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Work among the fallen as seen in the prison cell

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  • Work among the fallen as seen in the prison cell

    I found this interesting snippet earlier, relating to the victims of the Whitechapel murderer and Millbank Prison.

    Work among the fallen as seen in the prison cell : a paper read before the Ruri-Decanal Chapter of St. Margaret's and St. John's, Westminster, in the Jerusalem Chamber, on Thursday, July 17, 1890
    G.P. Merrick


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    available as full text here
    ,,`,, Debs ,,`,,

    I am not DJA. He's called Dave.

  • #2
    Debra -

    As someone currently writing about the Millbank prison (amongst other aspects of the Pimlico area), partly for the next edition of Casebook Examiner, I must thank you for this excellent and very unexpected find! Unfortunately I do not have time to look over the link right now (more's the pity) but it promises to be fascinating. Good work!

    Comment


    • #3
      Hello Debra,

      that's really interesting.

      So the C5 met at Millbank Prison?

      I'm not familiar with this facility, is there more info available about it?

      Anyway, the paper seems to make a good read, I've just skimmed through it, will read it in full later on. Lots of statistical data, wonder if it's halfway accurate.

      Many thanks for sharing!

      Regards,

      Boris
      ~ All perils, specially malignant, are recurrent - Thomas De Quincey ~

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks, tnb and Bolo, glad you found it interesting.
        I have just skimmed throught the paper myself, I suppose someone like Colin Roberts might be able to assess the statistics included for accuracy.

        As far as accuracy of facts go, I wonder if this did apply to any of the Whitechapel victims? I can't think who offhand though.

        .."0ne of them was released from the place and received a gift of clothes from me within twenty four hours of her murder."

        I look forward to reading some more information on Millbank in your article, tnb.
        ,,`,, Debs ,,`,,

        I am not DJA. He's called Dave.

        Comment


        • #5
          Millbank Prison was located on the northern embankment of the Thames, in West London, on the site now occupied by the Tate Britain art museum, and also the Chelsea College of Art & Design, as well as some adjacent housing. Although initially used at least in part as a 'traditional' prison- albeit with some quite progressive ideas, for instance on prisoner education - by the 1880's it had for some decades operated exclusively as something more akin to a holding facility for prisoners awaiting 'transportation', firstly to Australia and then, once that practice ended in 1868 (the last prisoners arrived in Australia the following year), to the offshore prison ships, or 'hulks'. Occasionally, some prisoners (in a wonderfully Victorian way, largely the 'educated' ones) would be offered the chance to exchange transportation for lifetime imprisonment, but the subsequent sentence would more often than not take place in an alternative establishment. It was certainly not the kind of place from which many people would be let out to go wandering around the streets of Whitechapel very often.

          In addition, by 1888 the prison had not officially held any prisoners since 1886, and was soon to be demolished (in 1890). That said, I do not think it impossible that the prison's cells may have been occasionally used short-term (for instance overnight) if space was at a premium in the local police stations, as may (although less likely) have been the cells in the cellar of the nearby pub, previously serving the prison wardens and which boasted not only its own cells but also an underground tunnel allegedly running either to the prison or to the riverbank, or both. If this was the case here, however, then the alleged Whitechapel victim would not have been an 'official' Millbank prisoners, and it would seem unlikely they would have been receiving visits and/or clothes packages from anyone.

          Hope that gives you a bit of background, bolo.

          So in summary, I would say this tale seems *unlikely*, but that makes it no less fascinating!

          Comment


          • #6
            I love Casebook
            best,

            claire

            Comment


            • #7
              Hello tnb,

              Originally posted by tnb View Post
              Hope that gives you a bit of background, bolo.
              yes it does, thanks a lot for the info!

              So in summary, I would say this tale seems *unlikely*, but that makes it no less fascinating!
              My thoughts as well. It's fascinating to see another example of the widespread impact the East End murders had on on all classes of people, from street walkers to reverends and politicians.

              Still, I wonder wether there's a kernel of truth in Rev. Merrick's words concerning the victims, like the gift of clothes (Polly's men's boots? The bits of clothing in MJK's room?) or the four women who came to the prison after the last murder.

              Some of his descriptions of "fallen" women are very colourful, but hey, Merrick's a reverent, he wouldn't lie, would he.

              Thanks again,

              Boris
              ~ All perils, specially malignant, are recurrent - Thomas De Quincey ~

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by tnb View Post
                In addition, by 1888 the prison had not officially held any prisoners since 1886, and was soon to be demolished (in 1890). That said, I do not think it impossible that the prison's cells may have been occasionally used short-term (for instance overnight) if space was at a premium in the local police stations, as may (although less likely) have been the cells in the cellar of the nearby pub, previously serving the prison wardens and which boasted not only its own cells but also an underground tunnel allegedly running either to the prison or to the riverbank, or both. If this was the case here, however, then the alleged Whitechapel victim would not have been an 'official' Millbank prisoners, and it would seem unlikely they would have been receiving visits and/or clothes packages from anyone.
                Thanks for all this background, Trevor,
                There may be some truth in what you say about it perhaps becoming a temporary facility after 1886.
                The extract below comes from THE JOURNAL OF Prison Discipline
                PUBLISHED ANNUALLY UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE PENNSYLVANIA PRISON SOCIETY,'
                JANUARY, 1888
                PHILADELPHIA

                Included in the volume is a paper by Michael J. Cassidy, Warden
                of the Eastern Penitentiary at Philadelphia entitled "Prisons I
                Visited in Ireland, England, France, and Belgium, and What 1 Saw :


                As it was an annually printed journal what was written about Millbank in this volume could have been the current usage situation do you think? [1888]
                I underlined a couple of the relevant bits anyway.

                MILLBANK PRISON.

                " It is an ill-contrived structure, not at all suited for the
                purpose for which it was designed a separate treatment
                prison. It is dark and cheerless. The cells are 6x12 feet,
                9 feet high. The whole structure is of brick, not plastered.
                The prison is used as a lock-up or place of detention for per-
                sons awaiting trial
                .

                This once great prison that was erected for a separate
                system prison, and was much boasted of at the time, has been
                a miserable failure, and the purpose for which it was con-
                structed abandoned. There is no work of any sort. The
                prisoners sent here are for short terms, not over three months
                .
                No furniture in the cells, plank bed, three blankets, wash-
                basin, and water-can. There are no conveniences whatever
                for the prisoners. "
                ,,`,, Debs ,,`,,

                I am not DJA. He's called Dave.

                Comment


                • #9
                  That is interesting Debra. The 'three months' time limit seems to chime quite well with the three months that any prisoners bound for transportation would spend in the prison first (half of it in enforced silence!) and may be an out of date detail, but then again it could just be a coincidence.

                  I think it very unlikely that they would allow such a large number of cells, albeit somewhat grim ones, to lie empty if they were needed. The question of where any records for such prisoners would have been kept (if there even were any) is a moot one.

                  The 'separate treatment' the extract talks about is illustrated quite well in the following extract, taken from Edward Mogg's 'New Picture of London' (1844). The story of Millbank itself is a sad one, to my mind at least, as in less than 5 decades all the grand plans of this extract deteriorated to the 'dark and cheerless...once great' structure of yours.

                  This important establishment was formed for the purpose of trying the effect of a system of imprisonment, founded on humane and rational principles; in which the prisoners should be separated into classes, be compelled to work, and their religious and moral habits properly attended to.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Sorry to bore everyone with this, but here is another account from 1889, this time mentioning specifically Rev. Merrick and his work with the 2000 women at Millbank [again from an annual magazine]. Him giving out clothing etc is mentioned too....Bolo, he mentions giving out sturdy boots
                    Trevor, according to this article 6 and 12 month sentences were being served by some of the women so that contradicts the "not over 3 months" sentence thing in the other article straight away, unfortunately.

                    http://www.archive.org/stream/sunday...ge/36/mode/2up

                    If this is a true account of what was happening in 1889 at Millbank then it is jsut possible that a couple of the witnesses who saw MJK's body took to drink and ended up there....maybe?
                    ,,`,, Debs ,,`,,

                    I am not DJA. He's called Dave.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Murdered after leaving prison?

                      Debra, am I "misreading" this, or is he saying that one of the victims was released from prison and shortly afterwords she was murdered (within 24 hours of him buying her a gift)? If so, this doesn't seem to correlate with any of the victim information that I know of. Other then Eddowes short "overnight" in jail, I don't know of any of the victims who spent a significant time in prison RIGHT BEFORE they were murdered. But perhaps I am misreading it. I'll read through the online book tonight.

                      Excellent find by the way! I LOVE the Intenet Archive website. You have to wade through a lot of useless information but there are some real gems in there!
                      Jeff

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I am reading it the same way too, Pinkerton.
                        I have been racking my brains over this to see if there may be any truth in it. I was thinking seeing as he says one of the 'Whitechapel victims' that he could have meant anyone from Emma Smith to Catherine Mylett.
                        I know Catherine Mylett was said to have spent some time in prison on a drunk and disorderly charge but I can't remember the date of that offhand, maybe Rob can remember?
                        I think most of the possible victims whereabouts are well documented before their deaths, I suppose the only other person missing for a significant amount of time before their death was Catherine Eddowes, who was said to have gone hopping and returned a couple of days before she was murdered.

                        There probably is nothing to the story but well worth checking out anyway.
                        ,,`,, Debs ,,`,,

                        I am not DJA. He's called Dave.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          As far as I'm aware, the whereabouts of Annie Chapman in the days which preceded her death remain something of a mystery. It has been suggested that she spent some time in the Whitechapel Infirmary, but again, to the best of my knowledge, this has yet to be established as fact.

                          Regards.

                          Garry Wroe.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hi Gary,

                            Chances are Annie Chapman also attended St Batholomew's Hospital.

                            Morning Advertiser, 10th September 1888

                            "Timothy Donovan, deputy at the lodging house, 35 Dorset street, stated that after the deceased left on Monday last he found two large bottles in the room, one containing medicine, and labelled as follows:- 'St. Bartholomew's Hospital. Take two tablespoonfuls three times a day.' The other bottle contained a milky lotion, and was labelled 'St. Bartholomew's Hospital. The lotion. Poison.'"

                            Regards,

                            Simon
                            Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I would agree that Chapman would seem the only viable option for a named Whitechapel Murders victim, and although trying to pencil Eddowes in would throw an interesting light on certain enigmas, I think it would be pretty unlikely that, even if Kelly did his best to maintain a fiction about 'hopping', that none of the official inquest witnesses would have got wind of it.

                              Don't forget the Pinchin Street Torso though (which I know Debra won't have!) - if the good Reverend were convinced that he knew the identity of that particular woman, as Lydia Hart or whomever, then it is quite possible that that woman, whether she was indeed the PST or not, had been imprisoned and had received the clothes from him shortly before he believed she had been killed by the same 'Whitechapel Murderer' (as many did, at the time).

                              Also, although we tend to go by the official reckoning of the 11 WM victims as listed in the Met/HO files, bear in mind that this information would not have been available to the Reverend at the time he was writing; and as we will all know from even the most cursory flick through contemporary press reports, a great deal more names were attached to the case at various times. Perhaps Mr Merrick even knew more than we do now about the mysterious 'Fairy Fay'?

                              It certainly seems there may have been more going on in Millbank in the years 1886-1890 than most historians would have us believe. I shall be visiting the National Archives in a few weeks and shall of course report back if I find anything!
                              Last edited by tnb; 07-10-2010, 07:10 PM.

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