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  • Simon Wood
    replied
    Hi All,

    San Francisco Chronicle, 18th November 1888

    " . . . Just now it is a fashionable fad to "slum it" in Whitechapel. Every night scores of young men, who never have been in the East End before in their lives, prowl around the neighborhood of the murders, talking with frightened women and pushing their way into overcrowded lodging-houses. So long as two men keep together and do not make nuisances of themselves the police do not interfere with them, but if a man goes alone and tries to lure a woman of the street into a secluded street to talk to her, he is pretty sure to get into trouble."

    Regards,

    Simon

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  • Sam Flynn
    replied
    Originally posted by caz View Post
    Originally posted by Sam Flynn
    I would still tend to refute even the possibility that any man earning more than 40 shillings per week would have wanted to procure sex with the degraded "unfortunates" of Spitalfields, still less gone there in search of it.
    Agreed, if their priority was obtaining sexual relief in the safest, most salubrious surroundings their money could buy.
    Hardly that, Caz - but at least in places a smidgeon more salubrious than Whitechapel (not too tricky to find), and with women rather more fresh and beauteous than the ragged residents of Spitalfields. It would have taken a peculiar kind of fetishist to have sought out the cuckoos in those rookeries, when other game birds were in plentiful supply elsewhere.

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  • caz
    replied
    Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post

    Too many Chapman threads!!! Let's keep this one generic, eh?
    Hi All,

    Right then, I have finally braved this lengthy thread and digested its contents and hope it can be kept generic and not taken down any Chapman, Hutchinson or "Mr. Astrakhan" avenues.

    Originally posted by Nemo View Post

    ...The fact that a serial killer was on the loose may have attracted more curious people to the area than kept them away. Also, the increased presence of the police would have caused visitors to the area to feel safer…

    …There was still quite a lot of activity in the streets at 2am…
    Hi Nemo,

    While I fully understand and go along with the objections to the idea of curious outsiders flooding otherwise semi-deserted and dangerous parts of Jack’s territory in the middle of the night, just to see what all the fuss was about, presuming there would be a friendly copper on every corner to leap to the assistance of any visitor in peril, it should be remembered that the men in the area, either on a permanent or casual basis, would hardly have had the same fear of the ripper as the women. I doubt many men in the north of England during the 1970s avoided all the red light districts because they were scared of becoming Peter Sutcliffe’s next victim, for example. And a more immediate reason to keep away, than any fear of being lynched by a suspicious mob for having a car that didn't resemble an MOT failure, would surely have been the risk of being questioned or identified as a curb-crawler, and having to face the wife, the boss and all your friends afterwards.

    I’m expecting Ben or Sam to disprove this, but I’m sure I read somewhere that work on the new tram tracks in Commercial St was going on ‘day and night’ at the time of the Dorset St murder, just a short walk away. I know that as a woman, having ‘men at work’ in an urban setting tends to give me a sense of security as a pedestrian, that is as good as seeing a single policeman on his beat. If there were indeed men at work at 2am along Commercial St, or at least signs of such activity, it would have seemed a lot less like a deserted muggers’ paradise to any pedestrians, even if their sense of security was false, and they still risked being attacked for whatever their pockets contained if they so much as ventured a few yards off the beaten track.

    Originally posted by Ben View Post

    Simply put, there were prostitutes throughout London, including hundreds of them "up west", and since any prostitute would be considered "common" to a well-heeled gent, there was no reason for them to venture into a particularly bad pocket of the East End purely for that purpose.
    But of course, if Jack merely wanted to entice his victims to where he could mutilate them for free and scarper, leaving no trace of himself, and wasn’t interested in paying them as much as he could afford for the ‘privilege’ of getting sexual relief, there was arguably every reason for him to have ventured into an area (if he didn’t already happen to live or work there) where he expected the most desperate women on God’s green earth to congregate and be waiting for him, with a “Give it to me Big Boy” dying on their lips.

    If Dorset St had a reputation for being the worst street in London, and Jack’s perception was that the most degraded and desperate unfortunates in London were likely to be found in such a vicinity, it matters little if you can produce chapter and verse to show that his perception was wide of the mark, and that the prostitutes in many other areas were guaranteed to be equally plentiful and equally desperate to go down dark alleys with this stranger for the (empty) promise of the price of a gin.

    Even if Jack had no doubt that the pickings were equally easy and rich elsewhere, his reasons for marking the same territory each time must have outnumbered his reasons not to do so, regardless of how many options he had. He would not have killed at all - in any location - if his own safety and freedom had been his number one priority.

    Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post

    I suspect it's because the idea is deeply embedded in Ripper lore, particularly in the "Hollywood" view of the East End of the Victorian Period, and not just those based during the "Autumn of Terror". The image seems to owe as much to Oliver! as it does to innumerable Ripper-based movies and the odd sensationalist book.
    The strange thing about this case, Sam, is that the melodrama is all too real. The murderer may not have engineered it that way, apart from possibly meeting Mary on Commercial St and hoping she knew somewhere more private she could take him, as the others did. If so, he got luckier than he ever thought possible and killed when he got the chance. But the mythical Hollywood villain would surely have killed - even died - for the chance of the headline: 'Jack the Ripper does his worst in the worst street in London'.

    Given that many serial killers have egos the size of London, it’s not a stretch to see this one realising after the event what he had just pulled off and thinking it was well worth any extraordinary risks taken along the way.

    Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post

    I would still tend to refute even the possibility that any man earning more than 40 shillings per week would have wanted to procure sex with the degraded "unfortunates" of Spitalfields, still less gone there in search of it.
    Agreed, if their priority was obtaining sexual relief in the safest, most salubrious surroundings their money could buy.

    Originally posted by claire View Post

    It's (still) nigh on impossible to gauge the extent of prostitution, since few people would give it as an occupation on the census, so we need to go by crime figures, which tend to pertain almost exclusively to street prostitutes, since those are the ones who are invariably arrested.
    Originally posted by claire View Post

    Mind you, if I was off for a bit of how's yer farver with an exotic flavour (wie ist ihre Vater?/como es su padre?), I'd be keeping a very low profile indeed. After all, why pay more than you need to?
    And here’s the rub: firstly, prostitute numbers and crime figures, if complete, would still only give one side of the story. One would need a customer to have boasted about where they went, who they used, how much they paid, what for and how often, or to have been caught, Hugh Grant-like, getting a cheap and impersonal blow job, before one could even begin to estimate the possible size or nature of the sexual iceberg below its tiny tip of boasters and careless twits.

    Jeremy Paxman (I think) said recently that at one point during the Victorian era there was one prostitute for every 25 men. I have no idea how accurate that figure could be, or where it came from, but a woman (or a man or a child) is only a prostitute while there are customers who want servicing. It doesn’t take a lot to work out that if a goodly proportion of men didn’t use prostitutes at all, the rest were certainly making up for it.

    And secondly, I don’t know whether Ben and Sam have really lived such sheltered lives, or are pretending, either to defend their honour or their preconceptions about Victorian morality. But men have always been men and I’d wager that very few ever pay the maximum they could actually afford, certainly not for basic regular sexual relief, and that most would spend as little as it takes (down to the price of a drink or a well-aimed compliment) to come away satisfied, and with their tackle, dignity and anonymity relatively intact. The fact that even the ropiest prossie can charge for it tells you something.

    Imagine if census returns had been a bit more probing in the LVP:

    Q: How much of the annual household income went on keeping your pregnant wife and six children, and running your small business with three employees? If you had anything left over, how much went on your twice-weekly sexual relief from prostitutes?

    A: “Look here, I only frequent the best and cleanest prostitutes my money can buy, in discreet places where I can expect not to be mugged, if it’s any business of yours.”

    Q: Do you happen to have the time on you?

    A: “No. I had my watch stolen by a wholesome bit of tottie up West, as it happens.”

    Q: Are you suffering from any sexually transmitted disease?

    A: “Riddled with it.”

    Love,

    Caz
    X
    Last edited by caz; 03-09-2009, 09:40 PM.

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  • Ben
    replied
    Hi Nemo,

    I can find other references that indicate the astrakhan description was current in December 1888
    Current in the sense that it was still known about, and mentioned by press and public, yes, but not "current" in the sense that it was still being taken seriously by the police as a possible means of capturing the killer. You do not, incidentally, need lots of references stating explicitly the account was discredited in order to deduce that it clearly was. All you need is a couple of references to compare with subsequent police reports, memoirs and interviews, and having made that comparison, the conclusion that the account WAS discredited is inescapable.

    I really wouldn't get too excited by the distinction between "discounted" and "discredited". They amount to the same thing in this context.

    Isaacs was described as short in stature, with a black moustache, wearing an Astrakhan trimmed coat and appeared to fit the suspect described by George Hutchinson.
    Ah, no.

    This was discussed earlier on in the thread, where Sam Flynn make the following astute observation: For info, Isaacs was NOT described as wearing "an astrakhan-trimmed coat", although I can see why Chris Morley might have reached that incorrect conclusion. Isaacs' appearance "answered the published description of a man with an astrachan trimming to his coat", according to the Daily News of 8th Dec 1888.

    Note that it does not say that Isaacs was wearing such a coat, only that he matched the description of another man who did. The match could easily have been based on his height, hair colouring, moustache, build, complexion, eyebrows, his "Jewish appearance" and/or his "surly" looks - without his also having to be similarly attired.


    Given that Isaacs was a cigar-maker of no fixed abode, he was obviously a very poor match for the ostentatiously and opulently attired "Mr. Astrakhan". It was only a press observation that it "answered a published description", and a "published" description doesn't mean that it was being taken seriously by the police at that stage. Certainly, there's no reason to suppose that the police were interested in Isaacs for any "Hutchinsonian" reasons, and since the evidence of Hutchinson's discrediting had occured a month in advance of the Isaacs episode, it's almost certain that eyewitness accounts had nothing to do with police interest in Isaacs.

    My contention is that Hutchinson's statement may have been regarded as unreliable (by certain members of the press) due to later embellishments, but it was not completely discounted (especially by the police)
    Sorry, that's not the case at all. The Star mentioned that the account had been "discredited", i.e. by another party that was obviously in a position to do the "discrediting". Certainly not the newspaper itself, or it would have stated something to the effect that "we" (The Star) do not believe the account. Obviously the other party could only have been the police, and it's no coincidence that Macnaghten, Anderson, Swanson and Abberline had clearly discredited Hutchinson's accounts as a vehicle with which to capture the murderer. That doesn't make it "impossible" that Hutchinson saw Kelly that night, but it certainly contributes towards its general feeling of implausibility and invention.
    Last edited by Ben; 02-09-2009, 03:37 AM.

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  • Nemo
    replied
    Hi Ben et al...

    I can find other references that indicate the astrakhan description was current in December 1888

    There are only a couple of references I can find that relate to Hutchinson's statement being discredited. They seem to compare Hutchinson's possible embellishments to those stories emanating from Matthew Packer.

    Note that these articles mention that the statement is possibly discredited - not discounted.

    Among other stories there is this one relating to the arrest of Joseph Isaacs on 6th december 1888 at which Abberline himself was present...


    The newspapers believed the police had arrested Jack the Ripper, and overheard Inspector Abberline saying to one of his officers, 'Keep this quiet, we have got the right man at last, this is a big thing'. Isaacs was interviewed by Abberline, and must have given a satisfactory account of himself, as he was subsequently only charged with the theft of the watch. Isaacs was described as short in stature, with a black moustache, wearing an Astrakhan trimmed coat and appeared to fit the suspect described by George Hutchinson. This would offer an explanation as to why the police paid such attention to Isaacs, and why they believed they had such a strong suspect.


    There are other minor references in the press to "respectably dressed men" fitting the witness descriptions from the Kelly murder.

    Joseph Isaacs may also be relevant to the "Toffs" aspect as he was pretty poverty stricken yet walked around in an otherwise expensive astrakhan trimmed coat.

    My contention is that Hutchinson's statement may have been regarded as unreliable (by certain members of the press) due to later embellishments, but it was not completely discounted (especially by the police) and so the possibility remains that George DID see someone that night with Kelly at approximately 2am indicating that Kelly had left her room after Blotchy's visit and picked up at least one other client that night.

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  • Nemo
    replied
    Hi Ben
    Sorry for the late reply

    That is a fine example of conjecture and could well be the most likely explanation. However, I would like to trace the original source as it may indicate otherwise...

    Regards

    Nemo

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  • Ben
    replied
    Hi Nemo,

    Morley probably meant that he came to the attention of the police as an indirect result of him having worn the same coat as "Mr. Astrakhan".

    I imagine the sequence of events went something like this:

    - Member of the public sees man accosting women, notices the Astrakhan coat, and is reminded of the Hutchinson press account without knowing (naturally) that it had been discredited.

    - Member of the public contacts police.

    - Police interview suspect not because of his Astrakhan coat, but because he was seen accosting women.

    In other words, the police were alerted partly because of the Astrakhan coat, but the police themselves would not have been interested in him for that reason.

    Best regards,
    Ben

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  • Nemo
    replied
    Hi Ben

    Thanks for your reply - here is the full reference from Jack the Ripper: A Suspect Guide by Christopher J. Morley (2005)

    Denny came to the attention of the police on the 28 December 1888 because he matched the description George Hutchinson gave of the Ripper. Hutchinson had described a man seen with Mary Kelly shortly before she was murdered, wearing an Astrakhan trimmed coat. Denny was arrested after been seen accosting women in Kings Cross while wearing a long Astrakhan trimmed coat. He was described as 20 years of age, 5ft 6" tall, with a fair complexion, slight moustache and very curly hair. His address was given as 64Myddelton Square, Clerkenwell. Denny was able to prove he was elsewhere at the time of the Whitechapel murders and was released.

    Does anyone have a reference to the original source for this story?

    I would like to know why Mr. Morley seems adamant that Denny was arrested because he fitted Hutchinson's suspect description...

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  • Sam Flynn
    replied
    Good points all, but let's don't delve too deeply into Chapman/Klosowski territory on this general thread - especially since we've got one or two "kosher" Chapman threads active at the moment.

    Pretty please

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  • Ben
    replied
    this ofcourse corresponds to the description Hutchinson gave Abberline.
    No it doesn't unfortunately, Norma.

    Not remotely.

    Not one of those physical particulars were mentioned in Hutchinson's police statement. Neil had clearly acquired his information from H.L. Adam who, in turn, had probably confused or imagined details from contemporary witness accounts. There was no eyewitness who mentioned any of those physical particulars.
    Last edited by Ben; 01-29-2009, 01:55 AM.

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  • Natalie Severn
    replied
    Originally posted by Nemo View Post
    In one of the JTR encyclopaedias I see it mentioned that a Joseph Denny was arrested on the 28th of December 1888 because he was accosting women near Kings Cross station - while wearing an astrakhan trimmed coat. The reason for his arrest was that he fitted the description given by Hutchinson. Police were on the alert after the murder of Rose Mylett.

    Is this an indication that Hutchinson's description was still current? Or that the fact his statement was so completely discredited in November had not reached the ears of the beat constables on duty that day?
    This is interesting Nemo. Philip Sugden quotes ex-Superintendent Arthur Neil [who had worked on the Chapman inquiry] where he refers to "The only living description ever given by an eye witness of the Ripper tallied exactly with Chapman,even to the height,,deep sunk black eyes,sallow complexion and thick black moustache"---this ofcourse corresponds to the description Hutchinson gave Abberline.
    This statement by ExSupt.Arthur Neil was,it has to be said,written years after[1932] in his book "Forty Years of Manhunting".It could be helpful but it has to be treated with some scepticism.

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  • Ben
    replied
    Thanks for that, Norma (and Gareth).

    The salient point, though, is that he didn't arrive in the country as an owner of his own business.

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  • Sam Flynn
    replied
    Too many Chapman threads!!! Let's keep this one generic, eh?

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  • Ben
    replied
    Hi Nemo,

    Is this an indication that Hutchinson's description was still current? Or that the fact his statement was so completely discredited in November had not reached the ears of the beat constables on duty that day?
    I imagine that he was arrested specifically because he was accosting women, not because of what he wore. It is likely that whoever witnessed Denny's antics - probably an ordinary member of the public - was struck not only by his behaviour, but by the Astrakhan coat of the type mentioned by a reported ripper-witness in several press accounts that enjoyed widespread circulation. Whoever alerted the police about Denny would not have known that Hutchinson's account had been discarded, but the police would have questioned him anyway on account of his women-accosting antics.

    Best regards,
    Ben
    Last edited by Ben; 01-29-2009, 01:26 AM.

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  • Natalie Severn
    replied
    Ben,
    I have just discussed this issue with Sam on another thread and the evidence points to him having set himself up in Cable Street some time in 1888.
    Sam has illustrated in a news item he posted in the past day,on the "Post Office London Directory " of 1889 [see the thread entitled "Interesting Article on George"],that there was already a vast population to be included in such a Register in 1889 which contains the address of Chapman at 126 Cable Street .It says quite clearly in the news item that it closed for admissions after December 1st 1888 and that therefore a certain request for a new entry on December 12th had had to be refused- a very similar practice as happens today-no new or altered entries can be made after such and such a date.
    Therefore it follows that Chapman must have been already up and running with his own Barber"s Shop at 126 Cable Street, in 1888,for him to have been able to be included in the Post Office London Directory of 1889.

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