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Exhibition featuring Francis Thompson

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  • Exhibition featuring Francis Thompson

    Yesterday I went to a small exhibition featuring Thompson & his life & work at Ushaw College in County Durham (see http://www.ushaw.org). Thompson attended the College as did the orientalist Lafcadio Hearn, who is also featured in the exhibition. If you're in the North-East, it might be worth a visit though the exhibit is very small, but watch out: the College is open at odd times and different bits of it open & close on certain days - I recommend phoning in advance. I couldn't see anything in the exhibition about Thompson as Jack the Ripper: a cover-up? If you favour Thompson as a suspect you might want to visit his alma mater which is fascinating anyway. Entrance is free if you don't go on any tours.

    SW

  • #2
    Actually my wife now tells me there was something about the Ripper connection in the exhibition.

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    • #3
      Hi Simon,

      You wouldn't have thought that they'd want to mention Jack the Ripper? I read Pattersons book and initially thought that Thompson ticked quite a few 'boxes.' I was then advised to read Walsh's biography of Thompson which 'unticked' most of them for me
      Regards

      Herlock Sholmes

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      • #4
        Hi,

        I would be interested to know which boxes Walsh's book unticked. I'm always up for revising my theory and even dropping it altogether.

        Thanks
        Author of

        "Jack the Ripper, The Works of Francis Thompson"

        http://www.francisjthompson.com/

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi Richard,

          After reading the Walsh biography it appears that Thompson was looking for his prostitute friend to thank her. He seemed to bear her no ill-will. Also it seems that she was a west end rather than an East End prostitute and I can't recall any evidence that, after leaving Thompson, her fortunes changed? I may be mis-remembering though.
          It also didn't seem certain to me that he did carry a knife. Didn't he say that he'd used a knife to shave in the past?
          Also the people that knew him, like the Meynell's, didn't think that he was violent. I know that a girl's mother (can't recall the name sorry) was warned off him but that was because of his drug habit.
          I still feel that he's an interesting suspect but after reading the biography he seemed more like Van Gogh to me. You might call him a 'troubled soul.' He didn't come across as dangerous though. In my opinion that is.
          Regards

          Herlock Sholmes

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks for the feedback Herlock. I concur with your assessment of Walsh's book. I could, of course, argue the points and his interpretation of events but you have been very kind to share your thoughts.

            Cheers.
            Author of

            "Jack the Ripper, The Works of Francis Thompson"

            http://www.francisjthompson.com/

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
              Hi Richard,

              After reading the Walsh biography it appears that Thompson was looking for his prostitute friend to thank her. He seemed to bear her no ill-will. Also it seems that she was a west end rather than an East End prostitute and I can't recall any evidence that, after leaving Thompson, her fortunes changed? I may be mis-remembering though.
              It also didn't seem certain to me that he did carry a knife. Didn't he say that he'd used a knife to shave in the past?
              Also the people that knew him, like the Meynell's, didn't think that he was violent. I know that a girl's mother (can't recall the name sorry) was warned off him but that was because of his drug habit.
              I still feel that he's an interesting suspect but after reading the biography he seemed more like Van Gogh to me. You might call him a 'troubled soul.' He didn't come across as dangerous though. In my opinion that is.
              However, some serial killers do seem to be able to compartmentalize their everyday lives; or at least they need some sort of trigger to set them off. For instance, Sutcliffe was an extremely violent serial killer, but he doesn't seem to have been violent generally. And whilst his marriage was decidedly odd, there was no evidence of any kind of domestic abuse.

              Comment


              • #8
                Well, Richard gives a lot of detail about how Thompson's image was shamelessly cleaned up. I'm 1/3 of the way through his book at the moment, having been directed to it by the exhibition. Curious coincidence Thompson & James Kelly both born in Preston.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Richard Patterson View Post
                  Thanks for the feedback Herlock. I concur with your assessment of Walsh's book. I could, of course, argue the points and his interpretation of events but you have been very kind to share your thoughts.

                  Cheers.
                  To be totally fair Richard I would like to read your book again. I often read of a new suspect then waiver between positions. I think it's probably usual to be more influenced by the last thing that you read on a particular subject. I think that after reading Walsh I felt sympathy for Thompson so maybe a re-assessment maybe in order. It's possible that some of those 'unticked' boxes might become 'ticked' again. And let's face it, there are many suspects that don't have half the points in favour that Thompson does. I did enjoy reading your book too. Something I can't say about all Ripper books.
                  Regards

                  Herlock Sholmes

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Just reading Brigid Boardman's 1988 biography of Thompson. Whether he was JtR or not, he certainly lived a very dramatic life. Boardman finishes with Thompson's life on the streets about 1/4 of the way in.

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                    • #11
                      Hi Simon,

                      Out of the two biographies, John Walsh's and Brigid Boardman's, I prefer Boardman's. both are interesting as neither would make me cancel Thompson as a suspect. I have tried to read them as if I had never heard of Thompson as a suspect, but I know it is a futile task for when I read both it was with the eye of someone looking for even the smidgen of information that would tend to show guilt. Sadly I will never be able to read anything on Thompson without my judgment clouded by my bias formed over twenty-years. My opinion is that the Ripper was a piece of S_ _ t yet I can not help feeling admiration for the great poet that Thompson was and sympathy for his troubled life.
                      Author of

                      "Jack the Ripper, The Works of Francis Thompson"

                      http://www.francisjthompson.com/

                      Comment

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