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Board of Works and Ripper/Torso Sites (Compiled info)

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  • Board of Works and Ripper/Torso Sites (Compiled info)

    All BoW's info compiled for discussion into one thread. Hope this helps! I also added one new map under Polly Nichols. It shows the BoW supply and cart yard which was in between the Mortuary (Boys School) and The Pavillion.

    Board of Works and Ripper

    Martha Tabram and Emma Smith- (map from Chris Scott)

    Polly Nichols- Patrick Mulshaw, a night porter in the employ of the Whitechapel District Board of Works, living at 3, Rupert-street, Whitechapel, said on the night of this occurrence he was at the back of the Working Lads' Institute in Winthorpe-street [Winthrop-street]. He went on duty about a quarter to 5 in the afternoon, and remained until about five minutes to 6 the next morning, when he was relieved. He was watching some sewage works.

    Constable Neale at once called for assistance, and with the help of some scavengers who were cleaning the roads at the time, managed to carry the body to the mortuary, which is situated in the Pavilion Yard close by.

    The Whitechapel Mortuary is a little brick building situated to the right of the large yard used by the Board of Works for the storage of their material.
    (Entered by way of Old Montague which is not in view just to the top of this map. The red rectangle was #84 Whitechapel Road. That address housed the brush making business of Henry Wainwright. The crime scene where Harriet Lane was buried under the floorboards was directly south of this location at 215 Whitechapel road. Later, his brother William moved the business just west to #6 Great Gardens)

    Map of Mulshaw's approx. location.

    Catherine Eddowes-James Blenkingsop, who was on duty as a watchman in St. James's-place (leading to the square), where some street improvements are taking place, states that about half-past one a respectably-dressed man came up to him and said, "Have you seen a man and a woman go through here?"

    In connection with the Mitre square murder, it may be mentioned that the foreman of the sewer hands who are engaged in Aldgate in sweeping the streets and clearing away the refuse, &c., in the early hours of the morning, has stated most positively that at the time when the murder is supposed to have been perpetrated he was standing not more than 20 yards away from the spot where the body was subsequently found by the constable and himself.

    Mary Jane Kelly-It had evidently been there for some hours, but several scavengers who were in the court at nine o'clock declare that the body was not there then. They might, however, have been mistaken, as the place is very dark.

    Rose Mylett- Clarke yard in green. Poplar Board of Works in red.

    George Lusk- Member of Metropolitan Board of Works

    Alice McKenzie and Frances Coles-

    There were two waggons in the roadway - one was a brewer's dray, the other a scavenger's cart. (McKenzie crime scene)

    1= AliceMcKenzie
    2= Whitechapel Board of Works Office
    3= Albert Bacherts home on Newnham Street
    4= Leman Street Police Station
    5= Frances Coles
    6= Board of Works Stone Yard and Pinchin torso

    Board of Works and Torso

    Tottenham Court Road torso- William Meagher, scavenger with the St. Giles Board of Works, stated that on the morning of October 23 he was sweeping Alfred Mews, Tottenham Court Road, when he saw a newspaper parcel about 15 yards away from Thexton's dustbin.He scooped it up into the cart and afterwards heard that it contained a human head.

    Battersea Park- Remains from Rainham torso and Elizabeth Jackson found in or near this location.

    From Wikipedia for the Metropolitan Board of Works.

    In 1856 the MBW obtained an amending act of parliament giving them the power to provide "parks, pleasure-grounds and open spaces", subject to parliamentary approval. Among the parks and open spaces acquired or laid by the board were:

    Battersea Park, Kennington Park, Victoria Park and the gardens surrounding Bethnal Green Museum (taken over from the Office of Works in 1887)


    Also from Wikipedia for the Metropolitan Board of Works.

    The Board also created the three section Thames Embankment from 1864.
    (Victoria, Chelsea and Albert)

    Whitehall torso-

    Placed in the vault of the new police buildings (Scotland Yard) under construction in 1888. Was built on the Victoria Embankment. Construction began in 1887 and was overseen by the Metropolitan Board of Works. The majority of the construction was complete by late 1889 but opened in 1890.

    Shelley House-

    Thigh of Elizabeth Jackson thrown over railings into the garden of this estate. Was discovered by Claude Mellor who was a newspaper journalist later involved in the John Arnold story. Shelley house was built on the Chelsea Embankment on land initially owned by the Board of Works. William Tite (Tite street named after him) was a former member of the Board of Works. The Shelley Theatre, Oscar Wilde, Frank Miles, Whistler, Melville MacNaghten and others were residents of Tite Street. The Shelley house was at the corner of Tite Street and Chelsea Embankment.

    Pinchin torso-

    The ground belonged to the Whitechapel District Board of Works, and was got in exchange for another piece of ground. It was used for stone-breaking. The police had no right there, as it was private property.

    As far as Wildbore and connections to ripper murders? Not really. At a stretch, though, I bet I could put him in the company of Alice McKenzie at some point in his life. Alice was said to have been going back to the pub to meet a man she knew at Tottenham, this was shortly before she was murdered. Wildbore lived in Tottenham in the early 1880's before he moved to Battersea. He was also born in a suburb of Peterborough. We now know Alice was surely born in Peterborough and lived in Leicester as well (thanks to Gary B. and others). Wildbore lived with an uncle in Leicester when he was a 16 year old carpenter. When he moved to Battersea he lives on Maysoule Road. Maysoule was less than a mile from Wandsworth Prison where many of the ripper victims were found to have been incarcerated (thanks Debs).

    Polly Nichols was in service to the Cowdrys in Wandsworth in 1888. Again, less than a mile from Wildbore's residence. That's stretching it as much as I can, , but that's really all there is to connect with the ripper victims. The torso's, however, I think I have built a stronger case, even though it is highly circumstantial, as usual.

    Regarding the Rose Mylett case and Wildbore, just below the map I posted for her, in the Commercial docks, John Grover had a timber holding yard in later years. Wildbore worked for Grover as a carpenter.
    Last edited by jerryd; 04-10-2018, 06:08 PM.

  • #2
    In searching for uses of carbolic acid, I found the following:

    RE: Billingsgate Market

    All fish condemned by its inspectors are immediately conveyed to a waiting barge, treated with carbolic acid and sent to fertilizing works at Rainham, (Interesting, considering the location of the 1887 torso)

    Use by the Board of Works

    Some years ago the Board of Works of the Holborn district, in their zeal for enforcing the due observance of the Sabbath, ventured on the heroic measure of bringing watering-carts into Leather-lane on Sunday morning and drenching the wares of the costermongers with diluted carbolic acid.

    Regarding the Board of Works

    Awhile back, I looked into the coincidental locations and people working for the Board of Works in the ripper series. For example, several of the TCR torso parts were recovered by a BOW employee. George Lusk a member of the Metropolitan Board of Works and was the recipient of a kidney from Catherine Eddowes by post. The Pinchin torso was found in an archway that was adjacent to Board of Works land. A street sweeper was near the Pinchin archway at the time of the discovery. The Tabram murder and emma Smith attack were next to the Whitechapel BOW incinerator. The nightwatchmen for the BOW was working near the Nichols crime scene. A local BOW office was located near the Rose Mylett murder scene. Blenkinsop was overseeing road work in St James Square the night of the Eddowes murder. The Whitechapel BOW office was located just south of Castle Alley in Goodman's Fields close to Albert Bachert's house. The embankments were constructed and maintained by the Board of Works. Construction of Scotland yard was overseen by the Board of Works. The main office of the Board of Works was across the street from where John Arnold peddled his newspapers in Charing Cross. Also not far from Whitehall and the New Scotland Yard.

    Regarding "Scavengers" or Street cleaners.

    *At half-past 10 yesterday morning the dead body of a woman, with her head almost severed from her body, was found in an untenanted outhouse or shed in Dorset-court, Dorset-street, Commercial-street, Spitalfields. It had evidently been there for some hours, but several scavengers who were in the court at nine o'clock declare that the body was not there then. They might, however, have been mistaken, as the place is very dark. (MJK murder)

    *Constable Neale at once called for assistance, and with the help of some scavengers who were cleaning the roads at the time, managed to carry the body to the mortuary, which is situated in the Pavilion Yard close by.(Polly Nichols murder)

    *There were two waggons in the roadway - one was a brewer's dray, the other a scavenger's cart. (Alice McKenzie murder)

    And last, Regarding the Commercial Street tramway construction.

    Would its construction also have been overseen by the BOW? I will have to look and see.

    From a dissertation by Bernard Brown here on Casebook entitled Inspector Spratling's Pass.

    Back in Whitechapel, the North Metropolitan Tramways Act, 1887, (50 Victoria. CH X 1 1) had received the Royal Assent on 29th March 1888 and authorised the company "To lay down and maintain a new tramway in Commercial Street."
    Gangs of navvies descended on Whitechapel and Spitalfields and work commenced on digging up the entire length of Commercial Street and laying track. The work continued day and night until completion in November 1888. During the construction Emma Smith, Martha Tabram, Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes were murdered. Coincidence?
    The diverted horse-drawn traffic from Commercial Street was horrendous and the `ladies of the night and their clients were hardly able to conduct their business. Could the disruption explain why there were no murders during October and why Mary Kelly was killed indoors?
    On 15th November 1888, a week after Kelly s murder, the Commercial Street tramway finally opened with a line of brownpainted horse trams running between Bloomsbury and Poplar (fare 3d). Near the latter line on 20th December 1888 the body of Rose Mylett was found just off the High Street.


    • #3
      Tite Street is named after William Tite who was a member of the Metropolitan Board of Works, responsible for the construction of Chelsea Embankment to the south of Tite Street and some railway station buildings. (

      Tite street was also home of the Shelley estate, where Elizabeth Jackson's thigh was found in the garden of the estate wrapped in the pocket of a costermonger's apron. Tite street was built by the Board of Works to accommodate the construction of the Chelsea Embankment. The BOW had tight control over the architects building homes there. The architects were embroiled in disputes with Metropolitan Board of Works over their designs. The end result was a compromise.

      Also, I mentioned earlier in the thread a man named William Wainwright. He was the brother of Henry Wainwright, murderer of Harriet Lane. Wainwright was also a member of the Metropolitan Board of Works.

      Maybe someone was ticked off at the Board of Works?


      • #4
        I also located the St. Giles Board of Works. They were the street cleaners for Tottenham Court Road. William Meagher worked for St. Giles Vestry, BoW. Some of the parts of the TCR torso were deposited over a railing in Bedford Square.

        Off topic a bit, but Thomas Conway, Jr. was listed as Parish Sweeper Vestry in 1901.


        • #5
          I am currently compiling meeting reports of the Whitechapel District Board of Works to see if there may be any connections at all. Below is an example of one report with some of the members names. Included is Wainwright (assuming it's our man) and a man named Robert Gladding. I have included both mens addresses in the following map.

          I also noticed the name Chappell in the list of names. Wonder if this is anyone related to the builder J.T Chappell where the Pimlico arm was found floating in his timber deal. Or, perhaps, Mary Chappell, the witness?

          East End News, Friday Nov 2, 1888

          The Board met at the offices, Great Alie-street, on Monday; Robert Gladding, Esq., in the chair, and the following members present: Messrs; G. T. Brown, Vile, Nicholson, Catmur, Horey, Sparks, Hemsley, Clark, Wainwright, Triggs, Barham, James, Harris, C.C., Young, Chappell, Davis, Myers, Karamelli, Abrahams, Willis, Collier, Ilsley (Metropolitan Board), Withers, Rice, Loveday.

          Wainwright at #6 Great Gardens and a Robert Gladding, bookseller, at #76 Whitechapel Road in 1869 and 1882.

          Info on Whitechapel Road residents through the years. Gladding appears in this list.


          • #6

            Here is a letter to the press from Albert Bachert regarding the Board of Works.

            Evening News
            London, U.K.
            6 September 1888

            THE EDITOR'S DRAWER.

            SIR-Permit me, as an inhabitant of twenty years in Whitechapel, to express on behalf of a number of tradesmen and shopkeepers in Whitechapel our deepest regret and indignation at the shocking and revolting murders which have further disgraced the unfortunate district of Whitechapel of late. The question that now arises is what is to be done, and what can be done to check and prevent the further spreading of such dastardly crimes. In the first place I would suggest that the police force should be strengthened in the East End, and secondly that there should be more gas lights in our back streets, courts, and alleys. There is no doubt but that these unfortunate women were butchered by their bullies (men who gain their livelihood from these unfortunates) and were the police to watch the haunts and dens of these villains and thieves, no doubt in a short time we should have a decrease of these crimes which have disgraced the capital of England. There are several supposed clubs in Whitechapel which these villains frequent, which are open all night for the sale of wines, spirits, and beer, and where any non-member can be admitted and served with as much drink as he or she can pay for. It is in these vile dens that the seed of immorality and crime is sown which brings forth the fruits we have just witnessed. The police must know of these places; if not, I am prepared, if required, to give the names of these places to any person in authority. The East End police are, with a few exceptions, a good and noble body of men who at all times have a hard and difficult duty to perform, and I feel sure that the heads of these police, such gentlemen as Arnold, Final, and West will do their uttermost to stop the breeding of further crimes by these ruffians. In the second place I suggest more gas lights in our bye-streets, courts, and alleys. We pay rates and taxes, and have a right to have our district properly lighted. Only a little while back a City manufacturer living opposite me was knocked down, beaten, and robbed of a valuable gold chain within a few yards of his own street door, the villains escaping because the spot is dark. My sister also a short time ago was knocked down by some cowards. They also got away, the place being dark. Now, Sir, I hope and trust that the Whitechapel Board of Works and the Commercial Gas Company will awake to their duty, and do their best to have this grievance removed. Apologising for trespassing upon your valuable space, I am, &c.,
            ALBERT BACHERT.
            Gordon House, Newnham-street, Whitechapel,


            • #7
              thanks Jerry!
              "Is all that we see or seem
              but a dream within a dream?"

              -Edgar Allan Poe

              "...the man and the peaked cap he is said to have worn
              quite tallies with the descriptions I got of him."

              -Frederick G. Abberline


              • #8
                As I said the other day, this stuff is interesting enough to warrant its own thread, so thanks for putting this compilation together, Jerry
                Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)


                • #9
                  Good show!
                  Even though I find it hard to believe anyone could be engaged in a deadly vendetta against a moribund organisation like the Metropolitan Board of Works (which technically no longer even existed by the time of the '89 murders) it's still fascinating, and I certainly appreciate the work that's gone into pulling it together.
                  Great stuff Jerry.


                  • #10
                    Out of interest, does anyone know where I can find a list of all the sites belonging to the Metropolitan Board of Works at around that time? I've done a quick search on Google, but I've found nothing so far. Perhaps someone else has?
                    Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                    "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)


                    • #11
                      Nice to see all the work here too, Jerry.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Joshua Rogan View Post
                        Good show!
                        Even though I find it hard to believe anyone could be engaged in a deadly vendetta against a moribund organisation like the Metropolitan Board of Works (which technically no longer even existed by the time of the '89 murders) it's still fascinating, and I certainly appreciate the work that's gone into pulling it together.
                        Great stuff Jerry.
                        Hi Joshua and thanks!

                        Actually, the Whitechapel Board of Works was still in existence and operating under the same name even after the formation of the London County Council on March 21st, 1889 (the first official meeting as the LCC).

                        Whitechapel District (Wkipedia)

                        Until 1889 the district was in the county of Middlesex, but included in the area of the Metropolitan Board of Works. In 1889 the area of the MBW was constituted the County of London, and the district board became a local authority under the London County Council.

                        Here are some reports referring to them as such in 1889 during the murders and also in February 1891 near the Coles murder.

                        The Eastern Post & City Chronicle
                        Saturday, 20 July 1889.

                        THE Whitechapel District Board of Works must consider at its meeting on Monday the advisability of passing a vote of condolence with the "imaginative" young man of the Daily Telegraph, who has had the audacity to state that the lighting in Castle Alley is somewhat faulty. The probability is, the writer has never seen Whitechapel, and if he has, it was with the eyes of a pessimist. "Go to a nunnery, go," thou irresponsible scribbler, for thou art as surely mad as young Hamlet himself.

                        East London Advertiser
                        Saturday, 21 February 1891.


                        THE NEW MORTUARY BEGUN.

                        "MURDER" MYSTERIES ONCE MORE.

                        This Board met on Monday, at the offices, Great Alie-street, Mr. George Ilsley in the chair, and the following members present:- Messrs. Catmur, Boswell, Rycroft, Van Thal, Hensley, W. C. Johnson, Sparks, Hall, Chillingworth, Bamberger, Karamelli, Harris, Snell, Barham, Legg, Tarling, L.C.C., Barber, Hamilton, Peters, Tate, Wines, Lashmar, and the Rev. J. H. Scott.

                        Some of the same members of the Board were present in 1891 as were in 1888.


                        • #13
                          The Metropolitan BoW held a lot of weight and were quite the bullies from reports I have read. Shortly before they were to relinquish power to the LCC they pushed through certain construction projects that the LCC was opposed to. They were also the recipient of a lot of criticism as well as the dishers out of some. The BoW was very critical, for example, of the way the police were handling the whole ripper series even writing a letter to Sir Charles Warren. On the other hand, a common theme is they were criticized for poor lighting in the district of the East End, especially.

                          During the inquest of Alice McKenzie a rider was added at the end of the inquest demanding Castle Alley be opened up to Whitechapel Road.

                          The jury, after a short deliberation, returned a verdict of "Wilful murder against some person or persons unknown," and added a rider endorsing the remarks of the Coroner, and requesting him to forward a recommendation to the County Council, and the Whitechapel District Board of Works to open up Castle-alley to the Whitechapel High-street as a thoroughfare.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Debra A View Post
                            Nice to see all the work here too, Jerry.
                            Thanks, Debs, Abby and Gareth!


                            • #15
                              School Board purchase, rescinded. So, the BoW owned the artisan dwellings and other property on Goulston Street? I wonder if the government owned properties in Mitre Square were actually BOW owned?

                              REGARDING GOULSTON STREET and CASTLE ALLEY

                              25th February, 1886
                              Minutes of Proceedings, Volume 24
                              By London (England). School Board

                              Last edited by jerryd; 04-11-2018, 09:04 PM.