Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Toffs in Spitalfields

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • You seem to have lived a rather sheltered life Ben
    Right, because I wasn't smoking opium and chucking peasants onto the fire with Degas and Manet in the White Hart, Whitechapel in 1888. What "stuff" would I find? Documented evidence of Hooray Henrys dressed conspicuously and advertising their wealth in an area known for its "vicious, semi-criminal element" when the pickings were better elsewhere?
    Last edited by Ben; 01-02-2009, 04:05 AM.

    Comment


    • ....and I dont need to use Frayling, Ben but I will.
      How about yourself reading up on some of these chroniclers I mentioned of 19th century syphillis among toffs----and most importantly how they caught it?

      Comment


      • Will do, Norma, but I've a funny feeling I'm not going to be seeing too many references to gold chains, Whitechapel, and solo-visits into crime hotspots somehow.

        If you're going to use Frayling, do so not on the basis of what you heard him say but couldn't demonstrate.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Natalie Severn View Post
          ....and I dont need to use Frayling, Ben but I will. How about yourself reading up on some of these chroniclers I mentioned of 19th century syphillis among toffs----and most importantly how they caught it?
          The syphilis spirochaete is no respecter of parochial boundaries, Nats. Toff-o-meters notwithstanding, the clap-o-meter was active in all London boroughs. Whitechapel had no especial claim on Treponema pallidum, nor upon any other agent of sexually-transmitted disease.
          Kind regards, Sam Flynn

          "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

          Comment


          • Hello Sam, not that it particularly matters, but just so we might try to understand each other:

            Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
            Hi RP,He might have cared to find a woman who didn't stink of god-knows-what, and who ran a better than 50:50 chance of not tripping over her own tits.
            I can think of about a dozen different ways to respond to this curious statement. I could, for instance, point you in the direction of a certain preacher in the U.S. who was extremely wealthy and powerful but nonetheless chose to frequent ‘low’ prostitues in the the sleaziest area of his city. It does happen. Or if that answer isn't suitable, I could simply ask if you really believe ALL the women who walked the streets in East London looked like Martha Tabram? Not a single one was sweet sixteen? Not one of those ladies in a white apron looked like a Whistler painting? Are you sure about that?

            The trouble with all these confident pronouncements is that is fairly obvious there is no real sound historical method behind any of them. Who can point me to a legitimate historical study showing the demeographics of East End punters, circa 1870-1890? Or the age of the average Spitalfield whore? Ben's preception is that they were all down-and-out, but what is this based on? I’ve just read a brilliant study of Victorian domestic violence, Men of Blood: Violence, Manliness, and Criminal Justice in Victorian England by Martin J. Wiener (2004). The fact of the matter is that compiling reliable statistics is an extremely painstaking process with a myriad of pitfalls, and until someone can demonstrate a sound historical method for the claims being made on this thread, I’m not taking any of it too seriously.

            Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
            It's rather more naive to think of Whitechapel/Spitalfields as East London's red-light district. Each pocket of poverty had its own plentiful supply of vagrants and streetwalkers, and Whitechapel/Spitalfields was not particularly special in this regard.
            Well, that's something of an exaggeration, but what is the relevance? I’ve read Acton. There were other blotches of prosititution in London, certainly, but the fact remains that there were more resident prostitutes listed in H-Division than in any other division --including other parts of East London--and it immediately abutted the west end. So how--precisely--- does this help the argument that toffs didn’t frequent Whitechapel?

            Seriously, I’m trying to get my head around what you and Ben are arguing and all I can come up with is the following.

            The underlying but unspoken belief appears to be that there is this biological creature known as a ‘serial killer’ who is driven by what might be called “blood lust” or “sexual gratification.”

            With that in mind, it seems painfully obvious (to you, at least) that he will simply go out and kill ‘easy’ and ‘convenient targets’ in his immediate area.

            Hense a kind of 'geographic profiling' and all the statements about “easy pickings,” and the strong disbelief that a murder could possibly be living in Mayfair (where they had beautiful hookers!) but instead chose to kill ugly old women in Spitalfields.


            In short, the Ripper chose to kill old, long breasted women in East London because that is what happened to be living up the street, and they were the ones that were readily available. Surely, if he had the opportunity he’d much rather be killing high-class 20-year-old secretaries in Chelsea. Call it the 'materialist' view of the Whitechapel Murders.

            The trouble is, I don’t think it works that way at all. I think the psychology is bogus.

            Rather, it seems to me that many deranged criminals start out with an ‘idea,’ and will then go to extraordinary lengths to carry out that idea. Safety, convenience, salubrity, etc., don’t have anything to do with it. Further, many seem to kill a specific type of victim. The nutter up in Montreal who targetted ‘feminists,’ for example. Or the many different murderers who targetted migrant workers. Or, say , Ted Bundy, who preyed on college co-eds in college towns. Or the Victorian serial killer Neill Cream who lived in Chicago but decided to poison hookers in the industrial slum of Lambeth.

            The fact that the Ripper is killing a specific demeographic mitigates against it being some simple matter of ‘convenience’ that you and Ben seem to be arguing.

            You seem to be saying that "victimology" (if I'm not misreading you) is 100% a matter of convenience, opportunity, and modus operandi. They kill what “lives up the road.”

            Could be, but I rather tend to disagree. I think ‘victimology’ in nearly every case is intimately related to the murderer’s pathology and personal history. Hence, I’m not convinced by the ‘local man theory’ any more than I am convinced that toffs didn’t occasionally wander up the Whitechapel Road looking for prostitutes.
            Last edited by rjpalmer; 01-02-2009, 06:07 AM.

            Comment


            • Hi again, RJ,

              I still can't help but form the impression that people are been led very seriously astray by the notion that better-heeled men went in search of "rough". There's absolutely no doubting that this occured, but any prostitute would have been considered "a bit of rough" to the wealthy and well-connected, which really eradicated any need to venture into the worst part of London for that purpose. I'd suggest very strongly that female resemblances to Whistler paintings were very few and far between in that district, but even if there were one or two, Whitechapel wasn't the obvious place to go in search of them.

              Who can point me to a legitimate historical study showing the demeographics of East End punters, circa 1870-1890?
              Surely you're not seriously doubting that the majority of the prostitutes' earnings would have come from the local populace, the vast and overwhelming majority of whom were as far from "toffs" as can be envisaged? I'm afraid no amount of legitimate studies would ever surmount that rather obvious commonsense deduction, and the same is true of the average Spitalfields whore. Surely there's no realistic dispute that the average prostitute in that district was an impoverished doss house dweller? It's really no coincidence that the majority of the killer's victim fall heavily into that bracket.

              The absence of actual facts and figures shouldn't cause us to forsake our reason here.

              There were toffs in the West End, just as there were prostitutes in the West End, and the prostitutes of the West End were quite sufficient for any ponce in search of a bit of rough.

              The underlying but unspoken belief appears to be that there is this biological creature known as a ‘serial killer’ who is driven by what might be called “blood lust” or “sexual gratification.” With that in mind, it seems painfully obvious (to you, at least) that he will simply go out and kill ‘easy’ and ‘convenient targets’ in his immediate area.
              If we're to embrace actual historical precedent from other serials and the expert opinion that documents it, then yes, that would be the parsimonious explanation by a long sea mile. I think we should embrace it, however boring a ripper it might leave us with, and despite the fact that some of the well-known/outsider theories may need rethinking as a consequence, but without that willingness to learn from the past and apply it to unsolved cases, I'm afraid we're guilty of little more that creative writing and hobbyism.

              Rather, it seems to me that many deranged criminals start out with an ‘idea,’ and will then go to extraordinary lengths to carry out that idea.
              No, that's precisely what doesn't happen very often. That's why I dislike the Maybrickian fallacy so intensely. It panders to the nonsensical view that serial killers dream up a deliberate campaign, picking their location and specific victim type way in advance. Fine for duff diaries and Hollywood, but it doesn't translate very well to the real world. In reality, the first faltering steps of a serial killer will be very exploratory and experimental, and will often bear only a vague similarity to his later crimes. They'd have their fantasiest, but often only the haziest of ideas as to how to translate that into physical action.

              When we're dealing with crimes committed within a very small locality, the perpetrator is almost invariably operating from a base within that locality, and in this case, the logical deduction is that his criminal range was heavily restricted by limited transport options. The vast majority of the population of that locality were made up of the working class poor. Makes far better sense, I'd say, than the hypothetical commuter singling out a tiny pocket of the East End and to-ing and fro-ing from that tiny pocket despite the increased risk of police and vigilante activity being stepped-up after every murder.

              The majority of serial killers aren't as choosey with their victim type as is popularly supposed. Ted Bundy didn't seek out college co-eds because he disliked them specifically as a group. They were victims of opportunity, and the car that got him from A to B opened the door to many more opportunities than a carless denizen of the East End.

              Best regards,
              Ben
              Last edited by Ben; 01-02-2009, 06:40 AM.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
                Seriously, I’m trying to get my head around what you and Ben are arguing and all I can come up with is the following.

                The underlying but unspoken belief appears to be that there is this biological creature known as a ‘serial killer’ who is driven by what might be called “blood lust” or “sexual gratification.”
                I don't believe that at all, RP. I'm of the same opinion as you about the "bogus psychology" involved in such twaddle. I don't see "serial killers" as anything special at all, and find the popular perception of "profiling" deeply unhelpful.

                Besides, my point has nothing to do with "serial killers", but has everything to do with this belief in the myth that Whitechapel/Spitalfields was some sort of sex resort frequented by middle and upper-class Victorians, and THE place to go if you wanted to pick up a prostitute in London. It... just... wasn't. It wasn't because (a) there were several other London boroughs with prostitutes, some with more than Spitalfields; (b) middle and upper-class Victorians had their own "sex resorts", where the women were of infinitely better "quality" than the desperate women of Dorset Street; (c) the criminal reputation - whether justified or not - of that area was hardly an incentive for middle/upper-class Victorian visitors at the best of times, still less at two in the morning.

                You only have to look at what happens today to see that the idea of a "man of quality" walking solo into a reputed no-go area on a sex expedition is ridiculous. How much more so would that have been at a time when class and wealth was more obvious to discern from a person's appearance, and the sense of "propriety" was infused into the upper echelons of society from cradle to grave?
                Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

                Comment


                • It is much more believable that toffs would gather at music halls in Spitalfields (safety in numbers and they probably had security) than it is to think a lone toff would wander the mean streets. I'm sure it happened occasionally, but to what end?

                  Maybe, in the name of science, someone will volunteer to dress up, wear some gold chains, and walk down one of London's worst streets propositioning the ladies? It can then be timed exactly how long they would last.

                  On a side note, I wonder if 1888 clubs had security guards and what they were like? I imagine the standard large, beefy man, but I wonder what kind of clothing they wore? The standard attire of the day doesn't lend itself to having to administer the occasional beat-down.

                  Comment


                  • It is much more believable that toffs would gather at music halls in Spitalfields (safety in numbers and they probably had security) than it is to think a lone toff would wander the mean streets.
                    Right you are, Brenda! Makes perfect sense in principle, and even when they did arrive in carriages and with other people, Stephen's first post provided a good example of the fate that was likely to befall them.

                    Going back a few pages, but I also wanted to thank Miss Marple for the interesting detail about the house in Fournier Street being used as a school for boys at the time of the murders, as opposed to being home to a single silk-loving toff.

                    Best regards,
                    Ben

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Ben View Post
                      Right you are, Brenda! Makes perfect sense in principle, and even when they did arrive in carriages and with other people, Stephen's first post provided a good example of the fate that was likely to befall them.

                      Going back a few pages, but I also wanted to thank Miss Marple for the interesting detail about the house in Fournier Street being used as a school for boys at the time of the murders, as opposed to being home to a single silk-loving toff.

                      Best regards,
                      Ben

                      Now now Ben----dont jump before you can run!There are about ten such houses that are equally palatial in this particular Street,abutting Christchurch itself ---all internal features designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor,architect of Christchurch ,pupil to Sir Christopher Wren,architect of St Paul"s Cathedral.None were EVER slums OK?
                      If you want to see the plans for these mansions then look on line- British history on line- Wood Michell estate,Fournier Street.
                      Myself I have no reason not to believe the owner -who told me that it had never been altered in any way---had never had electricity for example,that every wall hanging was intact etc etc etc .

                      re Fournier Street:
                      Plenty of toffs in that neck of the wood I am afraid old chap--you seem to be the one living in cloud cuckoo land---like that daft old judge in the case of Lord Archer some years back who couldnt believe that a lord might some nights prefer a back street hooker to his wife Lady Archer--- the judge famously asked the court to consider whether Lord Archer would really prefer this "smelly bit of rough" [judge"s unspoken words]-to the "fragrant Mary Archer,his wife" -yes the hooker in question was someone Archer had picked up in a sleazy red light area in a back street -all of which apparently had the journalists at the trial falling about about laughing----knowing as they did at the time that Lord Archer was the talk of the town because of this case---and ofcourse they also knew of Archer"s eclectic taste in ladies of the night .The judge was,much later proved wrong,ofcourse and had to eat his wig, but it had meant the hooker lost her case----only at the time as someone spilt the beans on Archer and he was done for contempt later!

                      Cheers Ben
                      Last edited by Natalie Severn; 01-02-2009, 06:32 PM.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Natalie Severn View Post
                        re Fournier Street:
                        Plenty of toffs in that neck of the wood I am afraid old chap--you seem to be the one living in cloud cuckoo land
                        You can check out the 1891 Census listing for Fournier Street (then "Church Street"), here:

                        http://www.census1891.com/churchstwhfull.htm

                        Can't see (m)any toffs there, I'm afraid.
                        like that daft old judge in the case of Lord Archer some years back who couldnt believe that a lord might some nights prefer a back street hooker to his wife Lady Archer-yes the hooker in question was someone picked up in a sleazy red light area in a back street
                        In Shepherd Market, Mayfair - a place infamous for high-class hookers, and nowhere near as much a "red light area" as Soho, a mile or so to the east. Needless to say, Shepherd Market is decidedly more "up-market" than Soho, or modern-day Spitalfields come to that.
                        the silly old bugger implied famously, was a bit "smelly"
                        No, the judge summed up by asking the jury of Mary Archer "Does she not have elegance? Does she not have fragrance?", which isn't the same as implying that Monica Coghlan was "a bit smelly" at all.
                        Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                        "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

                        Comment


                        • Hi Norma,

                          There are about ten such houses that are equally palatial in this particular Street,abutting Christchurch itself ---all internal features designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor,architect of Christchurch
                          And yet we learn from Miss Marple's research efforts that one of the buildings you mentioned as being "palatial" became a school for boys in the 1880s and was still used as such at the time of the murders. That's precisely what you'd expect to become of such buildings when an area becomes very seriously run down; their usage changes as the location does, and if it happened to one, the chances are very strong that it happened to the others too.

                          The largest and potentially most palatial of all transatlantic post-Titanic liners was her sister ship, the Brittanic, but that was quickly converted into a hospital ship during the war. The passage of time can radically alter the intended use of such ships and buildings, rendering 18th Century architecture quite immaterial. In any case, Fournier Street was very obviously the retreat of those with ordinary working class wages, as observed by Booth who was there at the time, and was not suppressing evidence of palatial toff-pads just for jolly.

                          Plenty of toffs in that neck of the wood I am afraid old chap--
                          Not according to all reliable sources, me ol' lass. Quite the reverse. Sorry about that.

                          Best regards,
                          Ben

                          Comment


                          • You can check out the 1891 Census listing for Fournier Street (then "Church Street"), here
                            Many thanks indeed for sharing that with us, Gareth.

                            Total and unambiguous vindication of Charles Booth's findings, in other words!

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Stephen Thomas View Post
                              This makes Mr. Astrakhan decidedly downmarket.
                              Indeed it does, Stephen.

                              Joseph Isaacs, who took a room in Paternoster Row, met the profile better. From JtR Suspect Guide, Morley: "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."

                              Roy
                              Sink the Bismark

                              Comment


                              • Hi Roy,

                                Joseph Isaacs was far from "upmarket", though, as I'm sure you're aware. Offhand, I seem to recall he was a cigar-maker or something of that nature and was arrested for rather petty theft. He was arrested and apparently quizzed about his whereabouts, only to be released pretty quickly thereafter. And it would seem that Hutchinson's evidence was discarded as having little value shortly thereafter.

                                Ben

                                Comment

                                Working...
                                X