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Meet Tottie Fay

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  • Meet Tottie Fay


    I believe there have been several theories as to the origins of the apochrypal (and utterly fictititious) "Fairy, a.k.a Tottie Fay" story and the name of this "victim".

    The attached IPN press clippings give us an interesting picture of a good candidate - and a colourful character it seems.

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    It seems that ol' Tottie was a regular bit of news in her day. Even the 1st clipping from 1889 is titled "Tottie Fay again".
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    And the Christmas Eve IPN issue has one last snippet of our Tottie:
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    Of course, I'm not suggesting that there's any truth in the "JtR victim Fay" story - just that the Name was frequently reported in the INPs of the day.

    Last edited by Jake L; 04-03-2008, 11:19 PM.

  • #2
    Good find!



    • #3
      Jake - that's just scenes of Suzi at the WS1888 Xmas bash.

      Tour guides do it loudly in front of a crowd.


      • #4
        I refute that wholeheartedly!!.....I most certainly did NOT have flowers on my 'at as shown in that appallingly inaccurate sketch!
        'Would you like to see my African curiosities?'


        • #5
          Interesting articles. Stewart Evans and Nick Connell first connected "Tot Fay" with the mythical "Fairy Fay" in their book The Man Who Hunted Jack the Ripper (Rupert Books, 2000). See pages 14 to 19.



          • #6
            I searched press reports for Tottie Fay and this is what I came up with:


            • #7
              Yes I find her a fascinating character, and have read all the reports about her for many years now. I always like to think that her and Thomas Cutbush broke billiard cues over their heads at Broadmoor.
              Just a damn shame she wasn't murdered in 1887 or 1888 eh?


              • #8
                'Tottie Fay' was first connected with 'Fairy Fay' by the authors of the A to Z in 1994, page 138.


                • #9
                  Hello you all!

                  And some months ago I was wondering about the appearance of Fairy Fay!

                  Now I know about it, thanks to Jake L!

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


                  • #10
                    It's important to not lose sight of the fact that the alleged 1887 victim was not called Fairy Fay in any account until more than 60 years after the murders. Prior to that it was just a supposed first Whitechapel murder with no name attached. The details of this unnamed victim, as reported in 1888 press reports, mimic the details of the Emma Elizabeth Smith murder. Notably, these same press reports did not include Smith in their lists of Whitechapel victims. The reports seem to have been merely the result of journalists thinking of the Smith case but forgetting the name and getting the date wrong.

                    The first mention of a "Fairy Fay" as a victim was by Terence Robertson in a Reynold's News article in 1950. When he discusses this victim he says he would call her that "for want of a better name." This indicates that he was not simply copying a name he had heard earlier but that he was making one up on the spot. Considering that he was trying to name an unknown woman whose existence couldn't otherwise be found, "Fairy Fay" would be a perfectly reasonable name to pull out of a hat.

                    There doesn't seem to be any reason to link Tottie Fay with Fairy Fay other than a somewhat similar sounding name. So, while interesting as a slice of life of the Victorian era, these reports on Tottie Fay would not seem to have any relevance to any alleged Ripper victim.

                    Dan Norder
                    Ripper Notes: The International Journal for Ripper Studies
                    Web site: - Email:


                    • #11
                      What a character! Thanks for the read of her exploits Jake L. I presume the first name Tottie comes from the East End slang for less than perfect goods,"toot".(rhyming with foot).Or maybe it's a shortening of a name.Makes Eddowes impersonating a fire engine seem like an everyday occurance.Would have loved to have met her.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by anna View Post
                        I presume the first name Tottie comes from the East End slang for less than perfect goods,"toot".(rhyming with foot).Or maybe it's a shortening of a name.
                        The latter, I think, Anna. "Tottie", like "Lottie", was a shortened form of "Charlotte". The name of "Tottie Fay" appears as an asylum inmate in the 1891 Census; her occupation being given as "actress". Born 1866/7 in Bloomsbury, she is possibly the same Charlotte Fay, daughter of coach-driver George and wife Charlotte, who appears in the 1871 and 1881 censuses, living with her parents in the (West End) district of St George's Hanover Square.
                        Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                        "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)


                        • #13
                          Hi All,

                          And of course, Tottie was/is also a slang term for a sexy piece or "nice bit of skirt".

                          One of my first encounters with the remarkable Tot Fay was back in 1999 when I found her trying her funny little games on Weedon Grossmith (of Diary of a Nobody fame) in his autobiography. I suspect her antics made more than one male victim very cynical about the 'fairer' sex. She didn't know how to play fair.


                          "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                          • #14
                            Quite Caz -as to tottie/totty but I've always used the word TOOT (rhymes with boot) to mean c**p or rubbish!- That may be a Suzi-ism but I suspect it aint...Hey Caz to save you looking at the GH thread thought this may make you
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                            ...Did me......

                            Suz xxxxx
                            'Would you like to see my African curiosities?'


                            • #15
                              ...well, I can make out Druitt, Tumblety and JK Stephen - but who's the other guy?
                              Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                              "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)