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How realistic was it for JTR to disguise himself as a PC?

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Leanne View Post
    There was such a thing as "Slumming" which was popular in the East End at the time.
    People of the middle to upper classes would don common clothes to see how local poor people lived:
    www.victorianweb.org/history/slums.html

    Where would they store their upper-class clothes to put back on once they stepped off the train coming home?
    I can't see any reason why they wouldn't simply get changed at home. Slumming was a fairly new phenomenon in the 1880s (indeed, the word itself was only coined in that decade), so I'm not sure how many disguised slummers, if any, would have been in Whitechapel at any given time in 1888. Many of these "undercover slummers" were philanthropists or journalists interested in finding out how the "other half" lived, in order to write up their discoveries and bring the plight of the impoverished classes to the wider public. Some of them, including the more prurient and sensation-seeking, might walk through a slum area or hire a carriage to go "on safari" through the poorest districts, and wouldn't get dressed down at all.
    Kind regards, Sam Flynn

    "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

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    • #47
      I can't see any reason why they wouldn't simply get changed at home.
      If these 'slummers' lived out in the well-to-do parts of town, as was often the case. They wouldn't want their friends & neighbors seeing them come out in a flat cap & hobnail boots -..... "I say old chap, fallen on hard times Smithers?"
      He'd be the talk of the Gentleman's Club for the next week.

      There were actually tours from the West End to the East End to drop off these 'slummers'. Some went 'slumming' alone, while others walked around in groups. Not all dressed "down", some walked around the East End in full West end attire (as they were accustomed).
      There wasn't one type of 'slummer', besides, likely not all West Ender's possessed 'rags'.

      The one I mentioned on another thread (who died in the street), would dress "up" to go visit his family in Cavendish Square (I think that was the address).
      Far less conspicuous to dress "up" in the East End to go West, than to dress "down" in the West End to go East.
      Last edited by Wickerman; 04-15-2019, 09:07 PM.
      Regards, Jon S.

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      • #48
        Originally posted by Wickerman View Post

        If these 'slummers' lived out in the well-to-do parts of town, as was often the case. They wouldn't want their friends & neighbors seeing them come out in a flat cap & hobnail boots -..... "I say old chap, fallen on hard times Smithers?"
        If slumming was as fashionable as they say, I don't see why being seen "in costume" should have been a problem.
        Kind regards, Sam Flynn

        "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

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        • #49
          In a sense doesn't Patricia Cornwell accuse Walter Sickert of slumming, primarily at the questionable 'dance halls.' ? -- She of course saw the behavior as a precursor to the Ripper murders.

          BTW: I didn't! What she did argued, about Sickert's sketches of the dance hall girls he supposedly made, made me wonder if Sickert wasn't a candidate for the torso murders instead.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
            If slumming was as fashionable as they say, I don't see why being seen "in costume" should have been a problem.
            "Good evening Mrs Smith. I'm just off to Whitechapel, to experience how they live in 'prostitute Land'"...……"Don't mention my visit to the police!"

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            • #51
              It was the idea of slumming that could have told the Ripper to use items of clothing to hide behind.

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              • #52
                Hi all,

                here is a report from victorianlondon.org of a party of "adventurers" who went on a tour of Whitechapel, guided by a member of the force : London: A Pilgrimage, by Gustave Dore and Blanchard Jerrold, 1872. It's not really slumming but it seems that tours like that already were a thing before 1888.

                I haven't put much thought into JTR the slumming toff or commuting killer so far to be honest, I think he was a local man who knew the area well and had a place where he could clean himself and/or change his clothes after a murder.

                A disguise would not have made much sense in my opinion, his best bet was to blend with the crowd and I think he did just that. Just another guy with some form of hat or cap on his head and nondescript clothing in a sea of people with similar attire.

                Regards,

                Boris
                ~ All perils, specially malignant, are recurrent - Thomas De Quincey ~

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                • #53
                  Originally posted by Leanne View Post

                  "Good evening Mrs Smith. I'm just off to Whitechapel, to experience how they live in 'prostitute Land'"...……"Don't mention my visit to the police!"
                  Slumming wasn't about prostitution - neither was Whitechapel especially - and slumming wasn't of interest to the police. I don't imagine that slumming was particularly widespread either.
                  Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                  "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by bolo View Post
                    Hi all,

                    A disguise would not have made much sense in my opinion, his best bet was to blend with the crowd and I think he did just that. Just another guy with some form of hat or cap on his head and nondescript clothing in a sea of people with similar attire.
                    Indeed And an everyday person who already wore such clothing would have no need to get in and out of a disguise.
                    Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                    "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post

                      Indeed And an everyday person who already wore such clothing would have no need to get in and out of a disguise.
                      Agreed, and this specially goes for a disguise as a copper. First there's the problem of choosing the correct number and divison signature, then the killer would have had a lot to explain if he would have met a "colleague" of his alleged police station (who probably wouldn't have recognised him), and a policeman walking away from a scene of crime also would have raised suspicion.

                      Then there's another point that should be taken into consideration, prostitutes and coppers were not on the best of terms to say the least, it also would have been quite risky to walk about alone in certain areas of Whitechapel and Spitalfields during the night in such a disguise. In short, the Jack the Copper theory is a dead end for me.
                      ~ All perils, specially malignant, are recurrent - Thomas De Quincey ~

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