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Mary Kelly and the City Missionary

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  • Mary Kelly and the City Missionary

    In another thread I mentioned a press interview with an unnnamed "City missionary" which gave some interesting alleged information about Kelly and corroborated some aspects of the Barnett story. I have been asked about this press report so I am attaching it below:

    Daily News
    12 Nov 1888

    "There is no doubt," said a City missionary, "that the impression has been very profound among these unhappy women. We have had special meetings for them, and at the very outset of our efforts we got thirty four of them away to homes, and we have had a good many others since. I knew the poor girl who has just been killed, and to look at, at all events, she was one of the smartest, nicest looking women in the neighbourhood. We have had her at some of our meetings, and a companion of hers was one we rescued. I know that she has been in correspondence with her mother. It is not true, as it has been stated, that she is a Welshwoman. She is of Irish parentage, and her mother, I believe, lives in Limerick. I used to hear a good deal about the letters from her mother there. You would not have supposed if you had met her in the street that she belonged to the miserable class she did, as she was always neatly and decently dressed and looked quite nice and respectable."


    It may be of interest that an article from a few days earlier (7 Nov) claims that one of the other victims, Catherine Eddowes, had attended missionary meetings, as is claimed in the article above for Kelly:

    City Press
    7 Nov 1888

    POOR OF THE EAST-END. - In two reports of the London City Mission issued this week, additional light is thrown upon the condition of the people in the neighbourhood where the East-end atrocities were committed. The Flower-and-Dean-street report says:- "All the victims lived in this district, and frequented the common lodging-houses situated within its boundaries. Some were well known to the missionary, especially the Mitre-square victim, who had on previous Sundays attended the service held by the missionary in one of the lodging-houses." The earnings of this class of people are very inadequate, while the price they pay for their rooms is exorbitant.

  • #2
    Hello Chris,

    Thank you for posting this second article. I find this very interesting.

    best wishes

    Phil
    Chelsea FC. TRUE BLUE. 💙


    Justice for the 96 = achieved
    Accountability? ....

    Comment


    • #3
      I don't question the missionary's account, but I'm unwilling, at this point, to believe a word that comes out of MJK's mouth! Does Barnett mention her getting any letters? Because by his account he lived with her for the better part of two years. I'd think her aged parent would have written to her at some point during that time.

      I strongly suspect MJK of tailoring her story to suit her audience. Telling a missionary about how she worried over her old mama alone in Limerick or whatever would be an no-brainer and would bolster her image as a caring, sharing, unfortunate.

      Comment


      • #4
        I don't question the missionary's account, but I'm unwilling, at this point, to believe a word that comes out of MJK's mouth! Does Barnett mention her getting any letters? Because by his account he lived with her for the better part of two years. I'd think her aged parent would have written to her at some point during that time.
        Mr. John McCarthy, the owner of the house in Miller's-court, has given the following facts as to the murdered woman…. “Her mother lives in Ireland, but in what county I do not know. Deceased used to receive letters from her occasionally.”
        The Star 10 November, 1888.

        Wolf.

        Comment


        • #5
          Had the Star's information been accurate, though, Wolf, the mother would have been aware of her daughter's address and the name by which she was known locally. So why did she fail to come forward once the news of Mary Jane's demise reached her?

          Regards.

          Garry Wroe.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Wolf Vanderlinden View Post
            Mr. John McCarthy, the owner of the house in Miller's-court, has given the following facts as to the murdered woman…. “Her mother lives in Ireland, but in what county I do not know. Deceased used to receive letters from her occasionally.”
            The Star 10 November, 1888.

            Wolf.
            The Star's been wrong before...

            In any case, I'm not sure how McCarthy knew about the mother in Ireland, and Barnett didn't. He mentioned everything else including her former paramours. He talked about her daddy the gaffer. It's likely MJK spoke about this to McCarthy in the same way she mentioned Mama to the missionary. 'Look at me! I"m an unfortunate, but not without a family I care about. I'm neat and clean, and if you didn't run into me down the 10 Bells of a Friday night, you'd think I was respectable!'

            Comment


            • #7
              Now that raises a point. When the postman was making deliveries to Miller's Court, would he leave the letters in McCarthy's shop to be picked up by the tenants, or would he deliver them individually to each of the rooms? I'm guessing the former, so McCarthy would know who was getting mail and, if there was a return address, where it originated.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Chava
                In any case, I'm not sure how McCarthy knew about the mother in Ireland, and Barnett didn't.
                If the mail was delivered to the shop and then delivered to the lodgers, the McCarthy's would certainly know what was being received, and what Barnett did or did not know would have been left up to Mary's discretion.

                Originally posted by Chris Scott
                City Press
                7 Nov 1888

                POOR OF THE EAST-END. - In two reports of the London City Mission issued this week, additional light is thrown upon the condition of the people in the neighbourhood where the East-end atrocities were committed. The Flower-and-Dean-street report says:- "All the victims lived in this district, and frequented the common lodging-houses situated within its boundaries. Some were well known to the missionary, especially the Mitre-square victim, who had on previous Sundays attended the service held by the missionary in one of the lodging-houses." The earnings of this class of people are very inadequate, while the price they pay for their rooms is exorbitant.
                This is interesting, because Dr. Barnardo held a mission at 32 Flower and Dean Street the week of the 'double event' and identified Liz Stride as a woman present. Either this report has confused Eddowes with Stride (it wouldn't be the first or last time this happened) or both women attended the missions. I suppose this wouldn't be strange since Dr. Barnardo would presumably visit the various lodging houses on 'Flowery Dean' Street and the lodgers, if home, might feel compelled to attend.

                Yours truly,

                Tom Wescott

                Comment


                • #9
                  Many thanks Tom
                  Very interesting point
                  Chris

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hello you all!

                    First of all, thanks, Chris, for the articles!

                    Well, here are my views to this conversation:

                    1. MJK did get letters from Ireland, but it wasn't necessarily her mother.

                    2. The probable answer to Barnett not knowing about the letters, is, that MJK burnt them in the fire-place, not telling Joe. Why? Obviously, because it would have revealed something about the real Mary.

                    3. I find it possible, that MJK did include her real life into her cover-up. But mixed the events so, that none of us will ever find out!

                    All the best
                    Jukka
                    "When I know all about everything, I am old. And it's a very, very long way to go!"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      In 1888 there were something like 6 deliveries of mail a day. It was entirely possible to mail a letter from the office home to tell your wife you wouldn't be home for dinner. How many rooms were to let in Millers Court? Even if the mail was delivered to the shop, Mr and Mrs McCarthy would have had to have been uncommonly idle to sift through that lot to find out who was sending mail to whom. The telephone had just come into use, and telegraphs were for dire circumstances. The only way to communicate normal information out of voice-range was the letter. I'm not saying that the McCarthy's were lying. They would remember that MJK got mail and it's entirely possible that she said 'oh thank you Mr McCarthy. It's from my mother!' But beyond that we're again dependent on MJK's information, and that is entirely unbelievable to me. If Barnett knew so much about his girlfriend that he knew her former lovers' names, her dead husband's name, her father's name, and where the family lived in Ireland and Wales, why would he stay not know about a mother alive in Limerick? And if he did know about her, would he not be desperate to tell her the terrible thing that had happened to her daughter?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Chava,

                        I can't imagine there was mail that often to the residents of the Court regardless of the regularity of the Royal Mail. I think it would be no problem for McCarthy to remember a letter or two from someone's mother, especially since the chandler's shop seems to have been a bit of a hangout as well as McCarthy's office, and I'm sure enough particulars were passed on premise to keep him somewhat informed of things.

                        Cheers,

                        Mike
                        huh?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          This is one of those interesting little mysteries that seem to saturate the Whitechapel murders, whether one likes it or not.

                          Barnett stated quite clearly about Kelly’s family that she “did not correspond with them,” so the matter would seem closed. However, there are several bits of evidence that suggest that this wasn’t true.

                          Barnett also stated that “Her father came from Wales and tried to find her there, but hearing from her companions that he was looking for her, Marie kept out of the way,” (“there” being Pennington Street, where Barnett incorrectly states Kelly lived with the man Morganstone) and “A brother in the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards came to see her once.” Both these incidents would seem to indicate that Kelly had some contact with her family, that her father and brother must have known where she was living, at least at some point in her life in the East End.

                          Add to this John McCarthy’s statement that Kelly received letters from her mother in Ireland and the city missionary saying the same thing (and Limerick is where Kelly was supposed to have originally come from) and this becomes less than idle speculation.

                          Wolf.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Michael, mail was the only way to communicate anything to anyone at that income level beyond screaming it at the top of your lungs. There would have been a boatload of mail to the people living in Millers Court. Whether McCarthy was nosy enough to note who wrote to whom is an unknown.

                            However the fact remains that McCarthy and the missionary say MJK got letters from her mother in Ireland, but Barnett says she wasn't in touch with her family at all. And there is an implication in Barnett's statement that MJK couldn't read very well. He says he read the newspapers to her.

                            One last thing, which I've mentioned above: if John Kelly is her father, and he's a gaffer at an ironworks in Carnaervon/Carmarthen, why is Mrs Kelly, her mother, back in the ancestral home in Ireland? Did they separate? MJK says nothing about that to Barnett or to anyone else.

                            This story doesn't make any kind of sense to me. It's possible MJK got letters maybe from a grandmother or someone else living in Ireland, but if she did, it doesn't sound like she could read them. And there was nothing in that room that suggested any kind of reply either. Paper was burnt in the fire, but pencil? Pen? Ink? Envelopes? There's nothing like that spoken of in the room. I think this is another MJK construct, especially to the missionary. Letters from home, an aged mother keeping the light in the window. Just the sort of thing she'd tell someone like that. Then she tells her prospective live-in about her long-dead young love and how his death lead her to the infirmary and from thence to a trip to France and the stay in the fancy West End house. She tailors her story does MJK, depending on who she's telling it to.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Chava View Post
                              There would have been a boatload of mail to the people living in Millers Court.
                              Really? Where's your evidence for this? I can't even imagine they were all literate enough, or that the families they came from were literate enough to send boatloads of mail. I'd suggest a letter a month or something like that. Many folks ending up in such places were often without such familial support that would be concerned with keeping errant and abroad family members up to date with daily things. I would suggest that letters would be sent when it was necessary due to big changes back home. This is just my guess. I hope I can find some evidence to support an argument for or against it, and you could very well be correct.

                              Cheers,

                              Mike
                              huh?

                              Comment

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