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  • Saucy Jack Postcard

    i am reviewing a number of aspects of the ripper case and have come across an issue with regards to the saucy jack postcard.

    From what has been written suggests that the postcard was received at the central newsagency on October 1st. Is there any definate proof that this was the case.

    The envelope is clearly postmarked October 1st so I do not beleive it could have been posted and deleiverd on the same day.

    In this day and age the postal service are not that good and i am sure in 1888 they were very basic.

    If this be true then this must add more weight to the fact that it was a hoax.

  • #2
    Trevor,
    I believe the Victorians enjoyed a minimum of 2 or 3 postal deliveries per day....and even then they wrote letters to the papers complaining about the crap service they were getting!
    ,,`,, Debs ,,`,,

    I am not DJA. He's called Dave.

    Comment


    • #3
      Saucy jack Postcard

      Hi debs
      Thank you for that input however as you know the Ripper mystery is full to the brim with beliefs etc. If there is no definate proof that the letter was received on Oct 1st then there must be a serious doubt surrounding what people have relied on all these years in respect of this particular item.

      The truth is out there or is it ?

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Trevor,

        As Debs mentions, Victorian postal service was very good, so the postmark alone means that it was extremely likely to have been received on that date, unless it was posted very late that day. It was posted in East London and did not have very far to go. But we can also look at when it was mentioned.

        Several press reports published Oct. 2 say it was received "yesterday morning." These accounts state that it had been delivered and then brought to Scotland Yard and then discussed by the time they were reporting on it (so add in time for the reporter to write it all up and the printing presses to churn the papers out). The police were already able to put together a facsimile copy of the Dear Boss letter and the Saucy Jacky postcard to put up at police stations by Oct. 3.

        So, if somehow the Central News Agency was lying about having received it on Oct. 1, the only possible alternate date could have been Oct. 2, which really becomes nearly impossible for it to have been received, sent to Scotland Yard, and then have papers cover it by that same day.

        There also obviously would have been an official mention in Met files about the receipt of this letter, which if the details we've been given by the press are true would also have been Oct. 1. As far as I know these files no longer exist -- as indeed the postcard itself has been missing for many years -- but those would immediately clear things up if they are around.

        Dan Norder
        Ripper Notes: The International Journal for Ripper Studies
        Web site: www.RipperNotes.com - Email: dannorder@gmail.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Mail in Victorian England Link

          Hi Trevor, Dan, Debs, et al,

          I don't know if this will be useful. It may be a bit too early for your purposes, but it contains a reference to the mail schedules and frequencies of delivery. You have to click on Communications. I tried to post that section directly, but it kicked back to the main page.


          http://www.victorianlondon.org/
          "What our ancestors would really be thinking, if they were alive today, is: "Why is it so dark in here?"" From Pyramids by Sir Terry Pratchett, a British National Treasure.

          __________________________________

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks for that Celesta, as many as 6 to 12 deliveries and collections in one day for London...now that's a postal service!
            ,,`,, Debs ,,`,,

            I am not DJA. He's called Dave.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post
              i am reviewing a number of aspects of the ripper case and have come across an issue with regards to the saucy jack postcard.

              From what has been written suggests that the postcard was received at the central newsagency on October 1st. Is there any definate proof that this was the case.

              The envelope is clearly postmarked October 1st so I do not beleive it could have been posted and deleiverd on the same day.

              In this day and age the postal service are not that good and i am sure in 1888 they were very basic.

              If this be true then this must add more weight to the fact that it was a hoax.
              It may be possible that if someone posted the postcard early in the morning, say between 3am - 5am approx, then the postcard could have been collected at say around 6am - 7am that the card may well have been delivered same day to the news office around 8.30am - 9.30am that very same day....Even though they have machinery today, they were very efficent and perhaps more so in the Victorian period...it was probably a better service than today. However, i think you are right Trevor in that the postcard was more than likely to be a hoax.
              Last edited by Shelley; 03-17-2008, 07:24 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Regulations of the Twopenny Post Office.- The principal office is at the General Post Office, St. Martin's-le-Grand There are, besides, upwards of 400 receiving houses for letters, both in town and country. There are seven collections and deliveries of letters in town daily, and five deliveries daily at all places in the environs of London, situate within a circle of three miles' distance from the head establishment in St. Martin's le Grand, that having been determined as the limits of the Post Office. The country delivery, as it is called, extends to a distance of twelve miles from the metropolis, and most places within that limit have four despatches and four deliveries daily (Sundays excepted). The hours by which letters should be put into the receiving houses in town for each delivery are as follow - For delivery in town,
                Over night by eight o'clock, for the first delivery.
                Morning by eight o'clock, for the second delivery.
                Morning by ten o'clock, for the third delivery.
                Morning by twelve o'clock, for the fourth delivery.
                Afternoon by two o'clock, for the fifth delivery.
                Afternoon by four o'clock, for the sixth delivery.
                Afternoon by six o'clock, for the seventh delivery. For delivery in the country,
                The preceding evening by six o'clock, for the first delivery,
                Morning by eight o'clock, for the second delivery.
                Morning by twelve o'clock, for the third delivery.
                Afternoon by two o'clock, for the fourth delivery.

                Mogg's New Picture of London and Visitor's Guide to it Sights, 1844

                It wasn't always that smooth though,

                'Sir -

                I believe the inhabitants of London are under the impression that Letters posted for delivery within the metropolitan district commonly reach their destination within, at the outside, three hours of the time of postage. I myself, however, have constantly suffered with irregularities in the delivery of letters, and I have now got two instances of neglect which I should really like to have cleared up.

                I posted a letter in the Gray's Inn post office on Saturday at half-past 1 o'clock, addressed to a person living close to Westminster Abbey, which was not delivered till 9 o'clock the same evening; and I posted another letter in the same post office, addressed to the same place, which was not delivered till past 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Now, Sir, why is this? If there is any good reason why letters should not be delivered in less than eight hours after their postage, let the state of the case be understood: but the belief that one can communicate with another person in two or three hours whereas in reality the time required is eight or nine, may be productive of the most disastrous consequences.

                I am, Sir, your most obedient servant,

                7 May,

                K.

                letter to the Times, 8 May 1881


                For more details,

                http://www.victorianlondon.org/
                Regards Mike

                Comment


                • #9
                  If memory serves me aright, Richard Whittington-Egan's Casebook of JtR carries what seemed to be a definitive examination of the dates and times of the postcard's postage and reception, though you'l almost certainly have to use inter-library loan to get hold of it.
                  All the best,
                  Martin F

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Far be it for me to correct Martin but in fact Whittington-Egan gives only a cursory look at the Saucy Jacky postcard. It is the Lusk letter that he looks at in some detail in A Casebook On Jack the Ripper.

                    Wolf.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The Saucy Jacky postcard

                      Receipt of this communication was reported in the press on October 2nd 1888
                      For example,
                      Aberdeen Weekly Journal
                      2 October 1888
                      The Central News says:-
                      A post card, bearing the stamp "London, E., Oct. 1," was received yesterday morning addressed to to the Central News Office, the address and subject matter being written in red, and undoubtedly by the same person from whom the sensational letter already published was received on Thursday last (i.e. the Dear Boss letter)

                      This same report was also printed on 2 October in:
                      Birmingham Daily Post
                      Daily News
                      Glasgow Herald
                      Western Mail (Cardiff)

                      On Sunday 7 October, Reynolds Newspaper reported the card as being received on "Monday last" i.e. 1 October.

                      The Times of 2 October has this to say:-
                      Two communications of an extraordinary nature, both signed "Jack the Ripper," have been received by the Central News Agency, the one on Thursday last and the other yesterday morning....
                      The second communication was a post card, and as above stated, it was received yesterday morning. The post card was sent to Scotland Yard.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The Star

                        From The Star of Monday October 1, 1888, fifth edition -

                        Click image for larger version

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                        The Victorian postal service, as has been stated, was hugely more efficient than today's. The postcard was date stamped Oc 1 88 and could easily have been posted overnight 30 Sept - 1 Oct 88, or during the morning, and it appeared in the papers the same day.
                        SPE

                        Treat me gently I'm a newbie.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi Trevor,

                          Up until 1896 all postcards were pre-paid with a printed-on halfpenny stamp. In 1888 it was impossible to buy a non pre-paid postcard.

                          This is what the Saucy Jacky postcard should have looked like

                          Click image for larger version

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                          And this is what arrived at Central News

                          Click image for larger version

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                          Where's the pre-paid stamp?

                          Regards,

                          Simon

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Interesting point, Simon
                            This article might help:
                            http://www.rpsl.org.uk/thames_valley/index.html

                            Unpaid And Underpaid Postcards by Michael Pitt-Payne FRPSL
                            This is a display of Post Cards which have been surcharged either because they were underpaid or because they were "contrary to regulations" and it covers the period from 1870 to 1924. The first official post cards were issued in the UK on 1st October 1870 and they were subject to regulations regarding the use of the front of the card, the attachment of labels and redirection. If the regulations were not complied with, the post card became liable to the letter rate and was surcharged as is demonstrated in the display.

                            As from 1st September 1894 the public were allowed to send Private Cards bearing adhesive stamps through the post and these were subject to regulations, which are set out in the display together with examples of how they were applied in respect of size, attachments and the materials used.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi Chris,

                              Thanks for the clarification. My mistake. I should have put 1894 as the first year in which adhesive stamps were permitted on postcards. This change was partly in response to complaints from private postcard manufacturers who had to go to the time and expense of having their postcards overprinted by the Inland Revenue and couldn't compete with the Post Office on price.

                              Saucy Jacky was an official Post Office postcard. Privately-manufactured postcards were not allowed to bear the Royal Insignia.

                              Regards,

                              Simon

                              Comment

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