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  • #16
    Welcome to Casebook Charlie. An excellent series of posts which I’ve put a link to over on JTRForums. I believe that there’s a book being written about the various Torso Murders as we speak and I know that Debra Arif has a particular interest in the Torso murders.

    One point stood out for me, and it’s the one that Jeff has already mentioned - why were two wrapped but one wasn’t. I wonder if it’s possible that the one on Giordano Bruno Street was dumped earlier and lay undiscovered for a day or so then the killer decided on a more cautious approach to dumping the rest of the body (wrapping)? Due to the bloody condition of the bust might that make it less likely that the killer lifted it above his head and threw it over that high fence/wall? This would have meant that gate as the point of access so would he have driven around looking for places to dump the bust or was he familiar with the gate and knew that the area beyond was a safe place? We have no way of knowing of course and have nothing to go on. I do find it interesting though.
    Regards

    Sir Herlock Sholmes.

    “A house of delusions is cheap to build but draughty to live in.”

    Comment


    • #17
      Hi Herlock Sholmes,

      Regarding the third package (Rue Giordano Bruno), the information is conflicting. Some newspapers claim that the found bust was not wrapped. "Le Cri du Peuple" from August 6 claims that it was wrapped in gray paper. Similarly, according to some newspapers, the second package (urinal on Rue d’Alsia) was also unwrapped. It's very difficult to obtain certainties 130 years later... The only certain thing is that the first package was indeed wrapped in white oilcloth + green fabric.

      Still according to "Le Cri du Peuple" from August 6, the third package was on the railway track, about two meters from a wooden fence bordering the embankment. It had been thrown there without much intention of hiding it. Concerning this third discovery, it is important to note that an accident had occurred a few days earlier in the tunnel between the Montrouge and Glacire stations, not far from where the bust was found, and train traffic was interrupted. Agents were working day and night to repair the damage and restore traffic. Therefore, by choosing this location to throw the bust (whether wrapped or not), he did not necessarily choose a very hidden place. He knew it would be quickly spotted and picked up. This seems to support the thesis of an assassin who acts not in the context of "defensive dismemberment" but "offensive" (to leave a lasting impression).

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      Accident in the Montrouge tunnel. Source : bibliothque nationale de France (p. 516).​
      “There had been a madness of murder in the air. Some red star had come too close to the earth…”
      Oscar Wilde, The Portrait of Dorian Gray

      Comment


      • #18
        Some additional information:

        • The victim was a young woman aged 20 to 25. She had hands described as "cute" and "undistorted," indicating that the victim was of average status and not involved in manual labor.

        • Describing the contents of the second package (pelvis + lower abdomen found on Rue d’Alsia), the newspaper "Le Sicle" on August 5 indicates that the sexual parts had been removed. It also states that the intestines and viscera had been removed from the pelvis, but it is unclear whether this extraction was done by a skilled or clumsy hand, as the abdomen had been opened in its entire height with a very sharp cutting weapon.

        • The blade used to cut the corpse was very sharp and perfectly honed. According to the doctors, it could be a butcher's knife. The hand that used it was unskilled, but in some details of the dissection, there is a kind of habit of handling and cutting dead flesh. The bones were not broken but disarticulated; the flesh was thrown above and below, and the disarticulation was done very cleanly.

        • According to the newspaper "Le XIXe Sicle" dated August 7, 1886, the murderer took care to scrupulously wash the body of his victim after cutting it into pieces. He even went so far as to wash and wipe the inside of the thorax. The armpits had been carefully depilated, probably to prevent determining if the victim was blonde, brunette, or a redhead. However, a few remaining hairs on the top of the left thigh allowed determining that the victim was brunette or auburn (at the same time, some newspapers claim that she was blonde!!! ).

        • The flesh did not appear to be affected by decomposition. According to the doctors, death occurred no more than 24 hours before the discovery of the remains.

        • Several ribs on the right side were fractured, suggesting that the victim must have endured a terrible struggle against her assailant.

        • The remains of the victim were weighed (25 kilos) and photographed. Despite my research at the Archives de la Prfecture de Police, I could not find a trace of the photos taken. By comparing them with those of the victim from Rue de Botzaris, one could have tried to see if it was the same murderer. Perhaps a more experienced and skillful researcher than me will eventually get hold of them.
        Last edited by Charlie; 12-02-2023, 03:06 PM.
        “There had been a madness of murder in the air. Some red star had come too close to the earth…”
        Oscar Wilde, The Portrait of Dorian Gray

        Comment


        • #19
          Another detail, which tends to prove that the murderer had a rather provocative side. When you look at a map from that time, you realize that the urinal on Avenue d'Orlans (where the first package was found) was just a few dozen meters from the police station located at number 68. Although I must also specify that the police station (where the commissioner of the Petit-Montrouge district is located) was closed at this late hour. The remains were transported to the municipal police station, which was in the building of the town hall of the 14th arrondissement, 750 meters away (0.4 miles).

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          Municipal plot plan of Paris (late 19th century) of the 55th district (cote PP/11876/A).
          Red circle: location where the first package was found.​
          “There had been a madness of murder in the air. Some red star had come too close to the earth…”
          Oscar Wilde, The Portrait of Dorian Gray

          Comment


          • #20
            I am putting the content of post #3 back here because it has disappeared…
            Attached Files
            “There had been a madness of murder in the air. Some red star had come too close to the earth…”
            Oscar Wilde, The Portrait of Dorian Gray

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Charlie View Post
              Hi Herlock Sholmes,

              Regarding the third package (Rue Giordano Bruno), the information is conflicting. Some newspapers claim that the found bust was not wrapped. "Le Cri du Peuple" from August 6 claims that it was wrapped in gray paper. Similarly, according to some newspapers, the second package (urinal on Rue d’Alsia) was also unwrapped. It's very difficult to obtain certainties 130 years later... The only certain thing is that the first package was indeed wrapped in white oilcloth + green fabric.

              Still according to "Le Cri du Peuple" from August 6, the third package was on the railway track, about two meters from a wooden fence bordering the embankment. It had been thrown there without much intention of hiding it. Concerning this third discovery, it is important to note that an accident had occurred a few days earlier in the tunnel between the Montrouge and Glacire stations, not far from where the bust was found, and train traffic was interrupted. Agents were working day and night to repair the damage and restore traffic. Therefore, by choosing this location to throw the bust (whether wrapped or not), he did not necessarily choose a very hidden place. He knew it would be quickly spotted and picked up. This seems to support the thesis of an assassin who acts not in the context of "defensive dismemberment" but "offensive" (to leave a lasting impression).

              Click image for larger version

Name:	Capture d’écran 2023-12-02 à 15.34.59.jpg
Views:	230
Size:	186.1 KB
ID:	826613

              Accident in the Montrouge tunnel. Source : bibliothque nationale de France (p. 516).​
              Thanks for that Charlie. My suggestion that the bust may have been there longer is clearly a non-starter. I’m assuming that there were no other similar discoveries in the years leading up to, and the years after these three?
              Regards

              Sir Herlock Sholmes.

              “A house of delusions is cheap to build but draughty to live in.”

              Comment


              • #22
                Hi Herlock Sholmes,

                There's this other case I mentioned here that was immediately linked to the mystery of Montrouge and the murders in London by the Parisian police. The other famous cases of dismemberment (like the bloody trunk of Millery or Victor Prvost, for example) are quite different and were "defensive" cases (to hide the body).

                In fact, it's quite fascinating to compare what happened in London in the years 1887-1889 and what happened in Paris. French people were very skilled at imagining horrible murders at the time, and I've always thought that the Jack the Ripper case could have happened in Paris. Perhaps we should explore this connection?
                “There had been a madness of murder in the air. Some red star had come too close to the earth…”
                Oscar Wilde, The Portrait of Dorian Gray

                Comment


                • #23
                  The connection between the Ripper/ the Torso killer, and the French Torso killings comes in the railways and infrastructure.

                  The Whitehall Torso was found in the basement of the construction of the New Scotland Yard Building
                  The Pinchin Street Torso was found underway a recently constructed Railway Arch on the Great Eastern Line, next to Board of Works land - Lusk previously worked for the Board of Works
                  Elizabeth Jackson was seen just hours before she was dismembered by multiple witnesses, speaking with a man who looked like a Navvy (a civil engineer who worked on the Railways/Waterways)
                  Frances Coles was murdered under the same stretch of Railway as the Pinchin Street Torso, on the Great Eastern Railway Line
                  Polly Nichols was murdered next to a railway track.
                  The link between Dear Boss and the underlining of the RIGHT TRACK is self explanatory.
                  Lusk was a former builder and renovated theatres and other building projects.

                  At the time of the killings, there was extensive construction on the Railway infrastructure, including the line that ran through Whitechapel itself. At one time Charles Reeves, one of the founding members of the WVC and an experienced character actor, had to uproot and move from their family home situated west of and adjacent to Bucks Row...due to the literal construction of the District Line running parallel with Whitechapel Rd (North side)

                  I believe that the Torso killer worked for Lusk at one time, as a builder for the Board of Works, with Lusk as his supervisor; hence Dear Boss
                  I also believe there's a chance that the Torso killer was a builder involved in the renovation of Lusk's projects

                  And so, IF the Torso killer was a Navvy, ergo, an engineer/builder/stone mason... then did he choose place the Pinchin St torso under an archway that he literally helped to build?
                  And was he involved in the litral construction of New Scotland yard, and therefore had access to the basement area to place the torso?

                  And were Coles and Nichols both victims of the Torso killer, who again chose his killing sites specifically?

                  That would then imply by proxy that the Torso killer was the Ripper...but maybe not.

                  Nichols and Mckenzie are almost certainly the same killer
                  Coles and Stride are probably the same killer.

                  But Chapman, Eddowes and Kelly may be the work of the man we all call Jack the Ripper, and so what if the Torso killer and the Ripper's victims have been mixed up all this time?

                  Of course, the likeliest scenario is that it's either all the same killer.


                  In context with the French Torso killer; IF this is the same man responsible for the Pinchin St, Whitehall killings etc... then we are looking for a man who traveled to and from France to England, and that would suggest a person who led a transient lifestyle and went where the work was.

                  What connections do we have to France in the Ripper case?

                  The pugilist (bare knuckle boxer) connection, which links McCarthy (who was involved with the illegal scene, as well as other Lodging House owners) and potentially the man seen by Hutchinson talking to MJK. McCarthy was born in Dieppe and MJK lived and worked in France prior to London.
                  There were numerous boxing contests in England, France and the USA which involved people going to and from France.

                  When Kelly appeared to be on friendly terms with the man who looked like a pugilist, did she know him from her time in France?

                  Cadosche was also a native Parisian

                  Charles Le Grand was multilingual and spoke several languages, and spent time in France. One of his countless aliases (The French Colonel)


                  I find it particularly interesting that the French Torso killer chose the railway line, as it fits with the locations chosen by the London Torso Killer.

                  Are there any official records of the men who worked for the Board of Works and ALSO the various railway lines, and the construction of New Scotland Yard?

                  Any if so, did any of them travel to and from France?

                  (Incidentally, I have identified a new person of interest called John Donnelly, who was a marble mason who ran a private workshop in the cellar of 38 Dorset St. As a marble mason he a particular set of skills that involved the use of marble and stonework.
                  Bearing in mind that through the archway under which the Pinchin St torso was dumped, was the Board of Works stone breaking yard.

                  Stone would have also been used in the foundations of New Scotland Yard.

                  And the railway arches? Were they brick and/or stone structures?

                  In 1894, Donnelly almost certainly murdered his common law wife in his private cellar at 38 Dorset St.
                  Bearing in mind that 38 Dorset St is the same address that Michael Kidney and Elizabeth Stride lived at.

                  Donnelly was also named as the man who murdered Stride... but not through a conventional source.

                  I have started a thread on Donnelly, but it has received no response yet.


                  But i digress...

                  Your work on this French Torso killer is exceptional Charlie, and very fascinating indeed!


                  I am fascinated by your efforts and find this thread rather refreshing in terms of it's angle of approach to the case.


                  RD
                  "Great minds, don't think alike"

                  Comment


                  • #24

                    Hello The Rookie Detective​,

                    What you're saying is enlightening. I've just realized that it also fits quite well with the case of the Parisian crime on October 30, 1892. Indeed, the remains of the unknown woman's body discovered at number 76 Botzaris Street, almost at the corner of Crime Street and facing the gate of Buttes-Chaumont Park, were found in the basement of a small house under construction. Started ten years earlier by a real estate company that had since gone bankrupt, this building had never been completed, and the local vagabonds often sought refuge there. Just 200 meters away, as the crow flies, was the open-air section of the Petite Ceinture railway line. The same railway line that passed through the Petit-Montrouge neighborhood and along which (Rue Giordano Bruno) the third package was discovered.

                    Of course, we're still in the realm of conjecture, but all of this is quite exciting.

                    Thanks for your feedback.

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                    “There had been a madness of murder in the air. Some red star had come too close to the earth…”
                    Oscar Wilde, The Portrait of Dorian Gray

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Charlie View Post
                      Hello The Rookie Detective​,

                      What you're saying is enlightening. I've just realized that it also fits quite well with the case of the Parisian crime on October 30, 1892. Indeed, the remains of the unknown woman's body discovered at number 76 Botzaris Street, almost at the corner of Crime Street and facing the gate of Buttes-Chaumont Park, were found in the basement of a small house under construction. Started ten years earlier by a real estate company that had since gone bankrupt, this building had never been completed, and the local vagabonds often sought refuge there. Just 200 meters away, as the crow flies, was the open-air section of the Petite Ceinture railway line. The same railway line that passed through the Petit-Montrouge neighborhood and along which (Rue Giordano Bruno) the third package was discovered.

                      Of course, we're still in the realm of conjecture, but all of this is quite exciting.

                      Thanks for your feedback.

                      Click image for larger version  Name:	plan_cadastral_de_la_ville_buttes-chaumont copie.jpg Views:	0 Size:	249.1 KB ID:	826650


                      You're very welcome, your research is fascinating and excellent.

                      So based on your data, there is a house under construction and a connection with the train line.

                      The choice of locations that a Torso killer chooses to place and either display or hide a body is significant; because it forms part of the killer's working mental process.

                      With Jack the Ripper, the choice of murder sites could be randomized and depend on the circumstances at the time, ergo, it's more about the kill and subsequent mutilation than it is about WHERE to slay an unfortunate.

                      However, with the Torso killings, the killer's choice of dumping site IS integral to their intent as a killer, and forms part of the fundamental basis of the killings.

                      In other words, the Pinchin St and Whitehall Torsos were placed at their respective locations deliberately as part of the killer's ritual and message.

                      It's very clear from your research that there's a potential link between the murders in France and the murders in London.

                      The railway arches
                      The new building constructions

                      For me, the killer was a man who was involved with these projects.

                      I just find it remarkable; the fact that George Lusk; the alleged primary recipient of various written correspondences from the Ripper, and a former builder who went on to renovate theatres, and who was involved with the Board of Works (as an official entity, appeared to have a remarkable geographical connection to all of the Ripper and Torso murders, due to their respective proximity)

                      When you add the Torso killings to the French Torso killings, there are striking similarities in the choice of sites used by the killer/killers to dump the bodies.

                      That has to mean something.

                      In early 1888, 14 Hanbury Street was rebuilt after having been burnt down. This house was on the opposite side of the road to 29 Hanbury St a few doors away to the west.
                      Miller's Court was also built at the back of 26 Dorset St (unsure of year)

                      The man I mentioned; John Donnelly; he lived at 12 Dorset St but had a workshop in the cellar of 38 Dorset St.

                      He lived in Dorset St for years before and after the murder of MJK.

                      I am researching his life as we speak.

                      Of course, if I go on to objectively discover that he worked for the Board of Works, for Lusk, for McCarthy, and spent time in Paris...then it may increase his potential validity as a person of interest.

                      In 1894 his common-law wife, Alice came to visit him in his workshop in the cellar of 38 Dorset St.

                      The cellar was only accessible by ladder.

                      The couple had been together for years, but had recently split.

                      Alice went there on a Thursday, but according to Donnelly, she had a fit and fell into the furnace in his workshop. He sat her in a chair, but instead of calling for help or taking her to the hospital, he let her stay in the chair.
                      She fell into unconsciousness on the Saturday, and was only moved on the Monday.

                      So he kept her in the cellar workshop for 4 days without getting help.

                      When he was questioned by the authorities, he claimed he had fed her and dressed her burns on her face. However, she was completely covered in bruises and burns and her face was almost unrecognizable.

                      Fortunately for Donnelly, the coroner stated her official cause of death as Heart Disease, despite her body having been beaten and badly burned, the coroner believed his story.

                      He walked free.

                      That is not the actions of an innocent man.

                      I believe he tortured her for days, and beat her savagely, and deliberately burnt her face off in the fire in his workshop (Marble Mason workshop I imagine)

                      Quite how he evaded prosecution is incredible when you realize he deliberately kept her in his cellar workshop for 4 days without raising the alarm.

                      Baffling.



                      RD
                      Last edited by The Rookie Detective; 12-02-2023, 10:32 PM.
                      "Great minds, don't think alike"

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Hi The Rookie Detective​,

                        What you're saying about the connections with the railway is spot on. Besides the Pinchin Street torso found under the brick arches of the viaduct of the Great Eastern Railway and the London, Tilbury, and Southend Railway, some sections of the Rainham Mystery victim were discovered:
                        • in the basin of the Kentish Town Locks;
                        • in the basin of the Pancras Locks, between the tracks of the Midland Railway Company and those of the Great Northern Railway Company.

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                        In the red circles: the location where a body fragment was found as part of the Rainham Mystery.
                        On the left, St Pancras Locks (Insurance Plan of London Vol. XII: sheet 400-1). On the right, Kentish Town Locks (Insurance Plan of London Vol. XII; sheet 403).
                        ​​

                        Not to mention the numerous debris found along Battersea Park, not far from the Victoria Bridge (now Grosvenor Bridge), which was then the first railway bridge spanning the Thames.

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                        It's definitely an aspect to delve into…



                        PS: Congratulations on your research on John Donnelly. I'll read more carefully.
                        ​​
                        “There had been a madness of murder in the air. Some red star had come too close to the earth…”
                        Oscar Wilde, The Portrait of Dorian Gray

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          To return to the mystery of the torso in Paris (quartier du Petit-Montrouge), the first newspaper to provide a visual representation of the drama was the daily newspaper La Petite Presse on Tuesday, August 10, 1886.

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                          While a knowledgeable reader immediately understands the two top vignettes (discovery of the first parcel in the urinal on Avenue d'Orlans and uncovering of the torso on Giordano Bruno Street, not far from the intersection with Rue des Plantes), it is more difficult to grasp the event referred to in the large bottom vignette.

                          Fortunately, the article accompanying this illustrated plate mentions that, a few days after the discoveries of human remains in the Petit-Montrouge district, a packaged bundle containing a woman's breast was pulled up by a fisherman from the depths of the Seine, near the Saint-Cloud Bridge. Investigators initially thought it was one of the missing elements of the unfortunate victim of the "vampire of Montrouge," but at the Morgue, Dr. Vibert, after a more thorough examination, concluded that this debris did not come from the woman of Petit-Montrouge.

                          It is also noteworthy in the first drawing that the urinal on Avenue d'Orlans, where the first sections of the victim's body were found, does not correspond to the six-stall urinal visible in Charles Marville's photograph (see below). The urinal depicted in La Petite Presse's drawing is of the "urinal with three stalls" type, which tends to prove that the illustrator did not go to the location to scout the scene.

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                          Urinal with six stalls (2 x 3) in Avenue d'Orlans. Source: Charles Marville. (State Library Victoria).

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                          Urinal with three stalls. Source: Charles Marville (State Library Victoria).



                          Another urinal with six stalls (2 x 3) in Paris, quartier des Halles. Source: Charles Marville (State Library Victoria).
                          Attached Files
                          Last edited by Charlie; 12-03-2023, 12:51 PM.
                          “There had been a madness of murder in the air. Some red star had come too close to the earth…”
                          Oscar Wilde, The Portrait of Dorian Gray

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Charlie View Post
                            Hi The Rookie Detective​,

                            What you're saying about the connections with the railway is spot on. Besides the Pinchin Street torso found under the brick arches of the viaduct of the Great Eastern Railway and the London, Tilbury, and Southend Railway, some sections of the Rainham Mystery victim were discovered:
                            • in the basin of the Kentish Town Locks;
                            • in the basin of the Pancras Locks, between the tracks of the Midland Railway Company and those of the Great Northern Railway Company.

                            Click image for larger version

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ID:	826678
                            In the red circles: the location where a body fragment was found as part of the Rainham Mystery.
                            On the left, St Pancras Locks (Insurance Plan of London Vol. XII: sheet 400-1). On the right, Kentish Town Locks (Insurance Plan of London Vol. XII; sheet 403).
                            ​​

                            Not to mention the numerous debris found along Battersea Park, not far from the Victoria Bridge (now Grosvenor Bridge), which was then the first railway bridge spanning the Thames.

                            Click image for larger version

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                            It's definitely an aspect to delve into…



                            PS: Congratulations on your research on John Donnelly. I'll read more carefully.
                            ​​
                            Exceptional work Charlie.

                            What I admire about your post, is that it's based on evidence.

                            You're not squabbling over witness statements, whether the killer was antisemitic, the TOD for Chapman, or whether a man can tie a shoelace and miss seeing a body... you're illustrating actual objective data, and that is very refreshing indeed.

                            The locations chosen by the Torso killer are a clue to their identity.

                            There are far too many coincidences to connect the killer to the railway/waterway, ergo, the infrastructure.

                            The Torso killers occupation is linked to that infrastructure.

                            Imagine the killer's satisfaction of being able to dump a body they've dismembered at a location they themselves helped to construct as part of their working role.

                            There must exist an employee record, of men who were contracted to built certain sections of the railway and the canal waterways.

                            As a Navvy, the killer would be employed to work on large civil engineering construction projects , and would have access to certain areas...and tools.

                            When you add the fact that head of the WVC; George Lusk, was a builder, and who had previously worked for the Board of Works; who were responsible for such construction projects, it's not too far a stretch of the imagination to wonder whether the killer worked for Lusk at some point.

                            IF that is the case, then there's a potential link there between the Ripper and Torso killer cases.


                            RD




                            "Great minds, don't think alike"

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Charlie View Post
                              To return to the mystery of the torso in Paris (quartier du Petit-Montrouge), the first newspaper to provide a visual representation of the drama was the daily newspaper La Petite Presse on Tuesday, August 10, 1886.

                              Click image for larger version Name:	crime_de_montrouge_la_petite_presse_10-08-1886.jpg Views:	0 Size:	184.9 KB ID:	826684

                              While a knowledgeable reader immediately understands the two top vignettes (discovery of the first parcel in the urinal on Avenue d'Orlans and uncovering of the torso on Giordano Bruno Street, not far from the intersection with Rue des Plantes), it is more difficult to grasp the event referred to in the large bottom vignette.

                              Fortunately, the article accompanying this illustrated plate mentions that, a few days after the discoveries of human remains in the Petit-Montrouge district, a packaged bundle containing a woman's breast was pulled up by a fisherman from the depths of the Seine, near the Saint-Cloud Bridge. Investigators initially thought it was one of the missing elements of the unfortunate victim of the "vampire of Montrouge," but at the Morgue, Dr. Vibert, after a more thorough examination, concluded that this debris did not come from the woman of Petit-Montrouge.

                              It is also noteworthy in the first drawing that the urinal on Avenue d'Orlans, where the first sections of the victim's body were found, does not correspond to the six-stall urinal visible in Charles Marville's photograph (see below). The urinal depicted in La Petite Presse's drawing is of the "urinal with three stalls" type, which tends to prove that the illustrator did not go to the location to scout the scene.

                              Click image for larger version Name:	etape1_avenue_d_orleans.jpg Views:	0 Size:	199.1 KB ID:	826685
                              Urinal with six stalls (2 x 3) in Avenue d'Orlans. Source: Charles Marville. (State Library Victoria).

                              Click image for larger version Name:	urinoir_lumineux_a_trois_stalles.jpg Views:	0 Size:	172.1 KB ID:	826687
                              Urinal with three stalls. Source: Charles Marville (State Library Victoria).



                              Another urinal with six stalls (2 x 3) in Paris, quartier des Halles. Source: Charles Marville (State Library Victoria).
                              Another fascinating post, very impressed.


                              RD
                              "Great minds, don't think alike"

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                I've only just stumbled across this thread. Thanks for posting all this interesting information Charlie. Excellent work. I look forward to reading through it all.

                                Comment

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