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  • Millers Court Gate?

    In The Complete Jack The Ripper A To Z, under the entry for Mary Ann Cox, theres a quote that mentions Millers Court having an iron gate (unless i'm reading it wrong). Mrs Coxs niece is quoted as saying -

    'She saw Mary coming through the iron gate with this gentleman, a real toff. This night as they got under the lamp in the court they stopped'

    Did the court at the time of the murder have a gate? I havent ever seen any visual reference for this

  • #2
    This is the account given to Dan Farson, I do believe.

    Mrs Cox's neice seems to have mixed up a few stories with perhaps the mythology that had developed by the time she said these words (probably in the late 1950s when Farson was researching the Ripper for TV). It is therefore at least 70 years after the event.

    This is the only account I can think of with reference to an iron gate. Even contemporary sketches don't show one. Therefore, I think caution is advised...

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    • #3
      Yes, you're right - it is from some time after the fact, it just seemed like quite a specific detail. None of the contemporary press reports show a gate

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      • #4
        Yes I certainly haven't heard anything about a gate in the past. Is it possible though that there might have been a gate there which was rarely, if ever used, much like the doors into the passageways at 29 Hanbury St and others were rarely closed due to the amount of traffic through them?

        Cheers,
        Adam.

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        • #5
          There was no iron gate.

          Rob

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          • #6
            Originally posted by John Bennett View Post
            This is the account given to Dan Farson, I do believe.

            Mrs Cox's neice seems to have mixed up a few stories with perhaps the mythology that had developed by the time she said these words (probably in the late 1950s when Farson was researching the Ripper for TV). It is therefore at least 70 years after the event.

            This is the only account I can think of with reference to an iron gate. Even contemporary sketches don't show one. Therefore, I think caution is advised...
            Hello John,

            Caution should be advised throughout the Farson tale, imho.

            kindly

            Phil
            Chelsea FC. TRUE BLUE. 💙


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

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi,
              Could it not have referred to the Iron plate across the arch of the court[ Millers court]?.
              It may have been known to the locals as the ''Iron gate'' being the entrance to the passage.
              With reference to the tale allegedly told to Dan Farson, I have a open mind.
              Unless the late ''Farson fabricated such a meeting with Cox's niece , I find several points of intrest.
              Regards Richard.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Rob Clack View Post
                There was no iron gate.
                You're right as always there, Rob but it is interesting, though not I suppose surprising, how often the word 'gateway' appears in Ripper literature given that 3 canonicals were killed in gateways. In this context Mrs Prater is supposed to have said she lived in the room over the gateway to Millers Court by which she would have meant the alleyway entrance in Dorset Street.
                allisvanityandvexationofspirit

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                • #9
                  For those who wish to compare the two stories - the first is Cox's witness statement taken on 9th November:

                  I am a widow and an unfortunate. I have known the female occupying No 13 room Millers Court about 18 months. I knew her by the name Mary Jane. About a quarter to twelve last night I came into Dorset Street from Commercial Street, and saw walking in front of me Mary Jane with a man, they turned into the Court and as I entered the Court they went in doors, as they were going into her room, I said good night Mary Jane, she was very drunk and could scarcely answer me, but said good night, the man was carrying a quart can of beer. I shortly afterwards heard her singing. I went out shortly after twelve and returned about one o’clock and she was still singing in her room. I went out again shortly after one o’clock and returned at 3 o’clock, there was no light in her room then and all was quiet, and I heard no noise all night.
                  The man whom I saw was about 36 years old, about 5ft 5in high, complexion fresh, and I believe he had blotches on his face, small side whiskers, and a thick carroty moustache, dressed in shabby dark clothes, dark overcoat and black felt hat.
                  Mary Jane was dressed I think, last night when I saw her, in a linsey frock, red knitted crossover around shoulders, had no hat or bonnet on.


                  And the story as apparently related to Dan Farson by Cox's neice:

                  "The night of the murder of Mary Kelly my aunt was very young, just married with one child. She was standing at her door and waiting for her husband who was a bit of a boozer. She saw Mary coming through the iron gate with this gentleman, a real toff. Mary was always bringing home men, mostly seamen from a pub called the Frying Pan, singing and holding their arms with a bottle of gin under her arm. This night as they got under the lamp in the court they stopped. Mary's words were "all right love don't pull me along". My aunt said they were only a few yards away from her, at the door she said she saw him as plain as looking at her hand. He was a fine looking man, wore an overcoat with a cape, high hat, not a silk one, and a Gladstone bag. As they went into the house, Mary called out "goodnight" to my aunt."

                  (She also added that her aunt heard 'terrible screams from Mary, but no one took any notice because it happened often'). Finally, she is quoted as saying this about the discovery of Kelly's body:

                  "Now next morning a Mrs Storey who was always in and out of Mary's room to have a pinch of snuff and a chat, was the first person to find the terrible body. Mary had a string on the door so anybody visiting had no need to knock. She dashed next door to my aunt and they both went in. My aunt never forgot the sight she saw."

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                  • #10
                    Thanks John, when you see the two side by side i think it becomes obvious that the tale has been embellished a little !

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                    • #11
                      Hi John,
                      Cox's neice alleged tale to the late Dan Farson sounds like a mixture of fantasy and truth, it goes against all the grain.
                      The main concern is if Mrs Cox related this scene to her family , but told a different version to the police was she being totally honest in ''that respect.''
                      Her description of the clothing seen in relation to the sighting differs, the frequent seaman tale seems unlikely, the screams heard are unrealistic, but the singing is mentioned, and the curious'' Don't pull me along'' is intresting.
                      Also the neice mentions that she was standing at her door, awaiting her drunken partner, again differs from her official statement.
                      The most curious account is the mention of a Mrs Storey.. who the hell is she?
                      It is inconceivable that this person along with Cox ever entered room 13 any time after Kelly's death, although could have had a peek during the day via the window.
                      But what about the string on the door...was this an invention by Cox/Neice, or even Farson to add spice, would it be possible that this was the actual ''window trick''?
                      Regards Richard .

                      Regards

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by richardnunweek View Post
                        Hi John,
                        Cox's neice alleged tale to the late Dan Farson sounds like a mixture of fantasy and truth, it goes against all the grain.
                        That's certainly my take on it, Richard. But as a piece of oral history, it is fascinating in that it goes some way to showing a bit of 'Ripper psychology'.

                        We have the neice saying that her aunt was married, whereas Mrs Cox states to police that she was a widow and a prostitute. Of course, she may have told members of the family that she was married etc. to remove any stigma attached to being a Spitalfields unfortunate. Who can say?

                        The tall hat and gladstone bag does define an outsider, in this case, the 'toff' and I believe there were opinions in 1888 that this could be the case - passing the buck, if you like. And as for discovering the body, well that sounds like a vast exaggeration to make Mrs. Cox more a part of the situation than she already was.

                        This type of lily-gilding still happens today. I have met numerous people who have stories garnered from a great-great somebody or other in regards to what happened at the time and they all go against the grain in some way. They are still interesting to hear, nonetheless.

                        JB

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by John Bennett View Post
                          This type of lily-gilding still happens today. I have met numerous people who have stories garnered from a great-great somebody or other in regards to what happened at the time and they all go against the grain in some way. They are still interesting to hear, nonetheless.
                          Just a thought, John, but might it not be interesting if people like yourself and Philip wrote down these pieces of family folklore and with permission took the names of the people (along with the names of their relations) who are coming out with perhaps useful stuff?
                          allisvanityandvexationofspirit

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by John Bennett View Post
                            That's certainly my take on it, Richard. But as a piece of oral history, it is fascinating in that it goes some way to showing a bit of 'Ripper psychology'.

                            We have the neice saying that her aunt was married, whereas Mrs Cox states to police that she was a widow and a prostitute. Of course, she may have told members of the family that she was married etc. to remove any stigma attached to being a Spitalfields unfortunate. Who can say?

                            The tall hat and gladstone bag does define an outsider, in this case, the 'toff' and I believe there were opinions in 1888 that this could be the case - passing the buck, if you like. And as for discovering the body, well that sounds like a vast exaggeration to make Mrs. Cox more a part of the situation than she already was.

                            This type of lily-gilding still happens today. I have met numerous people who have stories garnered from a great-great somebody or other in regards to what happened at the time and they all go against the grain in some way. They are still interesting to hear, nonetheless.

                            JB
                            Hi John

                            It would appear that all of these later, handed down stories, as valuable as they are to hear and to collect, are tainted by what the tellers of the story know about the case, which applies whether they are repeating exactly what they think the person of 1888 said or else the story of the person of 1888 itself is informed by what that individual later heard after they experienced the episode they are describing. So all such accounts should be treated with extreme caution.

                            Best regards

                            Chris
                            Christopher T. George
                            Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conference
                            just held in Baltimore, April 7-8, 2018.
                            For information about RipperCon, go to http://rippercon.com/
                            RipperCon 2018 talks can now be heard at http://www.casebook.org/podcast/

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ChrisGeorge View Post
                              Hi John

                              It would appear that all of these later, handed down stories, as valuable as they are to hear and to collect, are tainted by what the tellers of the story know about the case, which applies whether they are repeating exactly what they think the person of 1888 said or else the story of the person of 1888 itself is informed by what that individual later heard after they experienced the episode they are describing. So all such accounts should be treated with extreme caution.

                              Best regards

                              Chris
                              Hello Chris,

                              Which, when reading Farson again in the aftermath of what we know now, causes doubts to pop up all over the tale he presents...to me at least.

                              best wishes

                              Phil
                              Chelsea FC. TRUE BLUE. 💙


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

                              Comment

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