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  • The Board School

    As we all know, Mary Ann was killed at the base of a 5-story building known as the Board School on Buck's Row, which is still there today on Durward Street. I'm going to be vacationing in England in just about a month, and plan to take a private Ripper walk beginning there. I've read how the building was once slated for demolition like all those around it but was saved and is now an apartment building (one book even describing it as "luxury apartments"). But I have one question I've never seen answered in any books- just exactly what kind of school did it used to be? And I guess as a secondary question- if it was a school, would there have been any people inside at night at the time of the murder?

  • #2
    The simplified version:-

    The school boards were set up to run compulsory elementary education in England and Wales by the Education Act 1870. They ran education in their area and to do this they set up elementary schools to educate children from 5-12. The schools set up by them were known as Board Schools.

    They were day schools so there would not have been any children or adults (other than a possible live-in caretaker).

    <hairsplitting mode>
    However Polly was found in the gateway to the stables next to the school not at the school itself.
    </hairsplitting mode>

    Paula

    Comment


    • #3
      Kensi,

      A small point, Nichols wasnt killed at the base of the Board School, she was murdered a some yards to the east, across the railway lines at the entrance to Brown's stable yard.

      Board Schools were an early set up of todays state school. Prior to that, only 'raggged' (for the poor and wretched) and Church Schools existed. These ragged and church schools gave little more than a basic education and focused mainly on the practical.

      By around 1870 many industriallists and politicians saw the need for a higher education and thus The Elemantary Educational act was passed in the August of that year, creating the Board Schooling system for children aged between 5 and 11 years of age. It was not compulsorary to attend these schools and most families prefered their children to work and obtain money for the family.

      In 1881 it does become compulsory for children to attend (though the most needy of families flaunt this ruling for obvious reasons).

      The Offices of the London School Boards were situated on the Embankment, I dont know if they still remain.

      As far as Im aware, they were not like elite boarding schools, were the pupils stay overnight. Therefore the premises would be empty for they evening.

      Though Im willing to be corrected on that.

      Monty


      PS Sorry Paula, our posted crossed.




      Author of Capturing Jack the Ripper.

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/1445621622

      Comment


      • #4
        I do understand that Mary Ann wasn't found directly at the base of the Board School but in front of the stables, though I thought I remembered reading that the "stables" was actually a place where horses were slaughtered. But that spot today is at the end of a brick wall extending out from the Board School, which is the only surviving landmark today, so it is only natural to associate that building with the murder.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Monty View Post

          PS Sorry Paula, our posted crossed.
          No problem. I had to ring my Dad (Visiting Professor of Education) to check my facts any way!!

          In any case they certainly weren't anything like the posh boarding schools!!

          Paula

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Monty View Post
            As far as Im aware, they were not like elite boarding schools, were the pupils stay overnight. Therefore the premises would be empty for they evening.

            Though Im willing to be corrected on that.
            Hi Monty,

            I remember reading somewhere that a Board School nightwatchman was interviewed as a result of the murder. I'm also willing to be corrected on that.

            All the best,
            Frank
            "You can rob me, you can starve me and you can beat me and you can kill me. Just don't bore me."
            Clint Eastwood as Gunny in "Heartbreak Ridge"

            Comment


            • #7
              Frank,

              Sure it wasnt the Whitechapel Board of Works nightwatchman Mulshaw?

              Its possible the premises had a nightwatchman.

              Monty




              Author of Capturing Jack the Ripper.

              http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/1445621622

              Comment


              • #8
                Frank and Monty

                I don`t have "Sourcebook" to hand, but I`m sure Insp Spratling states at the inquest that, as you say Frank, the Board School nightwatchman was interviewed.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi folks

                  Yes, Spratling stated at the inquest that the board school keeper heard nothing during the night.

                  The bit about "at the foot of the school" probably comes from an audio tape by Martin Fido, who said the stables were at the foot of the school.

                  All this is mentioned in an article in the latest WS mag, where Adrian Morris and William Beadle actually have a tour of the building - now a block of flats.

                  Robert

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If the transcript of the inquest on the casebook website is accurate the portion that concerns the board school keeper is:-

                    Originally posted by casebook
                    Witness added [Spratling] that he made inquiries at Green's, the wharf, Snider's factory, and also at the Great Eastern wharf, and no one had heard anything unusual on the morning of the murder. He had not called at any of the houses in Buck's-row, excepting at Mrs. Green's. He had seen the Board School keeper.
                    The Coroner: Is there not a gentleman at the G.E. Railway? I thought we should have had him here.
                    Witness: I saw him that morning, but he said he had heard nothing.
                    On a strict reading Spratling did not say that the school keeper heard nothing. He merely states that he (Spratling) had spoken to the keeper. The person who he says heard nothing was the 'Gentleman from the GE Railway'.

                    Although we may infer that the keeper heard nothing we are not told so.

                    What seems quite incompetent by modern standards is that no extensive house-to-house enquiries were made.

                    Paula
                    Last edited by Paula Thomas; 08-08-2008, 06:59 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Witness added [Spratling] that he made inquiries at Green's, the wharf, Snider's factory, and also at the Great Eastern wharf, and no one had heard anything unusual on the morning of the murder. He had not called at any of the houses in Buck's-row, excepting at Mrs. Green's. He had seen the Board School keeper.
                      The Coroner: Is there not a gentleman at the G.E. Railway? I thought we should have had him here.
                      Witness: I saw him that morning, but he said he had heard nothing.


                      Hi Paula

                      From the context, I think it's clear that the board school keeper was questioned about whether he had heard anything at the time of the murder - it's sandwiched between other reports of people hearing nothing.

                      Robert

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi Robert

                        Sorry it's my legal and mathematical training coming through !

                        As you will find out I tend to make clear distinctions between what has been stated as fact and what can be inferred. We cannot state for fact on the basis of this testimony that the keeper said he heard nothing we can only infer it albeit at a high probability. The (remote) possibility exists that the keeper did hear something but the police wanted to hold back the information. This is something the police quite frequently do today.

                        <simplification_mode type="grossly over">
                        This would be done in order to trip up suspects for instance say it was known to the police that object A had been left at a crime scene they might hold the information back. There are now two scenarios

                        1. someone confesses to the crime

                        The police would ask about objects left at the crime scene - if the suspect does not mention object a the confession is looked with suspicion.

                        2. The police have a strong suspect

                        The police will then casually ask the suspect about object a. If the suspect indicates they have knowledge they might as well plead guilty at their trial.

                        </simplification_mode>

                        Paula

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi Paula

                          Yes, I see where you're going with this.

                          Anyway, at least we know there was a keeper at the school - at least, I hope we know it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            As an aside from witnesses and testimony with regard to Polly Nicholls - there is an article in the Whitechapel Society Journal. Our Editor & Chairman where given a guided tour of the building this year to see how it had been converted from a Board School into flats. Brilliant photos and great panoramic views veiws of London.

                            Coral

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi,

                              I've just read the article on the Board School in the Whitechapel Society Journal and really enjoyed it. Nice to see the inside of the building for a change! Have to agree about the great photos!

                              The same keeper was there in 1881 and 1891, so it seems he was a steady sort of chap and a family man too by the looks of it. As he had one child of 16 and one of 3, it would seem he and his wife didn't hate each other too much either. Lol.

                              1881 census


                              Thomas Montague: aged 42
                              Born Bethnal Green
                              school keeper
                              Wife
                              Sophia Montague: aged 41
                              Born Shadwell
                              Children
                              Mary Ann aged 16
                              Alice Maud aged 3

                              There is a fairly comprehensive article on Bucks Row/Durward in Ripperologist 92 giving more information about the history of the street and how it looked in 1888. It is part of a series taking a close look at the murder sites of both canonical and other murder victims in 1888 and 1889, which might be useful to those interested in the setting to the murders.


                              Bestest

                              Jane

                              xxxx
                              Last edited by Jane Coram; 08-10-2008, 10:21 PM.
                              I'm not afraid of heights, swimming or love - just falling, drowning and rejection.

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