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Friday 28th Sept. 1888 Shoe Lane Casual Ward

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  • Friday 28th Sept. 1888 Shoe Lane Casual Ward

    According to a report in the East London Observer of 13th October 1888, Kate,the day after she returned from hopping in Kent, told the Superintendent of Shoe Lane Casual Ward,where she had often stayed before going,that she had come back to get the reward for catching the Ripper.She said she thought she knew him.
    Now Kate parted from John Kelly at 2pm on Saturday 29th, the following day.John Kelly later claimed she told him she was going to her daughters in Bermondsey to try to cadge money, but in my opinion they must both have known, full well, that her daughter had moved -to avoid her mother pestering her for money.In fact she had moved several times in the previous two years, so I doubt very much she said this to him.
    I wonder what she actually told him she was going to do?
    Six hours later she was found drunk and disorderly in The High Street,Aldgate-not five minutes from where she had left John Kelly in Houndsditch.
    She was carted off to Bishopsgate Police Station,let out at 1.00am and apparently was last seen turning towards Houndsditch,presumably making her way back to Houndsditch, Aldgate.
    What was the big attraction for her there?Why Aldgate?And what was she doing with herself those six hours from 2pm until 8.30 pm when PC Robinson collared her?
    Its easy to say she was soliciting but she wasnt arrested for that---nor was she a woman known for that.-[Frederick William Wilkinson, deputy of Cooney"s Lodging House].also -see The Times 5 October 1888.Coroners Inquests [L]1888,no 135,Corporation of London Records Office.

  • #2
    Hi Nats,

    Its a very interesting situation that we have with Katie. Im not sure that Kate saw John Kelly at all on that Saturday, as we know the pawn ticket wasnt dated for the Saturday morning, but rather the Friday, so Kelly's breakfast story is likely fiction, rather than forgetfullness. If thats true, and we have reason to believe that her being out from a workhouse at 8am isnt possible due to chores being required before leaving, then she may have been on the loose from sometime Friday night until 8:30pm the next night.

    I believe it possible that the story is true, that Kates intentions were just that...I think with Kelly's blessing, and she took off to broker a deal Friday night, maybe get money to not say anything....or an advance on what would be a large reward for turning him in. Because I believe Kate thought it was someone in her and John's circle of friends, Irish ones.

    Someone hears her tale first, gets her in touch with a person or people that buy her drinks and get her hammered, assuring her she'll be taken care of when she meets "Mr X" near Mitre Street...where he is known to be most nights. She overdoes her joy at her good fortune....becomes a fire engine briefly....and is plopped in "nobody". 4 1/2 hours later, she is Mary Kelly of Fashion St, and heads immediately in the opposite direction of where her usual home, and John Kelly, are. With no money, no place to stay, and no knowledge of whether John had earned a bed for them that night at the Market that day...or got one of the promise of funds coming shortly.

    To cash in?

    Cheers Nats
    Last edited by perrymason; 04-20-2008, 04:04 AM.


    • #3

      as we know the pawn ticket wasnt dated for the Saturday morning, but rather the Friday, so Kelly's breakfast story is likely fiction,

      No, we don't know the story is "likely fiction" at all. It is possibly fiction, no more and no less. In regard to the breakfast story, there is one element of possible fiction--the date--and that could be the result of many thi9ngs from sheer clerical error to the pawn broker seeking a little edge against the redemption of a nearly new pair of boots by back-dating the ticket. Honesty, after all, has never been a hallmark of pawn brokers. Moreover, why would the lodging house deputy, F.W. Wilkinson, give at least partial corrobation to the breakfast story by testifying he saw Eddowes and Kelly in the lodging house on Saturday morning, where they almost assuredly would have repaired to prepare their repast?

      In contrast, there are a good half-dozen reasons why the tale retailed by the casual ward superintendent was possibly fiction. I would chose not to believe the story with multiple reasons for disbelief.

      Last edited by Supe; 04-20-2008, 05:25 AM.
      "To expose [the Senator] is rather like performing acts of charity among the deserving poor; it needs to be done and it makes one feel good, but it does nothing to end the problem."


      • #4
        Hi Mike,
        Its good to try to think about what Kate was up to the Saturday before her murder in particular,because whats absolutely certain is that NONE of us know any better than the other what she did from 2pm to 8.30pm.She was NOT a "regular sex worker" in the way that Liz Stride and Mary Kelly were-I have already given some of the evidence to the contrary of that, but I do believe,as Stewart Evans prefers to put it,that she WAS a "casual prostitute" like many were and presumably had to be in those poverty ridden days in the East End.So,when the going got tough cashwise-she hopped over to a place she was confident she could earn her drink and doss money.But where do we go from here? It doesnt explain why she didnt return when expected.Allegedly she told John Kelly at 2pm that she was going to be back by 4pm.
        Taking it as read that she had no intention whatsoever of going to Bermondsey, from where her daughter had long since moved,then we have to conclude she had other "plans" that would normally take just a couple of hours.This was in Houndsditch,not more than four or five minutes from any spoint of the main High street named at various points Aldgate and Aldgate High Street where she was found at 8.30 that night ,flat out drunk.And its my contention that this is where she was headed back to.
        She had,dont forget been away from Whitechapel for a few weeks up until 48 hours previously.Did she need to "signal" her return to someone she knew could give her cash her in return for whatever these favours were?
        Was there a dive of some kind in Aldgate where she could get a drink in return for favours rendered------they may not have been just sexual favours but "errands"-pin money for passing on messages perhaps,from one to another, of the people she met.


        • #5
          hi Don,
          I agree that all the newspaper reports of the day were frequently inaccurate.All we can do is take each one and examine it against others for accuracy.
          So , cough it up,---what are your" multiple reasons" for giving no credence to this "particular" story?


          • #6

            what are your" multiple reasons" for giving no credence to this "particular" story?

            Tsk, tsk, you weren't listening when I made my presentation at Wolverhampton. Anyway, there is also a long essay by me about Ripper myths in the Disserations section so I'll just lift a few of my words to answer your question.

            Giving a final conspiratorial boost to the suggestion that Kate was with Jack is an item that appeared in the East London Observer on October 13, 1888:
            A reporter gleaned some curious information from the Casual Ward Superintendent of Mile End, regarding Kate Eddowes, the Mitre-square victim. She was formerly well-known in the casual wards there, but had disappeared for a considerable time until the Friday preceding her murder. Asking the woman where she had been in the interval, the superintendent was met with the reply, that she had been in the country "hopping." "But," added the woman, "I have come back to earn the reward offered for the apprehension of the Whitechapel murderer. I think I know him." "Mind he doesn't murder you too" replied the superintendent jocularly. "Oh, no fear of that," was the remark made by Kate Eddowes as she left. Within four-and-twenty hours afterward she was a mutilated corpse.
            That's rather a bombshell of a revelation and one that, when added to other uncertainties about Eddowes's last day, has provided a veritable mother lode of speculative ore for Ripperologists to mine. Indeed, if true, the story could explain where she had been, what she'd been doing and why she headed again toward Aldgate High Street rather than Cooney's on Flower and Dean after her release from jail.

            There is just one hitch, however, and that is those two little words in the previous sentence: if true. There is no question here of missing sources as there is with the fire engine impersonation tale. This story was printed in a contemporary newspaper and may well have been a faithful transcription of what the reporter heard. It also, however, has a place among Ripper Apocrypha and demands to be examined closely to determine how factual it may be and, equally important, how relevant it may be.

            To begin with, it is likely that the two most popular phrases uttered by the people of Whitechapel during Jack's reign of terror in the fall of 1888 were "Ooo, I don't wanner meet 'im in an alley" and "Cor, I fink I know who the Ripper is!" The first, of course, is simply common sense and possibly helped keep the body count as low as it was. The second statement, that the speaker had an inkling about the Ripper's identity, probably covered a multitude of sins and sinners and included among the suspects every mooching in-law, loudmouthed neighbor, poor soul with a cast in his eye, hare-lip or other physical deformity and everyone else who had incurred somebody's wrath.

            Support for that view is provided by a brief perusal of newspapers for that day. The Observer itself reported that:
            Some extraordinary stories are being told by people who allege that they could easily identify the murder. A reporter who visited the wards of St. George's East infirmary interviewed in the ward devoted to unfortunates, a woman named Jenny, who stated that she was absolutely sure of the identity of the murderer. She described him as a foreigner who habitually went about blackmailing unfortunate women and threatening occasionally to rip them up .... Again, a well-known medical man in East London has communicated information regarding a former assistant of his, who, he is equally convinced is the man needed.... Finally, a seaman named Dodge has given information of a Malay who cherishes a peculiar hatred against unfortunates, and who, he adds, would not hesitate at any crime.
            Nor were these suggestions unique to the Observer. The Daily News of the same date carried a story that "police are watching a house at the East end which is strongly suspected to have been the actual lodging ... of some one connected with the East end murders." This individual had been reported by suspicious neighbors. Further afield, the Manchester Guardian for the same day reported that the river Tyne police had received information about a foreign seaman whose "signature corresponded with the fac-simile of the letters signed Jack the Ripper...."

            Indeed, it was a very slow news day when the newspapers didn't have at least one more Ripper suspect reported to the police for investigation. Still, if one of the great games enjoyed in all of Britain (suspects were regularly reported from places as far from London as Aberdeen and Belfast) at the time was "Pin the Tail on Jack," that doesn't necessarily mean Eddowes' suspicions were without merit. If, of course, she ever voiced them to begin with.

            As it was, Eddowes and Kelly had been hopping for a good part of September, and at the inquest Frederick William Wilkinson, deputy manager at Cooney's, said that "the last time the deceased and Kelly slept together at the lodginghouse was five or six weeks ago; before they went hopping."(Note 1) Since they were regulars it is likely that shortly after their last night at Cooney's the pair took to the road to go hop picking, and if Wilkinson was correct then Eddowes would have been away from London for all of the possible Ripper murders that autumn save for that of Martha Tabram on August 7.

            Even if she were away all that time, news of the murders of Mary Ann Nichols and Annie Chapman was certainly carried to the hop fields by newspaper and word of mouth. And while we might think hop picking wasn't very conducive to amateur sleuthing, it is possible that she saw someone or heard something while in Kent that produced an insight worthy of Sherlock Holmes. But, if that did happen, Eddowes had been unaccountably mum about her supposed discovery. No mention, it would seem, was made to John Kelly, and nothing was said to the couple that accompanied her and Kelly part of the way home, even though she was supposed to have told the workhouse superintendent "I have come back to earn the reward...."

            For this scenario to work we must believe that something happened while Eddowes was hopping, where she was working hard from dawn to dusk (or at least looking hard for work) and was far from the crime scenes and most sources of information, that would have allowed her to connect somebody with the murders. That's possible, of course, but not very likely. The likelihood becomes more tenuous when you consider that Eddowes and Kelly arrived in London flat broke, and Eddowes nonetheless wasted a good 36 hours before (perhaps) doing anything about fingering Jack. Again, the words "I have come back" loom large in assessing the story.
            Next, the source of the story must be considered. The Observer was a weekly newspaper, so it is hard to know just when the superintendent was supposedly interviewed, but it didn't appear until nearly two weeks after the murder and after the inquest had ended. One would think that if there were anything to the story that the superintendent or the reporter would have been in touch with the police or coroner. For that matter, the publication of the story itself had no major response from the public or from police officials. However much the tale might stir the speculative juices of modern theorists, it evidently did not excite its contemporary readers at all. Whether this was because, as we have seen, such stories were common or for some other reason is uncertain, but the fact remains it drew nothing more than a shrug at best.

            Further making the timing suspect is the latter part of Eddowes's statement: "I have come back to earn the reward." Although a reward had been debated for weeks, it was not until after the "double event" that the City Police and many civic groups actually began to offer substantial rewards and the newspapers were filled with stories about sizeable rewards. Eddowes was said to be a jolly sort, but no one credited her with the prescience needed to anticipate these large rewards after her own death. Finally, there is Philip Sugden's observation that the colloquy between Eddowes and the superintendent sounds so very much like that which was reported between Eddowes and John Kelly on their last parting "that it is tempting to see the Observer's tale simply as a piece of dishonest reporting drawing upon confused memories of Kelly's various press statements."(Note 2)

            What then is the verdict on the tale that Eddowes returned from hopping because she knew who the Ripper was? Almost certainly a very vigorous thumbs down! That Eddowes may have sometime suggested she knew who the Ripper was is possible - it seemed a popular sport at the time. But that she came back from Kent to voice those suspicions, that she said as much to the Mile End superintendent or spent her last afternoon seeking out and possibly meeting that suspect just doesn't hold water. Indeed, it's full of more holes than the sieves sold by Annie Chapman's one-time companion Jack Sivvy.

            There are further doubts about the story, but these should do for nbow.

            "To expose [the Senator] is rather like performing acts of charity among the deserving poor; it needs to be done and it makes one feel good, but it does nothing to end the problem."


            • #7
              Don, I now see why you so strongly objected to my use of words earlier, this has obviously been of some interest to you for some time....I didnt know you spoke at the Conference on this either. I wont retract them just yet though, because you know that the pawn ticket date is contentious.

              So you're a good man to ask this....since we know that was a bad hop season, what do you make of Kate and John arriving broke, but with his new boots and her new black jacket? Doesn't it also appear as if the last 48 hours of Kate's life that the two of them were not terribly preoccupied with their current financial strife? Didnt they buy new stuff prematurely, considering the seasons outcome that year? It was....just pawn the new boots, and we'll take it from there.

              John portrays their usual life as ending early each night, and in the same bed with Kate, and yet they don't sleep together much since returning, or even see each other a lot. They seem content with hand to mouth existence, and I just thought after being together so long they would have developed patterns, or habits, that enabled them to buy a bed for two each night.

              Best regards Don.
              Last edited by perrymason; 04-20-2008, 11:43 PM.


              • #8
                Originally posted by perrymason View Post
                John portrays their usual life as ending early each night, and in the same bed with Kate
                It's worth remembering that this was confirmed by their lodging-house keeper (name escapes me) in his testimony.
                Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)


                • #9
                  Nope, I objected to "likely" simply because with so little to go on that strikes me as too strong a word and my hesitancy would be the same about any like situation and not just one into wich I have put a little analysis.

                  As for why Eddowes and Kelly acted as they did, well without wishing to fall into a "blame the victim" trap it is probably fair to say that fiscal planning and prudence were quite alien to many who lived in the arera at the time. For casual day laborers anywhere and at anytime (especially those with a great "thirst") the norm was to live from one day's earnings to the next. Money burnt a hole in their pockets.

                  As for Eddowes and Kelly's specific actions, while it may have been a "poor year" they also stayed on for most of the season and probably left the hops camp with some money and a desire to spend it. I forget now who it was, but someone writing about the phenomenon mentionedf how the roads from the camps to London were littered with old, discarded boots as the pickers bought new ones with their sudden "wealth."

                  And that is surely why Kelly bought new ones and probably unwisely discarded his old ones. It was a way of life for which there was no real future to contemplate beyond the next day's sunrise. So, what money they had was quickly spent on new boots, a new frock and doubtless a good meal or too on the way back to London. And as a result they arrived broke.

                  May not make much sense to us in the 21st Century with guaranteed wages, savings accounts, welfare doles and so on. but as I also cautioned at Wolverhampton, we need to discard our modern conceits and try to understand what life was like for people back then. It was much different from what enjoy today and must be taken into account by any modern theories.

                  "To expose [the Senator] is rather like performing acts of charity among the deserving poor; it needs to be done and it makes one feel good, but it does nothing to end the problem."


                  • #10
                    Many Thanks Don,for your very thorough response.
                    I agree that the story is unsubstantiated. Nevertheless it sounds like Kate may have had reason to think she knew who he was.
                    I say this because of her attraction that day to the region of Aldgate, epicentrum to which is Mitre square.
                    It is at Houndsditch,Aldgate that she parts company with John at 2.00pm.It is at Aldwych,on the main high street not 2 minutes away-either near the station or near Mitre street that she is found paralytic by PC Robinson at 6.30 pm.And it is Houndsditch she was headed for when let out of the cells at and she is found dead at Mitre square at 1.45 am.
                    So Aldgate that day seems to have had a magnetic pull.On top of this she appears to have spent a total of six and a half hours there----doing what?
                    If she was simply getting drunk then who gave her the money?Where did she drink? I mean even if she did go soliciting that afternoon,she couldnt have been very visible or someone surely would have come forward to say they had seen her ---and no one did.And would she really have been on a six hour shift in the day time in an area that was regarded as ,and spoken of as,"respectable"---particularly during the day.
                    Thats why I tend to see her making her way to some place-probably of ill-repute ,-a pub or dive of some sort off the High Street,where she knew some of the regulars who she could count on to loan her some money or give her some in return for favours. Her daughter,after all, had long been fed up of being sponged off.
                    And if she had been in the habit of heading to this place,and did know the regulars there,she may well have harboured suspicions about one of those " regulars" from the Aldgate "club" scene.And if she did,and she headed to Aldgate hoping to catch sight of this person,......well then she was proved right if she said "she thought she knew him"-----mind she certainly got more than she bargained for if she thought it was going to be all easy peasy lemon squeezy!!!


                    • #11
                      Just putting Dons wonderfully reasoned posts aside, I always wondered why a poor woman didnt clam that reward as soon as.

                      I was listening Don, one of my favourite talks, well thought out and wonderfully put. Better than mine...

                      ...I hate you.


                      Author of Capturing Jack the Ripper.



                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Monty View Post
                        I was listening Don, one of my favourite talks, well thought out and wonderfully put. Better than mine...

                        ...I hate you.
                        ...that's just Souden grapes, Monty
                        Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                        "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)


                        • #13
                          Hi.. I think it is all too easy to read storys like that or notice that Kate gives her name as Mary Kelly and then start reading more into it than there probably is.
                          Kate ended up dead. So if she thought she knew who JTR was she was probably wrong.
                          Personally..My gut instinct on the whole Kate affair is that she never said such a thing and she probably never realized the danger she was in.
                          Maybe if she had never went hopping she would have experienced the terror in a more at home level and changed her habits for a while and thereby saving her own life.
                          Also my gut instinct tells me that Kate is probably the most randomly picked victim of them all.
                          I think if I were Kate and I heard about the Murders while hopping and I even thought I knew the guy. I would choose to spend my time in another city for awhile until Police catch the guy.


                          • #14
                            ...........nout to do with "fiscal planning"---or a mysterious" mindset" belonging specifically to the "poor"-
                            what did Keats say? give me women, wine and snuff till I cry out stop ---enough!
                            same sort of spirit as the poets----claret....thats all!


                            • #15
                              That was a good response Don. But I thought Sams confirmation of the idea that these two were perhaps committed to being together each night is a potentially powerful statement that they likely worked at that habit...either together, or they relied on the other to raise the doss.

                              The jacket and boots seem particularly frivolous considering the supposed yield that year, and for folks that ensured some money was for their bed together.

                              Heres another thought...aren't boots kind of important in East End London..vs.... perhaps a black crepe evening jacket? Which one would most couples pawn first? Maybe John didn't need to go to market, and maybe boots, at the time, were something they thought they could replace easily...perhaps the jacket was a bit more "rare"...a unique style she liked, and would have a hard time finding another like it. And the pawn money is divied up without a care in the world who was going to cover bed Saturday night.

                              Don...the best way I can describe my hunch here is a down on his luck guy borrowing money for a horse race he thinks he knows the winner of, with no thought as to what comes after that if he doesnt win.

                              Cheers Don, all.