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  • Druitt - the final days

    Any additions to the list below will be very useful:

    Montague John Druitt
    A Timetable of His Death

    Wednesday 19 September 1888 - Druitt appears for the defence in the case of Christopher Power, charged with malicious wounding (Central Criminal Court)
    The committal hearing for Power was held at Marylebone on Saturday 11 August

    Towards end of October 1888 - Druitt stays with his brother William in Bournemouth for one night (exact date unknown)

    Tuesday 27 November - Druitt appears for the appellants in the case Hake v Gosling in the Court of Appeal. On Friday 30 November it was reported that the appellants were successful

    Friday 30 November 1888 - Druitt is dismissed from the school at 9 Eliot Place

    Tuesday 11 December 1888 - William Druitt is informed by a friend (identity unknown) that MJD had not been heard of at his chambers (King's Bench Walk) for more than a week (i.e. some time prior to 4 December)

    After 11 December 1888 - William Druitt goes to London. At Blackheath he learns that Druitt had got into "serious trouble" and had been dismissed from Valentine's school on 30 November 1888
    William Druitt has MJD's effects searched "where he resided" (King's Bench Walk) and the suicide note was found

    Saturday 22 December - The ball at Canford Manor, Wimborne, on the guest list for which Druitt's name is included

    Monday 31 December 1888 just after 12:00 - Druitt's body found in the Thames off Thorneycroft's Works, Chiswick, by Henry Winslade.

  • #2
    Chris, to your fine list I add the following comments, etc:

    Montague John Druitt
    A Timetable of His Death and surrounding events of interest.

    Friday 17 August 1888 - John Henry Lonsdale is nearly killed in a boating accident at West Lulworth, Dorset. He survives because he is an expert swimmer (see comment below on 3 November regarding his health).

    Friday 31 August - Murder of Polly Nichols

    Saturday 8 September - Murder of Ann Chapman

    Wednesday 19 September 1888 - Druitt appears for the defence in the case of Christopher Power, charged with malicious wounding (Central Criminal Court)
    The committal hearing for Power was held at Marylebone on Saturday 11 August

    Sunday 30 September - Double Event, murders of Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes

    Towards end of October 1888 - Druitt stays with his brother William in Bournemouth for one night (exact date unknown)

    From a post of mine of July 14, 2008 regarding research I carried out at Bournemouth that day: "An interesting thing is that although two of these papers listed Bournemouth visitors, Montague is never listed as a visitor. Not in early August when he played in Dorset. Not Sept. 1. And, most interestingly, not at the end of October when brother William said he visited him at Bournemouth. There are never any visitors listed at William's home, Montgomery House, in Bournemouth during this period. My guess is that Montague, being family, did not consider himself a visitor."


    Saturday 3 November - Bournemouth press reports that Curate John Henry Lonsdale (see 18 December below) is about to be moved from Wimborne Minster for reasons of ill health. This is peculiar because Lonsdale from all accounts appears to have been in good health (see above, 17 August, his survival from boating accident due to his being an expert swimmer).

    Friday 9 November - Murder of Mary Kelly

    Tuesday 27 November - Druitt appears for the appellants in the case Hake v Gosling in the Court of Appeal. On Friday 30 November it was reported that the appellants were successful

    Just a question: are we positive this is Montague Druitt and not his brother or cousin or uncle, who were solicitors? Normally solicitors did not appear in court but there appears to be some circumstances under which they did. The reason I ask this is that the case seems to emanate from Bournemouth, where brother William lived. Of course, it is quite possible that William retained the services of his brother in this case.

    Friday 30 November 1888 - Druitt is dismissed from the school at 9 Eliot Place

    An assumption based on the apparently erroneous "December 30" in the news article regarding Montie's inquest, but probably a sound one.

    Tuesday 11 December 1888 - William Druitt is informed by a friend (identity unknown) that MJD had not been heard of at his chambers (King's Bench Walk) for more than a week (i.e. some time prior to 4 December)

    After 11 December 1888 - William Druitt goes to London. At Blackheath he learns that Druitt had got into "serious trouble" and had been dismissed from Valentine's school on 30 November 1888
    William Druitt has MJD's effects searched "where he resided" (King's Bench Walk) and the suicide note was found

    I dispute this. Druitt resided at Valentine's school and I think that is where the note was found. The confusion lies with the word "chambers." If this is taken in the legal sense of referring to a barrister's legal chambers then we are indeed talking of KBW. However, I think here the word "chambers" is used in the generic sense of "rooms," particularly including one's bedroom, i.e., one's place of residence.

    Tuesday 18 December - John Henry Lonsdale weds Katharine Carr Glyn at Wimborne Minster. Although Lonsdale is friends with Rev. Charles Druitt (Montie's cousin) and the Druitts are an influential Wimborne family, there are no Druitts listed among the guests in the Bournemouth press coverage of the wedding.

    Saturday 22 December - The ball at Canford Manor, Wimborne, on the guest list for which Druitt's name is included

    Monday 31 December 1888 just after 12:00 - Druitt's body found in the Thames off Thorneycroft's Works, Chiswick, by Henry Winslade. Conditions that day were extremely foggy, halting Thames traffic for a time.

    Wednesday 2 January 1889 - Inquest into Montague Druitt's death is conducted by Coroner Thomas Diplock at the Lamb Tab in Chiswick, yards from where Druitts body was recovered three days earlier. William Harvey Druitt testifies and perjures himself. Verdict is suicide whilst of unsound mind.

    March 1889 - According to Donald McCormick, Alan Bachert is said to have been told by a Scotland Yard official that JtR had drowned himself a few months earlier. The veracity of this statement is highly disputed and there is no independent corroboration. It should neither be relied upon nor totally disregarded out of hand.

    February 1891 - Henry Richard Farquharson, MP for Dorset West (Druitt's home district) blabs publicly that JtR was "the son of a surgeon" who committed suicide immediately after the last murder, an obvious reference to Druitt. The police, and hence Macnaghten, are notified.

    Friday 23 February 1894 - Sir Melville Macnaghten, Assistant Commissioner of Scotland Yard pens the official version of his memorandum identifying by name three suspects, his favored of which is Druitt.

    Sometime before 23 September 1913 - George Sims writes to John G. Littlechild of a "Dr D" suspect. Littlechild responds that he has never heard of a "Dr D" but then goes on to tell of Francis Tumblety, erroneously claiming that Tumblety had himself committed suicide.
    Last edited by aspallek; 12-30-2008, 12:46 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Andy
      Many thanks for your notes and additions
      Re: your note
      William Druitt has MJD's effects searched "where he resided" (King's Bench Walk) and the suicide note was found
      I dispute this. Druitt resided at Valentine's school and I think that is where the note was found.

      My thinking on this was as follows:
      William Druitt did not come to London to pursue his investigation into what had happened to Montague until after the 11 December. By that time Druitt had already been dismissed from Valentine's school for getting on for two weeks, so I think it highly unlikely he was still living there at the time of his death, whenever that was. Whether any of Druitt's effects and personal possessions were still at Eliot Place is debatable but considering the implied seriousness of Druitt's dismissal it is quite likely, in my opinion, that he would have been required to remove his possessions (or had them forwarded on to him) by the time William Druitt came to London.
      The seriousness of whatever caused MJD to be dismissed is analagous with what would now be classed as gross misconduct and this can be grounds even today for dismissal on the spot. I used to work in an office where I witnessed such an event and the unfortunate person in question was not only dismissed on the spot but was escorted from the building with immediate effect and the personal contents of his desk forwarded on to him. The offence in this case was that the person in question was in inappropriate contact with a person from a rival company.
      Obviously MJD's "offence" would have been of a different nature, whatever it was, but, as I said above, I think it highly unlikely he would still have been living at Eliot Place after 30 November.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Chris,

        I added a few more comments to the above.

        I understand your reasoning but i still disagree. I think Druitt would have been allowed to remain in his chambers for the weekend at least. I am aware of the current practice of escorting a dismissed employee from the premises but I doubt that kind of spectacle would have taken place in 1888. I think George Valentine would have said something like, "See here, Montague, Michaelmas term is just now ended. I will give you [X number of] days to clear your things out of the school. Here is your final pay and an additional severance settlement." Montague disappears the next day. As the school was not in session (and quite possibly Valentine may have been away on holidays) there would be no point in removing Montague's things. Also, another news story mentions a letter addressed to Valentine. I believe this is a confusion and the letter spoken of there is the same "Since Friday" letter that we are talking about. The fact that is was believed to be addressed to Valentine supports the notion that it was found at the school.

        I simply believe the preponderance of evidence suggests the "Since Friday" note, if it was even genuine, was found at Valentine's. Remember, however, that this note was "produced" by brother William at the inquest and that William had perjured himself (and I believe manipulated the proceedings). It is quite possible, therefore, that the letter was a fabrication.

        Thanks for your outstanding work!

        NB: The man's name in my above revisions was Albert Bachert and not Alan. Alan Bachert was a former acquaintance of mine!
        Last edited by aspallek; 12-30-2008, 01:01 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi Chris and Andy

          The Victorians could on occasion be loose with language, but surely the word "resided" implies a fairly long-term stay at one address? If Druitt had briefly occupied new lodgings, the word "resided" would seem slightly out of place. So I tend to go with Valentine's school here.

          If Druitt had moved from the school shortly before his death, and yet Valentine's school was meant as the place where he resided, then strictly speaking I suppose it should have been "where he had resided" but there you go. Then again, perhaps Druitt wasn't obliged to move out immediately.

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Andy and Robert
            Thanks for your further thoughts on this point
            I think the bottom line is that, like so many other parts of this case, there is simply not enough surviving information to make any definitive judgement
            Of the four surviving accounts of the inquest, only one (The Acton Gazette of 5 Jan) goes into any degree of detail
            But it is from one of the shorter accounts (The Dorset Chronicle of 10 Jan) that we have the claim that there were two different documents alluding to suicide:
            "The deceased had left a letter, addressed to Mr. Valentine, of the school, in which he alluded to suicide. A paper had also been found upon which the deceased had written, "Since Friday, I have felt as if I was going to be like mother," who had for some months been mentally afflicted."
            If a letter had been left for Valentine this would really only make sense if that had occurred at the school. IF there were two separate notes (and I think this unlikely but more probably case of press confusion) then it is not clear where the other was found.
            One further point that interests me is what steps William Druitt is likely to have taken after the 11 December apart from those outlined in the press accounts. The time between William being informed that Montague had not been seen for some time and the body being found was almost three weeks (11 to 31 December). Would William have contacted the police? Would Montague have been officially reported as a missing person?
            One last point - are there any theories as to who this unnamed friend was who informed William that his brother was missing?
            regards and thanks again
            Chris

            Comment


            • #7
              These are some interesting questions, however ultimately they do not make a great deal of difference.

              1. The "friend" who informed Williams that Montague was missing: There is no way to know who this might have been. The most natural reading is that this was a friend of William's. Of course, he may also have been a friend of Montague's as well. Of course, William would have known members of the legal profession in London who would also have known Montague. When Montague failed to show up at his chambers for for the whole week begining 3 Decemeber the freind probably gave Montague until the following Monday before he sounded the alarm. When Montague did not appear on 10 December, William was contacted presumably by telegram on the 11th.

              2. The timing of William's investigation: I believe William would have departed for London immediately to make inquiries. This means on Wendesday 12 December, or possibly even on the 11th if the telegram arrived early enough in the day. Bournemouth to London was about a 3 hour rail journey. We know that William went to Blackheath. Whether he talked to Valentine personally is not known. I believe this is where William had Montague's rooms searched and found the "Since Friday" letter. It is likely that William would also have contacted the police to inquire about unidentified corpses recently found. This is probably how the police knew to contact William when Montague's body was found.

              3. The items found on Druitt's body further confuse the question of where he had spent the night of 30 November. The rail pass between Blackheath and London was found on him which might suggest he began his journey at Blackheath. On the other hand, he might have simply always carried this on him. That his Hammersmith ticket originated at Charing Cross has always been a puzzle to me. Had Montague spent the night at KBW, Temple station would have been only a very short walk and would likely have been his point of departure for Hammersmith rather than Charing Cross. Charing Cross would be a likely transfer point from Blackheath, however my research indicates that Druitt most probably got off the train at Cannon Street rather than continuing on to Charing Cross. Therefore, Cannon Street would be the likely transfer point on a journey to Hammersmith from Blackheath. This leaves the option that Montague did something not totally logical (which is quite possible indeed) in not traveling from the most convenient station or that he had some business in the vicinity of Charing Cross before traveling on to Hammersmith. Also, if his ultimate destination was indeed Chiswick, Montague could have chosen to take a train directly there from London Bridge and not gone into London at all, but instead he first went to Charing Cross.

              3. As conditions were danerously foggy so that Thames steamboat traffic was halted until 2:30 pm, one wonders what Winslade was doing out on the water at 1:00 pm. It is possible that conditions were no quite so bad at Chiswick as it was also reported that Crystal Palace was gleaming in the sunlight at the time!

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi Andy and Chris

                The questions just keep piling up!

                I agree that William probably contacted the police - hence the speed with which they contacted him on the discovery of the body. Whether the police made their own investigations at the school, I cannot say.

                As for the friend, if Monty didn't actually rent rooms at 9KBW, but used it merely as a business address, then one wonders how it was known that he hadn't been seen there for more than a week. He may have been in the habit of popping in there, say, every two or three days to check his mail. On such occasions he might have spoken to people, particularly if there was a receptionist (couldn't think of the Victorian equivalent) at the desk, if there was one. If this receptionist (probably some venerable old boy) handed out the mail, then he'd know both from memory and from the accumulated mail whether Monty had been in. But if there were separate maiboxes for each barrister, then Monty might simply have stepped in, unlocked his box, re-locked it and left without anyone noticing. Of course, if he went missing during a case then that would have been noticed, but such seems not to have been the situation.

                The fact that a gap of merely a week was noticed by somebody or other, and prompted concern from William, confirms that Monty was being quite active in his legal career. He had even registered himself to be included at 9KBW in the directory for the year 1889.
                Last edited by Robert; 12-30-2008, 08:58 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Robert View Post
                  As for the friend, if Monty didn't actually rent rooms at 9KBW, but used it merely as a business address, then one wonders how it was known that he hadn't been seen there for more than a week.
                  I have not heard this theory before. I don't think there is much doubt that Druitt rented chambers at KBW, though not lodgings. I also suspect that he visited his chambers if not daily then at least every few days. Otherwise it would not have been prudent to purchase the very expensive rail pass found on his body. The cost of this first class pass would have been at least around 1000 (sic) in todays cost. I have researched this. I suspect his absence would have been noted but no great alarm sounded until he had been missing for a week.

                  I'm sure there would have been a law clerk somewhere on the premises. It was the clerk's responsibility to dole out the incoming cases to the various barristers, for which he received a percentage of the barrister's fee. Law clerks often became rather well off owing to this practice.

                  This raises a very interesting possibility. While John Henry Lonsdale was a barrister at 1 KBW he moved his residence from KBW to 5 Eliot Cottages, Blackheath, literally a stone's throw from Valentine's school. Lonsdale boarded there with Alexander Lee, a law clerk. I don't know where Lee clerked but KBW would be a logical guess. One wonders if it might not have been Lee who contacted William, or at least Lee who contacted a friend of William's. And might that friend have been Lonsdale himself, who was at the time curate at Wimborne Minster? We don't know for certain that Lonsdale knew William but we do know that he was friends with Rev. Charles Druitt, William's (and Montague's) cousin. Now, if Lonsdale was the friend who contacted William this would have been exactly one week prior to his (Lonsdale's) wedding at the Minster. All of this might explain why there appears to have been no Druitts at the Lonsdale wedding, i.e. they may have been occupied with searching for Montague and not interested in attending a wedding under the circumstances even had they been invited.

                  Some food for thought.
                  Last edited by aspallek; 12-30-2008, 09:23 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    That's a very interesting suggestion, Andy. The only slight drawback I can see is that if Lee was so near the school in 1888, he might himself have known about Monty's dismissal and presumably passed the news on, whereas William seems only to have found out about it by actually going to the school.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Yes, Robert, I thought of that too but it can work either way. For example, Lee would have known of Druitt's dismissal so not seeing him around Blackheath would be no surprise. But if Lee was in a position to know that Druitt was neither at Valentine's nor at his chambers at KBW that might have been sufficient enough to sound the alarm.

                      However, in reviewing what we know about Lee I discovered that he was a solicitor's, not a barrister's, clerk. I'm not sure whether there were also solicitors at KBW or whether they were all barristers' chambers.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi Andy

                        There were solicitors there :


                        http://www.casebook.org/forum/messages/4922/11873.html

                        The second page of that thread has some info from Dr Rider on the live-in folk.

                        There was a George St John Mildmay at 9KBW and I might be imagining it, but I thought I remembered Chris posting a census return for the school showing a pupil Mildmay (not George St John but maybe related). Anyhow, John Ruffels's post on that thread shows George as a contemporary of Monty's at Oxford and with a wife with Dorset connections.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thank you, Robert. I suspected that was the case. Now if we only knew where Lee clerked! It seems at least somewhat likely that he clerked at KBW since he took in a boarder, Lonsdale, who had chambers there. At least he may well have clerked at the Inner Temple.

                          If Lee were indeed in a position to know that Druitt was neither at Valentine's nor at his chambers then the obvious person he would have contacted would have been Lonsdale, who was in touch or could easily get in touch with the Druitt family. He could then ask Lonsdale whether perhaps Druitt had shown up at his family home of Wimborne Minster. It's all very interesting and it fits together very, very neatly but unfortunately there is absolutely no way of verifying it. It would involve Lonsdale at yet another key juncture of the Montague Druitt saga. Remember that Lonsdale is the one person who seems to be in the middle of everything. He knows the Druitts. He is a classmate of Macnaghten's at Eton. He almost certainly knows Farquharson. He knows Harry Wilson. He is potentially a key figure.

                          As to Mildmay, unfortunately he doesn't marry until 1898 so the Dorset connection via his wife is not there in 1888. He is a little bit ahead of Druitt at Winchester and Oxford but they would have overlapped. Interestingly, however, Mildmay attended Corpus Christi college at Oxford and not New College as did most Winchester graduates.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Andy, I think that Alexander John Lee was a schoolmaster in earlier life and had been married before, with a son Alexander Watters Lee from that marriage - about the same age as Monty and also a solicitor's clerk. I am having trouble finding Alexander Watters Lee after 1871.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Robert, what ever you can find out about Alexander J. Lee would be very helpful. Indeed by 1881 Lee is living with his wife, six daughters, mother-in-law, and a female boarder. One wonders whether he ever got his turn at the privy! At any rate, no mention of a son in that census.

                              The birth of Alexander Watters Lee is registered in March 1856 at Maidstone, Kent. I, too, can find no trace of him after that.
                              Last edited by aspallek; 12-31-2008, 01:30 AM.

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