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How common was knife carrying?

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  • How common was knife carrying?

    I often notice men out and about where I live (USA) with a pocket knife clipped to their jeans or clipped in their pocket. I carry a small folding Kershaw knife myself.

    Was it common for people to carry knives on their person day to day in JtR's era? Was there a law concerning this? This really has nothing to do with the case in particular, just something I am curious about. I did not know where else to post this.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Vincenzo View Post
    I often notice men out and about where I live (USA) with a pocket knife clipped to their jeans or clipped in their pocket. I carry a small folding Kershaw knife myself.

    Was it common for people to carry knives on their person day to day in JtR's era? Was there a law concerning this? This really has nothing to do with the case in particular, just something I am curious about. I did not know where else to post this.
    From what I understand, the JTR territory was filled with slaughterhouses, and people working leather, so knives were, I guess, pretty common. Plus the docks full of sailors, who carry blades as a everyday tool. And several markets with butchers.

    If you are thinking weapon or poignard, then, maybe with the shadier population, I guess.
    Is it progress when a cannibal uses a fork?
    - Stanislaw Jerzy Lee

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    • #3
      Tools of trade for many in the area.
      G U T

      There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.

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      • #4
        As others have said, the kind of big knife probably used by the Ripper(s) was probably carried by tradesmen. Knives carried for self-defense or for removing extra bits of leather from your shoes were probably much smaller.

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        • #5
          This question has been answered many times over throughout the years. There's really no need to regurgitate these sorts of things time after time.
          Last edited by Scott Nelson; 04-16-2017, 07:56 PM.

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          • #6
            Market porters such as John Richardson would have needed a good knife as part of their job.
            - Ginger

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            • #7
              While it wasnt uncommon.

              Does it really matter how common it was?

              If he was the only bloke in town to carry a knife what difference does it make to the case.
              G U T

              There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by GUT View Post
                While it wasnt uncommon.

                Does it really matter how common it was?

                If he was the only bloke in town to carry a knife what difference does it make to the case.
                The more one knows about Late Victorian London in general, the better one understands the milieu in which the Ripper operated. The crimes didn't take place in a social vacuum, and the way society reacted is to me at least as interesting as the identity of the murderer. Besides which, it's always interesting to know things.
                - Ginger

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by GUT View Post
                  If he was the only bloke in town to carry a knife what difference does it make to the case.
                  If he was the only bloke in town to carry a knife, he was likely responsible for most, if not all, of the Whitechapel Murders - canonical or otherwise. If there were plenty of blokes who carried knives - and there were - then it has a huge bearing on the case.
                  Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                  "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for the responses. Sorry if this has been asked before, I was just curious about how common it was and wanted to learn a little more about it.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
                      If he was the only bloke in town to carry a knife, he was likely responsible for most, if not all, of the Whitechapel Murders - canonical or otherwise. If there were plenty of blokes who carried knives - and there were - then it has a huge bearing on the case.




                      Not sure I follow the last bit.
                      Last edited by GUT; 04-18-2017, 01:27 AM.
                      G U T

                      There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by GUT View Post
                        Not sure I follow the last bit.
                        To take a deliberately silly example by way of illustration:

                        If there were only one man who owned a knife in a neighbourhood in which a spate of knife-crimes occurred, then the odds are very high that he was responsible for all those crimes.

                        Conversely, if every person in that neighbourhood owned a knife, then the odds of any one man being responsible for all the knife-crimes is diluted.
                        Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                        "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
                          To take a deliberately silly example by way of illustration:

                          If there were only one man who owned a knife in a neighbourhood in which a spate of knife-crimes occurred, then the odds are very high that he was responsible for all those crimes.

                          Conversely, if every person in that neighbourhood owned a knife, then the odds of any one man being responsible for all the knife-crimes is diluted.
                          Thanks, not sure that many men carrying knives impactson the number of killers, but I understand your idea now.
                          G U T

                          There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ginger View Post
                            Market porters such as John Richardson would have needed a good knife as part of their job.
                            Is that right? I thought Richardson said he was only carry a knife (a somewhat blunt table knife) because he'd used it to cut up a carrot for his rabbits and absentmindedly pocketed it.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
                              To take a deliberately silly example by way of illustration:

                              If there were only one man who owned a knife in a neighbourhood in which a spate of knife-crimes occurred, then the odds are very high that he was responsible for all those crimes.

                              Conversely, if every person in that neighbourhood owned a knife, then the odds of any one man being responsible for all the knife-crimes is diluted.
                              The Old Bailey can attest to plenty of men carrying knives during this period in time Sam, let alone all the press reports during the Fall of Terror of men threatening women with knives.

                              And your logic above is impeccable.
                              Michael Richards

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