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How well did Jack know the East End?

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  • How well did Jack know the East End?

    Brought over from the 'So would he have run?' thread:

    Thinking about Lechmere's possible routes to and from work has got me wondering how well he (or whoever else was JTR) really new the East End. The idea of someone with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the 'Whitechapel labyrinth' seems to sit better with top-hatted and cloaked Jack of myth than the mundane nobody epitomised by Lechmere.

    Why would he know more than the main arteries and the handful of streets that he regularly used to get to work/family/pub etc. ? Exploring the streets of the East End for pleasure would have been a pretty strange thing for a LVP working man to do, I would think.

    This might make an interesting thread on it's own, if only I knew how to create one!


    I'd be interested to know your views.

    Cheers,


    MrB

  • #2
    Ed,

    Given that he only moved to Doveton Street in June, 1888 he may not have too well been acquainted with routes from there to Broad Street.

    He would most likely have started work around 14. Prior to that he would no doubt have known the streets in the immediate vicinity extremely well, but the wider East End? I doubt it. Once he is working, how much leisure time does he have?

    What I am trying to question here is not a familiarity with the main thoroughfares or streets where he would naturally walk on his way to school/work/grannies etc, but the cliche that Jack knew every last alley and court in the East End and this was how he was able to escape detection.

    This occurred to me when I noticed the neat geographical symmetry in the work day murders if considered from a Lechmere perspective. The first two along a southerly route close(r) to his previous homes, then Nichols and then a switch to a more northerly route. It made me wonder whether a side benefit from escorting Paul to work was the discovery of a new route that he himself could take.

    Cheers,

    MrB
    Last edited by MrBarnett; 06-30-2014, 03:35 AM.

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    • #3
      You would have to take every location known to have been inhabited or visited each individual suspects within the time frame. and work out routes he may have followed between them and likely barriers - eg major rods - that would probably have channelled his movements in certain directions

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      • #4
        Ed,

        Perhaps the title of the thread should have been:

        'How well would Jack have had to have known the East End?'

        Not very well at all, I would suggest.

        If you take the geographical logic of the Lechmere theory (leaving the rest to one side for the moment) we have a killer who probably met his work day victims bang on one or other of his two routes to work, and added a couple of weekend forays in the vicinity of his childhood home and a possible diversion post interruption to Aldgate.

        No ducking and diving down alleyways, just plodding along familiar major streets and picking up whatever came his way. The actual murder sites strike me as being the choice of the victims.

        MrB
        Last edited by MrBarnett; 06-30-2014, 04:25 AM.

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        • #5
          Yes but to have the confidence to do it, knowing that he knew the different routes in and out and where they led would have been important.
          That is why criminals tend to operate in areas they are familiar with - in that sense a serial killer would be similar to a normal criminal.
          The most common assumption and one that I am virtually certain was the case - is that the victim took the culprit to the eventual crime scene. It was her choice. I think the killer would have to be confident himself that such a place was safe for his purposes before he went ahead. It is not always necessarily the case that a suitable location for a sexual assignation will be a suitable place to kill, rip up and escape unseen.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Lechmere View Post
            It is not always necessarily the case that a suitable location for a sexual assignation will be a suitable place to kill, rip up and escape unseen.
            Your'e not wrong there. I would suggest that some of the locations were so iffy as to preclude any suggestion of a risk assessment by the killer. Take Dutfields Yard. Short of knocking on the door of the club and asking if they had a spare bed, could they have chosen a riskier place at that time and in that general area?

            MrB

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            • #7
              It perhaps suggests greater confidence in that location - maybe he knew when most people left the club. Maybe it was more of an impulse attack.
              Maybe we went out not especially intending to attack that night but the mood came on him.
              Or all of the above.

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              • #8
                Getting swiftly to a second kill site that night also speaks of local knowledge.
                I have little time for suggestions of different killers.

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                • #9
                  Having been lost in some of the finest cities in the world, I can say with a certain authority that finding a way out is much easier than say, attempting to locate a specific address. Cities herd people towards large arteries. There is more light, more sound, more movement. Even in the dead of night. Towards warehouse districts is always wrong, towards businesses like bars and restaurants is always right. Towards a river is also almost always right.

                  Give me an address to locate in London, and I promise you I wont find it. Drop me in the middle of London blindfolded, and I can find my way to a major road, and therefor a cab. As long as Jack's sense of direction wasn't totally absent, he didn't need to know the area to escape from it. On the other hand, he did need to know it to find women to solicit who were on their own.
                  The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

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                  • #10
                    If he wanted to use smaller roads to effect his escapeople he would need to know the area. Just heading by instinct to the biggest main road could be risky. Once st the main road you would want to head in the right direction as well.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Lechmere View Post
                      Getting swiftly to a second kill site that night also speaks of local knowledge.
                      I have little time for suggestions of different killers.
                      A limited amount of local knowledge for JTR in general, I agree. But possibly even less for Lech in particularc, given that his route for much of his working life had probably been Commercial Road/Whitechapel High Street/ Aldgate...' he wouldn't have needed to have explored much beyond that to have sought out Eddowes.

                      I am totally with you re the double event. One killer, disturbed because he acquiesced with the wrong choice of venue the first time.

                      MrB

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                      • #12
                        Hi Ed,

                        Hanbury Street is another example of a bad choice of location for a murder. If anyone comes to the back door and discovers you, you are trapped in the yard. If the victim makes a noise and you lose your nerve, or someone sticks their head out of a window and tells you to f off you have to run back through the building and out into Hanbury Street blind (i.e. you have no idea whether the street is empty.)

                        I see little if any evidence of thought being given to the locations by Jack. Dutfields Yard strikes as somewhere the woman might choose as just about as safe as it gets. A dark, quiet corner to get the business done but close to a busy club, should she need to cry for help.

                        MrB
                        Last edited by MrBarnett; 06-30-2014, 07:14 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Errata View Post
                          Having been lost in some of the finest cities in the world, I can say with a certain authority that finding a way out is much easier than say, attempting to locate a specific address. Cities herd people towards large arteries. There is more light, more sound, more movement. Even in the dead of night. Towards warehouse districts is always wrong, towards businesses like bars and restaurants is always right. Towards a river is also almost always right.

                          Give me an address to locate in London, and I promise you I wont find it. Drop me in the middle of London blindfolded, and I can find my way to a major road, and therefor a cab. As long as Jack's sense of direction wasn't totally absent, he didn't need to know the area to escape from it. On the other hand, he did need to know it to find women to solicit who were on their own.
                          Hi Errata,

                          I couldn't agree more. Most of my working life was spent in the West End of London. My route home was via Liverpool Street station and I often walked between the two - for fun! Once you grasp the major East/West routes and have some idea of where the river is , you can wander to your hearts content through a myriad of little streets and alleyways without fear of getting lost and always trending in the right direction.

                          No need for detailed knowledge, just a reasonable sense of direction and a familiarity with the main routes (which Lech, for example, would have got through his job).


                          MrB.

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                          • #14
                            I think there's a big difference between wandering with no care in the world and getting away from a major crime, where getting caught would result in execution.

                            There's also a slight psychological difference between doing an immediate act in a risky location, and doing it in a risky location where you have no idea about the local circumstances - how quiet it tends to be where you end up if you turn left or right, where there is a cut through that you could lose someone who tries to follow.

                            Lechmere would have been well acquainted with all the streets in that neighbourhood after 20 years as a carman based in a local depot - with other Pickfords offices in the general area also, and after having lived virtually all his life in the area. Different things will have given him cause to have got to know he whole area of the crime scenes.
                            Little map books were issued to cabmen and I have no doubt a carman would have had one as well.
                            He may not have know the top end of Bethnal Green or the Limehouse area or much of Poplar or Bow, but the Whitechapel and Spitalfields areas would have been very much in his normal stamping ground.

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                            • #15
                              The most complex and unfamiliar part of Lechmere's post mid June walk would probably be the bit he claims to have taken between Doveton Street and Bucks Row.
                              Last edited by Lechmere; 06-30-2014, 11:42 AM.

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