Mitre Square in all it gory glory.
I transferred this posting, with some editions to this thread for discussion, from the Sagar thread..
2 weeks ago I stood in Mitre Square, for the best part of an hour. Something that I hadn't done since I was a young lad. A couple of things struck me whilst I was there.....
Mitre Square is actually quite small..smaller than you would imagine (at least I imagined).. it is fairly compact really. Distances from one corner to the other corner ..relatively small.
There is an echo in that square. Because of the buildings around it, and how enclosed it is. Any sound, even in the middle of the afternoon with London traffic dull in the background, echos. I clapped my hands a few times at different points of the square..just to see, hear and judge things.
Morris, sweeping the floor... didn't hear a thing, yet he normally heard the beat pc every 15 mins. If Jack the Ripper had rubber soles on his feet... Kate Eddowes certainly didn't. Those footsteps in the dead of night would echo..clearly. And when you watch two "lovers" walking to a destination..are they always silent? If either "Jack" or Kate said a word, laughed, giggled, scraped a foot on the stones as they walked.. it would have been heard...
So we are to presume that a sobering woman and her "catch" are silent as they walked are we? As far as echo is concerned, I'd love to see if on Jakes models the buildings would have created that echo then...I suspect it did.
Finally... the Square was pretty dark in 1888 we are told. Lamp at one end, lamp at another...
BUT...Morris said his door was ajar... and Morris certainly didn't work in the dark. So the light coming from the open doorway would shine out into the darkness... and "Jack" would very likely have seen it as he walked into the yard. Now if Jack saw it.. he KNEW that someone was likely awake and in there....
That tells me either Morris was lying and was asleep, or Morris was lying and awake, or Morris heard Jack the Ripper and ignored him and his "woman" walking in trying to find a lonely dark corner..
IF there was light coming from the ajar door of where Morris was working. it really is crucial...
Because it depends on whether the hinges on the door made the door swing out from the left of the doorway, or the right. Think about it... where would the light from Morris' doorway shine out upon? And did the door swing inwards, or outwards? If outwards... more direct light would shine into the square, if inwards, less.
Now... if the door had hinges on the left hand side as he (Morris) opened it from the inside... the light would travel more out into the square than if the hinges were on the right hand side... and if it was an outward swinging door...with hinges on the left (from the inside as you look at it)...masses of light would enter the square....
Now which way would it have to be to shine more light onto Eddowes corner? Can anyone do some sort of model mock up as a demonstration?
Hi Phil -I must say that your questions have had me thinking of a reply all day
-I must say that I find the noise far more of an enigma than the lack of blood or what he did with the organs.
You're quite right that it's almost impossible to stay totally silent, at the dead of night, enclosed by buildings with hard surfaces like bricks and glass windows, with a cobbled floor, wearing boots which possibly have nails on the sole, and when one person doesn't appreciate the need to be totally silent -you would think that even Catherine's skirts would rustle perceptively.
I live amongst narrow, medieval streets, and it's amazing how far sound carries if I have the windows open -I am certainly aware of the murmer of people whispering at the end of the road IF I am awake. I think that in the silence of the night, with an echo, you're more subtly atuned to sounds -probably a defensive mechanism thats inborn.
I certainly agree with your conclusions : Morris was probably lying!
There is an outside chance that he was sweeping a hard floor with a stiff bristled broom or a bezum, moving scraping boxes or furniture, and whistling, and so he heard nothing outside
-but you'd think that there'd be lulls in the noise, during the time it took for the couple to cross the square. Also, if Morris was making a noise, then JtR was really incredibly cool to carry on with his deed, knowing someone was very much awake.
I suppose that Jack could have told Catherine not to make any noise because
Morris was a known 'peeping Tom' or something...I don't think that he could have said that Morris would throw them out the square -afterall , what lone person would confront a strong rough man, in an isolated spot with a prostitute ?
Infact Mitre Square wasn't 'private property' (as far as I know), and as long as Jack and Catherine were just walking across it, they weren't even doing anything wrong, so why wouldn't Morris say that he'd heard the couple cross the Square but wasn't aware of the suite ?
So there is the tantalising question of whether Morris actually witnessed the murder but turned his back. I don't say that I would blame him for not going out to intervene in a murder -but you would imagine that he would have shouted from the doorway, to make the murderer run off ; afterall, a murderer was hardly going to show his face in the light, knowing that Morris could just bolt himself inside the building, and a Policeman would soon arrive.
Overall, I think that Morris must have been asleep..
I don't think that the light is such a problem : shadows appear much deeper and darker, in contrast to light. If you were looking out of your lit up kitchen at the garden, you wouldn't see into the black corners. Infact, if you turned the light OFF, and let your eyes adjust, you'd be able to see ALL the garden much more clearly.
Catherine must have struggled a bit, made a thud falling to the ground, though -even the ripping apron would make a noise..
It's incredible that JtR was so confident not to be scared by the light and the proximity of Morris ..
Hello Phil and Ruby. Perhaps Morris took little note of the noise, thinking it was merely those pesky Fenians storing their dynamite again?
Still -imagine how quiet it must have been in Mitre Square at night, with no distant traffic, no planes, not so many dogs and cats, no ringing mobile 'phones, distant tv sets or radios, and all those close hard surfaces to magnify any sound. Mitre Square was not a busy main road with pubs and
people traipsing along; it must have been very lonely.
Even if Morris didn't pay any attention to people walking through, and didn't pay attention to them, you think that somewhere he'd register their presence; Afterall, he DID say that he was aware of the Policeman on his beat (and that was only one person not two).
He wasn't doing anything wrong by not going out (unless he was sleeping on the job!) -he could just have said "yes, I was dimly aware of a couple walking
through the square about that time, but I'm afraid that I didn't really pay attention to it". But he didn't. He said that he didn't hear ANYTHING.
Phil's right -it's very intriguing.
Hello Ruby. Phil's quite right, of course. I don't think Morris' story will withstand critical scrutiny (not unlike John Kelly's egregious yarn).
The pressing question, of course, is, What were they covering up?
While we are accusing Morris of lying are we also doubting the other residents in the square, namely the Pearce family?
Mitre Square may not have been a busy thoroughfare, but people certainly made their way through from time to time. It's sort of something you get used to not hearing, unless it's very unusual, or close by. If Morris was busy, preoccupied, he mightn't have registered footsteps--especially given that people would sometimes go by; why would he have cause to commit the sound to memory? You can't conjure memory post hoc, just because something appalling happened the night before.
I'm not saying he wasn't telling porkies, but I think there's a reasonable enough chance that, even if he did *hear* sound, he didn't *notice* it, or memorise it.
Either that or he had his ipod on...;)
Hi, Claire -it would certainly be extremely interesting to know just how many people would walk through lonely Mitre Square at that time of night.
When you see how nervous Lawende and his friends were on the street
(at the sight of JtR), I can't imagine them -or people like them -not keeping to busy roads. They were three men too. It would probably be local people
who knew the area well who would be confident enough to go through the square without fear. If it's more or less the same people passing through, then we might expect them to have a pattern in their timing -obviously a bit flexible, but even so there must of been something fairly regular.
I suppose that the answer is that, if Catherine was soliciting at that spot,
it was probably a place regularly used by prostitutes to take their customers,
especially on nights when men were leaving the Jewish club.
Maybe that's the reason that Morris turned a blind eye (and a deaf ear ) ?
He was used to hearing couples going across to the shadows to have sex.
Lewande & Co were afraid?
Theres no evidence for this. Lewande wasnt too bothered by his evidence and Levey seems to be passing judgement not exclaiming fear. And Harris seemed oblivious to it all.
The fact these men were leaving a club they frequented indicates they have been in that area many a time.
There are reports of movement in the square. Morris in one report (though the comments were attributed to a 'nightwatchman') stated the square was often used by prostitutes. We also have a report of a woman and her young daughter passing through the square and noting the lamp was deficient, however Im working from memory and cannot recall if that was the Friday or Saturday.
However, does it sound as if they were very confident, and would have passed through the Court ? Or that they were nervous and would prefer to stick to a busier route?
Lawende, when remaking on Levy's comments, doesn't contradict him and say something like 'but I don't know why he would say that', or I replied 'nonsense ! it's perfectly safe here..'. I think that any of us might put ourselves in the position of those three men, even if the murders had never happened, and understand why Levy made that comment, and see why they wouldn't want to pass the Court at that hour.
They probably all nodded their heads in agreement with Levy !
Harris didn't testify, so we don't know his thoughts on the matter. There is safety in numbers, and they were three, so Harris might have felt more secure
-but I wonder if he he really disagreed with Levy ??
I think that it is very reasonable to assume that other men going home from the club would have left in groups rather than walk alone, and would have avoided passing the court -even if it was a shortcut -unless they were going there with a prostitute of course.....and that must have been a pretty dangerous thing to do (she could have a bloke waiting there to rob her tricks)..
..so even prostitutes and their clients were probably not in and out (no pun intended) every 5 minutes.
I still think that Phil's question is excellent..
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