed him to be of large means and high status

But the original Hutchinsin clearly didn't think that, and never conveyed such an impression at any point, otherwise he wouldn't have indentifed him as someone who he believed lived in the district. Such a belief is wholly at odds with Toppy's second-hand hearsay claim that it was more to do with the "royal family" than ordinary people.

Fairclough had a Royal conspiracy theory that Reg clearly pandered to be supplying some bogus elements of his own. To even suggest that his father was paid 100 shillings to keep quiet about seeing Lord Randolph Churchill the Ripper would mean that Reg was either mind-bogglingly stupid and incredibly easy to dupe, or he was simply milking the cow. I go with the latter.

Fisherman
06-09-2009, 04:43 PM
Ben writes:
"But Churchill is a total mismatch on both counts, so it doesn't matter what aspect he was alluding to for the comparison. He's a total mismatch on pretty much all counts."

He may not have been a mismatch in Toppys eyes when it comes to status - flashing the horse-shoe pin and the red seal stone, Toppy may have thought "Here´s a guy that is richer than anyone I´ve seen before" - and that is all we need to realize that Toppy may have THOUGHT Astrakhan man a man of great wealth and status.

"Why would he feed his kids anything different to what he told Abberline?"

Why would anybody at any time embellish on a story? To seem a bit more important, perhaps?
Thing is, it happens - all the time. And we don´t know that he told Abberline that the man was NOT seemingly very wealthy and of high status.

"It's just a little bit suspicious that the dish Toppy just happened to have fed his kids in later years coincided with a popular myth that just happened to have entrenched itself in ripper lore at the time of the Reg interview; the Royal conspiracy."

You think so, Ben, and I realize that it is not unviable. But I also recognize that IF Toppy thought the man looked wealthy and of high status, there was only so much he could do about it when he told his story. When we want to point to topp-class wealth and such things, we do not compare with the local well-off grocer - we compare with the richest of them all. So there is no absolute need at all to see Hutchinsons story or Reg´s conveying it as any sort of proof that they supported the Royal Conspiracy. Also, we must realize that Fairclough may have embellished on a point or two - if Toppy said "He seemed as rich as Churchill", then it may have been a fruitful bridge to something that fit in better with Faircloughs purposes - and completely innocent on behalf of Toppy.

"There was no reason whatsoever for believing that the aristoracy were in the habit of parading their priceless rubies on proud display, especially when they ventured into the heart of the worst pocket of the East End. By indentifying the individual as someone who apparently lived in the area, he clearly wasn't conveying the impression that he belonged to the aristocracy."

And indeed, nor did he say so - what Toppy said was that it was someone LIKE Churchill. That does not mean that he could not have lived in - OR VISITED! - the area. It is not very logical - but who knows if Toppy realized this to it´s full extent?

"the original Hutchinsin clearly didn't think that"

Then where is the evidence telling us that Hutchinson did NOT think Astrakhan man a man of wealth? At what point does he say that the jewelry was imitation and the man a cheap shot? I, for one, can´t find it.
And even if he DID think him of lesser wealth than Churchill, who is to say that he could not have polished somewhat on the story - and Astrakhan mans possible wealth - over the years?

"To even suggest that his father was paid 100 shillings to keep quiet about seeing Lord Randolph Churchill the Ripper would mean that Reg was either mind-bogglingly stupid or simply milking the cow. I go with the latter."

...and I point out that the other possibility remains there - Reg may well have been an uneducated man, prone to make unviable guesses, plus Fairclough may have helped him along somewhat - but that still leaves us with the clear possibility that Toppy had spoken of Churchill IN SOME ASPECT, and that Reg got it wrong - just as I said. And then it all becomes a measure of stupidity combined with a core of truth, and nothing much else - and certainly nothing that allows us to speak of proven malicious intents and lies.
It leaves us with ignorance, trivialities and a tall pub tale - and the very real possibility that tale originated in Toppys being the Dorset Street witness.

Fisherman

Ben
06-09-2009, 05:06 PM
“Isnt' it a bit odd that he would say 'I believe he lives in the neighbourhood'?”

I agree, Jane, it doesn’t seem to have any firm basis. My guess is that he wanted police activity in “the neighbourhood” to be focussed on the hunt for the fictional Mr. Astrakhan.

Best regards,
Ben

Ben
06-09-2009, 05:07 PM
Hi Fisherman,

“He may not have been a mismatch in Toppys eyes when it comes to status - flashing the horse-shoe pin and the red seal stone”

I have no idea what Toppy made of the description when he presumably read about it in the papers, but there’s certainly no evidence that the real George Hutchinson ever sought to depict Astrakhan man as an individual who shared the same "status" as Lord Randolph Churchill or any member of the royal family, or else he would not have identified him as an individual believed to be living in the same district as the impoverished masses, where many of whom dwelt in what were widely regarded as some of the worst streets in London, famed for their “vicious, semi-criminal” element.

“Why would anybody at any time embellish on a story? To seem a bit more important, perhaps?”

But that doesn’t enervate the implausible and outlandish coincidence of Toppy’s “embellishments” just happening to coincidence with the Royal Conspiracy theories that had been doing the rounds for a few decades; the same conspiracy theory being unashamedly touted by the individual interviewing Reg (who also evidently supplied him with more than the barebones of said conspiracy theory BEFORE interviewing him!).

Again, whatever Hutchinson believed (or was intending to convey) Astrakhan man enjoyed in terms od "status", it clearly was not on a par with Lord Randolph Churchill or any member of the Royal family. The original Hutchinson makes that very clear, and yet years later, Reg and/or Toppy are telling a couple of royal conspiracists that the latter group were not only involved (or someone “like” them, but they were observed at the crime scene. It doesn’t bear any resemblance to the already tall tale supplied by Hutchinson in 1888.

“When we want to point to topp-class wealth and such things, we do not compare with the local well-off grocer - we compare with the richest of them all.”

But there’s no evidence that Hutchinson was attempting to implicate the “top class” anything.

“And indeed, nor did he say so - what Toppy said was that it was someone LIKE Churchill.”

Toppy might have said that.

The Hutchinson from 1888 neither said nor intimated that the man he claimed to have seen was anything like Churchill. Someone like that (and anyone involved with the Royal Family) would not have lived in the neighbourhood, thus invalidating Churchill as a useful comparison. That’s not to say he didn’t consider the man wealthy, but by identifying him as a resident in the district, we’re clearly not talking about aristocracy or anything like it here.

“And even if he DID think him of lesser wealth than Churchill, who is to say that he could not have polished somewhat on the story - and Astrakhan mans possible wealth - over the years?”

He could have done, but I’d find that a bit odd in light of the coincidence as discussed above – that the embellishment just happened to coincide with the latest infestation into ripper lore, and in particular, the nonsensical nature of Fairclough’s own royal conspiracy.

“And then it all becomes a measure of stupidity combined with a core of truth, and nothing much else - and certainly nothing that allows us to speak of proven malicious intents and lies”

I’m afraid I disagree. If Churchill and “more to do with the royal family that ordinary people” crept into Toppy’s version of events, I’m afraid that hinders his second-hand claim to ripper fame rather seriously, in my view.

All the best,
Ben

Fisherman
06-09-2009, 06:47 PM
Ben writes:

"there’s certainly no evidence that the real George Hutchinson ever sought to depict Astrakhan man as an individual who shared the same "status" as Lord Randolph Churchill"

...just as there is no evidence telling us that he did NOT do just that. And it need not have been status - it could just have been a question of wealth.
As for living in the neighbourhood. nothing was said about whether it was the immediate neighbourhood or a more wide such - and there were very big differences in the social conditions inbetween the streets. Of course not enough to allow for Randolph Churchill - but probably quite enough to allow for somebody of great wealth, at least in Toppys eyes.

"the implausible and outlandish coincidence of Toppy’s “embellishments” just happening to coincidence with the Royal Conspiracy theories that had been doing the rounds for a few decades"

There is no outlandish coincidence in saying that somebody seems rich enough to compete with lord Churchill, Ben - not at all, in fact. Toppy spoke of somebody LIKE Churchill in SOME perceived respect - he never said that it WAS Churchill as far as we know. That belongs to Reg´s speculation world.

"whatever Hutchinson believed (or was intending to convey) Astrakhan man enjoyed in terms od "status", it clearly was not on a par with Lord Randolph Churchill or any member of the Royal family. The original Hutchinson makes that very clear"

Just how does he make that clear, Ben? By saying that he fancied he had seen him in the neighbourhood? That is not enough by a far stretch. We have no idea just how well off Hutchinson consider Astrakhan man to be, simple as that. He never speculates about it.

"there’s no evidence that Hutchinson was attempting to implicate the “top class” anything"

Unless it was top class wealth, as evinced by the gold chain and the seal stone. Like I say, Hutchinson does not lay down the text on the matter, so it could be either way.

"The Hutchinson from 1888 neither said nor intimated that the man he claimed to have seen was anything like Churchill. Someone like that (and anyone involved with the Royal Family) would not have lived in the neighbourhood, thus invalidating Churchill as a useful comparison."

But you and me realizing that is useless, Ben - it´s what Hutchinson thought about the man he met that counts. And mentioning Churchill may only have meant that there was a smell of money and influence about his man, nothing more. Just because a man uses what we consider to be a somewhat inadequate metaphor, we cannot write it off as something that never could have been said.

"I’d find that a bit odd in light of the coincidence as discussed above – that the embellishment just happened to coincide with the latest infestation into ripper lore, and in particular, the nonsensical nature of Fairclough’s own royal conspiracy."

A bit odd - or exactly what could be expected. If Toppy felt like adding some extra spice to his memories of Dorset Street, and if the talk of the town was that Jack may have been of royal descent, whose to say that he did not combine his own experience with the latest gossip? The possibilities are abundant, Ben, and I feel that you are trying to close the book on this issue in a manner that I can´t agree with.

"I’m afraid I disagree. "

Meaning that you consider malicious intents and lies a proven thing?

Fisherman

Ben
06-09-2009, 07:09 PM
Hi Fisherman,

...just as there is no evidence telling us that he did NOT do just that

I respectfully disagree. I think it's very obvious from Hutchinson's description that the Astrakhan man was not depicted as someone from a superior class, let alone anyone related to the English aristocracy or the Royal family. Even if you don't feel that the description is sufficient to make that determination, the "belief" that he lived in the district (coupled with his "Jewishness") surely clinches it, thus rendering Lord Randolph Churchill a very flawed comparison. Churchill was hardly characterized for his wealth. He was far better known as an aristocrat and politician, so there again, Churchill would be a very odd candidate to refer to if all you're intending to convey is the suspect's wealth. "It was someone like Lord Randolph Churchill" cannot mean simply "He looked very wealthy".

When people usually refer to a neighbourhood, they speak of a fairly concentrated locality. It would be extremely unusual, for example, for anyone to refer to the whole of Tower Hamlets as "the neighbourhood".

There is no outlandish coincidence in saying that somebody seems rich enough to compete with lord Churchill, Ben - not at all, in fact.

But he didn't say that. He said "it was someone like Lord Randolph Churchill", and nobody can be expected to read into that "It was someone who could be as wealthy as Churchill, but is wholly dissimilar to Churchill in all other respects". It's just a non-inference. And to compound the gaffe, he also spoke about the murders being more to do with the royal family than normal people, which is an unsettling coincidence if it meant that Toppy's alleged embellishments just happened to coincide with the latest nonsense being bandied around in ripperology.

Just how does he make that clear, Ben? By saying that he fancied he had seen him in the neighbourhood? That is not enough by a far stretch.

It really should be, considering that the fantastically wealthy and socially well-connected (let alone royalty) did not live in the "neighbourhood" under scrutiny. There was nothing about Astrakhan's appearance that would remotely lend itself to a comparison with Lord Randolph Churchill. Money is far too tenuous a connection. It was not Churchill's distinguishing feature. That would be akin to describing me as "someone like Paris Hilton" because she and I both have blond hair. The assumption that maybe Toppy used a hideously flawed comparison is one I find unconvincing, I'm afraid.

I'm not trying to close any book or claim I've proven my case, but personally, I think it's far more likely that Reg invented the Churchill and Royal connections to please the interviewer, Melvyn Fairclough, who made the fatal mistake of nailing his colours to the "I'm a royal conspiracist. Please help my theory along" mast before conducting the interview.

Best regards,
Ben

Jane Welland
06-09-2009, 08:02 PM
Astrakan Man was meant to be a Jew. No? Now, if only Toppy had written a Diary, we'd know the truth...

Jane x

Mr Chumley
06-09-2009, 08:11 PM
"Astrakhan man" was not Johny on the spot, Jew or otherwise, he simply didnt exist except in an attempt to be overdescriptive by a "witness", possibly planted in an attempt by either the police or the papers to create a response from the real killer

richardnunweek
06-09-2009, 08:21 PM
Hi,
Reg did not make up the whole churchill saga for the benefit of Fairclough, as that book was published in 1992, and he mentioned the same account on my elusive radio broadcast at least eighteen years before.
That is of course my word only folks , as i am the only one in Ripperland that ever heard of it.
Regards Richard

Sam Flynn
06-09-2009, 09:09 PM
As I've suggested elsewhere, I find it extremely unlikely that:

(a) Reg ever encountered that many situations to justify the "whenever Jack the Ripper was discussed" statement;

(b) Reg's father would have used the image of a long-dead man to describe the person he claims to have seen at Miller's Court;

(c) As a 22 year-old in an East End slum, Reg's father would even have known what Randolph Churchill looked like at the time;

(d) If his father was unlikely to have made the comparison in the first place, it's scarcely believable that his son would have made it up for the benefit of his interview with "Sickert" and Fairclough - Randolph Churchill being even "deader" and even further out of the public eye by the 1990s.

The only reasonable conclusions that occur to me are that, either the idea of Randolph Churchill was planted in Reg's head, or his story was somehow misrepresented in the book.

richardnunweek
06-09-2009, 09:33 PM
Hello Sam,
As far as i can remember, the radio broadcast of the 70s simply recalled a description that refered to someone 'Higher up' the social ladder, simply Reg was recalling his fathers account from many years before.
This broadcast was many years before any meeting with Fairclough, and as faircloughs book was about the 'Ripper and the Royals', one must consider the description was enlarged to fit the frame of the books plot.
Recent private information indicates that the much ridiculed Reg knew absolutely nothing about the whitechapel murders, he even had to borrow a book on the subject, which suggests to me that he would never have purposed a tale on this subject in which he was clueless about.
Was his father spinning a tale? is the only question to answer .
A biased opinion ....No
Regards Richard.

Fisherman
06-09-2009, 10:06 PM
Some interesting points being made all round here. I am in no way opposed to Fairclough having had an influence on the final outcome of Reg´s wording, although one must be opposed to any suggestion that this MUST have been the case.
On Sam´s point that he finds it strange that Toppy would have used a long-dead man to describe the man from Millers Court, it must be added that Churchill was very much alive at the time of the murder, and we have no indication as to when Churchill entered Toppys story as a suitable comparison to Astrakhan man. Just like Sam says, it would however be very odd if Reg himself chose to introduce lord Randolph on the stage by his own choice all those years later. I tend to think that Toppy actually DID mention Churchill - but heaven knows it is nothing but an ubsubstantiated gut feeling on my behalf. Could have tickled a few pub chums fantasy, though!

Richards addition is interesting - it would seem Reg spoke of a man "higher up the social ladder" in that illusive radio show, and that would strengthen the Churchill candidacy. I think the contemporary drawings of Astrakhan man, as well as the theorizing about him as somebody who looked more or less a vaudeville artist may well have led us astray over time. Myself, I have often speculated that he was a local crime bigwig, thus not afraid to take to the East end streets at night, wearing fancy jewellery and gold chains; some sort of 1888 Kray brother - but that only goes to show that I have swallowed the bait too, and somehow subconsciously accepted that he was NOT a class act.
The Churchill inference and Richards mentioning of someone of a higher class at least urges me to give it all some serious rethinking.

The best,
Fisherman

richardnunweek
06-09-2009, 10:21 PM
Hello Fisherman.
The local tough guy image , i recently brought up, but on reflection such a character would have been well known by Hutchinson, and is hardly likely that he would have followed such a man, and certainly not bent down to give him the eye.
Would you have given the eye to one of the krays?
Astracan did not appear menacing to Hutchinson, he never considered him a danger, he was just according to him ...curious about the mans appearance.
I feel we are making to much about all of this ., why cant he be just a observant witness to a sighting that may not have any relevance to Marys murderer.
Regards Richard.

Sam Flynn
06-09-2009, 11:40 PM
Hello Fish,On Sam´s point that he finds it strange that Toppy would have used a long-dead man to describe the man from Millers Court, it must be added that Churchill was very much alive at the time of the murder.Trouble is - aside from the fact that I can't see how a rather young slum-dweller would have known especially what Randolph looked like - Churchill would have been long dead by the time Toppy told Reg about him. If I were to make such a comparison, it'd be of someone that was very much in the public eye - and very much alive - at the time I was telling the story to my son. I'm sure there'd have been plenty of "toffs" around in the 1920s or thereabouts (when Toppy's story is likely to have first been discussed with his son) for him to choose from.

Even that's not certain, given that we're talking about the years before the media came up with the cult of the celebrity. At that time, the average working man's immediate visual impressions of specific members of the ruling class might not have extended much beyond the Prime Minister, Lord Kitchener and the King.

Ben
06-10-2009, 02:11 AM
Reg did not make up the whole churchill saga for the benefit of Fairclough, as that book was published in 1992, and he mentioned the same account on my elusive radio broadcast at least eighteen years before.
That is of course my word only folks

And it is inadmissible as evidence for that very reason, Richard.

Sorry.

I agree with Gareth that Fairclough may well have had an influence on Reg when it came to the Churchill/Royalty claims being bandied about. Unfortunately however, the blame cannot be laid entirely at Fairclough's door since Reg was quoted directly. In fact, not only was Reg quoted directly, but he was quoted as quoting his father, so unless Fairclough lied and invented a whole load of dialogue that never took place, it must be considered a certainty that Reg was at least partially responsible for creating, or at the very least contributing to, some of the Churchill/royalty nonsense.

And speaking of nonsense, can I respectfully but with some vehemence caution against the image of Mr. Astrakhan as a local "heavy" or 1888 equivalent of a Kray brother? That's even worse than comparing him to an English acristocrat who rubbed shoulders with the royal family. We know what the local tough guys were like - they were the "Squibbys" of their day, and they certainly didn't attire themselves in a manner that was guaranteed to attract attention of the worst kind. If you saunter alone and unprotected into the heart of the worst pocket of the East End dressed in a manner that utterly pandered to the surly Jewish bogeyman image of the ripper, you were very unlikely to depart the locality unmugged.

why cant he be just a observant witness to a sighting that may not have any relevance to Marys murderer.

Because the content of his statement and the fact that his evidence was discredited oblige us to avoid taking such things at face value.

Sam Flynn
06-10-2009, 02:32 AM
Unfortunately however, the blame cannot be laid entirely at Fairclough's door since Reg was quoted directly...so unless Fairclough invented a whole load of dialogue that never took place...... I wouldn't rule that out, Ben - quite the opposite, to be honest.

Like I say, I can no more imagine why Toppy would have used the (already) long-deceased Randolph Churchill to describe Astrakhan Man to his son, than I can imagine that Reg would have plucked the name of said B-List toff out of the air, nigh-on a hundred years after the latter's death.

I'm fairly well-read, and have been interested in history for a long time, but I swear that I'd only vaguely heard of Lord Randolph Churchill before I started reading Ripper books - and all I knew then was that he was Winnie's dad! If I'd had to have hazarded a guess as to his appearance, I'd have based it on the stereotype of the more prominent 20th Century members of that illustrious clan. Namely, the two Winstons Churchill and Nicholas Soames - i.e. chunky frame, sober attire, clean-shaven, thinning on top - not the suave, moustachioed dandy of the LVP.

Ben
06-10-2009, 02:43 AM
If I'd had to have hazarded a guess as to his appearance

I'm fortunate in that regard, Gareth. I live very close to Winston's former Chartwell residence near Westerham, and have seen portaits aplenty there of his father!

Just to clarify, I don't believe Toppy himself was responsible for any of the Churchillian nonsense. As you know, I don't believe he had anything to do with the events of 1888, nor or do I believe that Fairclough was responsible for deliberately misquoting Reg. What I am prepared to accept is that a hideously misguided interviewing technique could have resulted in an exchange that resembled the following:

Fairclough: As you know, I'm writing a book about the royal family's possible involvement in the Whitechapel murders. Those Abberline diaries are quite convincing aren't they?

Reg: Hmmm...yeah, my dad always said it had more to do with the Royal family than ordinary people.

Fairclough: I've always thought Lord Randolph Churchill matched some of the witness descriptions, including your father's.

Reg: 'Ow funny! My dad always said it was some toff like Churchill!

You get the idea! I suspect Reg came to the notice of Fairclough in a similar fashion, whereby Fairclough supplied the information and Reg simply replied in the affirmative, regardless of the truth.

All the best,
Ben

Fisherman
06-10-2009, 08:22 AM
Richard writes:

"on reflection such a character would have been well known by Hutchinson"

And not only by Hutchinson, but reasonably also by the police!

The reason I entertained the possibility of a local crimelord was that it was suggested on the "Toffs in Spitalfields" thread that a man like the one Hutchinson tells us about would even have ventured into the rougher parts of the East end, and I think that such a suggestion does not function as a general rule. A number of well-to-do people will have gone there - how many, though, is impossible to say.
One thing I am not so very happy about with the thread mentioned is that it focuses on "toffs", whereas we may need to ponder the possibility that Hutchinson did not experience his man as such a character.

The best, Richard!
Fisherman

Fisherman
06-10-2009, 08:36 AM
Sam writes:

"Trouble is - aside from the fact that I can't see how a rather young slum-dweller would have known especially what Randolph looked like - Churchill would have been long dead by the time Toppy told Reg about him. If I were to make such a comparison, it'd be of someone that was very much in the public eye - and very much alive - at the time I was telling the story to my son. I'm sure there'd have been plenty of "toffs" around in the 1920s or thereabouts (when Toppy's story is likely to have first been discussed with his son) for him to choose from.
Even that's not certain, given that we're talking about the years before the media came up with the cult of the celebrity. At that time, the average working man's immediate visual impressions of specific members of the ruling class might not have extended much beyond the Prime Minister, Lord Kitchener and the King."

Exactly, Sam; there is every chance that Hutchinson had no real idea what Randolph Churchill looked like. That is, in fact, to some extent my point. The papers of 1888 were not illustrated with photos to any larger extent (if any at all), and colour photos were not around.
So Hutch would probably not have known that Churchill did not correspond with his description of dark eyes and a Jewish appearance! Therefore, if he chose to compare Astrakhan man to Randolph Churchill, he did not do so in conflict with better knowledge when it came to looks - such a comparison would have pointed to other traits displayed by Churchill, at least the way Toppy perceived him. And the only other traits that are logical to mention here is wealth and status, being "higher up the social ladder", as Richard remembers it being referred to in a certain radio show.

So, to my mind, if Toppy did use the comparison, very much speaks of it originating from year one, more or less - the days when Churchill was still alive and spoken of. To think that Toppy would have started to speak of Churchill in the thirties is much less realistic, just as it is very unrealistic to think that Reg would have chosen the long dead lord himself if he wanted to make the story up all on his own.

The best,
Fisherman

Fisherman
06-10-2009, 08:43 AM
Ben writes:

"In fact, not only was Reg quoted directly, but he was quoted as quoting his father, so unless Fairclough lied and invented a whole load of dialogue that never took place, it must be considered a certainty that Reg was at least partially responsible for creating, or at the very least contributing to, some of the Churchill/royalty nonsense."

This, Ben, is an equation that does not add up. If Fairclough did not contribute Fairclough, how on eart can it be a certainty that Reg must have done it? Why would we be able to exclude the possibility that Toppy was the man who introduced Churchill, and on what possible grounds could we call it a certainty?
Surely I am misreading you?

Fisherman

Fisherman
06-10-2009, 09:49 AM
"If Fairclough did not contribute Fairclough"

...and that does not add up either. I of course meant "if Fairclough did not contribute CHURCHILL"!

Fisherman

richardnunweek
06-10-2009, 10:50 AM
Hello Ben.
Any suggestion made by me which gave the opinion that Astracan, was a local heavy, was just a explanation why such a well dresssed man showed [ apparently] no fear in walking those streets, yet alone venturing into a dingy court , at the request of a young woman.
If one takes the statement of Hutchinson at face value, it would suggest that the man was not of a menacing kind, and was hardly a hard case, otherwise Hutch would have been in trouble eyeballing him as the couple passed by.
So why the confidence?
How did he know that this woman was not a police decoy?
How did he know that this woman was not leading him to a mugging?
what gave him the confidence to walk into Dorset street, dressed as a typical 'penny dreadful' character?
The obvious explanation , if one takes the laughter, and intimacy as a clue[ the hand on shoulder, and the kiss in Dorset street] would be that Astracan , and Mary were known to each other, which would explain his lack of fear in going with her to room 13, and her lack of fear in escorting him there.
Regards Richard.

Fisherman
06-10-2009, 12:37 PM
...unless a combination of sheer stupidity and sexual arousment did the trick!

The best,
Fisherman

richardnunweek
06-10-2009, 12:53 PM
Hi Fisherman,
Stupidness.?
Insanity if he was a total stranger to the area.
Sexual arousement?
He walked sharply[ statement] would that indicate an erection? more likely walked rather doubled up......
One could use the 'walked sharply' and Mrs coxs neice version of 'All right my luv , dont pull me along'[ whilst entering the passage] as indications of a man in a hurry.
Was it a sexual need, if so that would go against medical opinion would it not?and heaven forbid, victorian medical opinion is so trusted on Casebook.
If a murderous need , why the wait before killing kelly,that is if the actual cry was from kelly.
Far more simple by my suggestion that the couple knew of each other, and trust was present.
Regards Richard.

Fisherman
06-10-2009, 01:10 PM
Could have been either way, of course. But sexual arousment among punters is not unheard of!:1tongue:

Plus, in the press version he walked very softly - whatever THAT is a pointer to, sexually?

The best,
Fisherman

richardnunweek
06-10-2009, 01:25 PM
Fisherman.
In all seriousness, what is known from oral history suggests that Mary Kelly, was extremely frightened of venturing out alone, at least during the previous weeks, it was quoted at the time, that it was generally not her policy to bring any man home with her, although that contradicts Coxs neice account.
If Blotchy ever existed, he surely must have been well known to Mary to take a chance in inviting him back to her room, but i have major resevations of his actual existance, the singing for that amount of time with a man present does not ring true, especially as no male tones were heard.
But that goes against statements made..so just opinion.
I cannot see how paranoid Mary Jane, would allow herself to be accosted by a man dressed suspiciously, and carrrying a parcel, without any real concern for her safety..
it does not figure.
unless she knew him.
Regards Richard.

halomanuk
06-10-2009, 01:30 PM
If Hutchinson's account is correct then Mary and blotchy definately knew eachother,hence them bursting out laughing at something and the immediate familiarity together.
And,as Richard states,she was very wary about the whole situation at that time so to bring someone back to her room that she didnt know just doesnt make sense in a lot of ways.

Ben
06-10-2009, 01:35 PM
The reason I entertained the possibility of a local crimelord was that it was suggested on the "Toffs in Spitalfields"

If the individual in question was a local "crimelord" there is absolutely no way that he'd parade his expensive and ostentatious accessories into the worst area in the entirety of the East End, if not Greater London, especially in the small hours of the mornng...especially not alone...especially not when hoards of wannabe (and genuine) vigilantees were extremely twitchy about anyone who seemed to be a conspicuous outsider, particularly those who dressed in a manner that mirrored the popular bogeymen/ripper image almost perfectly.

These were the days before the advent of the flashy underworld (and frankly, rather Hollywood-esque) King-Pin who sat at the head of the Crime Council anyway.

Well-to-do people have certainly gone there, but they generally knew better that to waltz in their alone in the most conspicuous garb imaginable.

So Hutch would probably not have known that Churchill did not correspond with his description of dark eyes and a Jewish appearance!

So, therefore, Lord Randolph Churchill would have been a nonsensical comparison to make. If you don't know what a man looks like, or indeed if you don't know anything about the individual in question, don't refer to him in the first place. There is no evidence that Hutchinson believed the man enjoyed high status or belonged to the aristocracy (let alone royalty!). He effectively dispenses of this idea himself by indentifying him as someone who lived in the neighourhood. Wealth is far too tenuous a paralell for Churchill to be wheeled on as a comparison.

This, Ben, is an equation that does not add up. If Fairclough did not contribute Fairclough, how on eart can it be a certainty that Reg must have done it?

I'm suggesting that Fairclough put the very idea of Churchill into Reg's head, and Reg simply went along with it, adding fuel to the fire in the process by "remembering" a few details of his own. Fairclough had a Royal conspiracy to tout, so Reg went along with. He also had Churchill involved, so Reg went along with that partyline too.

Best regards,
Ben

Fisherman
06-10-2009, 01:36 PM
Hi Richard and Barry (is it?)

Sensible, of course - but then again, the trade of a prostitute is to supply sex to strangers. And since we cannot tell just how pressed she was for money on the fatal evening, it is hard to determine what she would do and what she would refrain from. And to make things worse, it seems she was intoxicated on that evening, something that has a habit of clouding peoples judgement.
All in all, not an easy call, I fear.

The best,
Fisherman

Ben
06-10-2009, 01:41 PM
I cannot see how paranoid Mary Jane, would allow herself to be accosted by a man dressed suspiciously, and carrrying a parcel, without any real concern for her safety..
it does not figure.
unless she knew him.

But Richard, if she knew him, then the chances are strong that he was familiar with the district, and if he was familiar with the district, he wouldn't have dressed up like a swaggering peacock with his thick gold watch on proud display. It's simply forsaking your reason to argue otherwise. Astrakhan man is generally speaking a paint-by-numbers amalgamation of two things:

1) The various bogeyman traits that had crept into the public thinking with regard to the killer's image (surly, Jewish, conspicuous, black parcel, possible medical training etc)

2) Other witness accounts (walked very softly, red hankerchief/neckerchief, carrying a package of some description etc)

And the description was ultimately discredited.

He walked sharply[ statement] would that indicate an erection?

Oh, come on...

That was when Hutchinson changed the man's gait from "softly" to "sharp".

Best regards,
Ben

Fisherman
06-10-2009, 01:47 PM
Ben quotes:

"The reason I entertained the possibility of a local crimelord was that it was suggested on the "Toffs in Spitalfields"

...but that is just half the quotation, Ben. It should go on something like "...that no man who differed so much from the ordinary East-ender would venture into Dorset Street at that time".
The suggestion of a local crimelord was on my behalf - to exemplify how at least one such type could have broken the suggested rule.

"So, therefore, Lord Randolph Churchill would have been a nonsensical comparison to make. If you don't know what a man looks like, or indeed if you don't know anything about the individual in question, don't refer to him in the first place."

But what I am saying, Ben, is that Toppy would have had knowledge of the man - not of his looks but of the fact that he was someone high up the social ladder.
And - once again - I do not think we can crave that Toppys comparisons must have been a hundred per cent relevant. If Churchill had a name about him as being very much up that social ladder, then there would have been at least some sort of relevance, and that is what I have been pointing to for a number of posts by now.
Putting it differently, when you write "Wealth is far too tenuous a paralell for Churchill to be wheeled on", I think that a tenuous parallel may be exactly what we need to believe in Toppy having mentioned Churchill - once there was greater knowledge about the man on Toppys behalf, he probably would have dropped the idea.

"I'm suggesting that Fairclough put the very idea of Churchill into Reg's head, and Reg simply went along with it, adding fuel to the fire in the process by "remembering" a few details of his own. Fairclough had a Royal conspiracy to tout, so Reg went along with. He also had Churchill involved, so Reg went along with that partyline too."

...which was not how I read that passage on the former occasion - but I agree that if Toppy never brought up Churchill, Reg would be very unlikely to do so. In that case, just like you say, Fairclough seems the likelier perpetrator. But that´s if....

Fisherman

Ben
06-10-2009, 01:59 PM
Hi Fisherman,

The suggestion of a local crimelord was on my behalf - to exemplify how at least one such type could have broken the suggested rule.

Thanks for clarifying.

I personally doubt very much that there was such a thing as the underworld bling-bedecked crimelord in 1888, and if there was, they'd know better to venture out alone dressed in such a manner.

But what I am saying, Ben, is that Toppy would have had knowledge of the man - not of his looks but of the fact that he was someone high up the social ladder.

Right, but Lord Randolph Churchill was extremely high up the social ladder. The very prefix "Lord" gives the game away here, and yet the George Hutchinson from 1888 clearly did not believe (or rather did not attempt to convey the impression) that the Astrakhan man was on a par with Churchill on a social level for the simple reason that anyone who was would not have lived "in the neighbourhood". Whoever he was, or whoever Hutchinson was trying to depict him as, he was not "someone like Lord Randolph Churchill". He's a misfit on so many levels that without any specificity as to precisely which aspect of Churchill is being compared, the comparison is rendered bizarre and nonsensical, and I simply cannot buy the idea that he made it without any knowledge on Toppy's part of Churchill's particulars, physical or otherwise.

All the best,
Ben

richardnunweek
06-10-2009, 02:16 PM
Hi.
what i have heard from a private source, is Fairclough promised a wedge of money to Reg , if the book did well, lets not forget it was less then forty lines in the book, that Topping was refered too.
Its almost certain that he was prompted by Fairclough, to the best of my knowledge no such name was mentioned on radio, just 'someone higher up'
we should also remember that costermonger Reg, liked the limelight of being refered to in a book., but was completely ignorant about the whitechapel murders so much so[ private information] refers to him being lent a book on the subject by a younger relative.
we are making a real molehill over the whole Hutch scenerio, to Topping he just mentioned he knew a victim, when the subject crept up.
The world is full of people that knew someoned famous/infamous, film stars, singers, and goodness knows what.
I met many famous people in my life, Roger moore in a Reigate pub , in the sixties, Cliff/ Mary Michelmore[ family favourites] in the same pub, Andre previn, and his then wife Mia Farrow, in a country pub in Leigh].
All very nice people, but whats the big deal in saying that , there is none, so why do we find Toppings peice of history so fascinating?
Regards Richard.

Ben
06-10-2009, 02:26 PM
Hi Richard,

what i have heard from a private source, is Fairclough promised a wedge of money to Reg , if the book did well

Oh dear!

If true, it would explain a great deal.

we should also remember that costermonger Reg, liked the limelight of being refered to in a book., but was completely ignorant about the whitechapel murders

Indeed. I suspected as much - on both counts.

to Topping he just mentioned he knew a victim, when the subject crept up

But the real Hutchinson didn't just "know a victim". According to him, he was the last person to see the most brutally murdered victim alive and in the company of a suspect which, if accurate (snort!) reveals the killer as very much the physically sinister pantomime villian that everyone in their ignorance assumed he must have been. He was the temporary star witness. He was the individual who witnessed the destruction exacted upon the corpse of Mary Kelly. If he simply told his son that he "knew one of the victims", that's troubling, in light of the forgoing.

Best regards,
Ben

Fisherman
06-10-2009, 02:39 PM
Ben writes:

"He's a misfit on so many levels that without any specificity as to precisely which aspect of Churchill is being compared, the comparison is rendered bizarre and nonsensical, and I simply cannot buy the idea that he made it without any knowledge on Toppy's part of Churchill's particulars, physical or otherwise."

I know you can´t - which is why I invite to to share how (some, at least one) other people think.
And I think that a nonsensical choice of comparison may hold the key to it all - there is no reason to believe that Hutchinson needed a penny-by-penny, collar-by-collar, sealstone-by-sealstone likeness to make his choice. Quite the contrary; if Astrakhan man was bafflingly elegant and obviously well off, then THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN ENOUGH for Toppy to reach for the top comparison.
Nobody would have lifted an eyebrow if in 1888, a man clothed in rags but with a new jacket had come into a pub and been greeted by his friends with a "Look at ´im - ´es a regular lord Churchill, that one!"

Not a fully functioning comparison, I know - but a step on the road to realizing what I am talking about, I should hope. The pub guests would

A/ Not have thought that the man with the new jacket was Churchills spitting image
B/ Probably not know anything more about Churchill than his rank in society
C/ Still have conveyed exactly what the wanted to convey - that the new jacket looked nice and made the man look a tad nicer too.

All in all, such a thing would have been said with a glimpse in the eye, and that would not have been the same in Hutchinsons case, I think. In his case, he would have reached for a known man from higher social ranks to pinpoint something of the feeling Astrakhan man had given him - and in doing so, Randolph Churchill may have leapt to mind.
And of course, it makes for an irrelevant comparison, or a nonsensical one - but it in no way tells us that such a comparison could not have been made. In fact, if one needed to point very clearly up the social ladder, Churchill would have been a prime example and one that easily sprung to most peoples minds.

I still see nothing strange at all in such a choice of comparison on Toppys behalf - on the contrary. And I am quite fine with you disagreeing - somehow, I have gotten used to it.

Fisherman

Fisherman
06-10-2009, 02:48 PM
If we are to go on cutting quotes into bits and pieces, this makes a nice addition:

"the most brutally murdered victim alive":idea3:

Fisherman

Ben
06-10-2009, 03:01 PM
And I think that a nonsensical choice of comparison may hold the key to it all - there is no reason to believe that Hutchinson needed a penny-by-penny, collar-by-collar, sealstone-by-sealstone likeness to make his choice.

Oh agreed, but on the other hand there is ample reason to believe that he'd avoid using a wholly inapplicable and inappropriate comparison which actually contrasted, in many respects, with what George Hutchinson claimed with regard to the individual's appearance in 1888. Obviously we cannot rule out the possibility that he did precisely that, but I believe the simpler explanation is that Toppy had nothing to do with any Churchillian references, and that Fairclough was the instigator - with Reg just nodding in acquiescence, "remembering" helpful conspiracy-supporting details in the process, especially if there was the promise of a payment if all went well.

I find that more likely than Toppy's 1920s/1930s observations about the possible involvement of royalty just coming to the fore at the same time that a handful of authors were trying to place royalty under suspicion in the Whitechapel murders. Too much of an unsettling coincidence for me.

Nobody would have lifted an eyebrow if in 1888, a man clothed in rags but with a new jacket had come into a pub and been greeted by his friends with a "Look at ´im - ´es a regular lord Churchill, that one!"

But they'd be saying so in jest.

They wouldn't actually believe that the man in the new jacket was "like" Churchill. Conversely, the way Reg phrases it (via Fairclough), we're left in little doubt as to the intended meaning: that Toppy actually believed that the man he saw "someone like Lord Randolph Churchill".

In his case, he would have reached for a known man from higher social ranks to pinpoint something of the feeling Astrakhan man had given him - and in doing so, Randolph Churchill may have leapt to mind

But the "feeling" in Hutchinson's case was evidently not one of aristocracy or great social breeding. If he really thought so at the time, he certainly undermined that silent observation by identifying him as living in the neighbourhood - immediately taking him out of the ranks of the aristocrats and royals, and more in the direction of the sinister wealthy Jew.

All the best,
Ben

Fisherman
06-10-2009, 03:21 PM
Ben writes:

"But they'd be saying so in jest.

They wouldn't actually believe that the man in the new jacket was "like" Churchill. Conversely, the way Reg phrases it (via Fairclough), we're left in little doubt as to the intended meaning: that Toppy actually believed that the man he saw "someone like Lord Randolph Churchill"."

We are merging two steps into one here, Ben. I pointed out that, just like you say, the guys at the pub would be saying what they said in jest. But I also pointed to the fact that Churchill would have been fair game when looking for somebody to represent the upper steps of the societal ladder.
Similarly, I never thought that Toppy was of the meaning that the two men resembled each other very much - he would probably not even have known, as a matter of fact - but if he felt the need to exemplify higher social class, lord Randolph was a good bid. It is only with Reg that we get the suggestion that Toppy would have held the conviction that the man in fact WAS Churchill - but we have nothing to bolster that Toppy himself really did think that. The far more credible thing is to believe that IF Toppy used Churchill as a comparison, he did so only because the man represented the top end of society´s ladder. And that need not have involved any feeling on Toppys behalf about "aristocracy or great social breeding". In fact, I am not sure that Toppy would have recognized such things if they were put before him.
But if we allow ourselves to speculate that Astrakhan man perhaps NOT first and foremost conveyed the expression of a toff or a sinister jew, but instead that of quite a welldressed, obviously wealthy, elegant man, then there we are - that may have been all it took for Hutch to put him down as somebody way above himself.
In fact, in some of the newspaper reports, Astrakhan man is mentioned as "elegant" and such things - I do not remember the exact wording, but that is the core of it; he is not written about as a music hall villain. That is something that has surfaced later, I think.

Not sure that I can phrase this in very many more ways, Ben - but I think you have got most of what I am saying by now? Reciprocally, I know exactly where you are coming from.

Fisherman

Fisherman
06-10-2009, 03:34 PM
This would be what I was remembering, Ben; "STORY OF THE MAN WHO SAW KELLY WITH A "GENTLEMAN." (the Star 14 nov). It does not say elegant, but it speaks of a "gentleman". That makes me wonder if Astrakhan man was perhaps more of a discreetely elegant fellow than has been thought. Gold chains and seal stones can belong to both flashy, dodgy sinister jews and well-to-do, high-brow gentlemen, I think. And in the end, it is Toppys perception that counts - not our knowledge that the absolute upper class was very un-flashy.

Fisherman

Ben
06-10-2009, 03:38 PM
But I also pointed to the fact that Churchill would have been fair game when looking for somebody to represent the upper steps of the societal ladder

Quite possibly, Fish.

Although, as Gareth pointed out, it's doubtful that Toppy had much, if any familiarity, with Lord Randolph Churchill. The other problem is that Hutchinson was clearly not attempting to depict Astrakhan as somebody who belonged to "the upper steps of the societal ladder". Astrakhan man, as described by Hutchonson, was not only worlds away from royalty or the English aristoracy, he clearly didn't belong to the upper echelons of society.

If we disregard Churchill as a comparison intended to highlight Astrakhan's lofty social standing (because this image was not implicit in the statement), I can't see where else he'd fit it. I can see him being used as a convenient vehicle for projecting a nonsensical early 1990s conspiracy theory involving toffs and royals.

but I think you have got most of what I am saying by now? Reciprocally, I know exactly where you are coming from.

Thanks Fish, and likewise of course.

I just feel the whole whiff of royal involvement and men of social standing has a depressing modernity to it. As with most component of Fairclough's book, including the notorious Abberline diaries, I doubt it had its origins in 1888.

All the best,
Ben

Edit: Re. The "gentleman" reference. That was a press term, it should be remembered. It wasn't Hutchinson who used the word "gentleman", hence "A man coming in the opposite direction..."

Fisherman
06-10-2009, 03:49 PM
Ben writes:

"The "gentleman" reference ... was a press term, it should be remembered. It wasn't Hutchinson who used the word "gentleman"

That is correct. But somehow it would seem that the picture of Astrakhan man back in them days did not necessarily hold the more sinister and "cheap-jewelry" vaudevill elements that are so common to us today - and that urges us to be careful in that respect.

Fisherman

Jane Welland
06-10-2009, 03:51 PM
..doesn't the eponymous author of the statement use the term 'Jewish appearance' ?

Sam Flynn
06-10-2009, 08:09 PM
..doesn't the eponymous author of the statement use the term 'Jewish appearance' ?
A very, very good point, Jane. Even if Hutchinson had possessed a photographic (lithographic?) memory of Lord Randolph Churchill, he'd scarcely have used him as his benchmark for someone of "Jewish appearance", still less - as described in his press interview - a "foreigner"!!

Jane Welland
06-10-2009, 08:48 PM
As any can see who choose to, and as you doubtless know, the statement is here on Casebook to read. Which I did. I shouldn't think, from what I gather so far, that the Randolph Churchill tale warrants very much credibility. Somebody made it up, even if we can't tell who. Jane x

Fisherman
06-10-2009, 09:21 PM
Sam writes:

"A very, very good point, Jane. Even if Hutchinson had possessed a photographic (lithographic?) memory of Lord Randolph Churchill, he'd scarcely have used him as his benchmark for someone of "Jewish appearance", still less - as described in his press interview - a "foreigner"!!"

It IS a good point - or two, to be exact, joining your efforts together, Sam. But it does not change the fact that Toppy allegedly spoke of someone LIKE RC, and not of RC himself - and that means that if he was merely referring to a feeling on his own behalf that Astrakhan man was somebody who had reached fairly high among the pinnacles of society, it matters little if the man looked Mongolian, Far Eastern or distinctly Phillipin - in these countries too, there would be people who belonged to the upper part of the social ladder, and so, in that respect, they too WERE someone like RC.

I would very much like to move away from the very apparent fact that the man described by the Dorset Street witness did not LOOK like RC - since he may well have shared other things with him, that -and that only - is what may make a difference here.

It is strange how one may bring up a detail and try to shed some light over it, only to a few posts down the line find oneself looking like a fervent defender of something you knew from the outset was only one of many possibilities. I am in no way stating that Toppy MUST have spoken of Churchill - I am only saying that it does not take a very big leap of the imagination to accept that he may well have. To me, it is not necessarily dodgy, strange, ridiculously coincidental or anything such. Well-known people always become the property of the man in the street when it comes to comparisons and such; a "She sings better than Madonna", "He looks just like Elvis Presley" and "Sam, usually as bright as Edison, may be missing out more than the guy that invented the Ford Edsel" kind of thing.

The best,
Fisherman

Ben
06-10-2009, 11:15 PM
and that means that if he was merely referring to a feeling on his own behalf that Astrakhan man was somebody who had reached fairly high among the pinnacles of society

But the original Hutchinson clearly did not "feel" that "on his own behalf", Fisherman. By identifying him as someone who lived in the neighbourhood (where the upper echolons of society rarely ventured, and certainly didn't live) he was clearly seperating him from the Lord Randolph Churchills of the day. His evidence tells us as much. The fact that he described the man in question as having a Jewish or foreign appearance takes us even further away from Lords, Ladies and Royalty. Anyone Jewish or foreign would obviously not have joined the ranks of the highest classes in this country, so in no respect can he be compared to Churchill.

If the only thing they shared was wealth, then I find it too outlandish to accept that he described Astrakhan man as "someone like Lord Randolph Churchill" purely on that basis. It's just too tenuous. The example I used was a description of me as "someone like Paris Hilton" on the grounds that we're both blonds!

Well-known people always become the property of the man in the street when it comes to comparisons and such; a "She sings better than Madonna

But as Gareth pointed out - a point with which I agree - it's doubtful in the extreme that Churchill was the "Elvis" or "Madonna" or his day. There's no reason to assume that Toppy knew anything about him, let alone what he looked like.

Best regards,
Ben

Fisherman
06-11-2009, 10:12 AM
Ben writes:

"the original Hutchinson clearly did not "feel" that "on his own behalf", Fisherman. By identifying him as someone who lived in the neighbourhood ... he was clearly seperating him from the Lord Randolph Churchills of the day."

Phew, Ben - I was rather hoping that I had come across by now; I KNOW that Churchill would not have chosen Tiger Bay over the more posh parts of London when looking for somewhere to settle down, I KNOW that Astrakhan man did not look like RC, I KNOW that Astrakhan man´s clothing would perhaps have been of a less discreet elegance than that of RC, I KNOW that even Toppy would have realized that somebody living in the vicinity of Dorset Street would probably not be of royal descent.
It is not because of this I feel that he still may have used RC as a comparison - it is IN SPITE OF IT!

My stance on this question is that Hutchinson has been painted out as a fraud, an imposter and a potential killer over the years, and it has rubbed off on everything, turning his son into a liar and, interestingly, it has turned Astrakhan man into a sinister bling-bling vaudeville villain dresswise - although it has always been prioritized not even to believe in his existence! And that is incredible - he probably never existed, but IF he did, he MUST have been the archetype mentioned above!?

As you know, to my mind, Hutchinson has been found. And since I fortwith will work from that acceptance (on my behalf, Ben, no need for you to once again disagree; I´ll do it for you), it means that the whole issue must be reassesed. And that begins by taking an unflawed, fresh look at things, and when I do that, one of the first things that surface is the insight that Astrakhan man may very well have been exactly what the Star said: elegant - that wording came from somewhere! And elegant men in costly attire, displaying massive gold chains and seal stones and such, are quite simply men that belong to the upper steps of the societal ladder!
And - once again and once and for all - THAT is the only connection we need to be able to see some relevance for Toppys using RC as a comparison! It may be a BAD comparison - but bad comparisons are thirteen a dozen. It may be strange on behalf of Toppy to say that he thought the man could be living nearby - but if he HAD seen him in the vicinity at other times, the conclusion that there may be a connection would become logical, in spite of the fact that "everybody" knew that the Royal family had another address.

Once again, Toppy never said "The man I saw was Randolph Churchill", he never said "He must have been of royal descent", he never said "he came from this or that circle of people" - he simply said it was someone "like" Churchill. There was some sort of "like"-ness, that is ALL we have to go on, and we cannot allow ourselves to expand that to saying that since it would NOT have been Churchill he saw, he would NEVER have said such a thing.
He said there was a likeness in some respect - and since we have a man that is called "elegant" and who reeks of money (as in "gold chain", as in "seal stone"), we can easily see that this kind of likeness is there.

Now, please, please don´t tell me that Toppy never would have used RC as a comparison since he would have known that it would be a bad comparison. It is not about that, and I hope I have made that clear by now!

Fisherman
resurrector of lost possibilities - not a denier of obvious options

Ben
06-11-2009, 12:48 PM
My stance on this question is that Hutchinson has been painted out as a fraud, an imposter and a potential killer over the years, and it has rubbed off on everything, turning his son into a liar

But I don't know anything about Hutchinson's son, Fisherman. I have no idea if he had any direct descendants. As you know full well, I regard Toppy and Reg as a seperate entity entirely, and unrelated to the events of 1888. Even if I believed the original Hutchinson had come across as a paragon of truthful non-murderous virtue, it still wouldn't have made made Reg's observations - as quoted in The Ripper and the Royals - any less dodgy and implausible, I'm afraid.

it has turned Astrakhan man into a sinister bling-bling vaudeville villain dresswise

That's really how I see it, Fisherman. The physical particulars of the Astrakhan man are an amalgamation of many of the bogeyman elements that had crept into popular thinking from the early murders, and they aren't particularly sutble. The Jews quickly became the generic scapegoat, and given the anti-semitism that pervaded the district, that's hardly surprising; hence the scaremongering tales involving the Jewish "Leather Apron" with a surly or manacing countenance. Then, in the wake of the Hanbury Street murder, it became briefly accepted that the killer must have been medically trained, and would therefore have been well-dressed by virtue of his profession.

Combine all that with a tightly-grasped black package of potentially knife-shaped dimensions and we're left with the archetypal villain of the piece. It's laid on with a thick trowel, and the presented the ideal vehicle for deflecting suspicion in a false direction if and when the situation might call for it; like if you realise you'd been seen near a crime scene and needed a good reason for being there - "I saw a scary man".

And elegant men in costly attire, displaying massive gold chains and seal stones and such, are quite simply men that belong to the upper steps of the societal ladder!

Nobody ever used the word "elegant", though.

Because he wasn't.

Nor did Hutchinson ever convey the impression that he was. More so than the average Spitalfields labourer perhaps, but still worlds away from the upper reaches of society that would lend itself to a Lord Randolph Churchill comparison. If you're arguing that we should rule out that possibility completely, you'll get no argument from me. But it really is unlikely. Apparent wealth is just too tenuous a paralell to lend itself to the observation that he was "someone like LRC". Without any elaboration ("but I mean in terms of money only, and I acknowledge that he's different in all other respects"). All he had to do was point out that the man was wealthy.

Best regards,
Ben

Fisherman
06-11-2009, 02:05 PM
Ben:

"That's really how I see it, Fisherman."

But it is not the only way to see it - as displayed by - among other things - the Stars wording about a "gentleman" (I confused it with "elegant" again - I´ll have to shape up and leave that habit behind). And that is why I spend time on promoting the suggestion that we need to open up for another interpretation than the common one. Nota bene that I am not weighing the possibilities in percentages - such things are hard to do, of course - but I think that we are faced with a very real possibility that RC WAS mentioned by Toppy.

"Nobody ever used the word "elegant", though.
Because he wasn't."

Saying such things, Ben, really only detract from the value of your judgement. Neither you nor me could possibly know if he was elegant or not, end of story. We only know that we do not have it on record - but the fact that we do not have the size of the mans nose on record either does not imply that he was noseless.
A conviction is fine, but trying to morph it into truth is not.

"More so than the average Spitalfields labourer perhaps"

Perhaps, Ben? Massive gold chain, red seal stone, spats, astrakhan-collared coat - "perhaps" more elegant than the average Spitalfields labourer?
Can we be for real here?

"Apparent wealth is just too tenuous a paralell to lend itself to the observation that he was "someone like LRC"."

No. Wrong. It is more than enough to justify the parallel, long as you and I do not go around craving far too much exactitude from Toppy.
What we have is a statement from Reg telling us that Toppy had said that them man was someone like RC, nothing more. We do not have the exact wording, and that may be crucial. A few examples of possible wordings may elucidate my thoughts:

"And there he was, this posh man, all fit up and shiny, just like a regular Randolph Churchill"

"...and for a second I thought I´d run into lord Churchill - on Dorset Street! You should have seen him!"

" I´m telling you lads, that man was a man of means, all dressed up and elegant, just like Randolph Churchill and them boys"

"I mean, what was a fellow like that, looked just like lord Churchill and them geezers, doing in our neighbourhood?"

You realize, of course, Ben, that I could go on for ages - and that goes to show what I am suggesting. Tenuous though the link may seem, there is every reason to realize that there need be no royal conspiracy thinking behind Toppys claims. And though Toppy would be wrong in saying that he was just like a regular RC, the fact of the matter is (just like you pointed to yourself a post or two ago) that Toppy may well not have known what RC actually did look like and how he dressed - but he may have entertained the notion that an astrakhan-lined coat, a gold chain and a red seal stone would have been the probable outfit!
As for the "tightly-grasped black package of potentially knife-shaped dimensions", I think that the tight grasp was added by you, Ben, further demonizing an already demonized man, and - more importantly - maybe we should remember that PC Smith from the Stride case reported that HE saw another potentially sinister package, some 18 feet long, in the hands of a man in Strides company on Berner Street close in time to the strike - and he was believed in spite of it ...

There - in spite of my misgivings earlier, I actually WAS able to explain all of this once more and in other words! And by now I have made it all perfectly clear - or?

Fisherman

Ben
06-11-2009, 02:28 PM
Hi Fisherman,

But it is not the only way to see it - as displayed by - among other things - the Stars wording about a "gentleman" (I confused it with "elegant" again - I´ll have to shape up and leave that habit behind).

The Star's wording didn't reflect Hutchinson's own terminology, though. The latter consistently referred to Astrakhan as "a man", or "the man". While it may be a "real" possibility that Toppy himself made the comparison between Astrakhan and LRC, I'd have to describe it as a remote one.

Neither you nor me could possibly know if he was elegant or not, end of story.

I'll rephrase, Fish: In my view, there is nothing in Hutchinson's description that would suggest that the suspect referred to was "elegant", but I consider that there are and plentiful and compelling indications that the description combined earlier witness sightings with several "sinister" elements that had been conjured up by press and populace as a result of the murders.

No. Wrong. It is more than enough to justify the parallel, long as you and I do not go around craving far too much exactitude from Toppy.

Exactitude isn't required. What is required is a non-tenuous paralell that makes at least a modicum of sense. "Someone like Paris Hilton" would be a ludicrous description of me. To justify that ludcicrous comparison on the grounds that we both have blond hair so the link should speak for itself is even more ludicrous. Irrational comparisons such as these are not impossible, but I doubt very much that anything of that nature occured here.

"...and for a second I thought I´d run into lord Churchill - on Dorset Street! You should have seen him!"

But if he'd phrased it as such to his son, the latter would have appreciated that he was only speaking in jest. In fact, Reg's recorded impression was that Toppy was describing "someone high up - like Churchill", which is problematic because it's fairly obvious that the real Hutchinson wasn't describing anyone "high up like Churchill". High up people like Churchill did not live in the neighbourhood and were not Jewish. Toppy was also quoted as saying that the murders "had more to do with the Royal family than ordinary" people - equally problematic in light of the real Hutchinson's 1888 claims.

As for the "tightly-grasped black package of potentially knife-shaped dimensions", I think that the tight grasp was added by you, Ben, further demonizing an already demonized man

It certainly wasn't added by me. The dimensions, as recorded by his press statement, are potentially knife-shaped, and the package was recorded as being tightly grasped. PC Smith described a newspaper package, yes, and it's entirely possible that Hutchinson decided to incorporate that detail into his own account. Smith wasn't the only one either: there was the black bag man (Goldstein), as well as allusions to similar items from Sarah Roney and our old friend Sarah Lewis.

And by now I have made it all perfectly clear - or?

Yes, but I still disagree on certain points. I'm not saying your "possible" explanation should be excluded, but I consider it very remote. But I think we've probably got the point where rephrasing things isn't likely to convince either one of us any further.

Best regards,
Ben

Fisherman
06-11-2009, 03:19 PM
Ben (in small portions):

"While it may be a "real" possibility"

Thanks!

"I'll rephrase"

Thanks again!

"Exactitude isn't required."

Third time over!

"It certainly wasn't added by me. The dimensions, as recorded by his press statement, are potentially knife-shaped, and the package was recorded as being tightly grasped."

Ben, you tell me that we should not lend an ear to the suggestions that Astrakhan man was a gentleman, since that only appeared in the press. In accordance with this, we may need to accept that the official police report on this issue says:

"He also had a kind of small parcel in his left hand. with a kind of strap round it."

So no tight grasping there, I´d say - Hutch may have carried the parcel by the strap.

"Yes"

That makes four - Hallelujah!

"I'm not saying your "possible" explanation should be excluded, but I consider it very remote."

Fine enough. I don´t consider it at all remote, and I think we can allow any other poster to join the line just where they please to!

"I think we've probably got the point where rephrasing things isn't likely to convince either one of us any further"

You know, Ben, you may just have a point there...

Fisherman

Ben
06-11-2009, 03:30 PM
Ben, you tell me that we should not lend an ear to the suggestions that Astrakhan man was a gentleman, since that only appeared in the press.

It's not so much that it appeared in the press that I find problematic with the gentleman reference, Fisherman. It's the fact that they clearly were not quoting Hutchinson as having referred to him as such. They, the press, called Astrakhan a "gentleman", not Hutchinson himself. However, they do quote him directly with regard to the "tightly grasped" reference:

"The man I saw carried a small parcel in his hand about 8in. long and it had a strap round it. He had it tightly grasped in his left hand."

From The Times, 14th November 1888.

Fisherman
06-11-2009, 03:43 PM
...and that is PRECISELY the sort of thing that makes many of us wary of the possibility that the press may have spiced things up - as for the "direct quotation", ten years ago the main editor of the magazine "Damernas värld" here in Sweden was forced to resign, the reason being that she had published a lengthy interwiew with Agnetha Fältskog of ABBA, the music group, qouting her extensively on lots of issues.
Problem was she had never even spoken to Agnetha ...

Press reports are dodgy things - nobody knows that better than me, Ben. Of course, the indication is there, but the wording is something that reeks of broad paint brushes and bright colours, so I´d advice against putting too much faith in it.

Perhaps the same could be said of The Stars "gentleman" reference - but in this case too it applies that the indication is there.

Fisherman

Jane Welland
06-11-2009, 03:53 PM
..I'm still not sure what Randolph Churchill has to do with a witness description of an individual who looks rather a lot like a stereotypical Jew? And was said, indeed, to be of 'Jewish' appearance?

I shouldn't have thought Randolph Churchill would have resembled a Jew?

Is it not more likely, say, that this person described in the statemen was:

A really convincing stereotypical Jew, complete with red hanky, big gold chain, red stone seal ring (like wot Jews wear) and Astrakhan trimmed coat to boot? (like wot East End Jewish immigrants of Russian descent wot have done really well for themselves might wear on a cold night such as this..)*

Or, a made up Jew?

Could be either. Am inclined towards the latter - although willing to be convinced otherwise, quite happily.

You know, I don't think it would have been so hard for anyone living in the East End to have had a pretty clear idea of what a 'Toff' Jew looked like at the time - they were embedded in popular culture for a start, racial and social stereotypes and all.

This is Henry Irving's Shylock - 1880

5795

Hmm, fur trimmed coat, menacing stare...Or, we can have one with a knife from an earlier production..

5796

Hmm, Wealthy Jew with a fur-trimmed coat and a knife....

This isn't entirely serious - but the point is there, nonetheless. If you look into it, you can see how many and various the 19th Century images and writings regarding the immigrant Jew are - how successful he is at social climbing, how he comes into the docks and quickly assimilates himself into the culture, how he rises economically and meteorically, profiting from the less cunning Gentile - The contemporary immigrant Jew is your classic social 'other'.

A popular choice for a vicious murderer? Historically, yes, popular perception would lead in that direction, as it did here.

Jane x

Fisherman
06-11-2009, 04:05 PM
Jane Welland writes:

"I'm still not sure what Randolph Churchill has to do with a witness description of an individual who looks rather a lot like a stereotypical Jew"

So I notice - but there is always the option to read the posts on this thread and find out.

The best,
Fisherman

Ben
06-11-2009, 04:17 PM
...and that is PRECISELY the sort of thing that makes many of us wary of the possibility that the press may have spiced things up

Although we can't lay every embellishment at the door of the press. Personally, I find it rather unlikely that the press were responsible for these particular embellishments. As we discussed on another thread, it's almost certain that they originated from the same press agency, and I doubt very much that anyone involved in such an organisation would peddle falsehoods deliberately.

All the best,
Ben

Ben
06-11-2009, 04:21 PM
Hi Jane,

Is it not more likely, say, that this person described in the statemen was:

A really convincing stereotypical Jew, complete with red hanky, big gold chain, red stone seal ring (like wot Jews wear) and Astrakhan trimmed coat to boot? (like wot East End Jewish immigrants of Russian descent wot have done really well for themselves might wear on a cold night such as this..)*

Or, a made up Jew?

Excellent points here, and I agree, both explanations are plausible, although like you, I favour the latter. Some fascinating illustrations to boot. It would tend to cement my belief that the sinister Jew was very much the popular villian at the time; straight out of a Penny Dreadful, and a potentially convenient scapegoat if one was required (and I believe it was).

All the best,
Ben

Jane Welland
06-11-2009, 04:29 PM
..Read the posts, you say? I did. Jane x

Jane Welland
06-11-2009, 04:58 PM
..City in the Volga Delta and also the place of origin of Astrakhan wool, made from newborn lambs. It originated in Russia, like many of the Jews in the contemporary East End.

Fashion is a curious beast, for sure. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Astrakhan became fashionable amongst the gentile gentry at some point or another - I don't know this for a fact, am just speculating - but I still think it looks foreign - if well-to-do - in the context of the East End in 1888.

I stand to be corrected, and quite happy to be so.

Jane x ( I do have a picture of an Astrakhan lamb - it's sooo cute!)

Fisherman
06-11-2009, 05:04 PM
Ben:

"Although we can't lay every embellishment at the door of the press. Personally, I find it rather unlikely that the press were responsible for these particular embellishments"

I seem to remember that you were of the adverse meaning when it comes to the pointing out of BS man as "respectable" in the very same paper.

Different thing, perhaps?

Fisherman

Fisherman
06-11-2009, 05:05 PM
Jane Welland:

"Read the posts, you say? I did. Jane"

A slight rephrasing, then: pick up on them ..!

With all due respect,
Fisherman

Ben
06-11-2009, 05:10 PM
Different thing, perhaps?

Slightly Fish, yes.

The "tightly grasped" reference clearly originated from a press agency, whereas "respectable appearance" came from a single independent newspaper, The Star. I'm not saying that the respectable detail is "wrong" necessarily, but I'd place a press agency over an independent press interview in terms of trustworthiness anyday.

Hi Jane,

City in the Volga Delta and also the place of origin of Astrakhan wool, made from newborn lambs. It originated in Russia, like many of the Jews in the contemporary East End.

Another fascinating tidbit. Thanks for sharing!

All the best,
Ben

Fisherman
06-11-2009, 05:14 PM
Ben:

"I'm not saying that the respectable detail is "wrong" necessarily"

You were back then, Ben - so I´m glad you changed your mind. Incidentally, when you have a press agency AND a paper collaborating, you have TWO possible sources of errors instead of just the one. But that remark is just journalist me...

Fisherman

Jane Welland
06-11-2009, 05:28 PM
...No, Fisherman. I meant I read them. You can take that to mean that I understood. I simply don't see why one would think this witness description could reasonably indicate Randolph Churchill.

I think the words 'Jewish appearance' kind of give it away just a bit?

There are many several issues here, I think. Quite apart from whether the author of the eponymous statement was 'Toppy' or not - on which I have no particular view as yet - the witness, whoever he was, could have made up the description of the 'Jewish appearance' suspect. Let's say he did. He could have done so for a number of reaosns - yes? We could speculate about them ad infinitum, if we assumed that this was the case.

Or, he could have really seen a person looking just like he said. A thought that occurs to me is that maybe Jewish well-to-do's really did dress like that. Well to some extent at least - maybe more than we think, today.

A stereotype has to come from somewhere, after all. The difflculty - impossibility, perhaps - lies in determining where the reality and the perception divide. I might go away and think about that - it's interesting.

Anyway, in any case, the description, if false, must have been sufficiently recognisable to others to be acceptable - comedic as it may now appear to us.

Still, I wonder at the need to confirm that the suspect was of 'Jewish' appearance, when it would have been quite evident from the way in which he was dressed that he was the social climbing Jew type.

Race you to the kipper stall.:lol:

Jane x

Jane Coram
06-11-2009, 08:43 PM
Hi Jane,

You've brought up some very good points on this thread......and a warm welcome to casebook.

victorianlondon.org (which I suspect you may be familiar with anyway) has some very interesting reports by contemporary social commentators, which would seem to agree quite strongly with the caricature of the stereotypical Jew that Hutchinson gives us.

I'll see if I can dig a couple out and post them up. I would have to say that they would not seem to correlate with any descriptions of Randolph Churchill I've seen about...........but I've long since given up trying to make sense of anything in this case. :stunned:

Hugs

The other Jane

xxxxx

IchabodCrane
06-11-2009, 11:38 PM
"Astrakhan man" was not Johny on the spot, Jew or otherwise, he simply didnt exist except in an attempt to be overdescriptive by a "witness", possibly planted in an attempt by either the police or the papers to create a response from the real killer
This is the best post on this board so far and an interesting speculation that the witnes was paid by the press to deliver his statement to the police. It would explain a lot, not only why he was never considered by police as a suspect, also why the police first believed and then soon afterwards dismissed him. Also it could explain certain statements made by George William Topping Hutchinson to his son Reginald, namely that he knew one of the victims and saw a suspect. Makes for a good story to tell your kids and grandchildren, although not quite historically accurate. All the rest concerning Lord Randolph Churhill may be embellishment and suggested by the interviewers to point towards the RCT, but I am convinced GWTH was definitely the witness, based on handwriting comparisons.

Ben
06-11-2009, 11:51 PM
Hi Ichabod,

interesting speculation that the witnes was paid by the press to deliver his statement to the police.

Why would the press do that? On what grounds would they single him out, and what was preventing Hutchinson from dobbing the naughty, bribing pressmen to the police? And how would it explain the coincidence of his coming forward as soon as Sarah Lewis' description of her wideawake loiterer became public knowledge? For that matter, why would any of this preclude the police from considering Hutchinson a potential suspect?

I am convinced GWTH was definitely the witness, based on handwriting comparisons.

Oh, I am conviced GWTH was definitely NOT the witness, based on handwriting comparisons.

IchabodCrane
06-12-2009, 12:27 AM
For that matter, why would any of this preclude the police from considering Hutchinson a potential suspect?

One possibility is because the police learned that Hutchinson was planted by the press, and inquired and found out that he was in fact not the man seen and described by Sarah Lewis. It is only speculation, but would be a satisfying explanation for what otherwise remains one of the biggest mysteries of the case: why Hutchinson was never considered suspect, and if he was (for which there is no evidence), how he was cleared?

DVV
06-12-2009, 01:02 AM
I simply don't see why one would think this witness description could reasonably indicate Randolph Churchill...
Jane x

Hi Jane,

...and you're simply right.
Toppy's (or Reg's, or Reg's brother in law's...) story has nothing to do with Hutch's.

That's one of Toppy's problems, obviously.

Amitiés,
David

Sam Flynn
06-12-2009, 01:18 AM
Oh, I am conviced GWTH was definitely NOT the witness, based on handwriting comparisons.We know, Ben - no need to remind us. Although, quite how you continue to state that you are thus convinced, when we're talking about such indisputably similar signatures (oh yes!), remains a complete mystery to me. Not that I need to remind you of that either :)

Ben
06-12-2009, 01:24 AM
quite how you continue to state that you are thus convinced we're talking about such indisputably similar signatures (oh yes!), remains a complete mystery to me. Not that I need to remind you of that either

But you just did, Gareth! :)

And how anyone can be convinced of a similarity when we're talking aboout such indisputably dissimilar signatures has me scratching my had in utter bewildered disbelief!

All the best,
Ben

Ben
06-12-2009, 01:48 AM
One possibility is because the police learned that Hutchinson was planted by the press, and inquired and found out that he was in fact not the man seen and described by Sarah Lewis.

Although in this scenario, the question is begged: why weren't the press representitives treated very severely by the police for deliberately derailing the biggest manhunt in police history? If the police did make such a discovery, the chances of such a major revelation not becoming public knowledge must be considered remote. And there's really no great mystery about Hutchinson being suspected (or not). If he wasn't, the police can hardly be blamed, since policing was in its infacy back then, and they had no experience of serial killers coming forward under false "witness" guises. If he was, there's no reason to think they were able to convert those suspicions into a tangible result. It's quite possible to suspect someone, but lack the goods to rule the suspect either in or out.

Sam Flynn
06-12-2009, 01:53 AM
"Indisputably dissimilar", Ben? Tilley-valley, Pish-tush, Fie and Pshaw! (A great firm of solicitors, by the way.)

John Hacker
06-12-2009, 01:58 AM
And there's really no great mystery about Hutchinson being suspected (or not). If he wasn't, the police can hardly be blamed, since policing was in its infacy back then, and they had no experience of serial killers coming forward under false "witness" guises.

Even today there wouldn't necessarily be a great deal os suspicion laid on somehow who came forward with a transparently silly story. Killers who insert themselves into investigations in that way are rare compared to people who just crave attention which are a dime a dozen. Even in 1888 the police would have been swarmed with attention seekers. They might get a cursory check but that's about it without something more to go on.

DVV
06-12-2009, 02:07 AM
Yes John, agreed.

Amitiés,
David

Ben
06-12-2009, 02:12 AM
Absolutely, John.

An astute observation.

A cursory check may have been all that Hutchinson was subjected to before being consigned - rightly or wrongly - to the pile of Packer-esque witnesses.

Best regards,
Ben

Jane Welland
06-12-2009, 02:16 AM
..It was so transparently silly, I can't help but wonder that nobody seemed to think so at the time? There must have been sufficient credibility in Mr Hutchinson's statement that he was ostensibly believed-and that includes his Astrakhan Man. More interesting is that his credibility didn't last. I wonder why that was.

Garry Wroe
06-12-2009, 04:05 AM
Hello All.

There are a number of issues that appear to be getting lost in the present thread. To begin with, Toppy’s Churchill claim is irrelevant when one examines the internal dynamics of Hutchinson’s police and press statements. He did not see Mary Kelly as claimed, for example. Couldn’t have done, otherwise he would have been aware that she was blind drunk at the time of the alleged Hutchinson encounter. And yet, according to Hutchinson, she was not drunk, merely a little ‘spreeish’. So if Hutchinson didn't see Kelly, he almost certainly didn't see the Jewish-looking suspect, either.

So why, if, as now appears to be the case, the police came to disbelieve Hutchinson’s version of events, did he not fall under suspicion? Because the press and police were deluged with time-wasters who sought to profit from the marketing of spurious information. Packer has several times been cited as an example of such by other posters, but I would suggest that the Violenia case provides a far better example if one is to understand official thinking where Hutchinson was concerned.

Much has been made of who said what in the press. The reality, however, is that journalists questioned interviewees, noted the responses, then later cobbled these responses into a more linear, cohesive form of text for public consumption. In other words, most of what we read in Victorian newspapers is paraphraseology – which explains why Hutchinson (as well as many others) appeared far more eloquent in press interviews than they ever did under police questioning.

Regards,

Garry Wroe.

Fisherman
06-12-2009, 09:25 AM
Jane Welland insists:

"I think the words 'Jewish appearance' kind of give it away just a bit? "

Hutchinsons man looked Jewish.

Randolph Churchill did not.

Reasonably, the could never have been mistaken for each other.

Therefore we are faced with either:

1. Me being daft

2. Me having meant that the comparison was made on other grounds than personal looks

I have tried for a number of pages and scores of posts to make it unmistakably clear what ground the comparison would have had to Toppy - IF he ever made it. That is why I may come across as somewhat lacking in the patience department. Let´s just say that if I owned zillions of money and somebody said that I was a regular sheik of Bahrain, that statement would not primarily refer to my distinctly semitic looks or my flawless arab language. I posess neither.

Fisherman

Fisherman
06-12-2009, 09:29 AM
Ichabod Crane and Ben:

"I am convinced GWTH was definitely the witness, based on handwriting comparisons.
Oh, I am conviced GWTH was definitely NOT the witness, based on handwriting comparisons."

Interesting. One of you will be wrong.

Fisherman

Fisherman
06-12-2009, 09:58 AM
Garry Wroe writes:

"He did not see Mary Kelly as claimed, for example. Couldn’t have done, otherwise he would have been aware that she was blind drunk at the time of the alleged Hutchinson encounter. And yet, according to Hutchinson, she was not drunk, merely a little ‘spreeish’"

But that would mean that you choose to rely on Cox and disbelieve Hutchinson; you favour one testimony and one witness over another. Moreover, Cox´s encounter with a drunk Kelly was more than two hours prior to Hutchinsons encounter with her, and so there would have been some time to sober up - from a level of intoxication that we cannot exactly establish.
Admittedly, Kelly was heard singing later on, but sober people can sing too.

Personally, I think it is too little to draw any certain conclusions from.

The best,
Fisherman

Jane Welland
06-12-2009, 10:40 AM
..I don't think the comparison likely in any context. The 'Toff' Jew and the 'Swell' are subject to very different social perception historically-and parallels abound today. Really, though, I'm not sure why this is even an issue. Whether the comparison was ever made, or not, doesn't necessarily dictate whether Toppy was the witness, or not. Does it? Jane x

Jane Welland
06-12-2009, 10:46 AM
..I don't think the comparison likely in any context. The 'Toff' Jew and the 'Swell' are subject to very different social perception historically-and parallels abound today. Really, though, I'm not sure why this is even an issue. Whether the comparison was ever made, or not, doesn't necessarily dictate whether Toppy was the witness, or not. Does it? Jane x

Fisherman
06-12-2009, 11:18 AM
Jane Welland:

"..I don't think the comparison likely in any context. The 'Toff' Jew and the 'Swell' are subject to very different social perception historically-and parallels abound today. Really, though, I'm not sure why this is even an issue."

It is an issue because logic dictates that when we unsupported by conclusive proof rule things out, things will sooner or later go terribly wrong. Therefore I say that we have no proof at all that Astrakhan man WAS a "toff" - or that Toppy regarded his as such (which are two different things).
Getting ahead of oneself may produce the image that we are moving along quickly with the case, but if we refrain from stopping at all stations, we will end up with hoards of displeased travellers who have had their right to go along stolen from them (How is that for a metaphor!).

If Toppy used RC as a comparion, there would be nothing strange at all in it. We should/may/ought/can not simple rule the possibility out based merely on a "feeling" that he probably never did. We are left with the suggestion, we cannot disprove it and, in fact, some of us - that would be me - do not see anything outlandish at all in it.

"Whether the comparison was ever made, or not, doesn't necessarily dictate whether Toppy was the witness, or not. Does it?"

Of course not - but it has great bearing on the issue of the general reliability of what members of the Hutchinson family tells us in the sources. And they have been hard done by, to put it mildly.

The real clincher, if you need to establish whether Toppy was the witness or not, lies in the signatures. We have Toppys signature in a number of varieties, and we have the witness´ ditto, and to my mind, they display a similarity that tells us that the two were one and the same. But don´t let me decide it for you, Jane; have a look at the "Hutch in the 1911 census" thread - if you dare ...
If you feel you are not up to reading a stiff twohundred pages of personal insults, you can cut things short by taking a look at page 57, post 567. There you will be presented with the signatures, and you can see for yourself if they are very similar or totally dissimilar - both wiews have their champions.
...this is, of course, unless you have already taken a look at it and formed an opinion of your own!

The best,
Fisherman

Jane Welland
06-12-2009, 12:01 PM
..That's a different matter. Perhaps the proof of whether Toppy or no resides therein. Really though, I was basing my views to date on social perception, in which, as you see, I am most interested. I suppose, looking at this on a slight slant, if one disbelieved Toppy on the Churchill tale, and one disbelieved Hutchinson on the Astrakhan Man, it could be concluded that they were possibly one and the same given their propensity for tall tales! A thought. Jane x

Sam Flynn
06-12-2009, 12:14 PM
Cox´s encounter with a drunk Kelly was more than two hours prior to Hutchinsons encounter with her, and so there would have been some time to sober up - from a level of intoxication that we cannot exactly establish.
Indeed, Fish - unless Cox and Hutchinson could "breathalyse" people on sight.

It strikes me that it might have been the case that Hutchinson was giving a "safe" reply to a journalist's question anyway. If - as I suspect - Hutchinson wasn't there at all, but merely making things up from odds and sods he'd read in the papers, he might not have known about Cox's testimony yet (he seemingly didn't know of Sarah Lewis's entry into Miller's Court either), but chances are that the journo interviewing him would have. That being the case, a pressman's question, "Was she drunk?", would have put Hutchinson on the spot - he then playing it safe by responding with the lame, "She didn't seem to me to be drunk, but was a little spreeish" (note the qualifier: "...didn't seem to me..."). One can imagine an unconscious "Oh, $hit! What do I say now?" echoing in Hutchinson's head before he answered.

Fisherman
06-12-2009, 12:52 PM
Jane Welland:

"I suppose, looking at this on a slight slant, if one disbelieved Toppy on the Churchill tale, and one disbelieved Hutchinson on the Astrakhan Man, it could be concluded that they were possibly one and the same given their propensity for tall tales!"

Ooops, Jane - beware! Ben lurks in the shadows, and he does not take kindly to allegations like these.

I do, however!:2thumbsup:

The best!
Fisherman

Fisherman
06-12-2009, 12:58 PM
Sam writes:

"It strikes me that it might have been the case that Hutchinson was giving a "safe" reply to a journalist's question anyway. If - as I suspect - Hutchinson wasn't there at all, but merely making things up from odds and sods he'd read in the papers, he might not have known about Cox's testimony yet (he seemingly didn't know of Sarah Lewis's entry into Miller's Court either), but chances are that the journo interviewing him would have. That being the case, a pressman's question, "Was she drunk?", would have put Hutchinson on the spot - he then playing it safe by responding with the lame, "She didn't seem to me to be drunk, but was a little spreeish" (note the qualifier: "...didn't seem to me..."). One can imagine an unconscious "Oh, $hit! What do I say now?" echoing in Hutchinson's head before he answered."

Nothing short of brilliant, Sam - and I think that Hutchinson not having been in Dorset Street at all on the occasion is a very obvious possibility. I have, as you may recall, on occasions thrown forward the possibility that the sudden dismissal of Hutch´s evidence could be due to somebody turning up at the police station and telling them what our plumber REALLY did on the evening - and where. I don´t believe for a moment that it was due to any sudden reconsidering on Abberline´s behalf that the testimony was too good to be true.

The best,
Fisherman

The Good Michael
06-12-2009, 01:37 PM
.if one disbelieved Toppy on the Churchill tale, and one disbelieved Hutchinson on the Astrakhan Man, it could be concluded that they were possibly one and the same given their propensity for tall tales! A thought. Jane x

Jane,

Truly another good argument to put in the ever mounting Toppy-is-Hutch evidence corner. It's becoming very lopsided in that direction. This is an example of THEM wanting to believe parts of each story to support their argument rather than taking the whole and coming up with such an idea as you have.

Cheers,

Mike

Ben
06-12-2009, 02:32 PM
Gosh, Fisherman, what a lot of posts you've made this morning!

I somehow suspected (knew) that the "whatever" approach wouldn't last long. ;)

I have tried for a number of pages and scores of posts to make it unmistakably clear what ground the comparison would have had to Toppy - IF he ever made it. That is why I may come across as somewhat lacking in the patience department.

Well, with respect, Fisherman, if people keep disagreeing with you, is there really much point in re-stating the original argument? There's no need for you to lose patience. Nobody's disputing that you've made yourself clear. You have, many times, but I remain utterly unconvinced that Toppy was ever responsible for a Churchill comparison with Astrakhan man, primarily because - as Jane points out - he was obviously depicted as a surly Jew of some wealth, and not an English aristocrat. Describing such a person as "someone like Lord Randolph Churchill" and hoping that everyone will understand that you only meant "like" him in terms of money and in no other respect, is simply too tenuous.

But that would mean that you choose to rely on Cox and disbelieve Hutchinson; you favour one testimony and one witness over another

Which would be a step in the right direction considering that the police did precisely that. They discredited Hutchinson's statement. They didn't discredited Cox's statement which, incidentally, was given way in advance of the inquest, rather than waiting for the inquest to terminate and then giving your evidence. There could have been time to sober up, but it should be observed that her comparion carried a quart can of ale into room #13, so it is likely that Kelly indulged further even after being observed in an intoxicated condition by Cox at 11:45pm.

Getting ahead of oneself may produce the image that we are moving along quickly with the case, but if we refrain from stopping at all stations, we will end up with hoards of displeased travellers who have had their right to go along stolen from them (How is that for a metaphor!).

It depends what you're attempting to convey. If your argument is basically that we shouldn't rule out all improbable scenarios because, eventually, one of those improbable scenarios will end up being the correct one, then perhaps you're right on statistical grounds. Unfortunately, in this case, I don't see the improbable scenario of Toppy mentioning Lord Randolph Churchill as an Astrakhan-comparison ending up as the correct explanation.

If Toppy used RC as a comparion, there would be nothing strange at all in it.

That's your opinion, which you've repeated a number of times now.

I disagree, since there's everything strange about a comparison that is totally inapplicable and inappropriate, and rather suspicious since it just happened to come to the fore at a time when toff/royal theories were becoming popular.

We have Toppys signature in a number of varieties, and we have the witness´ ditto, and to my mind, they display a similarity that tells us that the two were one and the same

Well, again I disagree, and that's a rather different discussion from the one we're currently having. It really isn't a question of me "not taking kindly" to suggestions such as the one Jane posited. She raises a good point in that, perhaps the only thing the original Hutchinson and Toppy/Reg had in common was a propensity to economise with the truth.

Best regards,
Ben

Jane Welland
06-12-2009, 02:36 PM
..is a little beyond my inference, Fisherman-I think it's an interesting thought though. In a Field of enquiry in which proof is often lost, or simply not extant, it would be a great achievement to be able to resolve this issue of Toppy as witness, which maybe is possible? Hello there Good Michael-THEM? Jane x

The Good Michael
06-12-2009, 02:42 PM
Hello there Good Michael-THEM? Jane x

Yes, THEM. They who refute all things that go against their theories, but cherry-pick the bits and pieces from their refuted suspects and stories that they feel might bolster these theories. Much like certain Christian sects do when they wave the Bible around. Obviously, no offense to Christians intended, only to nameless sects.

Cheers,

Mike

Ben
06-12-2009, 02:44 PM
Truly another good argument to put in the ever mounting Toppy-is-Hutch evidence corner. It's becoming very lopsided in that direction.

Oh, but here it comes.

The triumphalist rhetoric!

The "I've won the argument because I say so" school of dogma. Still as unsuccessful and transparent as it was during the other Hutchinson threads. I also love the "How dare you refute my points! That means you must have an agenda!" being offered up by the same people who give us "Haha, I've refuted your points, and if you don't acknowledge this, that means you must have an agenda!"

Fills me with sympathy every time.

Hi Gareth,

It strikes me that it might have been the case that Hutchinson was giving a "safe" reply to a journalist's question anyway.

Yes, very possibly, especially if he hadn't actually seen Kelly in the company of a client that night. However, that shouldn't permit us to conclude that he wasn't there at all. He could easily have been precisely where he claimed to be, and precisely where Lewis described a loitering man, but simply gave a false explanation for being there: one that involved having followed Kelly and a client back to Miller's Court. I think the "playing it safe" explanation is a sound one.

It's extremely unlikely that he was oblivious to Sarah Lewis' evidence though. The "coincidence" of him coming forward as soon and admitting to loitering outside Miller's Court as soon as it transpired publicly that someone had been seen loitering there cannot be dismissed as random. The fact that there is an absence of any mention of her on the statement itself is more likely to be an indication that Hutchinson did mention her, but it wasn't included for whatever reason (hardly surprising, since other details also did not appear), or he deliberately avoided mention her to avoid making it obvious that it was her evidence that forced his hand.

Best regards,
Ben

Fisherman
06-12-2009, 02:54 PM
Ben writes:

"I somehow suspected (knew) that the "whatever" approach wouldn't last long."

Should make you happy, Ben. It would not be much fun if you were the only one laying out the text on the threads, would it? Or? Come on, now, Ben; really...!

"with respect, Fisherman, if people keep disagreeing with you, is there really much point in re-stating the original argument?"

Nope - but when they do not even understand what I am saying, I am not opposed to such a strategy.

"Which would be a step in the right direction ..."

Which COULD be a step in the right direction. Or not.

"it should be observed that her comparion carried a quart can of ale into room #13, so it is likely that Kelly indulged further even after being observed in an intoxicated condition by Cox at 11:45pm."

...and it should equally be observed that people have been making all sorts of theories about what there was inside the can - most say beer, some say a knife and so on.
Beer is a credible guess, but still a guess. It is also a credible guess that the can was full - but still a guess. It is also a credible guess that Blotchy would treat Kelly to the credible beer - but still a guess. And when it comes to just how much of the credible beer he was willing to let Kelly have, it´s hard to say how credible ANY guess would be, wouldn´t you say?
So no, we cannot rule Hutch out on this account.

"t depends what you're attempting to convey. If your argument is basically that we shouldn't rule out all improbable scenarios because, eventually, one of those improbable scenarios will end up being the correct one, then perhaps you're right on statistical grounds. Unfortunately, in this case, I don't see the improbable scenario of Toppy mentioning Lord Randolph Churchill as an Astrakhan-comparison ending up as the correct explanation."

...which is why it is good that I did not stick with "whatever" - if we leave the thread to yourself only, Ben, there is no telling what would happen. No, wait a minute, I´ll rephrase that ...

"It really isn't a question of me "not taking kindly" to suggestions such as the one Jane posited. She raises a good point in that, perhaps the only thing the original Hutchinson and Toppy/Reg had in common was a propensity to economise with the truth."

Oh, I think we can bank on a whole lot of other commonalites, from collar size to occupation. I am not even opposed to the idea that they both spent the evening of November 9 1888 in the same fashion and in each other´s company. Why, they even write in the same fashion!

Fisherman

Jane Welland
06-12-2009, 03:06 PM
THE Maniacal. You find THEM wherever you find a public forum, and many other spots besides, I find. Kana'im, if you will. But each to their own! Ben, I think your coincidence can hardly be such, but do you know what it means? Is it the case that it could be accounted for with a multiplicity of solutions? How do you decide which to favour? And now, a sandwich. Jane x

Ben
06-12-2009, 03:08 PM
Should make you happy, Ben. It would not be much fun if you were the only one laying out the text on the threads, would it? Or? Come on, now, Ben; really...!

It does, Fish, don't get me wrong.

These Hutchinson threads are pretty hypnotic, though, aren't they? One dies and another is instantly resurrected.

Seriously though. I'm pretty sure people understand perfectly what you're saying. They just can't agree, or at least I can't.

Beer is a credible guess, but still a guess.

Condisdering it was described as a "quart can of ale", I'd also say it's the safest guess. I doubt very much that he'd carry a nearly-empty can home. Chances are he'd down whatever remained unless the remainder still constituted a fairly hefty amount. Similarly, I find it a wee bit unlikely that her male companion would scoff all the beer without sharing it with his temporary host.

But I agree that none of this "rules Hutchinson out".

There's certainly nothing wrong with belivieng Cox over Hutchinson, though, as the police clearly did.

...which is why it is good that I did not stick with "whatever" - if we leave the thread to yourself only, Ben, there is no telling what would happen

Well, I wouldn't post on my own, Fish, if that's what you mean.

I am not even opposed to the idea that they both spent the evening of November 9 1888 in the same fashion.

With Toppy tucked up in bed in Warren Street, contemplating tomorrow's plumbing job and last night's ice-skating session, while Hutchinson smiles thinly as he hangs up his coat in a 6d-a-night cubicle in the Victoria Home, knife and innards secreted therein? ;)

halomanuk
06-12-2009, 03:10 PM
Good for you Jane.
I don't contribute much to this thread but i do read it.
It's good to see a new face wading in instead of Ben and Fish knocking lumps out of each other all the time..bravo girl...!!

Fisherman
06-12-2009, 03:17 PM
Ben:

"They just can't agree, or at least I can't."

Thanks for pointing to the possible distinction!

"But I agree that none of this "rules Hutchinson out".
There's certainly nothing wrong with belivieng Cox over Hutchinson, though, as the police clearly did."

The first statement is true. The second; well we don´t know that, do we? If the police were wrong, then there suddenly is ample reason not to go along with their thoughts.

"I wouldn't post on my own, Fish, if that's what you mean."

I take comfort in that.

"With Toppy tucked up in bed in Warren Street, contemplating tomorrow's plumbing job and last night's ice-skating session, while Hutchinson smiles thinly as he hangs up his coat in a 6d-a-night cubile in the Victoria Home, knife and innards secreted therein?"

There never was any suggestion that Toppy suffered from schizophrenia, Ben! And he clearly tells us that he was never even admitted into the Victoria on the night in question...

Fisherman

Ben
06-12-2009, 03:18 PM
Hi Jane,

I've been trying to find a post that best sums up my sentiments on that subject, and this was the best I could come up with for now:

http://forum.casebook.org/showpost.php?p=78325&postcount=70

All the best,
Ben

Jane Welland
06-12-2009, 03:21 PM
I'm wading in? Oh dear! Look before you leap, eh? Still, in for a pfennig..Jane x

Ben
06-12-2009, 03:23 PM
Fish,

If the police were wrong, then there suddenly is ample reason not to go along with their thoughts.

Given that the contents of Hutchinson's statement "engender a feeling of sceptisim", I'm inclined to the view that the police were able to seperate the wheat from the chaff successfully on this occasion.

And he clearly tells us that he was never even admitted into the Victoria on the night in question...

True, of course! The "smiling thinly" bit would have occured mid-morning when snoozing off the night's excesses, at a time when most other men (including Toppy!) would have been at work.

All the best,
Ben

halomanuk
06-12-2009, 03:23 PM
Nah you are doing well....holding your own well against those 'Hutchinson nutters'...
Enjoy your sarnie..

Jane Welland
06-12-2009, 03:32 PM
An Ice-Skating Plumber?! No!

I think that might be skating on thin ice....

But tell me, if he fell in, would be be plumbing the depths?

I think I should go now.:lol:

Jane x

Fisherman
06-12-2009, 03:33 PM
Barry:

"Hutchinson nutters"

It´s "Hutchinson NOT-ters", actually.

Ben:

"The "smiling thinly" bit would have occured mid-morning when snoozing off the night's excesses, at a time when most other men (including Toppy!) would have been at work."

X´cept the latter was out of work, of course. And the former. Simultaneously, even. Not only that, they were out of THE SAME work too.

Fisherman
Out for the moment - "THE MOMENT", that is, Ben!

halomanuk
06-12-2009, 03:34 PM
haha thats a good one Fish..hats off to you on that one...

Ben
06-12-2009, 03:36 PM
X´cept the latter was out of work, of course

Dunno about that, Fish. Toppy was a "plumber, who was rarely, if ever, out of work", not an unemployed labourer who was formerly a groom.

Out for the moment - "THE MOMENT", that is, Ben!

So see you in ten minutes, then? :)

Garry Wroe
06-12-2009, 03:36 PM
Hi Fisherman.

In an earlier post I stated it as my belief that Hutchinson could not have seen Kelly on Dorset Street as claimed because in subsequent statements to the press he claimed that Kelly was only a little tipsy at the time of their alleged encounter. In response, you cast doubt on this interpretation both by raising doubt as to the veracity of Mrs Cox’s account and suggesting that Kelly could have sobered up in the two hours following the Cox/Kelly encounter.

To begin with, the claim that Kelly was very drunk on the evening under scrutiny was echoed by several witnesses, not just Cox, each of whom remained steadfast under cross-examination at the Kelly inquest hearing. As such, there remains little room for doubting that Kelly was indeed extremely intoxicated when encountering Mrs Cox shortly before midnight.

As for the possibility that Kelly somehow sobered up in the interim period separated by the Cox and supposed Hutchinson encounters, this would be highly unlikely under normal circumstances. What must be borne in mind here, however, is that Kelly entered her room shortly before midnight accompanied not only by Blotchy, but more alcohol. And the notion that Mary Jane, who at this point in her life was clearly alcohol-dependent, passed up the chance to share in the pail of beer is so unlikely as to be almost nonexistent. Hence my contention that she was blind drunk at the time of the alleged Hutchinson encounter, and yet Hutchinson was unaware of it – the only possible explanation for which, I would suggest, is that Hutchinson did not meet Kelly on Commercial Street as he claimed in his police and press interviews.

Regards,

Garry Wroe.

Sam Flynn
06-12-2009, 03:45 PM
Yes, very possibly, especially if he hadn't actually seen Kelly in the company of a client that night.I wouldn't know about "especially", Ben. It strikes me that, if he'd really been there - mysterious client or not - he'd have been able to pronounce more emphatically on her state of intoxication, instead of "She didn't seem drunk to me... a bit spreeish".

And the omission of any mention of Lewis's arrival remains a problem. One would have thought that, if Hutchinson wanted to consolidate the notion that he really WAS there, he'd have had everything to gain and nothing to lose by mentioning Lewis. (He'd already admitted to keeping a watch on the Court, remember.) However, the best we get is the rather vague account of his seeing a policeman passing by Commercial Street at a safe distance, and a man entering "a" lodging-house somewhere along Dorset Street.

Ben
06-12-2009, 03:52 PM
It strikes me that, if he'd really been there - mysterious client or not - he'd have been able to pronounce more emphatically on her state of intoxication, instead of "She didn't seem to me... a bit spreeish".

I agree wholeheartedly, Gareth, but none of this means he wasn't present at the crime scene and wasn't thus aware of her actual condition at the time of the alleged encounter (i.e. asleep?).

As we discussed earlier, it seems reasonable to me that Hutchinson may well have mentioned Lewis, but the detail was ommitted from the body of the statement, as were his claims to have known Kelly for three years and to have given her a few shillings on occasions. There was certainly no mention of policeman sightings or other male lodgers in his police statement. That appeared in the press, presumably when they asked whether any other potentially suspicious men were seen in the area, or whether there were any policemen about.

All the best,
Ben

Sam Flynn
06-12-2009, 04:01 PM
Dunno about that, Fish. Toppy was a "plumber, who was rarely, if ever, out of work", not an unemployed labourer who was formerly a groom.I have been rarely out of work since 1989, Ben. In fact, I've been constantly employed and doing the same work ever since. Prior to that time I was, amongst other things, a market researcher, a shop assistant, a pizza chef and a chicken strangler - with the odd period on the rock'n'roll.

I am none of those things now and, barring accidents, I hope to be doing the same sort of job uninterruptedly for the next 20 years. At which point, I hope people don't say "You must be thinking of someone else, because the Sam Flynn I know couldn't have been an unemployed pizza chef 40 years ago".

Ben
06-12-2009, 04:08 PM
Hi Gareth,

The crucial point here is that Toppy had the golden opportunity to escape the impoverished masses by joining his father's profession as a plumber. Even if he wasn't directly apprenticed by his father, he would have been in the favourable position to at least procure some business "connections" in order that he might get "connecting" pipes earlier than the average working class youngster. I can't see him spurning all that, somehow, in favour of boning off to the East End to spend some odd wilderness years, during which time he stikes up a three-year acquaintanceship with an East End prostitute. The biographies just don't mesh up, somehow.

Best regards,
Ben

Garry Wroe
06-12-2009, 04:34 PM
Hi Sam.

Earlier, you wrote, ‘[T]he omission of any mention of Lewis's arrival remains a problem. One would have thought that, if Hutchinson wanted to consolidate the notion that he really WAS there, he'd have had everything to gain and nothing to lose by mentioning Lewis.’

The answer, I would suggest, lies in the three-day delay in Hutchinson coming forward to present his story to the police. By completely omitting any reference to Sarah Lewis, Hutchinson was able to skirt around the near-certainty that it was the Lewis sighting that effectively forced his hand, compelling him to come forward with what most now regard as a highly suspicious explanation for his presence on Dorset Street at a time critical to a Ripper murder. Bearing this in mind, I would also suggest that Hutchinson had no way of knowing if Lewis’s story had been deliberately unerplayed by the authorities (as had most certainly been the case with other witnesses), or indeed whether she could recognize him or maybe even knew him. For a much fuller examination of this argument, I would suggest that you look at the final couple of chapters in:-

http://www.casebook.org/ripper_media/book_reviews/non-fiction/garrywroe_full2.html

Regards,

Garry Wroe.

The Good Michael
06-12-2009, 04:50 PM
I wouldn't know about "especially", Ben. It strikes me that, if he'd really been there - mysterious client or not - he'd have been able to pronounce more emphatically on her state of intoxication, instead of "She didn't seem drunk to me... a bit spreeish".

And the omission of any mention of Lewis's arrival remains a problem. One would have thought that, if Hutchinson wanted to consolidate the notion that he really WAS there, he'd have had everything to gain and nothing to lose by mentioning Lewis. (He'd already admitted to keeping a watch on the Court, remember.) However, the best we get is the rather vague account of his seeing a policeman passing by Commercial Street at a safe distance, and a man entering "a" lodging-house somewhere along Dorset Street.

Gareth,

Me too. What I am isn't what I was. My grandfather who came here about 1916, started as a child working in the copper mines. He then became a gardener in his early twenties, and finally a technician at Universal Studios for the rest of his life. My other grandfather was a farm worker who became the owner of a construction company. It beggars belief that one could really believe a person doesn't change professions, and all for the sake of nothing but agenda.

Cheers,

Mike

Ben
06-12-2009, 05:01 PM
Nobody's suggesting that "a person" doesn't change professions. It has only been observed that Toppy was unlikely to have done, given that he joined his father's trade as a plumber, where he was noted as having been "rarely, if ever, out of work". To accept otherwise would mean that he spurned those parental connections in favour of living in an East End hell hole of a lodging house. No agenda. It just doesn't convince. He was listed as a plumber living in Warren Street in 1891, and it seems reasonable to surmise that he found himself in similar circumstances a couple of years earlier.

Fisherman
06-12-2009, 08:56 PM
Ben:

" It has only been observed that Toppy was unlikely to have done, given that he joined his father's trade as a plumber, where he was noted as having been "rarely, if ever, out of work".

Didn´t we have David Knott stating on another thread that evidence had emerged that implied that Hutchinson was not a plumber at the time of the Millers Court murder? It would be interesting to get the details involved!

Fisherman

Fisherman
06-12-2009, 09:08 PM
Garry Wroe writes:

"In an earlier post I stated it as my belief that Hutchinson could not have seen Kelly on Dorset Street as claimed because in subsequent statements to the press he claimed that Kelly was only a little tipsy at the time of their alleged encounter. In response, you cast doubt on this interpretation both by raising doubt as to the veracity of Mrs Cox’s account and suggesting that Kelly could have sobered up in the two hours following the Cox/Kelly encounter.

To begin with, the claim that Kelly was very drunk on the evening under scrutiny was echoed by several witnesses, not just Cox, each of whom remained steadfast under cross-examination at the Kelly inquest hearing. As such, there remains little room for doubting that Kelly was indeed extremely intoxicated when encountering Mrs Cox shortly before midnight.

As for the possibility that Kelly somehow sobered up in the interim period separated by the Cox and supposed Hutchinson encounters, this would be highly unlikely under normal circumstances. What must be borne in mind here, however, is that Kelly entered her room shortly before midnight accompanied not only by Blotchy, but more alcohol. And the notion that Mary Jane, who at this point in her life was clearly alcohol-dependent, passed up the chance to share in the pail of beer is so unlikely as to be almost nonexistent. Hence my contention that she was blind drunk at the time of the alleged Hutchinson encounter"

Hmmm, Garry; I think you will get a many of my answers to some of your points by reading my answers to other posters, for example when it comes to the quart can of beer. I will just take the opportunity to say that I am in no way pressing any agenda when I say that Kelly MAY have sobered up when meeting Hutchinson - I simply distinctly dislike the idea of ruling out things on too little evidence.
In fact, if Kelly WAS drunk and at home at the time Hutch said he met her, that would suit my own thinking admirably. My solution to the Ripper murders is that the first four victims (swopping Stride and Tabram) were killed out of lust to eviscerate, whereas Kelly was killed by the same man - but for different reasons. To my mind, the Kelly killing was a personal deed, and performed by somebody very close to her - like Joe Fleming.
I wrote a piece on it in Ripperologist Nov-08, and in doing so, I left out Hutch altogether, since I am in no way sure that he is connected to the killing in any real fashion.
I certainly do not see him as Marys killer at any rate; to me, Toppy was the witness, and his story may well have been an invention. That, however, does NOT mean that I buy the reasoning that it MUST have been so, for there remains a possibility that he DID see Astrakhan man with Kelly, just as there remains a possibility that he DID take in all the details he testified about, and just as there remains a possibility that he DID tell people that the man he had seen was someone that belonged to the upper circles of society - just like Randolph Churchill.

The best,
Fisherman

Sam Flynn
06-12-2009, 09:36 PM
To accept otherwise would mean that he spurned those parental connections in favour of living in an East End hell hole of a lodging house.Do we know what Hutchinson senior's situation was in 1888? Do we know precisely when Toppy entered his "golden era" of seldom being out of work?No agenda. It just doesn't convince. He was listed as a plumber living in Warren Street in 1891, and it seems reasonable to surmise that he found himself in similar circumstances a couple of years earlier.When I was in my early 20s, I was tasting independence for the first time - I was young, and wished to make my own way in the world. I shunned the taste and comfort of my family home to live in one grotty bedsit after another. After a succession of low-paid jobs and spells on the dole, I eventually sought a more worthwhile career, and actually applied - albeit unsuccessfully - to join my father's "trade".

All that happened within the space of a mere two years.

Fisherman
06-12-2009, 09:49 PM
Yep, Sam - that would be a very normal picture of a guys early twenties, though I think it is only fair to say that back in 1888, it would be a more common thing to follow your dad´s profession than it was when you were twenty - and certainly the situation today is totally different.

My own contribution to the issue will be that I remember that my own father (he died when I was twenty-one, more than thirty years ago) worked as a car mechanic when I was very young. When I was about eight years old, he set up his own business in the oil cistern trade.
What I do NOT know, however, is what he did in the years when I was too young to remember today, and, of course, the years leading up to my birth. I have absolutely no idea. He may have been out of work, he may have been fixing with cars - and he may have done something totally different from that.

And maybe Reg had the same sort of memories of HIS father; as far back as he could remember, Toppy was almost always in steady employment. But did he know what had happened BEFORE the times he could remember? We cannot know, quite simply.

The best, Sam!
Fisherman

Sam Flynn
06-12-2009, 09:55 PM
Yep, Sam - that would be a very normal picture of a guys early twenties, though I think it is only fair to say that back in 1888, it would be a more common thing to follow your dad´s profession than it was when you were twenty.No doubt, Fish - but far from being automatic or universal. For one thing, it would largely depend on how much work there was going around in a given trade at any one time - and those in the lower-class "manual" trades (plumbing, plastering, painting, bricklaying, etc.) would have been familiar enough with peaks and slumps back then.And maybe Reg had the same sort of memories of HIS father; as far back as he could remember, Toppy was almost always in steady employment. But did he know what had happened BEFORE the times he could remember? We cannot know, quite simply.We do know, however, that Reg arrived on the scene a long time after Toppy was in his early twenties.

Fisherman
06-12-2009, 09:57 PM
Agreed on the whole, Sam; absolutely!

The best,
Fisherman

Ben
06-12-2009, 10:49 PM
Do we know what Hutchinson senior's situation was in 1888? Do we know precisely when Toppy entered his "golden era" of seldom being out of work?

No, but considering that his father was a plumber, it is reasonable to assume that the period of being "rarely, if ever, out of work" commenced from the completion of his apprenticeship. It this period of being in consistent employment only happened after a few wilderness years, I'm sure Reg would have specified as much.

I'm not invalidating your experiences, but you would not have experienced poverty in the LVP, the extent of which was likely to provide a major disincentive for anyone wishing to spurn parental connections. Far more than it would today. He really would have been pooing in his own fishpond, especially if it meant heading East and living amid the worst slums in London when he could so easily have avoided it. The sheer grottiness of places like the Victoria Home ensured that they were a mecca only for the very desperate, and Toppy simply didn't qualify on that score. He had "outs". His father lived elsewhere, providing him with a home if necessary, to say nothing of potential emloyment connections in the plumbing trade. He also had a sister living in Lee at the time. I can't accept that anyone in that position would ever have recourse to somewhere like the Victoria Home.

Best regards,
Ben

Ben
06-12-2009, 11:00 PM
I have absolutely no idea. He may have been out of work, he may have been fixing with cars - and he may have done something totally different from that.

But then you'd say so, Fish, wouldn't you, if quizzed along those lines?

So would I.

You wouldn't say, "He was rarely, if ever, out of work" and leave it to stand as a blanket statement. You'd say something akin to; I remember him being in consistent employment during my lifetime, but he may have done other odd jobs - and experienced periods of unemployment - before I was born." You'd be saying so in the obvious interests of clarification, of course. In Reg's case, the inference seems to be that Toppy was a plumber at the time of the murders. In fact, he specifically refers to the skills picked up in the plumbling trade to account for his "detailed" description. How did he notice all he claimed to have seen and then memorized it all? Oh, because he was a plumber and accustomed to measurements, figures etc.

But of course, the Hutchinson who signed the statement was not a plumber. He was apprently a unemployed labourer who used to work as a groom. No mention of plumbing at all. Plumbing apprenticeships usually lasted seven years (between the ages of 14 and 21) meaning that if Hutchinson had been bumming round the East End as an unemployed labouring former groom at age 22, he had most assuredly missed the boat, and was very unlikely to be a working plumber by 1891 (as Toppy was).

I really don't think Kelly could have sobered up to a spreeish extent if she was not only heavily intoxicated when she was seen at 11:45pm, but within easy reach of even more booze. As Garry observes, her "sobering up" is very unlikely, from a physiological point of view. I would encourage you conduct some extensive field research for additional confirmation. I'm not saying you'd be singing songs about violets and graves, necessarily, but I doubt you'd be up and about.

All the best,
Ben

Fisherman
06-13-2009, 10:41 AM
Ben asks:

"But then you'd say so, Fish, wouldn't you, if quizzed along those lines?"

I´m not sure of that at all, Ben - my guess is that I would have done what Reg did: said that he was never out of work. And to the best of my knowledge, that would be true.

We cannot ask from people that they interwiew others to find out what happened before they were born - and even if they do, they will be conveying what other people told them, instead of providing first-hand evidence.

"I would encourage you conduct some extensive field research for additional confirmation."

Interesting advice - but I have no sorrows to drench. How ´bout you, Ben?

Fisherman

Sam Flynn
06-13-2009, 12:01 PM
Plumbing apprenticeships usually lasted seven years (between the ages of 14 and 21) I doubt that there was a Law that insisted on every single plumber in the land must serve such an apprenticeship, Ben. In fact, there wasn't. Bear in mind that this was a time when many people took whatever work came their way, and when there was no rigid Trades Description legislation that prevented one from setting up in a trade. London, especially, was full of people who were forced to become labourers, bricklayers, even hairdressers, due to expediency alone rather than any sense of vocation, and who did so without formal training. On the latter point, and with due respect to plumbers, it's hardly brain surgery, is it?

richardnunweek
06-13-2009, 12:24 PM
Hi,
What a shame poor Reg was not still alive , a lie detector test would be intresting.
I have never understood why so much debate has arisen over a single witness, and his integreity so much disputed.
Do we doubt Cadouche,?
Do we doubt Mrs Long?
Do we doubt Lawande?
Do we doubt Mrs Cox?
Answer to the above No, at least the majority.
But medical opinion could have us disputing the first two could it not?
In the case of Lawande, the couple he saw could have been the couple that Bleinkensop saw at 130, and took no notice of, may not have been our couple.
In the case of Cox , one could assume she was a bit flimsy with the truth , having told her neice a completely different description of the man seen with kelly years later.
So who do we believe?
In the case of Hutchinson, we have samples of handwriting to form an opinion on the question of identity , and not one of us can say that there are no likenesses at all in the comparisions, even you Ben....
We have two accounts from Reg Hutchinson , one orally, one in print, that his father 'Topping ' was the witness, and this is also confirmed by the family.
yet we still believe it is bogus.
We simply cannot comprehend, that a man dressed like Astracan ever existed, we cannot understand the delay in coming foreward, we cannot grasp the possibility of two explanations.
a] The witnessed described exactly what he saw, and in the words of Regs 1970s broadcast' It was his biggest regret, that dispite his efforts, nothing came of it'
b] He was asked by the police to issue that description, in order to confuse the man he actually saw.
Both of those are realistic explanations, far better then suggesting that, the witness was obviously lying.
But the debate lingers on.
Regards Richard.

Ben
06-13-2009, 01:57 PM
I doubt that there was a Law that insisted on every single plumber in the land must serve such an apprenticeship, Ben. In fact, there wasn't.

Not every plumber in the land, Gareth, but plumbers were certainly required to undertake an apprenticeship that lasted several years. Seven was the norm, apparently, but others lasted five years. I've certainly never heard of a Victorian skilled trade suddenly being picked up in one's early to mid twenties with no prior apprenticeship. He'd have missed the boat. There would have been other professions that wouldn't have required formal training (such as labourer, groom etc), but plumbing was considered a skilled trade, brain surgery or not.

Best regards,
Ben

Ben
06-13-2009, 02:14 PM
Hi Richard,

Do we doubt Cadouche,?
Do we doubt Mrs Long?
Do we doubt Lawande?
Do we doubt Mrs Cox?

No, we don't doubt any of them to an appreciable extent. Why? Because none of them made any wildly outlandish claims (let alone a succession of them) that strongly suggested they were lying. Because none of them waited until the inquest had finished before giving their evidene. Because there's no evidence that any of their hands were forced as a result of being seen at the crime scene themselves. Because their evidence was not discredited.

We doubt that all of them must be correct, but very few doubts are entertained as to their honesty, unlike Hutchinson, which is only reasonable in light of the above.

In the case of Cox , one could assume she was a bit flimsy with the truth , having told her neice a completely different description of the man seen with kelly years later.

How do we know that Cox told her neice that story? What if her neice simply made up the story, and upgraded the blotchy client to a "real toff"?

In the case of Hutchinson, we have samples of handwriting to form an opinion on the question of identity , and not one of us can say that there are no likenesses at all in the comparisions, even you Ben....

Absolutely, Richard, but then it would be unusual in the extreme to find two sets of handwriting with no likenesses at all, especially if they originated from the Victorian period.

We have two accounts from Reg Hutchinson , one orally, one in print, that his father 'Topping ' was the witness, and this is also confirmed by the family

The "orally" one doesn't count unfortunately, since we only have your word for it. If you're using that as evidence, then I get to use the article located by Messrs. Hinton and Marriner that gave Hutchinson's age as 28. Only fair. The written account I find to be unconvincing, courtesy of its implicating of Churchill and Royalty (none of which is confirmed "by the family").

we cannot grasp the possibility of two explanations.
a] The witnessed described exactly what he saw, and in the words of Regs 1970s broadcast' It was his biggest regret, that dispite his efforts, nothing came of it'
b] He was asked by the police to issue that description, in order to confuse the man he actually saw.
far better then suggesting that, the witness was obviously lying.

Well no, they're not far better at all. Quite the reverse. Since people lie all the time, and liars are infinitely more common than people with amazing photographic memory (which is what we'd be forced to accept if we go with your "described exactly what he saw" option), I'd go with "lying" personally. As for your other suggestion, that the police asked him to give a false description, that isn't only unrealistic, it's impossible, since we know that Abberline forwarded the description to his police superiors privately. I doubt Abberline would lie to them, somehow.

Best regards,
Ben

Sam Flynn
06-13-2009, 02:22 PM
I've certainly never heard of a Victorian skilled trade suddenly being picked up in one's early to mid twenties with no prior apprenticeship.When you've finished with the magnificent sixty-volume Biography of Every Victorian Artisan Who Lived, I wouldn't mind reading it myself, Ben. Only then would I feel informed enough to pronounce that Toppy "would have missed the boat".

The son of a plumber might well have learned enough by helping his father to have obviated the need for any formal apprenticeship. That said, I don't find it in the slightest bit difficult to believe that anyone would be able to learn sufficient of the trade to replace a knackered ball-c0ck, or solder a joint, in the space of two years.

Philip Glass worked as a plumber in New York to support his income as a struggling composer in his early years, and he had no plumbing pedigree at all. On the contrary, he was just out of Juilliard via the University of Chicago, where he'd gone as the son of a record-shop owner.

Ben
06-13-2009, 02:31 PM
Only then would I feel informed enough to pronounce that Toppy "would have missed the boat".

Obviously we cannot pronounce with full certainty, Gareth, but I'd describe it as very unlikely that Toppy was able to start his lifelong career as a plumber in his early twenties. I'd say that's unheard of for the Victorian period, but it's another matter if anyone possesses evidence to the contrary, of course. Philip Glass was born in 1937 when, suffice to say, the rules (and the country) were somewhat different.

It's certainly true that apprentice plumbers had the option of a shorter term. It would depend on the circumstances, and in this respect, I fully agree that his parental connections would have aided the lessening of the "usual" seven year period. It's chiefly for this reason that I find it churlish to the point of implausible that Toppy would spurn that opportunity to live in squalor, only for it to turn out magically alright just a couple of years later.

All the best,
Ben

Fisherman
06-13-2009, 06:15 PM
Ben writes:

"I'd describe it as very unlikely that Toppy was able to start his lifelong career as a plumber in his early twenties. I'd say that's unheard of for the Victorian period"

You must possess a truly interesting collection of literature about the differing destinies of Victorian plumbers, Ben?

When you get those volumes back from Sam, I wouldn´t mind taking a peak in them myself, if that´s alright with you!

You sure you haven´t any sorrows to drench...?

Fisherman

Sam Flynn
06-13-2009, 06:47 PM
Philip Glass was born in 1937 when, suffice to say, the rules (and the country) were somewhat different.I wasn't aware that there was a fixed rule dictating the minimum length of training required by a plumber in this country... at any point in its history, Ben.It's chiefly for this reason that I find it churlish to the point of implausible that Toppy would spurn that opportunity to live in squalor, only for it to turn out magically alright just a couple of years later.
Five points:

1. We don't know what the employment prospects of plumbers were in the late 1880s - especially young plumbers;

2. We don't know what the state of Toppy's personal life was in 1888 - perhaps there'd been a family row, or something similar, that drove him away;

3. We don't know how long Toppy had been in the East End at that point - it might only have been for a comparatively short period while things "sorted themselves out";

4. Toppy was living in a lodging-house in Warren Street in 1891. This might have been a step up from the Victoria Home (it might not have been!), but it was still a distinctly low-grade situation to be in;

5. If it had been the other way around (i.e., that he'd started off in relative prosperity and "fallen from grace") the situation might be more remarkable. As it is, Toppy was a young man who had a chance of dragging himself out of the swamp, and seems to have succeeded in doing so. He can't have been the only one to achieve that.

Jane Welland
06-13-2009, 07:03 PM
..it would have been to have changed trades at that time and in that place, I don't know. A slightly broader view may be enlightening here, as two subsequent World Wars expanded the opportunities for social mobility somewhat, and left us with a very different vision of society. I think a couple of points are salient in this case: First, I can't see any obvious reason for Toppy not to have been apprenticed to his father, which would have been normal and expected; second, I can't see why he would elect to odd job and live in squalor if he had a better option. I think you would require special circumstances for either to be true. Labour demand must be considered here. Supply and demand, naturally. Why give up a trade for casual and unreliable work? Let's not look at this with a modern eye-the liberty to choose, chop and change trades as and when just didn't exist for most-nor do I think it was socially embedded. Jane x

Ben
06-13-2009, 07:04 PM
I wasn't aware that there was a fixed rule dictating the minimum length of training required by a plumber in this country... at any point in its history, Ben

Perhaps not a fixed rule, Gareth, and of course, extraordinary and unlikely things do happen on occasions. However, the usual period of apprenticeship for a skilled trade such a plumber was seven years, and the usual age of apprenticeship took place between the ages of 14 and 21. It would be very unlikely and unusal for anyone to waltz into such a profession in one's early twenties with no prior experience. It may well have been the case that his parental connections ensured that he could reduce that period of apprenticeship, but in that case, it's almost impossible to accept that he'd spurn those opportunites in favour of abyss-dwelling.

People lived in the latter grotspots because, invariably, they had no other choice. This wasn't remotely the case for Toppy.

We don't know what the state of Toppy's personal life was in 1888 - perhaps there'd been a family row, or something similar, that drove him away

It must have been one heck of a row to send Toppy right into the heart of the some of the worst slum areas in London, and considering that his family were dotted around the place, it would have to mean they all "drove him away".

3. We don't know how long Toppy had been in the East End at that point

George Hutchinson claimed to have known Kelly for three years, which, if true, would suggest that he was living in the East End for at least the duration of that period. Warren Street would have been a major step up from the Victoria Home on the boundary between Whitechapel and Spitalfields. This esteemed establishment catered for upwards of 400 men-per-night, a far less comfortable set-up than Toppy's much smaller lodging house in the West End in 1891.

As it is, Toppy was a young man who had a chance of dragging himself out of the swamp, and seems to have succeeded in doing so.

Or, more likely to my mind, he was never IN the swamp to begin with, and simply availed himself of his father's plumbing connectionms at the earliest opportunity. Makes more sense to me than the sudden emergence into a skilled trade in his early twenties after bumming around as an unemployed labouring former groom.

Hi Fish,

What's with the repeated references to drenching my sorrows? I light-heartedly suggested that you tank up in order to emulate the Kelly-intoxication experience. Not sure where "sorrows" entered into the equation.

Best regards,
Ben

Sam Flynn
06-13-2009, 07:15 PM
It may well have been the case that his parental connections ensured that he could reduce that period of apprenticeship, but in that case, it's almost impossible to accept that he'd spurn those opportunites in favour of abyss-dwelling.No, it's almost impossible for you to accept, Ben - as is anything and everything that might link George William Topping Hutchinson with the Dorset Street witness. A pity, because they most assuredly were one and the same man.

Ben
06-13-2009, 07:21 PM
Good post, Jane, and my sentiments on the subject exactly.

A pity, because they most assuredly were one and the same man.

I'd respectfully beg to differ, Gareth, and should point out that the plumbing issue had struck me as problematic for the hypothetical Hutch-as-Toppy scenario way in advance of me seeing any signatures.

All the best,
Ben

Fisherman
06-13-2009, 08:26 PM
Ben:

"What's with the repeated references to drenching my sorrows? "

Haven´t you heard, Ben? Rumour has it that a dear friend of yours has passed away recently - Flemchinson, or whatever his name was...

Fisherman

Ben
06-13-2009, 08:35 PM
This has been quite a friendly thread so far.

Please don't spoil it with antagonsitic remarks concerning unrelated topics, Fisherman.

Thanks in advance,

Ben

Sam Flynn
06-13-2009, 08:36 PM
I'd respectfully beg to differ, Gareth, and should point out that the plumbing issue had struck me as problematic for the hypothetical Hutch-as-Toppy scenario way in advance of me seeing any signatures.Indeed, I remember as much, Ben. However, I might add that it didn't strike me as being an issue in pre-signature days, and I still don't see it as a problem.

Sam Flynn
06-13-2009, 08:56 PM
Labour demand must be considered here. Supply and demand, naturally. Indeed, Jane, and we know that the artisanal trades - construction work, together with its associated trades - were subject to peaks and troughs in demand. Now, if anything characterised building in London during the latter quarter of the 19th Century, it was stagnation if not demolition. Indeed, throughout Britain, there seems to have been a bit of a slump going on at the time - and plumbers turn up in the bankruptcy columns of the London Gazette with remarkably frequency during the mid/late 1880s. Not that I'm suggesting that Hutchinson père went bankrupt, mind you - I'm only observing that times were hard.

Fisherman
06-13-2009, 08:59 PM
Ben writes:

"This has been quite a friendly thread so far.

Please don't spoil it with antagonsitic remarks concerning unrelated topics, Fisherman."

I would not dream of it, Ben - myself, I have never had any trouble handling innocent jokes, and I simply made the assumption that much the same would be the case with you. I seem to remember that you thought Crystals´ joke about calling Frank Leander was a costly one...? But, of course, it was at my expense that time over.

Fisherman

Sam Flynn
06-13-2009, 09:40 PM
... plumbers turn up in the bankruptcy columns of the London Gazette with remarkably frequency during the mid/late 1880s.... The fact that they were about to come under increasing regulation from 1887 onwards might have had something to do with it, if this article is anything to go by:
The Times, 30th November 1886

THE COMPANY OF PLUMBERS

About two years ago, a movement was set on foot by the Worshipful Company of Plumbers, to promote the better education and registration of members of the craft, and thus to secure thorough and intelligent workmanship in a matter which so vitally concerns not only the individual but the public. Last evening a dinner was given a the Albion, Aldersgate-street, by the Master, the Wardens and Court of the Company to the Lord Mayor and the Sheriffs of London and Middlesex, and to about 150 gentlemen who were invited to meet them. The chair was taken by Mr Alderman Stuart Knill, Master of the Company... [a huge list of nobs and toffs follows].

The Chairman said it was satisfactory to find that the plumbers and the public were virtually of one mind as to the urgent need for some check to the present evils associated with what was called "scamped" plumbing; and the Company was supported on one side by plumbers of all grades and located in almost all parts of the kingdom; while, on the other side, it was upheld by public sanitary authorities, the medical profession, the architects, and others concerned in maintaining public health and comfort.

The summarized results of the investigations of the Company might be said to establish chiefly these things:--

1. That the trade already contained a large number, and was subject to a continual influx, of unqualified men;

2. That the deterioration of the trade was due in part to the falling off of the apprenticeship system, and in part to competition [between] builders obscuring the real lines of distinction between the crafts and allowing labourers rather than plumbers to carry out plumbers' work;

3. That the execution of defective and dishonest plumbers' work was rendered easy by the laxity or entire absence of official supervision and control.

To state the case yet more briefly, at the present time no kind of recognized authority existed touching either the qualification of plumbers or the efficiency of the work done by them. This anomalous state of things was now, in some degree, met by the scheme of Registration, which [now embraced] several hundred plumbers in various parts of the kingdom.

The registration was conducted by special committee [and] plumbers who could satisfy the registering committee of sufficient practical experience in the trade were registered at once. Those who could not were required to undergo an examination. He felt he might promise that the Company would continue to do its part, but the movement must have the extended support of the sanitary authorities, architects and the public at large to render it really successful, and thus remove the evils which the plumbers and the public now suffer by reason of there being neither qualification, test, nor regulation of plumbers' work.

Ben
06-13-2009, 09:43 PM
Fair enough, Fish. Thankyou for clarifying.

Hi Gareth,

I wouldn't regard the problem as a wholly insurmountable one, necessarily, but it remains fairly major as far as I'm concerned. It is the very fact you allude to - that times were hard - that seems so heavily at odds with a decision to forgo the potential for a quicky entry into a profession that would otherwise entail a lengthy probation period, in favour of taking up the trade of a groom and gravitating towards the worst pocket of the East End where the vast majority of the doss house-dwelling populace were in truly dire financial straits.

It would be another thing altogether if Toppy had undertaken his apprenticeship as a plumber, entered the trade, and then fallen on hard times, obliging him to do some labouring on the side in undesirable locations, but our f(r)iend from 1888 clearly had nothing whatsoever to do with plumbing at that stage of his life, and I can't see him being in a position to rectify that in a hurry.*

*...Especially in light of the tightening up of regulations, as evinced by the article you provided! Thanks for sharing that. Very interesting. In other words, it was easier to secure work prior to the late 1880s but more difficult afterwards, courtesy of these regulations. Quite how Toppy managed to gain entry into the profession after those regulations were enforced I don't know. (I don't think he did. I think he became a plumber way in advance of them).

Fisherman
06-13-2009, 10:16 PM
Thanks a lot for providing that piece, Sam. It will come as a comfort to you that I read it somewhat differently than Ben obviously did.
What I see here is a text that proves that up to 1886 - at least - Ben´s assertion that plumbers were people with a seven-year education behind them, does not hold true at all. Unskilled labourers worked as plumbers and "neither qualification, test, nor regulation" lay behind much of that work.

Moreover, it is stated that the efforts to change this state of affairs on behalf ot the more genuine plumbers and their organizations had been instigated two years earlier - but apparently to very little avail.

I also notice that the registration they were hoping to undertake from 1886 and forwards, would have to be a measure that relied to a very large extent on the free will of those who aspired to plumbership - there would have been little hope for the trade to sober up within the space of a few years.

Therefore, I consider it very credible that Toppy may well have gained his title as a plumber by joining forces with his father in the space inbetween 1888 and 1891.

That is how I read the stuff, Sam, so nurturing a faint hope on your behalf - if, indeed, you were so bold - that it was not a waste altoghether to publish such a decisive piece of information, actually would not be totally futile.

The very best, Sam!
Fisherman

Sam Flynn
06-13-2009, 10:17 PM
It looked like the clamp-down on "scampy" plumbers continued, and that the need to demonstrate formal certification in plumbing became increasingly more important, and effective, over the next few years...The Times, August 11th 1887

THE CITY & GUILDS OF LONDON INSTITUTE

The system of practical examinations, which is necessarily of the greatest importance in testing the skill of handicraftsmen, appears from this year's report to have been further extended by the Council of the institute. Practical examinations are now held in weaving and pattern-designing, carpentry and joinery, metal-plate work, printing, plumbers' work, and mine surveying. The results of the examinations in plumbers' work seem to have been far from satisfactory, and fully justify the action of the Plumbers' Company in requiring all competent plumbers, as certified by the examination, to be registered, so as to enable the public to distinguish between efficient and inefficient craftsmen.


The Times, December 2nd 1887

THE PLUMBERS' COMPANY

The Master, in proposing the toast, referred to the work of the Company in connexion with the registration of plumbers, and observed that up to the present the Company had been able to grant certificates to 1,185 efficient craftsmen. Many of these had come a very long distance at considerable personal expense to pass the examination, but the Company hoped to save them that expense in the future by instituting provincial centres, many of which were now in existence.

Sir James Paget, in proposing a toast of "Prosperity to Technical Education", expressed the hope that, by the movement with which the Plumbers' Compnay had instituted, the renown of the great City companies would be increased. The system of apprenticeship, by which the city companies formerly worked, had died out, and had come to a natural end. It was now being gradually replaced by a system of technical education.


The Times, November 27th 1888

THE PLUMBERS' COMPANY

This company gave a banquet at the Saddlers' Hall, Cheapside, last evening. A large number was present, including the Lord Mayor (Alderman Whitehead), the Earl of Denbigh, Sir Hufton Bufton-Tufton [made that last one up... suffice to say, more nobs and toffs are listed :)]

The Master sketched at some length the origin of the Plumbers' Company, and the progress wich had been made in the movement for the better education and registration of plumbers. In 1884 a congress was held at which a number of London and provincial plumbers met, and from that beginning the present movement sprung. The contract system had been mentioned at that congress as one of the chief objects for reform, and he thought that the cause of the execration of modern plumbers lay in the ignorance of the public that they did not carry out their own plans, but those of other people, who were often grossly incompetent.

The numbers registered were increasing year by year, and the examinations were being made more frequent. To show the value of these, he mentioned that in some examinations as many as 75 per cent of the applicants failed to pass, and at the last held only one-third of the candidates succeeded in passing.


The Times, March 4th 1889

CERTIFICATED PLUMBERS.-- The clerk to the Plumbers' Company has received the following letter with reference to the work of plumbers in connexion with the sanitary conditions of London dwellings: --

"Dear Mr. Coles,

You will remember that not long ago I told you that the Duke of Westminster, feeling the very great importance, from a sanitary point of view, of good plumbers' work in houses, and appreciating the exertions of the Plumbers' Company in that direction, had decided that none but certificated plumbers were to be employed in new buildings on his estate. You weill be interested to know that every building contract on this estate provides as follows:-- 'No plumber is to be employed upon the works unless he has the certificate of his efficiency from the Worshipful Company of Plumbers'.

I remain, yours very truly, H.T. Boodle"

Ben
06-13-2009, 10:26 PM
What I see here is a text that proves that up to 1886 - at least - Ben´s assertion that plumbers were people with a seven-year education behind them, did not hold true at all.

Did you even read or remotely understand the implications of the article Gareth provided?

It has emerged that it was easier to become a plumber prior to 1886, which meant that Toppy had even less incentive to resort to the slums of Whitechapel. Why would he endure such degradations and squalor if he could gain entry into the profession? I say easily, for two reasons: A) Because his father was already in the plumbing trade, and B) Because the restrictions were clearly very lax prior to 1886.

After 1886 the regulations were tightened, and yet it is only after the tightening of these regulations that you want Toppy to have suddenly entered the plumbing profession. Thanks to Gareth's article, we learn that it became even more difficult to become a plumber after 1886, with little or no apprenticeship to speak of, and at an age when apprenticeships weren't generally offered,

The questions begged by the following revelations are as follows:

1) Why didn't he enter his father's profession, with all the relative security in entailed, when it was relatively easy to do so?

2) How did he manage to become a plumber so suddently after those restictions had been imposed?

I mean, honestly, if we're to actually learn something from eachother on this website and benefit from the exchagne of ideas, it's essential to take newly shared snippets of information as they stand, and not by foisting unnacceptable interpretations on them. Force-feeding evidence into a conclusion you've already decided on is a bit irritating.

Sam Flynn
06-13-2009, 10:32 PM
What's interesting about that last snippet from 1889 is that, if Toppy's address in 1891 had anything to do with his working "out West", then he'd have found it rather difficult to find employment, given that the Duke of Westminster owned most of the West End, and that he insisted on plumbers passing their City & Guilds before they were allowed to work on his estate.

Sam Flynn
06-13-2009, 10:34 PM
The Times, 30th November 1886

[...]

2. That the deterioration of the trade was due in part to the falling off of the apprenticeship system, and in part to competition builders obscuring the real lines of distinction between the crafts and [b]allowing labourers rather than plumbers to carry out plumbers' work

Ben
06-13-2009, 10:39 PM
Indeed, it's worth highlighting that one, Gareth.

What seems most unusual, in light of this revelation, is that the statement-making George Hutchinson didn't jump on the bandwagon and do precisely what you've emboldended above. He gives his trade as a groom (to the press at least), and is described as a temporarily unemployed "labourer". No pretence at plumbing at all. But if he ever found an opportunity to apply his labouring tricks to jobs that should have been carried out by a professional plumber, he certainly couldn't have continued doing that once the 1886 regulations had been imposed. He would not have been considered a genuine plumber, like Toppy was, after that.

Fascinating stuff.

All the best,
Ben

Sam Flynn
06-13-2009, 10:51 PM
He gives his trade as a groom (to the press at least), and is described as a temporarily unemployed "labourer". No pretence at plumbing at all.Perhaps he really wasn't a plumber then, Ben, and didn't succeed in gaining City & Guilds certification until a year or so later - which looks entirely feasible to me. Of course, I'd be taking speculation a little too far if I pointed out that the headquarters of the City & Guilds in Giltspur Street, EC1, is only a mile's walk from Wentworth Street, Whitechapel ;) Seriously, I'm not suggesting he was taking his exams in November 1888!

Fisherman
06-14-2009, 12:28 AM
Ben:

"Did you even read or remotely understand the implications of the article Gareth provided?"

Yes. And yes.

"It has emerged that it was easier to become a plumber prior to 1886, which meant that Toppy had even less incentive to resort to the slums of Whitechapel. Why would he endure such degradations and squalor if he could gain entry into the profession?"

You seem to know a lot more about Hutchinson than the rest of us, Ben; What exact "degradation" and "squalor" are we speaking of here?
Would you not say that since we know that Hutchinson said he gave Kelly money from time to time - and rather substantial money too - that he may perhaps not have lived such a squalid life? Nor was he pointed out as a pauper, was he - no, a man of military appearance was what was said! So maybe you need to hold your horses somewhat, Ben, since we do not have a clue as to what he did workwise in them years and where he got money enough to spend on Kelly.

"After 1886 the regulations were tightened, and yet it is only after the tightening of these regulations that you want Toppy to have suddenly entered the plumbing profession. Thanks to Gareth's article, we learn that it became even more difficult to become a plumber after 1886, with little or no apprenticeship to speak of, and at an age when apprenticeships weren't generally offered"

Thanks to Sams articleS (it´s plural), we know that the occupation was crowded with common labourers before and AFTER 1886, Ben. You are bound to realize that once you read the material. Moreover, I have a feeling that if Toppy decided on a plumbing carreer after 1886, it would have done his course all the good in the world to have that plumber father.

So, in conclusion:

"Why didn't he enter his father's profession, with all the relative security in entailed, when it was relatively easy to do so?"

Two (of a number of) reasons may have been that he could have preferred to try and make his own life, and his father may have only have been able to secure what work he could manage on his own. The articles and information provided by Sam (the material you ask me if I have read and understood, that is, Ben) points out very clearly that the times were bad, and lots of people were put out of work. If we add to this that phony plumbers, probably ready to do plumbing for next to nothing paywise, would have crushed many a "legal" plumbers business, a picture emerges where we can easily see why Toppy could have started out as something else that a plumber.

"How did he manage to become a plumber so suddently after those restictions had been imposed?"

Because - as you can see from the texts - they were not effectively imposed at all. And just like Sam says, he may have gained his certificate at a later stage.

"if we're to actually learn something from eachother on this website and benefit from the exchagne of ideas, it's essential to take newly shared snippets of information as they stand"

Hallelujah, Ben - does that involve the judgement of renowned document examiners like Frank Leander...?

Fisherman

Brenda
06-14-2009, 03:55 AM
Toppy's father may not have been inclined to help him out with establishing a secure career until he stopped boozing and giving money to women of ill-repute. :lol:

The Good Michael
06-14-2009, 04:37 AM
Toppy's father may not have been inclined to help him out with establishing a secure career until he stopped boozing and giving money to women of ill-repute. :lol:

Toppy's father may have said to the ne'er-do-well, "You want to work with horse? Go ahead, you'll see that it ain't so easy, and then maybe you'll see that the plumber's trade, though devoid of glamor, is a stable and necessary one."

Fisherman, a caution if you will. It is sufficient for all of us to realize that acquisition of a trade and even change of trade was commonplace in the LVP without trying to create some sort of story about tearful reunion between Toppy and Pappy and consequent business partnership. The argument that a man may easily migrate from groom to plumber based upon normal situations and living conditions stands firm. Our side needs to avoid the path of refutation based upon agenda, what ifs, and might have beens, in order to stay in the fore. Indeed, George's redemption as upstanding citizen is just on the horizon.

Cheers,

Mike

Fisherman
06-14-2009, 02:09 PM
Hi Mike!

"It is sufficient for all of us to realize that acquisition of a trade and even change of trade was commonplace in the LVP without trying to create some sort of story about tearful reunion between Toppy and Pappy and consequent business partnership."

Absolutely, Mike. And to be honest, I never created such a story - I just pointed to the suggestion that having a plumber father may have helped along when Toppy chose the same occupation. It could have been about things like business contacts, using his fathers better rates when buying plumbing attire or asking how to go about things - or, just as you say, they may have had no contact whatsoever about plumbing (or anything else).

"The argument that a man may easily migrate from groom to plumber based upon normal situations and living conditions stands firm."

So it does, Mike.

"Our side needs to avoid the path of refutation based upon agenda"

I am not proposing an agenda, Mike - I am fighting it. And sometimes that means that I fight my own beliefs, for the sake of sanity. One example is how I defend the possibility that Astrakhan man may have existed, and that Hutch may have seen all the things he said he did, and that Kelly may have been on the streets at two ó clock in the morning; my own belief is that she was NOT there, she stayed in her room, at least partially intoxicated, and her killer knew where to find her. That would mean that Hutch never met Astrakhan or Kelly in the street that night, of course.
But as long as Hutch can´t be proven a liar (or mistaken) in this respect, I will not listen to those who say that it is a proven thing. And so I am willing to fight for a cause that goes against my own beliefs, and I take that fight simply because I am none too fond of agendas.

...thus I´ll try and keep your sound advice at hand at every time, Mike, since - just like you - I am convinced that in due course, Toppys role as the Dorset Street witness will be an established fact.

All the best,
Fisherman

babybird67
06-14-2009, 07:05 PM
Toppy's father may have said to the ne'er-do-well, "You want to work with horse? Go ahead, you'll see that it ain't so easy, and then maybe you'll see that the plumber's trade, though devoid of glamor, is a stable and necessary one."

But Mike, surely a groom's employment is much more "stable"!:lol:

Ben
06-15-2009, 12:08 AM
Fisherman,

In case you didn't pick up on Mike's subtext, what he's really saying, in essence, is that your desire to engage me in long-winded posting wars all the time and "take that fight" is ultimately damaging to Team Toppy. He's obviously very concerned about this, and for good reason, since he's cautiously implored you along these lines about a dozen times now. Happily, you and I both know you never had any intention of taking his advice, so it's looking like we're on for another Hutchinson "battle".

You seem to know a lot more about Hutchinson than the rest of us, Ben; What exact "degradation" and "squalor" are we speaking of here?

I'm talking about the squalor and degradation that we know characterized lodging houses such as the Victoria Home, which, considering they were located in a vicinity known for its "vicious and semi criminal" element, is hardly an exaggeration. I'm not sure how such a thing can be quantified to the extent of "exactitude", but I'm sure if you read Jack London's "People of the Abyss", in which the Victoria Home if clearly referred to, if not by name, you should be left with the correct impression, i.e. one of squalor and degradation.

Would you not say that since we know that Hutchinson said he gave Kelly money from time to time - and rather substantial money too - that he may perhaps not have lived such a squalid life?

I've emboldened the operative phrase: "Hutchinson said".

I'll be honest, I'm not prepared to accept anything as fact on the basis that "Hutchinson said". Hutchinson also said that he noticed the colour of a man's eyelashes despite passing him in darkness for a fleeting moment. Makes me wonder if maybe - just maybe - he could have been lying, and I entertain the same concerns viz a viz his "gave her a few shillings" claim.

If he lived in the Victoria Home, he was in a relatively dire pecuniary predicament, otherwise he wouldn't have been living there. Surely nobody's seriously doubting this?

Thanks to Sams articleS (it´s plural), we know that the occupation was crowded with common labourers before and AFTER 1886, Ben. You are bound to realize that once you read the material.

So why didn't this "common labourer" reap the benefits of becoming a phoney plumber when it was easy to do so? Or for an even more pressing question; why become a common labourer pretending to be a phoney plumber at all, especially when his parental connections bestowed upon him vastly better than average chances of becoming a REAL plumber? Even if we go crazy and assume he was amazingly chuslish, and spurned these opportunities, how did he suddenly rectify matters and become a bonafide REAL plumber, in his mid-to-late twenties, with no probation/apprenticeship period, AFTER the regulations had been tightened?

It was easy to become a plumber prior to 1886, especially if his dad was already in the trade, so why didn't he?

It was difficult, if not impossible, to become a plumber after 1886 (when regulations had been tightened) if the plumbing aspirant had no apprenticeship and was beyond the age at which apprenticeships are normally given. So how did Toppy manage it?

These questions are not easily answered if Toppy was the 1888 Hutchinson. If he wasn't, those questions don't apply. If he wasn't the witness, there's no longer any problem. It would mean Toppy became a plumber at the earliest opportunity - probably in his teens - and continued to be one for the rest of his life.

Hallelujah, Ben - does that involve the judgement of renowned document examiners like Frank Leander...?

It also involves the judgement of renowned experts such as Sue Iremonger, who saw more than a couple of emailed images, but please let's have that argument again...

Hi Mike,

Toppy's father may have said to the ne'er-do-well, "You want to work with horse? Go ahead, you'll see that it ain't so easy, and then maybe you'll see that the plumber's trade, though devoid of glamor, is a stable and necessary one."

Let's be circumspect here; how deluded must Hutchinson Jr have been to believe for one second that venturing out for a horse-related career in the worst grotspot in London might not have put the pennies in the piggy-bank? I appreciate that such a mentality could occur today when the prospect of a truly destitute lifestyle was not so apparent; I can picture a strictly modern-day "Daddy, I don't want to join your reputable accoutancy firm in Sydney. I want to surf with Great Whites instead", but I can't see how it can be compared with 1888. All but the most ludicrously hedonistic and delusional of youngsters would have seized those rare benefits of an easy way in during times of such hardship.

And sorry, but no, it wasn't easy to flip from one occupation to another at the drop of a hat. If you've properly understood Gareth's articles, you'd know that the very opposite was true of the plumbing trade after 1886, when a hypothetical Hutch-The-Witness was supposed to have suddenly joined the trade after tight restrictions for entry had been imposed, and when he was at an age when unrealsitically short apparenticeships were still offered.

Best regards,
Ben

DVV
06-15-2009, 01:20 AM
Hi all,

had Toppy a sister in Romford, whose sink was blocked around November 1888...

Amitiés,
David

Sam Flynn
06-15-2009, 01:43 AM
had Toppy a sister in Romford, whose sink was blocked around November 1888...
Not sure, Dave - because we don't have the census info for that year. However, his father came from Chelmsford, the nearest big town (c. 20 miles from Romford). His father would also have been 61 or 62 years old in 1888, if he were still alive. Toppy had already lost his mother by the time of the 1881 census, when he and his sister lived with their father in Eltham (also about 20 miles from Romford, if not just under).

DVV
06-15-2009, 01:55 AM
Thanks Sam,

as I said several times, the (possible)'Romford connection' could well do more 'for' Toppy than signatures comparison or the so-called family tradition.

Honestly speaking Sam (please don't take the end of the sentence as some kind of "in cauda venenum"!).

Amitiés,
David

Ben
06-15-2009, 02:01 AM
Hi Dave,

Toppy's sister, Emily Jane, lived in Lee at the time of the murders.

She married James Knott in Lewisham in 1886.

The couple's first child, Gertrude Florence Knott, was born on 21st March 1887, at 47 Ronver Road, Lee (London SE12)

The couple's second child, Lillian Jane Knott, was born on 22nd April 1889

In 1891 she was recorded in the census as living at 59 Summerfield Street, Lee.

Toppy's father, George Sr, was also living in Lee at the time of the 1891 census. He died there on 29th November 1895.

Hope this helps,

Ben

Observer
06-15-2009, 02:37 AM
Hi Ben

Where was the couples second child born? Lilian Jane Knott that is.

all the best

Observer

Ben
06-15-2009, 02:44 AM
Hi Observer,

She was also born in Lee, as were all six of her siblings.

Best regards,
Ben

Fisherman
06-15-2009, 09:50 AM
Ben writes:
"In case you didn't pick up on Mike's subtext, what he's really saying, in essence, is that your desire to engage me in long-winded posting wars all the time and "take that fight" is ultimately damaging to Team Toppy."

As far as I´m concerned, Ben, Team Toppy is home and dry. Therefore, I see little reason to believe in any "damage". The only damage around to pich up on lies on other hands.
But that is not what we should be discussing here - we should be discussing Hutchinsons social status, and I think you are making things a bit too easy for yourself when you seem to claim that ALL people in the area we are speaking of are people who were extremely poor and run down. Therefore, by reasoning, Hutch must have been living in squalor, according to you. You even bring up "People of the abyss" to clinch this thesis of yours.

But we are not speaking of a collective of people here. We are speaking specifically of Hutchinson, who was an individual. And of his economical status we know very little, and what we DO know is tightly knitted to the exact day when he turned up at the police station.
He was out of work then; that is if we are to believe what he says, and that is one thing that you seem to WANT to believe, though you claim that we really should not believe ANYTHING he says - such equations are awkward ones, Ben.
But let´s assume that he WAS out of work - if he was, that does not tell us for how long he had been ut of work. Nor does it tell us what he had done prior to that situation. Nor does it tell us where he had lived prior to the Victoria home - that was by no means a lodging at the very bottom of the scale, for that matter.
Have a look at other individuals that pass by as we learn about Whitechapel and Spitalfields - the man Marshall saw with Stride, for example, was described as a respectable character, something like a clerk, just to mention one everyday member of that society. Of course, Hutchinson calls himself a labourer, but we do not specifically know what he did and how he earned his living, do we? So let´s not jump to conclusions about any squalor surrounding his personal welfare as long as you have nothing to bolster it with, Ben.

Also, the same lack of evidence applies when you hint at the possibility that Hutchinson could have embarked on a carreer together with his father, as a plumber.
How much do we know about the state of his fathers affairs at the time? How do we know that it allowed for taking aboard a family member and feed him? How do we know that the two got along well enough to form such a companionship? How do we know that it was not his fathers refusal to keep and feed Hutchinson that drove him to the East End?
The same answer applies in all these cases - we don´t know.

Finally, as for:

"It was difficult, if not impossible, to become a plumber after 1886 (when regulations had been tightened) if the plumbing aspirant had no apprenticeship and was beyond the age at which apprenticeships are normally given. So how did Toppy manage it?
These questions are not easily answered if Toppy was the 1888 Hutchinson. If he wasn't, those questions don't apply. If he wasn't the witness, there's no longer any problem. It would mean Toppy became a plumber at the earliest opportunity - probably in his teens - and continued to be one for the rest of his life."

There are two ways in which to address this question, Ben, as you will realize. The first one is to note that the "tightened regulations" seemed to be very hard to instigate, since we have Sam´s articles telling us that the efforts on behalf of the organized plumbers were useless to a large extent. Therefore, many a "plumber" active in that period of time would not have been a plumber at all - regulations or no regulations. Possibly, Hutchinson may have started on a plumbers education, only to give it up for a period of time (and a number of reasons could have lied behind such a thing) - only to take things up again at a later stage and complete that education. Once again, we simply don´t know.
That is the first way to answer your question.
The other way, and the one that applies very much in my case, is to realize that there MUST be an explanation to why Hutchinson said that he was a groom and a labourer out of work, just as there MUST be an explanation to how he became a plumber later in life and just as there MUST be an explanation to the fact that he was staying at the Victoria home in the autumn of 1888. And why is this? It is because as far as I`m concerned, Toppy signed the police report and was the Dorset Street witness, and therefore we know that there WILL be explanations to these points. And indeed, just as I propose, the explanations could be quite trivial and anything but far-fetched.

Fisherman

Ben
06-15-2009, 02:36 PM
As far as I´m concerned, Ben, Team Toppy is home and dry. Therefore, I see little reason to believe in any "damage". The only damage around to pich up on lies on other hands.

Well, no offence, Fisherman, but it should be astoundingly clear that others on your side don't share that view, and tend to regard your self-confessed willing to engage in lengthy "fights" as a bit of a liability to the Toppy cause.

But that is not what we should be discussing here - we should be discussing Hutchinsons social status, and I think you are making things a bit too easy for yourself when you seem to claim that ALL people in the area we are speaking of are people who were extremely poor and run down.

Not all people in "the area", necessarily, but certainly those living in squalid conditions in the larger East End lodging houses, otherwise you'd have to embrace the faintly ludicrous idea that he made a beeline for these hell-holes despite better living conditions being readily accessible. The believe who lived in these lodging houses did so through lack of better options, and if you read the relevant chapter on lodging houses in People of the Abyss, by Jack London.

And of his economical status we know very little, and what we DO know is tightly knitted to the exact day when he turned up at the police station.

But we're also told that he was a temporarily unemployed labourer who formerly worked as a groom by trade, but we've recently learned that he could have avoided that particular grotspot by following his father into a trade whose entry regulations were very relaxed prior to 1886. It meant that he had an opportunity to get ahead of the phony plumbers who were secretly only labourers by using his connections to become a geunine plumber. It would mean that those 1886-introduced regulations would not have affected him. It would have been plumbing business as usual while all the fakes are turfed out.

Alternatively, you can try to get round the problem by speculating that Toppy was a plumber in 1888 but simply pretended he wasn't when communicating with the police. Not sure why he'd do that, but suggestions are most welcome.

The only speculation that doesn't get round the problem is the one that has Toppy stampeding towards poverty when he clearly had other options, economically and domestically, before somehow, by some miracle, managing to become a genuine no-bullsh1t plumber in his early-to-mid twenties, when we know the regulations had been tightened; we know that he couldn't have served anything like a proper apprenticeship for the job between 1888 and 1891; and we know that apprenticeships were offered between the ages of 14 and 21.

Nor does it tell us where he had lived prior to the Victoria home - that was by no means a lodging at the very bottom of the scale, for that matter

It wasn't far off, Fisherman. I'd rather doss down there than Crossingham's, for example, but if you actually study the contemporary sources, you'll discover that the men who actually experienced the Victoria Home in Commercial Street found the living conditions deeply undesirable, thus rendering any suggestion that someone would live there for the hell of it, despite other options, implausible in the extreme.

I don't know why would mention the "respectable appearance" of Marshall's man. What are you trying to convince me of here? We have no idea where Marshall's man lived, and we certainly have no evidence that he was an "everyday member of that society". On the contrary, an everyday member of that society would more closely resemble a docker or a labourer - someone like Marshall himself.

How do we know that it was not his fathers refusal to keep and feed Hutchinson that drove him to the East End?

By all means posit the existence of some family feud if you wish, but if that's the case, the chances of Toppy becoming a plumber independently of his father (and with little or no apprenticeship) is rendered even less plausible. It wouldn't have driven him to the East End, since there were other family members besides the father who could have accommodated him. Unless you want to argue that they all spurned him?

Possibly, Hutchinson may have started on a plumbers education, only to give it up for a period of time (and a number of reasons could have lied behind such a thing) - only to take things up again at a later stage and complete that education. Once again, we simply don´t know

In which case, he'd be a "plumber by trade, now working as a labourer" in 1888, not a groom. Indeed, no references are made to plumbing in his police statement or any press report.

The other way, and the one that applies very much in my case, is to realize that there MUST be an explanation to why Hutchinson said that he was a groom and a labourer out of work, just as there MUST be an explanation to how he became a plumber later in life and just as there MUST be an explanation to the fact that he was staying at the Victoria home in the autumn of 1888. And why is this?

Indeed, there MUST be explanation for all of those things. And by far the most logical explanation to all of them is that Toppy was not the George Hutchinson who signed the police statement. That way, all of those problems are resolved. He was living in the West End in 1891, and if he was working there, it would indicate the ownership of a certificate. It would mean Toppy apprenticed to become a plumber in his teens, as did the vast majority of those entering a trade at the time. The moment you make Toppy the witness, all the above objections remain, and I dispute very strongly that your "trivial" explanations are even remotely applicable.

Best regards,
Ben