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How strange is this

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  • How strange is this

    As this has not been brought up on Casebook, let me start the ball rolling.
    A letter was published on the 2ND November 1888[1 week before Kelly's death] in the Ipswich Journal, which was a obvious hoax, however it stated that 'Lets hope the police here, can do better then the London police'
    The content is not so important as the address, from which it was sent.14 Dorset street.Spitalfields.
    How strange is that, it mentions an address just a few doors away from Millers court.
    Even stranger it was the address of Caroline Maxwell ,one of the most discussed witnesses in the Ripper case, the woman who claimed to have done the impossible... seeing and talking, to someone after their death....
    We know that 14, Dorset street, was a dwelling comprising of 39 inhabitants [ my favourite number ha] in 1881, and was still a lodging house in 1891.
    I just find it strange that just over 7 days before Mary Kelly's death, someone addressed a letter to the Norfolk police , allegedly sent from 14 Dorset street, and what's more, that was the home of Mrs Maxwell.
    I should add that all of this is currently to be found on Forums, but needs to be viewed here on Casebook , as it could be important.
    It should be mentioned that by the 2ND November , Dorset street had been mentioned in the press, as Chapman had resided there, and Kate rumoured to have lived in the shed, nevertheless it is a very strange coincidence, that a letter sent to the police mentioning that on the Thursday [ 7days prior to the eve of Kelly's death] the killer would strike[ hoax] and the killer claimed to live just a few doors away from Millers court..the home of the witness who stated the impossible.
    It was once suggested that Maxwell was giving the killer an alibi, by suggesting that Kelly was alive at a later time, it was even suggested that maybe she was protecting her husband.?
    Lets face it,,she went to extreme lengths just for five minutes of fame,informing the police, and swearing on oath.
    food for thought , and something different to discuss.
    Regards Richard.

  • #2

    Hi Richard - intriguing

    So, we know that the letter was posted on or before the preceding Monday, and that it was posted in London. It is odd, considering that Kelly was killed exactly a week after a report of this letter appeared in the press.

    My questions would be: - was there any mention of this letter in the London Press? Assuming the letter writer was not 'Jack', could the real killer have read the letter in the press?

    - if written and posted by 'Jack' why use his own address? A bit risky to put his actual address on a letter. For all we know the police in London were informed of the letter (even if believed to be a probable hoax) and visited the address just to make sure. Perhaps the letter-writer was trying to implicate somebody.

    - Why Yarmouth? Its probably not a random choice. Was the letter writer a person who lived there, was visiting London, and decided to cause a stir for whatever reason?



    • #3

      Hello Richard. Excellent find.

      What was the exact content of the letter?



      • #4
        Its under discussion on the other site, Lynn - there are citations from the letter, but the exact content is not revealed. It was signed 'Jack The Ripper' - so obviously a hoax


        • #5

          Hello Sally. Thanks. I'll see what I can find.



          • #6
            Hi Sally, Lynn,
            It really is amazing what turns up frequently, the letter appears to be a obvious hoax, but why 14 Dorset street, published one week exactly, to a murder just a few doors away.? and especially a house that Maxwell lived in.
            It surely indicates at the very least the killer was very aware of this property, or was it just a lucky guess?
            There is a vast amount of streets in Whitechapel, and a vast amount of houses,yet the writer of this hoax[ apparent] chooses not only the street of the next murder, but the residence of the witness,that has been discussed ever since with reservations.
            Not that is strange...
            Regards Richard.


            • #7

              Hello Richard, Sally. Thanks. I found the thread over at JTRForums.

              I notice that Debs Arif posted a listing of occupants. The last one caught my eye:

              113 SMITH, Helen Single F 24 1867
              Yarmouth, Norfolk

              Bell going off yet?



              • #8
                Hi Lynn.
                Well spotted.
                So we have someone from Yarmouth living at 14 Dorset street in 1891, born 1867, aged 21 when the murder happened.
                If I was the speculative type.... I would say the alarm clock has gone off.
                Naturally we would have to trace this person back to 1888, and her residence then, and see if anything emerges.
                But we have yet another coincidence, someone ''possibly'' staying at that house in 1888,originally from the very place the letter was sent to..
                I think I will have to have a lie down..
                Regards Richard.


                • #9
                  detctive work

                  Hello Richard. Thanks. You are right that we must establish that she was there in 1888.

                  That would make her 21. It sounds as though this lassie were a trifle bored. Reminds me of the other lassie who wrote a "Jack" letter as "a lark."

                  Enjoy the lie down.



                  • #10
                    our gal?

                    Hello Richard. Is this our gal in 1881?

                    Attached Files


                    • #11
                      our gal?

                      Hello Richard. Our gal in 1891?

                      Attached Files


                      • #12
                        The family was living at Evans Buildings, St Luke Holborn in 1871 - they seem to have moved from Norfolk in about 1870.

                        SMITH, Thomas Head b1846 Norfolk

                        SMITH, Harriet Wife b1845 Norfolk

                        SMITH, Ellen (Helen) Sarah Daughter b1867 Norfolk

                        SMITH, Ellis (Alice) Emma Daughter b1869 Norfolk

                        SMITH, Roser (Rosa) Emily Daughter b1871 Middlesex

                        ALLMAN, Emma Lodger b1854 Norfolk

                        NEWTON, Harriet Lodger b1827 Middlesex

                        Other than the interesting spelling here Thomas' wife is called 'Cathrine' in 1881 - 'Harriet' is probably a simple error here; a confusion with Harriet Newton, lodging with the family.

                        So Helen Smith was Helen Sarah Smith and had lived in London virtually all of her life up to 1891.
                        Last edited by Sally; 07-06-2012, 03:56 PM.


                        • #13
                          same family?

                          Hello Sally. They're the same family, then?

                          I noticed that in the 1881 census, the mother was a machinist and the father a porter.

                          In 1891, given it is the same Helen, it looks like she is out of work.



                          • #14
                            Hi Lynn - yes, the same family. The names are just creatively spelled. Ah, variant spellings, how I love them

                            Thomas Smith is listed as a porter in 1871 too.

                            As for Helen Smith - no occupation might simply be because she didn't want to list her occupation of course - she must have had money from somewhere to have lodged at 14 Dorset Street.
                            Last edited by Sally; 07-06-2012, 04:03 PM.


                            • #15

                              Hello Sally. Thanks.

                              Well, at least he was consistent. (heh-heh) I get the feeling that a move from Norfolk to East London would be consonant with her mum's being a machinist. Likely more lucrative than a porter, and many opportunities in East London for that sort of work.

                              So perhaps she was the breadwinner?