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The East End Conference 2018: London

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  • #16
    So, here is the final line up of speakers for this year’s highly anticipated East End Conference in November. Louis Berk, Emelyne Godfrey, Drew Gray, Philip Hutchinson, Tracy I’anson and Adam Wood will be speaking, with Richard Jones as our emcee.

    Only a few places remain, so if you’d like to join us, reserve your place now at

    A big thank you from the conference organising team to all who have supported us over the last couple of years, we couldn't do it without you!

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    Best wishes

    Adam Wood, Mark Ripper and Andrew Firth


    • #17
      We are proud to announce that all proceeds from this year’s East End Conference raffle will be donated to Cancer Research UK and to Macmillan Nurses.

      We feel it is right to support such charities in memory of our friends Katherine Amin and Suzi Hanney who both passed away within the last twelve months.

      Donations, be they items for the raffle or cash donations made at the event itself will be gratefully received, and due to the miracle of modern technology we will ensure the funds are received by the charities before the end of the conference weekend on the Sunday.

      Best wishes

      Adam Wood, Mark Ripper & Andrew Firth

      The East End Conference Organising Team


      • #18
        With less than a month to go until the conference, we are now throwing the spotlight onto our speakers and the talks they will be presenting to our delegates.

        First up, is Louis Berk...

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        Between their return to England in the time of Oliver Cromwell and the Second World War, the East End was home to one of the largest urban Jewish communities in Europe. In 1700 this community numbered only a few hundred, but by the Second World War it had swelled to several hundred thousand. The arrival of this population coincided with the rapid expansion of the East End due to the industrialisation of the UK, and as such there are many buildings which are related to this community.
        Illustrated with photography from his many journeys through the East End over the past 14 years, Louis’s talk will uncover the remaining traces of this community in the backstreets and spaces of Whitechapel, Spitalfields and Stepney Green.

        Louis Berk is a photographer whose work has been exhibited and published in print and on the internet. His books include “Whitechapel in 50 Buildings”, “Secret Whitechapel” (both co-authored with Rachel Kolsky) and his most recent work: “East End Jewish Cemeteries: Brady Street and Alderney Road” – the result of an exclusive 5-year project, published by Amberley Books in 2017. He is currently working on his fourth book, which will be published by Mango Books in 2019.


        • #19
          We’re delighted to reveal details of the next talk at the forthcoming East End Conference...

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          Drew Gray’s talk will reflect on the current relative lack of academic historical research into the Whitechapel Murders of 1888 and suggest that this needs to change.
          There has been a tendency for historians of crime in particular to ignore the case, and he argues that this has created an unwanted vacuum that has been filled by amateur history and the entertainment industry. While this is not of itself a ‘bad thing’, recognising the tremendous amount of excellent work that popular historians and 'Ripper' enthusiasts have undertaken, the lack of academic interest does have consequences for how the public view both the murders and the killer, and indeed the entire late Victorian period.
          The cultural phenomenon of ‘Jack the Ripper’ has been allowed to emerge as a result and this fuels an industry that continues to portray the murderer, the murdered and the area in which these killings occurred in a manner that does a terrible and ongoing disservice to the women that were so brutally killed.
          Drew will look at some of the issues raised by Ripperologist magazine in 2015 and ongoing debates within Ripperology, and suggest that more engagement with a wider pool of academic and non-academic actors might help Ripperology shed the less attractive elements of its public image.

          Dr Drew Gray is a Senior Lecturer in the History of Crime at the University of Northampton, and has published three books and several articles on crime and violence in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century London, including 'London Shadows' (Bloomsbury). He has been lecturing on the Whitechapel murders and the social history of East London for twelve years.


          • #20
            We are delighted to reveal details of our next speaker:

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            Before, during and after the Whitechapel Murders, this particular area of East London attracted journalists who simply recorded their observations whilst perambulating the residential streets. These accounts formed columns in magazines and chapters in books, as much sociological exposé as travelogue.

            Philip Hutchinson has collected together half a dozen of these accounts and edited them down to a more palatable length.
            Whitechapel Wanderlust will be a trip with those Victorian scribes who walked the same streets in the same era, with illustrations from the original publications.

            Philip Hutchinson comes from Hampshire but has lived in Guildford for many years, where he runs the Castle Keep and The Ghost Tour of Guildford. A trained actor, he is one of the partners in Lucky Dog Theatre Productions who have been touring his plays about famous people and events in history in various parts of the world since 2013 (including his one-man show 'Jack The Ripper: Facts, No Fiction').
            He is also one of the best-known Jack the Ripper tour guides in London, being one of only three people recommended in the Jack The Ripper A-Z. He is the author of 'The London Of Jack The Ripper Then And Now' and 'The Jack The Ripper Location Photographs' and has provided source material for many other books in the field.
            He has been seen in 'Freemasonry Secrets Revealed' (Discovery, 2005), 'Efterlyst' (Swedish TV, 2006), 'Babylone' (French TV, 2007), 'In The World Of Jack The Ripper' (Discovery, 2008), 'The Real Jack The Ripper' (History, 2009), 'Jack The Ripper: The Definitive Story' (Channel 5, 2010), 'Find My Past' (Yesterday, 2011), 'A Very British Murder' (BBC Four, 2013) and 'Murder Maps' (Yesterday, 2017).
            He has spoken at several past Conferences including Brighton (2005), Tennessee (2008), London (2009, 2013 and 2014) as well as acting as emcee for The Whitechapel Society for ten years and again at various events including the 2008 exhibition at Docklands, last year's East End Conference, and the Victims Conference two months ago. He is also the owner of the Whitby Collection and the famed Dutfield's Yard photograph.
            Feeling he has little left to offer, his presentation is largely a recital of rare period material on the Whitechapel district. Somewhere between Michael Palin and Charles Dickens, he is neither.


            • #21
              Details of our next speaker - coming to you in a fortnight!

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              At 5.15pm on 3 December 1867, Thomas Obrun, chief oil cooper at St Katharine Docks, was passing the railway arches at Lucas Street, Mile End, when he was grabbed from behind by the throat. His assailants threw him to the ground and silenced him while they extracted 1 shilling and 9 pence from his torn clothing. When he returned to consciousness he staggered home, bloodied with broken ribs, to his aghast wife. Obrun had not just fallen prey to robbers. He was also a victim of a series of crimewaves that swept across the country and, seemingly, across the globe: the garrotting panics.

              This talk looks at the responses to the crimewaves of the late-Victorian and Edwardian eras, from legislative changes to the weird and somewhat gruesome weapons of self-defence created by the man in the street and the personal responses of police officers themselves.
              But, as cultural norms shifted away from the ready use of everyday violence, various literary giants and social commentators began to consider alternative responses to everyday aggression. It was a social change which boosted the development of martial arts in Britain and the energetic adoption of Japanese jujitsu by the militant suffragettes, a subject which has received much media attention over the last decade or so.

              How did women write about personal safety? Emelyne Godfrey will explore the nineteenth-century equivalent of #MeToo and show how varied women’s responses to and perceptions of physical danger were, as they are indeed today. There was, for instance, one philanthropist who was more nervous about being stalked in the West End than she was walking in the streets in the East End in the wake of the Ripper murders.

              Since graduating from Birkbeck College, London in 2008, Dr Emelyne Godfrey now works as a freelance writer specialising in the 19th century. Her books include "Masculinity, Crime and Self-Defence in Victorian Literature: Duelling with Danger" (2010), which looks at crime-fighting from the seldom-explored viewpoint of the civilian city-goer, and a sister volume, "Femininity, Crime and Self-Defence in Victorian Literature and Society: From Dagger-Fans to Suffragettes" (2013).

              Emelyne is currently writing her next book, "Kitty and the Cats: Mrs Pankhurst's Suffragette Bodyguard and the Police Officers on her Trail", which tells the story of Emily Katherine Willoughby Marshall, a member of the 'Bodyguard', a group of 25-30 women assigned to protect Mrs Pankhurst from re-arrest under the Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill-health) Act 1913, known as the Cat and Mouse Act. Katherine became Emmeline Pankhurst's close friend and was the chief organiser of her memorial, standing today in Victoria Tower Gardens, Westminster.

              Emelyne is a regular contributor to the Times Literary Supplement and has contributed to History Today and BBC History magazines, and has appeared on BBC television and radio. She is the current Chairman of the HG Wells Society.

              Further information can be found at


              • #22
                Our next speaker...

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                When Chief Inspector Donald Swanson was hand-picked by Commissioner Sir Charles Warren on 15 September 1888 to lead the Scotland Yard investigation into the recent murder of Annie Chapman in Hanbury Street, neither expected the series of Whitechapel murders to continue well into that year and beyond.

                Swanson was tasked with reviewing all the papers relating to each successive murder by the so-called 'Jack the Ripper' - witness statements, reports from local H Division officers, letters from the public - looking for links and clues to the killer's identity. Each potential lead had to be followed up, with many dead-ends.

                The scope of this investigation would not only include the so-called 'canonical five', but also possible victims Alice McKenzie and Frances Coles, the unexplained death of Rose Mylett, the attack on Annie Farmer and the disturbing discovery of a headless torso in a Pinchin Street railway arch.
                In his talk Adam will look at Donald Swanson's appointment by Commissioner Warren, and examine three cases which saw the involvement of the detective as part of the Ripper scare in the years 1890-94, which included a letter received from 'Jack the Ripper', the starting point of a long-standing suspect theory, and an assailant who bore a marked resemblance to the man seen with Elisabeth Stride by greengrocer Matthew Packer.

                Adam Wood is Executive Editor of Ripperologist magazine, the leading publication on the Whitechapel murders. He is also Editor of the Journal of the Police History Society. Adam is finalising his biography of the subject of his talk, and SWANSON: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A VICTORIAN DETECTIVE will be published in 2019. His book TRIAL OF PERCY LEFROY MAPLETON for the official Notable British Trials series will be released in December 2018. Adam is co-author of SIR HOWARD VINCENT’S POLICE CODE 1889 with Neil R A Bell. He runs non-fiction publishing house Mango Books.


                • #23
                  With less than a week to go before the conference, here's the details of our final speaker...

                  TRACY I'ANSON: Jacob the Ripper

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                  For several years Tracy I'Anson and her father Neil have been quietly researching the background of Ripper suspect Jacob Levy. They published their early findings in Ripperologist magazine in 2012, revealing that Jacob was the cousin of Mitre Square witness Joseph Hyam Levy. Since then they have continued their work, uncovering compelling evidence that Jacob Levy may have been the Whitechapel murderer.

                  Tracy has had an interest in history and true crime since a very early age, and the mysteries surrounding Jack the Ripper caught her interest over a decade ago. Her work on Jacob Levy with her father Neil will be published as a book in early 2019 by Mango Books. Away from the East End of 1888, Tracy is a tour guide in her home town of Hartlepool, giving tours on the history of and brewing process for Camerons Brewery.