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Background question on Polly Nicholls

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  • Background question on Polly Nicholls

    I just listened to Hallie Rubenhold on the Arts and Ideas podcast (26th Feb 2019) on an episode entitled "Jack The Ripper and women as victims". I'm quoting her as saying the following "she was born into a family of printers. Print factors into her life from birth until death" But here's where the contradiction is because on https://www.casebook.org/victims/polly.html it says her father was a blacksmith. I'm confused as to where the "printing" industry begins?

  • #2
    Mrs Nichols was born near Fleet Street. From that Rubenhold has weaved a romantic scenario worthy of Dickens, even including Dickens in Polly's life. It's a good example of the padding in her book which gives it more pages than Neal Sheldon's seminal work on the victims, that she is now taking credit and money for.
    dustymiller
    aka drstrange

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    • #3
      Reads like a Catherine Cookson novel. Not badly written per say but filled with fabrication and superposition.

      Tristan

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      • #4
        Thanks both of you for the explanations. I'll avoid reading her book as I prefer to stick to fact not fiction.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by MrTwibbs View Post
          Thanks both of you for the explanations. I'll avoid reading her book as I prefer to stick to fact not fiction.
          Well, that's going to reduce your Ripper reading material considerably...
          I'm not going to link to it, or such....

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          • #6
            I don't have the book at hand but from what I remember the bit about the printers was describing the setting of the area she was born into, I can't recall if her father was mentioned as a printer or blacksmith, though it's possible he could have worked as both over the span of some years. I would like to read it again to check this matter, unfortunately I've lent it to someone else right now.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by MrTwibbs View Post
              Thanks both of you for the explanations. I'll avoid reading her book as I prefer to stick to fact not fiction.
              I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss it. I have seen some people criticise the book around here and that's up to them, we all form our own opinions. I don't think it deserves the criticism, you should borrow it from the library and draw your own conclusion. I've read dozens of ripper books and I found The Five to be worthwhile reading. There's some good suggestions regarding Mary Kelly too that the author has deducted from what little we do know, she does not say they're definite, they're simply suggestions, but I found them plausible possibilities.

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              • #8
                Mr Twibbs

                I'm very much with DrStrange on this one! Before taking the plunge I would strongly urge you to listen to this podcast where the book is reviewed by esteemed colleagues including Paul Begg and Debra Arif

                http://www.casebook.org/podcast/listen.html?id=222

                The author takes the view that "ripperology" has never cared about the victims! There are numerous dissertations on this site alone about the victims, their lives and background. Hundreds, if not thousands, of hours must now have been spent trying to track official records for MJK alone. As somebody who regularly visits MJK's memorial on the anniversary of her death (and I am certainly not the only person that does) it suggests that the author's comments were merely publicity for her tome.

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                • #9


                  Rubenhold manages a mere 37 pages on Kelly, most of it entirely guesswork. A fair bit of research has recently been done about the characters MJK lived among in the Highway. Rubenhold doesn’t mention any of it, and much of what she does say about that phase of her life doesn’t ring true.

                  For example, one thing she seems entirely ignorant of is the fact that the 2nd Btn Scots Guards were based at the Tower, a few minutes’ walk from Pennington Street, while Kelly was there. She prefers to discuss a possible romantic relationship with a ‘Jonto’ based in a barracks in more fashionable west London, and even then she gets her barracks in a twist.

                  I could go on and on...




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                  • #10
                    I've listened to the podcast thanks. it was very informative and helpful
                    Last edited by MrTwibbs; 07-23-2020, 03:18 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ohrocky View Post
                      Mr Twibbs

                      I'm very much with DrStrange on this one! Before taking the plunge I would strongly urge you to listen to this podcast where the book is reviewed by esteemed colleagues including Paul Begg and Debra Arif

                      http://www.casebook.org/podcast/listen.html?id=222

                      The author takes the view that "ripperology" has never cared about the victims! There are numerous dissertations on this site alone about the victims, their lives and background. Hundreds, if not thousands, of hours must now have been spent trying to track official records for MJK alone. As somebody who regularly visits MJK's memorial on the anniversary of her death (and I am certainly not the only person that does) it suggests that the author's comments were merely publicity for her tome.
                      I'm not a ripperologist but objectively speaking with no dog in the fight, I do find Rubenhold's approach unpalatable. I find it insulting to historians of this case who have worked so hard and some of whom are no longer with us.

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