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1888 Chamber of Horrors in Whitechapel and the London Hospital

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  • 1888 Chamber of Horrors in Whitechapel and the London Hospital

    Greetings all,

    Recently, I published an article on the Chamber of Horrors wax museum on Whitechapel Road, which displayed wax effigies of six of the Ripper victims (by Feb 1889), each model completed just after that particular murder and sometimes only hours after the event. Martha Tabram was the first to be displayed. Each night during the autumn of terror, crowds filled the streets so much so that it annoyed the surrounding businesses and the London Hospital across the street.

    This occurred not only just hundreds of feet away from the Nichols murder scene, but it was also a stone's throw away from the London Hospital. If Jack the Ripper did visit this museum, he would not only be seeing his work immortalized, he would be seeing the audience gasping in terror. Is it a coincidence that the London Hospitcal was just across the street? There were associations between the hospital and the murders. For example, Ripper suspect Dr. Roslyn D'Onston was an inpatient at the London Hospital.

    To me, there is a strong possibility that the killer visited this popular museum located so near one of the murders, especially when it showed off his work. Any thoughts?

    Sincerely,
    Mike
    Last edited by mklhawley; 05-02-2013, 03:31 PM.
    The Ripper's Haunts/JtR Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety (Sunbury Press)
    http://www.michaelLhawley.com

  • #2
    To Mike

    I think Jack the Ripper would be the sort of killer who would visit a wax museum showing wax effigies of six of the Ripper victims. I'd imagine visiting the museum would be like reliving the killings and give Jack some sort of a thrill.

    Cheers,
    John

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by mklhawley View Post
      Greetings all,

      To me, there is a strong possibility that the killer visited this popular museum located so near one of the murders, especially when it showed off his work. Any thoughts?

      Sincerely,
      Mike
      Hi Mike,

      It makes sense to me. I am aware that a decade earlier Charles Peace would visit the local police stations, wearing a fake "hook" for a hand, to look at the wanted posters describing him as wanted for the murder of Arthur Dyson at Bannercross. He also attended the trial of William Habron for the murder of Police Constable Nicholas **** (which Peace also committed). So why shouldn't the Ripper have visited the local Whitechapel Chamber of Horrors.

      Besides Tabram and the Canonical 5 what other murders were being shown there (if you know). Henry Wainwright's murder (and dismemberment) of Harriet Lane in 1875 Whitechapel, perhaps?

      Jeff

      Comment


      • #4
        http://www.mernick.org.uk/thhol/whitesat.html

        Is this the same waxworks mentioned here I wonder? I doubt it somehow this article dates from 1862

        regards

        Observer

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Observer View Post
          http://www.mernick.org.uk/thhol/whitesat.html

          Is this the same waxworks mentioned here I wonder? I doubt it somehow this article dates from 1862

          regards

          Observer
          Hi Observer,

          This is not the same waxworks museum. Old Man Cotton ran the one in 1862 and the Elephant Man was exhibited in this building in 1884. Five buildings west was the Chamber of Horrors museum, which began a few years prior to the Whitechapel murders. The biographer of the Elephan Man mistakenly believed the two were the same.

          Sincerely,
          Mike
          The Ripper's Haunts/JtR Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety (Sunbury Press)
          http://www.michaelLhawley.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Mayerling View Post
            Hi Mike,

            It makes sense to me. I am aware that a decade earlier Charles Peace would visit the local police stations, wearing a fake "hook" for a hand, to look at the wanted posters describing him as wanted for the murder of Arthur Dyson at Bannercross. He also attended the trial of William Habron for the murder of Police Constable Nicholas **** (which Peace also committed). So why shouldn't the Ripper have visited the local Whitechapel Chamber of Horrors.

            Besides Tabram and the Canonical 5 what other murders were being shown there (if you know). Henry Wainwright's murder (and dismemberment) of Harriet Lane in 1875 Whitechapel, perhaps?

            Jeff
            Hi John,

            So true,


            Hi Jeff,
            The proprietor, Thomas Barry, lost a court battle in February 1889, and at that time there were six victims displayed. My guess is, that was it.

            Sincerely,
            Mike
            The Ripper's Haunts/JtR Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety (Sunbury Press)
            http://www.michaelLhawley.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Observer View Post
              http://www.mernick.org.uk/thhol/whitesat.html

              Is this the same waxworks mentioned here I wonder? I doubt it somehow this article dates from 1862

              regards

              Observer
              Hello, and thanks Observer.

              As Benjamin West died in 1820, the portrait of "Dr. Benjamin Lincoln", the "President of the United States" shows the writer's lack of double checking his facts, as he seems to have confused three people.

              1) Dr. Benjamin Franklin - the American Postmaster General, Scientist, Printer, Writer, and Patriot, was in Europe for many years in the 1760s and 1770s, and then from 1778 to 1783 in France specifically on his diplomatic mission. West, who was an American Tory, moved to England to continue painting (as did John Singleton Copley), but he may have done a portrait of Franklin.

              2) General Benjamin Lincoln - who was taken prisoner when defeated in 1779 at the fall of Charleston by Lord Cornwallis and Sir Henry Clinton. He would be exchanged for a British officer, and would be given the honor of receiving the sword of surrender from British Brigadier General Charles O'Hara at Yorktown in 1781. He may have had his portrait done by West while a prisoner in Engalnd.

              3) President Abraham Lincoln - He could not have been painted by West as he never went to Britain, and he was President from 1861 - 1865, long after West died. But the article was written in 1862, so the writer's confusion of names is understandable.

              Again thanks.

              Jeff

              Comment


              • #8
                The women were displayed in the basement and on the first floor was the Chamber of Horrors, which displayed the executions of the popular murderers of the day. My favorite was Henry Pranzini, who murdered three women Ripper style in Paris in 1887. Coincidentally, Nichols was murdered on the first anniversary of Pranzini's execution.

                Sincerely,
                Mike

                p.s., Today there is a MacDonalds in the same building, which is on Whitechapel Road.
                The Ripper's Haunts/JtR Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety (Sunbury Press)
                http://www.michaelLhawley.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi Mike,

                  Just wanted to say I really enjoyed this piece in the Rip.

                  Good work fella.


                  Monty




                  Author of Capturing Jack the Ripper.

                  http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/1445621622

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks Monty! I certainly enjoyed researching it.
                    The Ripper's Haunts/JtR Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety (Sunbury Press)
                    http://www.michaelLhawley.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mklhawley View Post
                      Hi Observer,

                      This is not the same waxworks museum. Old Man Cotton ran the one in 1862 and the Elephant Man was exhibited in this building in 1884. Five buildings west was the Chamber of Horrors museum, which began a few years prior to the Whitechapel murders. The biographer of the Elephan Man mistakenly believed the two were the same.

                      Sincerely,
                      Mike
                      Hi Mike

                      Thanks for the information.

                      I know the building, when you mentioned McDonalds I realised it is the building on the corner of Fulbourne Street. It is no longer a McDonalds I believe, and looking at the present building I'd say it was built in the 1930's.

                      I also believe the building in which the Elephant Man was exibited is now a sari shop.

                      Regards

                      Observer

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mayerling View Post
                        Hello, and thanks Observer.

                        As Benjamin West died in 1820, the portrait of "Dr. Benjamin Lincoln", the "President of the United States" shows the writer's lack of double checking his facts, as he seems to have confused three people.

                        1) Dr. Benjamin Franklin - the American Postmaster General, Scientist, Printer, Writer, and Patriot, was in Europe for many years in the 1760s and 1770s, and then from 1778 to 1783 in France specifically on his diplomatic mission. West, who was an American Tory, moved to England to continue painting (as did John Singleton Copley), but he may have done a portrait of Franklin.

                        2) General Benjamin Lincoln - who was taken prisoner when defeated in 1779 at the fall of Charleston by Lord Cornwallis and Sir Henry Clinton. He would be exchanged for a British officer, and would be given the honor of receiving the sword of surrender from British Brigadier General Charles O'Hara at Yorktown in 1781. He may have had his portrait done by West while a prisoner in Engalnd.

                        3) President Abraham Lincoln - He could not have been painted by West as he never went to Britain, and he was President from 1861 - 1865, long after West died. But the article was written in 1862, so the writer's confusion of names is understandable.

                        Again thanks.

                        Jeff
                        Hi Jeff

                        Yes he is somewhat confused as you imply. It must have been some place if that description of 1862 is anything to go by.

                        Regards

                        Observer

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Observer View Post
                          Hi Mike

                          Thanks for the information.

                          I know the building, when you mentioned McDonalds I realised it is the building on the corner of Fulbourne Street. It is no longer a McDonalds I believe, and looking at the present building I'd say it was built in the 1930's.

                          I also believe the building in which the Elephant Man was exibited is now a sari shop.

                          Regards

                          Observer
                          Hi Observer,

                          You are correct on the siri shop, however, the Chamber of Horrors, was on the corner of Thomas Street. Did it change to Fulbourne Street? Here's a picture of it:

                          Click image for larger version

Name:	Map Thomas St and London Hospital.gif
Views:	1
Size:	272.1 KB
ID:	664947

                          Sincerely,
                          Mike
                          The Ripper's Haunts/JtR Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety (Sunbury Press)
                          http://www.michaelLhawley.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Here's a taste of this area just before the Kelly murder:

                            An Autumn Evening in Whitechapel
                            (Source: 3 November 1888, Littell's Living Age) From the Daily News


                            Whitechapel and Spitalfields are always interesting neighborhoods, and recent events have made them decidedly more interesting. They have afforded startling illustrations of the dreadful possibilities of life down in the unfathomable depths of these vast human warrens. At all times one who strolls through this quarter of town, especially by night, must feel that below his ken are the awful deeps of an ocean teeming with life, but enshrouded in impenetrable mystery...


                            Nobody appears to be greatly concerned, and the people turn from this mild sensation to listen for a moment to a eulogy on the everlasting qualities of new trousers at nine and sixpence a pair. A hundred people at least are clustered round the salesman, who descants hoarsely on the unrivalled qualities of his goods, and winds up by flinging a pair out into the crowd for closer inspection. A few yards further on there is a waxwork show with some horrible pictorial representations of the recent murders, and all the dreadful details are being blated out into the night, and women with children in their arms are pushing their way to the front with their pennies to see the ghastly objects within. Next door is a show, in which ghosts and devils and skeletons appear to be the chief attractions; and near at hand is a flaring picture of a modern Hercules performing within. Then comes a gathering of some fifty or sixty people around a preacher, who is evidently desperately in earnest, but who somehow manages at every step to ruffle up the feelings of his congregation. He is what cabby would call a harbitrary gent, and he comes it over his listeners just a little too strongly. “Never heard nobody go on like ‘im in all my days,” said a little dame on the fringe of the crowd. “There ain’t nobody right but ‘im and he’s al’ays the same, a-pitchin’ into everbody. I declare their ain’t no chance for none of us.” Certainly the people round were sparring and fencing with him on all hands, and the controversy at one point ran so high that it looked as though the preacher would have to take off his coat and turn up his sleeves. Not fifty yards off was Mr. Charrington’s great assemblyroom, where Mr. Henry Varley, who looked to be mounted on a bank of flowers reaching half-way up the fine organ, was quietly haranguing some hundreds of people, the whole place looking bright and attractive, and the audience very attentive. Out again into the great thoroughfare, back a little way past the roaring salesman and the hideous waxwork, and round the corner. This opening here, where the public-house, the bar of which looks to be full of mothers with children in their arms, blazes at the corner, leads down to Buck’s Row. Nobody about here seems at all conscious of the recent tragedy, the only suggestion of which is a bill in the public-house window, offering, on behalf of an enterprising newspaper, a reward of a hundred pounds for the conviction of the criminal...


                            Sincerely,
                            Mike
                            The Ripper's Haunts/JtR Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety (Sunbury Press)
                            http://www.michaelLhawley.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              And here's a taste of what the inside of the Chamber of Horrors was like. Daily Telegraph reporter William Beatty-Kingston visited the wax museum in November 1888. By February, there were six victims displayed plus a wax effigy of Jack the Ripper looming over them:


                              The Daily Telegraph
                              THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 1888
                              Another establishment, bearing some distant relation to one of the plastic arts, is situate at a street corner nearly opposite the democratic picture-shop, within a vigorous stone's-throw of the London Hospital. It is no exaggeration to say that the most remarkable waxworks of this or any other age are now on view in a western section of the Whitechapel-road. This amazing exhibition occupies the ground floor and cellarage of a frowsy two-storeyed house, the upper floor of which appears to be unoccupied. An no wonder, for who would willingly live under the same roof with the ghastly dolls that tenant the lower part of this sordid messuage? A penny is the fee for admission to the display, the attractions of which are incessantly proclaimed urbi et orbi by the stentorian voices of two curiously ill-favoured male attendants, while a slatternly, unkempt girl, as grimy as the most approved Old Master, sits at the receipt of custom hard by the entrance. When we visited them, the showrooms were thronged with blowzy, bonnetless women and unshaven, unwashed men, affording to more than one of the senses conclusive evidence that they had recently been somewhat assiduously engaged in "sampling" the wares of a neighbouring gin shop. Squeezed in here and there among these miscellaneous adults, and eagerly striving to catch a glimpse of the hideous effigies lining either wall of the long, low room, dimly lighted by slender and tremulous jets of gas, were a few pallid, precocious children, whose language was no less "painful and frequent and free" than that of their elders. The show itself, however, despite its many repulsive characteristics, could not possibly lower their moral tone; and yet it is unquestionably a "penny dreadful" of the most blood-curdling description, mainly consisting of long rows of vilely executed waxen figures and plaster busts, propped up, some upright, some askew, against either wall of the showroom, rigged out in the refuse of a Petticoat-lane old clothes shop, and professing (according to the halfpenny catalogue) to be striking likenesses of all the most notorious homicides of modern times. From Palmer to Pranzini the collection claims to be complete, and its serried ranks, whatever their artistic shortcomings may be - and in this respect we believe them to be unrivalled - unquestionably teem with the strangest of surprises, a few of which are ineffably comical. For instance, there is a deeply-pitted, broken-nosed, plaster-of-paris head, surmounted by a faded green hat and issuing from a threadbare double-breasted jacket. It looks like a slovenly cast of some mutilated classical bust dressed up in modern "slops" by way of a mild joke, the contrast between its lifeless whiteness and shabby-genteel "get-up" being wildly ludicrous. In the catalogue, however, this outrageous anachronism is set down as the correct effigy of Eliza Webster, who, as an artless critic in our immediate vicinity suggested, while contemplating her astounding lineaments, "must a' been a rum 'un to look at" when alive, if she ever bore the least resemblance to her "portrait-model." The chief attraction of the show, as might have been expected, considering its locality, is a blood-boltered display of revolting figures, purporting to represent the victims of the Whitechapel murders, laid out on the floor, side by side, at the farther end of a darksome cellar, connected with the ground-floor room by a rickety corkscrew staircase. These horrible objects are like nothing that ever lived or died. They can only be compared to the visionary offspring of an uncommonly severe nightmare - unearthly combinations of hideous waxen masks and shapeless bundles of rags. One of them is tightly swathed in a cerement of bright blue glazed calico, scored and blotched with dabs of red ochre, indicative of the unknown assassin's butcherly handiwork. The others are somewhat less grotesquely arrayed in dark wrappers profusely stained with mimic gore. At the other end of the cellar, close to a flaring gaslight, are cooped up two melancholy freaks of Nature - a grey hen and a common or garden duck, each afflicted with an extra pair of legs. These, the only living things in the whole appalling collection of horrors, manifest a violent and resentful reluctance to display their deformities, which is in odd contrast to the glassy indifference to public curiosity characterising their wax and plaster neighbours. They evidently yearn for privacy; when dragged from retirement by any of their four legs, in order to be minutely inspected, they struggle strenuously, and give utterance to indignant protests. Such is one of the cheap entertainments provided by contemporary enterprise for the inhabitants of Whitechapel. It is open from an early hour of the forenoon until late at night, and is visited by many hundreds of men, women, and children of the poorer classes daily. To what extent it may influence the East-enders deleteriously, by fostering a morbid interest in crime and criminals, can of course only be a matter of conjecture; but it seems a pity that such a debasing exhibition should constitute one of the principal amusements available to the population of a poverty-stricken neighbourhood.


                              Sincerely,
                              Mike
                              Last edited by mklhawley; 05-03-2013, 01:31 PM.
                              The Ripper's Haunts/JtR Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety (Sunbury Press)
                              http://www.michaelLhawley.com

                              Comment

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