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  • #16
    I have assumed for a long time that Mary was a redhead based on the description of "ginger haired," and there is a lot of variation in shade to red hair but I like to think Jane Coram might have gotten it close to accurate in her illustrations. The makers of the movie "From Hell" certainly went with the idea (though quite over the top) when they colored Heather Gramm's hair flaming orange. That brings to mind another film portrayal, Lysette Anthony in the 1988 "Jack the Ripper" miniseries. Her natural hair color I believe was a very light brown and yet to play Mary she colored it black. I've never understood why. (Loved her performance, though.)

    I assume any nickname of Mary's using the word "dark" referred to personality or life story rather than hair color or complexion. And as to the difference between her build being described as "stout" and her appearance in the photograph- I hate to be morbid but let's not forget there is a lot of her missing in that picture.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by markmorey5 View Post
      Black Mary was Mary Kelly's nickname for when she got drunk and abusive. Clearly she had a reputation! The nickname Ginger implies red or perhaps strawberry blonde hair, and Fair Emma implies pale skin which redheads often have.

      Red hair is coarse, so for her hair to be waist-length it was more likely to be strawberry blonde.
      she was only 25, it's possible her hair color was still vivid (is this the right English term?). Redhead tends to get blonder or darker as they get older.
      Is it progress when a cannibal uses a fork?
      - Stanislaw Jerzy Lee

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      • #18
        Originally posted by kensei View Post
        I have assumed for a long time that Mary was a redhead based on the description of "ginger haired," and there is a lot of variation in shade to red hair but I like to think Jane Coram might have gotten it close to accurate in her illustrations. The makers of the movie "From Hell" certainly went with the idea (though quite over the top) when they colored Heather Gramm's hair flaming orange. That brings to mind another film portrayal, Lysette Anthony in the 1988 "Jack the Ripper" miniseries. Her natural hair color I believe was a very light brown and yet to play Mary she colored it black. I've never understood why. (Loved her performance, though.)

        I assume any nickname of Mary's using the word "dark" referred to personality or life story rather than hair color or complexion. And as to the difference between her build being described as "stout" and her appearance in the photograph- I hate to be morbid but let's not forget there is a lot of her missing in that picture.
        In the crime scene photos you can tell enough from her arms and lack of double chin that Mary Kelly wasn't fat. If she was 'stout' (and I believe only two used that term), she may have had broad hips, broad shoulders or perhaps been busty. But being tall she could have carried that build well, if indeed she was built like that.

        The nickname was 'Black Mary' and black seems to be specific to her personality when drunk. When windows got broken and things like that.

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        • #19
          Mr barnett,
          The Mary Kelly of Castle Alley prostitute in the Whitechapel infirmary 1881`suffering syphilis is not the same Mary Kelly as the ripper victim. There were about 40 Mary Kellys around London at the time.

          Miss Marple

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          • #20
            Originally posted by miss marple View Post
            Mr barnett,
            The Mary Kelly of Castle Alley prostitute in the Whitechapel infirmary 1881`suffering syphilis is not the same Mary Kelly as the ripper victim. There were about 40 Mary Kellys around London at the time.

            Miss Marple
            Hi Miss Marple,

            Probably not, but of course we don't know. Just a weird coincidence perhaps: MK prostitute cheek by jowl with an Emma Davis, widow. Then in 1888 we have a MK, prostitute who is called Emma and says she is the widow of a Mr Davis.

            The age is wrong, but we were discussing the possibility of MJK romanticising her past, so knocking a few years off her age would be no big deal.

            If there were 40 Mary Kelly's in London, I wonder how many of them are likely to have been Whitechapel prostitutes?

            MrB
            Last edited by MrBarnett; 08-19-2014, 11:47 AM.

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            • #21
              Twenty posts on this thread and counting. It was green, ok?

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Scott Nelson View Post
                Twenty posts on this thread and counting. It was green, ok?
                Well if it happened today it just might be. Or blue, purple, etc. etc.

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                • #23
                  When I played Mary Kelly in a local production of Jack the Ripper I used an authentic Victorian henna to colour my hair a reddish brown, it looked, and I felt, fabulous.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Jon Guy View Post
                    When I played Mary Kelly in a local production of Jack the Ripper I used an authentic Victorian henna to colour my hair a reddish brown, it looked, and I felt, fabulous.
                    Very Bolly
                    ,,`,, Debs ,,`,,

                    I am not DJA. He's called Dave.

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                    • #25
                      Mr Barnett,
                      In 1881 Mary Kelly was probably still in Wales, if her story is basically accurate or she might be indulging in her little french trip.

                      And if your talking about coincidences. there is a welsh MK in 1881 living next door to a Davies.

                      Take the commonest names in the British Isles and these coincidences happen all the time. The M KS have been researched for years without two consecutive census records and birth details that add up.

                      Miss Marple

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                      • #26
                        Hi Miss Marple,

                        I am not suggesting that this MK is the Mary of Millers court, but I would not reject the possibility on the basis of MJK's rather romantic and possibly romanticised account of her life. And I don't see how Kelly/Davies/Wales trumps Kelly/prostitute/Emma/Davies/widow/Whitechapel.

                        MrB

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post
                          Hi Miss Marple,

                          Probably not, but of course we don't know. Just a weird coincidence perhaps: MK prostitute cheek by jowl with an Emma Davis, widow. Then in 1888 we have a MK, prostitute who is called Emma and says she is the widow of a Mr Davis.

                          The age is wrong, but we were discussing the possibility of MJK romanticising her past, so knocking a few years off her age would be no big deal.

                          If there were 40 Mary Kelly's in London, I wonder how many of them are likely to have been Whitechapel prostitutes?

                          MrB
                          The Royal Conspiracy Theory starts with another prostitute named Mary Kelly, although this Mary Kelly was average height with dark, bushy hair. This other Mary Kelly was known by Walter Sickert and possibly posed nude for him and the story gets muddied from there, although given the physical appearance differences, she was a different Mary Kelly to the Whitechapel murder victim. It is possible if not probable that Sickert's Mary Kelly worked at the Cleveland Street brothel, which means we have two Mary Kellys working in West End brothels run by Frenchwomen at around the same time, and both seem to have left their places of employment at around the same time too.

                          There would have been other Mary Kellys working as Whitechapel prostitutes and some other women used the name 'Mary Kelly' when working. Look up census records of the time and you will see a number of Mary Kellys in Whitechapel. There was a Mary Jane Kelly fined two shillings and sixpence for being drunk and disorderly, and this could be our Mary Jane Kelly who was known to have a drink or three.

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                          • #28
                            Hi Mark ,

                            Which of the two do you find more credible: the Royal Conspiracy or MJKs heart-wrenching autobiography?

                            I'm giving these figures off the top of my head, I'm sure if they are wrong, someone will tell me. The population of Whitechapel at the time was around 76,000, the number of prostitutes around 1,200. Assuming roughly equal male/female split that would work out at one in every 30 or so women engaged in prostitution. If there were a hundred Mary Kelly's around at the time you would expect 2 or 3 to be prostitutes. Not so many. So if you find someone declaring to the authorities 'My name is Mary Kelly and I am a prostitute', it sets you wondering (or it does me at least).

                            Then when you add the widow Emma Davis into the mix, and additionally a second prostitute named Williams (reputedly Mary had a prostitute pal named Williams) it certainly creates a possibility that I would not dismiss on the basis of either the Royal Conspiracy or Mary's own account of her background.

                            Cheers,

                            MrB

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                            • #29
                              There are elements of Mary Kelly's autobiography which are plausible. At 5 foot 7 with fair complexion and probable red hair she was probably striking and a potential clothes lodger for a West End brothel. The French visit was possibly to a French brothel, and the name 'Marie Jeanette' is consistent with the working names that women used at the time in French brothels. West End brothels and French brothels liked to move their women around so that regular clients had new women to choose from, so swaps were made.

                              The move to Whitechapel is plausible in that after clothes lodgers paid for their room, expenses and hire of clothes, they made very little and sometimes (or often) found themselves in debt. So it was less a fall from the high-class side of town to the slums, but rather a way to start again with little money in her pocket after a few years at Kensington.

                              It's not romantic to spend years and years in a brothel bedding however many men to end up with next to no money to show for the time and effort.

                              I don't believe anything about the Royal Conspiracy theory except that it seems that Sickert knew a different Mary Kelly prostitute working in the West End, and this Mary Kelly then disappears from the scene.

                              I believe that there would have been more than 1200 working as full-time or part-time prostitutes, and considering part-time women I would have thought a minimum of a few thousand. Many women at the time did part-time prostutution to make up the household budget or to pay debts, mainly because working class women earned so little. There would be several Mary Kellys working as prostututes and more women using the name as an allias. As a guess 10 to 20, depending on how many used the name as an alias.

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                              • #30
                                Hi Mark,

                                So how many Mary Kelly's were on the 1881 census for Whitechapel would you say? If there were twenty or so who were prostitutes , presumably a few hundred who weren't ?

                                I hadn't realised the name was so popular.

                                MrB

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