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  • #46
    Originally posted by Chris View Post
    On the subject of Special Branch records, does anyone have any further information on the records in the MEPO 38 series?
    http://tinyurl.com/3xv2c9b

    These are described as Special Branch Registered Files, with covering dates 1880-1997.

    The subseries are as follows:
    1-12 EXTREMISM
    13-72 COMMUNISM
    73-76 HUNGER MARCHES/UNEMPLOYMENT
    77-90 STRIKES/TRADE UNIONS
    91-109 FOREIGN REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENTS
    110-124 IRISH REPUBLICANISM
    125-158 PROTECTION
    159-163 NATURALISATION
    164-168 ORGANISATIONS - GENERAL
    169-180 ARMS & AMMUNITION/FOREIGN CRIMINALS
    181-182 [extradition of Nkrumah/protection of the Duke of Windsor]

    Christy Campbell, in Fenian Fire (2002), commented that all these records, including the basic descriptions of the files, were closed in perpetuity under section 3.4 of the 1958 Public Records Act.

    However, the National Archives website notes that requests for access may be made under the Freedom of Information Act, and the catalogue now contains descriptions and dates for 48 of the 182 files. I assume these 48 are all now open to public access.

    The earliest open file is dated 1880 - which obviously predates the forming of Special Branch - and is described as "Naturalisation enquiries: correspondence between the Secretary of State (Home Department) and New Scotland Yard (CID) on the question of conducting naturalisation cases". The next earliest is dated 1921. In a parliamentary answer in 2002, it was stated that the series then contained records "created for the most part up to 1936". I'm not sure how this relates to earlier claims that all the Special Branch files were pulped during the Second World War.
    I think you will find that any requests under the FOIA for these records/files go initially to the FOIA dept as New Scotland yard then they send them to Special Branch who will reply in the same format as they have before. Its like a revolving door.

    Sometimes in the national archives where these files are listed there are dates when they are supposed to be reviewed by Special Branch. When making an enquiry they usually come back saying that there is no date planned for reviewing them.

    Comment


    • #47
      Originally posted by Phil Carter
      By way of introduction, Alex Butterworth's book, The World That Never Was, published by Bodley Head, 2010 is an impressive and extensive 482 page account of the underground workings of the Anarchists, Secret Agents, Special Branch Policemen, Politicians etc in the latter half of the LVP, much of which centered around little Whitechapel.
      Thanks for the tip, Phil. I'm going to get this book.

      Yours truly,

      Tom Wescott

      Comment


      • #48
        Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post
        I think you will find that any requests under the FOIA for these records/files go initially to the FOIA dept as New Scotland yard then they send them to Special Branch who will reply in the same format as they have before. Its like a revolving door.

        Sometimes in the national archives where these files are listed there are dates when they are supposed to be reviewed by Special Branch. When making an enquiry they usually come back saying that there is no date planned for reviewing them.
        Thanks for those comments.

        Yes - according to the online catalogue the Freedom of Information request would go to the "public authority" (the Metropolitan Police Service). I've also noticed that dates for review are listed in the catalogue, and that they are often in the past ...

        But I suppose there's some encouragement in the fact that more than a quarter of the files have been opened since Christy Campbell wrote.

        Comment


        • #49
          Originally posted by robhouse View Post
          "The proposition that there was a possible Irish suspect for these murders is not as incongruous as it seems. At least one book, "The Lodger" (Evans and Gainey, 1995) is based on a Home Office memorandum relating to this idea and there are more relevant entries in the Chief Constable's Register. It does not corroborate their theory but does enable an outline to be constructed of a intriguing story involving an extreme Irish nationalist who is suspected of being "Jack the Ripper", an alleged plot to assassinateth e Secretary for Ireland, Balfour, and the activities of a private detective agency. However, it is a digression from the thrust of this research and regretfully it cannot be pursued appropriately here."
          It's not really clear how much of this comes from the Register, and how much from elsewhere, but most of the ingredients do appear to be already known to some extent:

          (1) Clutterbuck also refers to the Home Office memorandum earlier (pp. 81, 82), mentioning "a sentence in a memorandum from the Home Secretary in 1888 which seemed to indicate that Monro knew more about the identity of "Jack the Ripper" than his role as "Secret Agent" for the Home Office allowed him to reveal to the detectives investigating the murders".

          This is Matthews's statement "Absente Anderson, Monro might be willing to give a hint to the C.I.D. people if needful" [Ultimate Sourcebook, p. 114], which some have interpreted as an implication that Monro had some special information about the murders, but which surely only meant that he might be willing to advise the CID during the absence of its head.

          (2) The alleged plot to assassinate Balfour must be the one referred to by Douglas G. Browne in The Rise of Scotland Yard (1956):
          "A third head of the CID, Sir Melville Macnaghten, appears to identify the Ripper with the leader of a plot to assassinate Mr Balfour at the Irish Office."
          [discussed in the A-Z, pp. 32ff]

          Obviously it would be very interesting if there were anything to corroborate that in the Register, but I can't see any indication of that in Clutterbuck's thesis.

          (3) The private detective agency seems to be Pinkerton's, because on p. 268 Clutterbuck quotes an item as follows -
          "Cohen, Joseph - account re. enquiries by Messrs. Pinkerton re. watch". - and points out that Joseph Cohen was an associate of Harkins and Callan, who were convicted of possessing explosives in early 1888, and who were also suggested to have had designs on Balfour's life.

          Comment


          • #50
            Originally posted by Chris View Post
            It's not really clear how much of this comes from the Register, and how much from elsewhere, but most of the ingredients do appear to be already known to some extent:

            (1) Clutterbuck also refers to the Home Office memorandum earlier (pp. 81, 82), mentioning "a sentence in a memorandum from the Home Secretary in 1888 which seemed to indicate that Monro knew more about the identity of "Jack the Ripper" than his role as "Secret Agent" for the Home Office allowed him to reveal to the detectives investigating the murders".

            This is Matthews's statement "Absente Anderson, Monro might be willing to give a hint to the C.I.D. people if needful" [Ultimate Sourcebook, p. 114], which some have interpreted as an implication that Monro had some special information about the murders, but which surely only meant that he might be willing to advise the CID during the absence of its head.

            (2) The alleged plot to assassinate Balfour must be the one referred to by Douglas G. Browne in The Rise of Scotland Yard (1956):
            "A third head of the CID, Sir Melville Macnaghten, appears to identify the Ripper with the leader of a plot to assassinate Mr Balfour at the Irish Office."
            [discussed in the A-Z, pp. 32ff]

            Obviously it would be very interesting if there were anything to corroborate that in the Register, but I can't see any indication of that in Clutterbuck's thesis.

            (3) The private detective agency seems to be Pinkerton's, because on p. 268 Clutterbuck quotes an item as follows -
            "Cohen, Joseph - account re. enquiries by Messrs. Pinkerton re. watch". - and points out that Joseph Cohen was an associate of Harkins and Callan, who were convicted of possessing explosives in early 1888, and who were also suggested to have had designs on Balfour's life.
            Clutterbuck was not really interested in the ripper. He appears to just mention the Rippper in passing. Some of what he found has alreday been reported. Although I can catergoricaly say that there are other references which he missed and therefore are not included in his thesis. These are what I am trying to get released. In addition to going through them with a fine tooth comb to see excatly who and in what context they are recorded.

            Clutterbuck did state that he was aware of the book "The Lodger" and does say that he found nothing in the ledgers to corroborate the suspicions of the authors. I assume this to mean Tumblety
            Last edited by Trevor Marriott; 06-15-2010, 01:21 AM.

            Comment


            • #51
              Originally posted by Archaic View Post
              I agree with Chris, that the notice makes for strange reading. I went through it yesterday with a friend and was particularly struck by the claims of urgent "Health and Safety" concerns and the bizarre inclusion of "Fees" as another serious concern. The latter made me feel that they are scraping the bottom of the barrel for justifications to keep very old material secret, and the former just baffled me.

              Section 38 Health and safety


              99. Information is exempt under this section if its disclosure would or would be likely to endanger the physical or mental health of any individual, or endanger the safety of any individual.


              Who is going to have their mental health or physical safety endangered after 120 years???

              This reason strikes me as preposterous. The only sense I can make of it is that is a roundabout way of claiming "official embarrassment"
              (i.e. "Mental Health") as a reason to keep century-old information out of the public domain.

              I say keep digging!

              Best regards,
              Archaic
              Very good point A.

              I wonder if descendants of those people still live in the area and they are using that as some kind of excuse.

              It's ridiculous that information this old is still withheld and that it is so difficult to get any kind of access to it at all.

              It's like a cult of secrecy.Is it secrecy for secrecys sake or something more

              Good luck Trevor. Squeeze every drop out of them

              Comment


              • #52
                Originally posted by robhouse View Post
                The only actual reference to a suspect Clutterbuck cited (as far as I could tell) was the following:

                "Uniformed Divisional police officers were also a regular source of overt information and sent reports to MPSB on matters appertaining to their specialised work. Sometimes, its links to political crime appeared to be tenuous
                "McGrath, William suspicious Irishman at 57 Bedford Gardens" followed by
                "McGrath, William - said to be connected to Whitechapel murders".
                Bedford Gardens is just off Kensington Church Street in west London. No one named McGrath or similar is listed at this address either in the 1888 Post Office Directory (generously scanned by protohistorian) or in the 1891 census. The household was rather unusual, though. In 1891 the head was John Hibbitt, a Studio Attendant, and he had three lodgers: Moffat P. Lindner [1], a Landscape Painter, Edward Haynes [2], an Artist - Painter, and Arthur L. Bambridge [2], another Artist Painter. In 1888 the residents were Edward Trevanion Haynes, artist, Harry Bates [4], sculptor, Edward Arthur Fellowes Prynne [5], artist, Edward Tennyson Reed [6], artist, Moffat P. Lindner, artist, William Padgett [7], artist, and W. St Clair Simmons [8], artist.

                Apparently 57 Bedford Gardens was an artists' studio that took in artistic lodgers - most of them fairly prominent (at least, prominent enough for a cursory Internet search to find their dates of birth and death, with only one exception). An obvious question is whether there was an Irish artist - preferably a prominent one - named William McGrath at this time. The answer is - not quite, but there was a well known Irish-born artist named William Magrath.

                From Internet sources, Magrath's biography can be sketched out as follows. He was born 20 March 1838 in Cork, and after attending the School of Art there he emigrated to the USA in 1855. He opened a studio in New York, and was "one of the earlier members of the American society of painters in water-colors", being elected an elected associate member of the National Academy in 1874 and a full Academician two years later. In 1879 he moved to England. In 1881 he appears as a "tennant" in the household of Georgina Harriet Wastell at 135 Gower Street Pancras - he is described as a widower - and two years later his address is given as "care of Charles Booth, 98, Gower Street, W.C." The same year he returned to the USA and established a studio in Washington D.C. Then there is a frustrating blank until his death in London on 12 February 1918.

                If he visited England again in the late 1880s he could have been the Irishman noticed by Special Branch at 57 Bedford Gardens. But one can only wonder what could have given rise to the belief that he was "connected" to the Whitechapel murders. Surely not his work, which seems to have consisted of sentimental depictions of Irish rural life - nothing along the lines of Walter Sickert. And he seems to have been no supporter of political violence, either. In 1899 Public Opinion (vol. 26, p. 693) related that "when the tragedies occurred at Phoenix park, Dublin, he was so enraged that he declared he would never again paint Irish peasant scenes, in which he so greatly excels". Though, of course, he did.
                _________________________

                [1] Moffat Peter Lindner (1852-1949), a Birmingham-born landscape painter.
                http://www.whistler.arts.gla.ac.uk/c...y/?bid=Lind_MP

                [2] Edward Trevanion Haynes, R.A. (1840-1922).
                http://members.iinet.net.au/~dodd/ga..._tree/2597.htm

                [3] Arthur Leopold Bambridge (18611923), a retired footballer who dabbled in art.
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Bambridge

                [4] Harry Bates, A.R.A. (18501899).
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Bates_(sculptor)

                [5] Edward Arthur Fellowes Prynne (1854-1921).
                http://www.artoftheprint.com/artistp...eandlabour.htm

                [6] Edward Tennyson Reed (1860-1933), a parliamentary caricaturist and contributor to Punch magazine.
                http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/se...07466&role=art

                [7] William Padgett (1851-1904).
                http://www.whistler.arts.gla.ac.uk/c...urname=padgett

                [8] W. St Clair Simmons (d. 1917).
                http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/l...jectID=4877166

                Comment


                • #53
                  Originally posted by Chris View Post
                  Bedford Gardens is just off Kensington Church Street in west London. No one named McGrath or similar is listed at this address either in the 1888 Post Office Directory (generously scanned by protohistorian) or in the 1891 census. The household was rather unusual, though. In 1891 the head was John Hibbitt, a Studio Attendant, and he had three lodgers: Moffat P. Lindner [1], a Landscape Painter, Edward Haynes [2], an Artist - Painter, and Arthur L. Bambridge [2], another Artist Painter. In 1888 the residents were Edward Trevanion Haynes, artist, Harry Bates [4], sculptor, Edward Arthur Fellowes Prynne [5], artist, Edward Tennyson Reed [6], artist, Moffat P. Lindner, artist, William Padgett [7], artist, and W. St Clair Simmons [8], artist.

                  Apparently 57 Bedford Gardens was an artists' studio that took in artistic lodgers - most of them fairly prominent (at least, prominent enough for a cursory Internet search to find their dates of birth and death, with only one exception). An obvious question is whether there was an Irish artist - preferably a prominent one - named William McGrath at this time. The answer is - not quite, but there was a well known Irish-born artist named William Magrath.

                  From Internet sources, Magrath's biography can be sketched out as follows. He was born 20 March 1838 in Cork, and after attending the School of Art there he emigrated to the USA in 1855. He opened a studio in New York, and was "one of the earlier members of the American society of painters in water-colors", being elected an elected associate member of the National Academy in 1874 and a full Academician two years later. In 1879 he moved to England. In 1881 he appears as a "tennant" in the household of Georgina Harriet Wastell at 135 Gower Street Pancras - he is described as a widower - and two years later his address is given as "care of Charles Booth, 98, Gower Street, W.C." The same year he returned to the USA and established a studio in Washington D.C. Then there is a frustrating blank until his death in London on 12 February 1918.

                  If he visited England again in the late 1880s he could have been the Irishman noticed by Special Branch at 57 Bedford Gardens. But one can only wonder what could have given rise to the belief that he was "connected" to the Whitechapel murders. Surely not his work, which seems to have consisted of sentimental depictions of Irish rural life - nothing along the lines of Walter Sickert. And he seems to have been no supporter of political violence, either. In 1899 Public Opinion (vol. 26, p. 693) related that "when the tragedies occurred at Phoenix park, Dublin, he was so enraged that he declared he would never again paint Irish peasant scenes, in which he so greatly excels". Though, of course, he did.
                  _________________________

                  [1] Moffat Peter Lindner (1852-1949), a Birmingham-born landscape painter.
                  http://www.whistler.arts.gla.ac.uk/c...y/?bid=Lind_MP

                  [2] Edward Trevanion Haynes, R.A. (1840-1922).
                  http://members.iinet.net.au/~dodd/ga..._tree/2597.htm

                  [3] Arthur Leopold Bambridge (18611923), a retired footballer who dabbled in art.
                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Bambridge

                  [4] Harry Bates, A.R.A. (18501899).
                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Bates_(sculptor)

                  [5] Edward Arthur Fellowes Prynne (1854-1921).
                  http://www.artoftheprint.com/artistp...eandlabour.htm

                  [6] Edward Tennyson Reed (1860-1933), a parliamentary caricaturist and contributor to Punch magazine.
                  http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/se...07466&role=art

                  [7] William Padgett (1851-1904).
                  http://www.whistler.arts.gla.ac.uk/c...urname=padgett

                  [8] W. St Clair Simmons (d. 1917).
                  http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/l...jectID=4877166
                  57 Bedford Gardens, London which was then andis today in west London, although early Victorian records have a Bedford Gardens shown in Brixton which is SW London. A census check for 1891 does not show a house numbered 57. It would appear that the house numbers did not go up as far as 57. So either the information was wrong in the first instance or the police did not check it out at the time. Or the entry was made wrongly.

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post
                    So either the information was wrong in the first instance or the police did not check it out at the time. Or the entry was made wrongly.
                    As far as I know the Bedford Gardens in Kensington is the only Bedford Gardens that appears in the 1891 census returns for London.

                    Unless someone can suggest an alternative, I think we have to assume that 57 Bedford Gardens refers to the Bedford Gardens off Kensington Church Street.

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Bedford Gardens

                      Originally posted by Chris View Post
                      As far as I know the Bedford Gardens in Kensington is the only Bedford Gardens that appears in the 1891 census returns for London.

                      Unless someone can suggest an alternative, I think we have to assume that 57 Bedford Gardens refers to the Bedford Gardens off Kensington Church Street.
                      Hello Chris, Trevor,

                      Here is a suggestion, a guess and a clutch at straws.

                      There was a Bedford Street, (Parish of St.Paul, Covent Garden) I believe.

                      Also a possibly one Bedford Row, possibly near Moorgate.


                      Most likely nothing to do with it, I found this relating to Hoxton Hall...

                      "Regular meetings, services and social events were subsequently held at Hoxton Hall by the Mission. Palmer died in 1893, leaving instructions in his will that the Hall be given to the Bedford Institute Association. The Association, now known as Quaker Social Action, is a Quaker organisation which focuses upon alleviating poverty in East London. The Hall became the eighth branch of the Association, and in 1910 a new mission centre was built"

                      best wishes

                      Phil
                      Chelsea FC. TRUE BLUE. 💙


                      Justice for the 96 = achieved
                      Accountability? ....

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Dr.William McGrath

                        Hello all,

                        Thought I'd found a Dr William McGrath that connected. Have edited this posting.
                        My apologies.

                        best wishes

                        Phil
                        Last edited by Phil Carter; 06-15-2010, 03:19 AM. Reason: edited, deconstructed posting
                        Chelsea FC. TRUE BLUE. 💙


                        Justice for the 96 = achieved
                        Accountability? ....

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Tom_Wescott View Post
                          Thanks for the tip, Phil. I'm going to get this book.

                          Yours truly,

                          Tom Wescott
                          Hello Tom,

                          Thanks. This book is very, very good indeed. Butterworth has managed to delve into much that has an important value regarding the East End in the LVP. I think you will find it very useful indeed.

                          best wishes

                          Phil
                          Chelsea FC. TRUE BLUE. 💙


                          Justice for the 96 = achieved
                          Accountability? ....

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Chris View Post
                            As far as I know the Bedford Gardens in Kensington is the only Bedford Gardens that appears in the 1891 census returns for London.

                            Unless someone can suggest an alternative, I think we have to assume that 57 Bedford Gardens refers to the Bedford Gardens off Kensington Church Street.
                            Dont assume anything unless you do a thorough check of the information !!!!!!!

                            Bedford Gardens, Brixton, LAMBETH [1881]

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post
                              Dont assume anything unless you do a thorough check of the information !!!!!!!

                              Bedford Gardens, Brixton, LAMBETH [1881]
                              As I said, as far as I know the Bedford Gardens in Kensington is the only Bedford Gardens that appears in the 1891 census returns for London. That is the result of checking the indexes, not an assumption.

                              The Bedford Gardens in Lambeth does not appear in 1891, as far as I can see, and in 1881 it contains only 6 houses, so I'm not sure why you think it's relevant, or why you think some kind of mistake has been made by the police. Surely the obvious conclusion is simply that the Register is referring to the 57 Bedford Gardens in Kensington?

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Originally posted by Chris View Post
                                As I said, as far as I know the Bedford Gardens in Kensington is the only Bedford Gardens that appears in the 1891 census returns for London. That is the result of checking the indexes, not an assumption.

                                The Bedford Gardens in Lambeth does not appear in 1891, as far as I can see, and in 1881 it contains only 6 houses, so I'm not sure why you think it's relevant, or why you think some kind of mistake has been made by the police. Surely the obvious conclusion is simply that the Register is referring to the 57 Bedford Gardens in Kensington?
                                I think you might find that the Bedford gardens i referred to was in existence but between 1888-1891 the houses were demolished and the street became non existent.

                                In any event there is no knowledge as to who mentioned the name McGrath and what there was to suggest he was a candidate for the ripper so dont lets all go off running around like headless chickens wildy theorising
                                .
                                Last edited by Trevor Marriott; 06-15-2010, 11:44 AM.

                                Comment

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