Was Whitechapel really any worse than other areas of London?
Just thought I'd throw this question out there...............
Was Whitechapel really any worse then any other area of London?
Let's just say for the sake of argument (and putting Jack's crimes to one side for a minute), what made Whitechapel any worse than other parts of London?
I've been doing some research, which incorporated the Clerkenwell area of London and have discovered some truly awful cases that give Whitechapel's reputation a good run for it's money (am happy to share if anyone takes up this discussion).
There's also "The Old Nichol" area of Bethnal Green which by all accounts was horrendous!!
So what made Whitechapel so bad?
It's the East End including Bethnal Green that was was regarded as the worst part of London in terms of poverty and desperation.Old Nichol was notorious. Seven Dials in Covent Garden was pretty bad in Dickens day [he died 1870] but was improving by the late 80s.
The East End was the centre of the sweated trades, such as tailoring and of course the docks, so it was more industrialised than other parts of london.
Probably smellier, too, with the Thames being so close.
Remember the Great Stink of 1858?
Sometimes it takes a sewer engineer to make a city civilized.
And the Cholera epidemics that decimated the London population in the early 19th century. The last one was 1854. They thought cholera was caused by a 'miasma' bad air, Dr John Snow in Soho discovered the connection between infected water and cholera in the 1850s in an infected water pump.
Islington Gazette Tuesday
24th August 1897
Ann Straines, aged 40, a machinist, of no fixed abode, was charged with sleeping in the open air without visible means subsistence and with exposing her two children, Emma, aged eight years, and Daisy, aged six years, in a manner likely to cause them unnecessary suffering or injury to health at James’swalk. Police-constable Allen, 292 G, said that morning he saw the prisoner with two children asleep a doorstep in Sutton street, roused them and they walked away. A little later he saw the prisoner and her children asleep in St. Jamea’s-walk, roused her and asked her if she had any money. She replied that she had none, and that she left the workhouse week ago. The constable added that the children were very cold and very tired. Joseph Wilkes, officer of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, said his attention was called to the prisoner as early as May last. She then had two other children with her, and had been found sleeping on the stairs of model buildings. She was widow, and had seven children. Two were in the Mitcham parochial schools, one on the ship Shaftsbury, one living with its grandfather, and one service. The other two she took with her from place to place. Early in the year she met with accident one her knees, and was unable to work. She had said she would rather die than to the workhouse. Mr. Horace Smith— Then you'll have to go to prison, and your children will be taken care of someone else. The prisoner (weeping)—What have I done to sent prison. Mr. Windebank (School Board officer)—She wants the parish authorities to look after her children and allow her out of the workhouse, but they won’t do that. Mr. Horace Smith (to the prisoner.)—Will you go to the workhouse ? The prisoner—No, I won’t. Mr. Horace Smith—Then you will have to be charged with neglecting your children. You can’t allowed to drag them through the streets all night long. I’ll remand you now for week.
Tuesday 3rd July 1900 EX CONSTABLE.
An ex-constable Walter LOCKNEY 27 address and occupation refused, was charged with disorderly conduct and assaulting Police Constable Wagg 328G at Pentonville Road, Islington.On being arrested for disorderly behaviour the prisoner threw the officer to the ground and kicked him on the right knee.Prisoner has been in the force himself and has often been before the court for offences similar to the present one. It took four officers to remove the prisoner from the charge room to the station cell and he assaulted two of them on the way one of them being Constable WAGG, when he again attacked striking him about the head and chest.The alledged disorderly conduct consisyed of pushing people from the pavement by pretended drunkeness.Prisoner on oath denied the allegations against him and said the police made a dead set against him because he had formerly been a constable. His throwing WAGG to the gorund was the result of accident. He had only been fetched out of prison by his wife just before this occurred. Mr Chapman said he could not overlook the conduct of the prisoner who ought to have known so well how to behave himself towards the police. He would go to prison for one month's hard labour.
Saturday 4th June 1898
A HARD CASE. Ellen Joslin. aged married, of 1 Attneave Street. Clerkenwell. was charged with stealing from No. 13. Yardley-street, a loaf, value 3 3/4d the property Griffith Evans, dairyman. Prosecutor mid the prisoner entered his shop for half pint of milk and asked the loan of can. While bo was finding a can bo saw her place a loaf under her cape. She paid for the milk and left the shop. went after her, and gave her into custody. Police-constable Wagg, 328 G, said that, acting under the instructions of his inspector, ha bad made inquiries concerning the woman, and it was a very hard case. Her husband was out seeking for work. Mid there was not particle of food in the place for their three young children- The woman bore a good character, and the children wens spotlessly clean. Mr. Horace Smith (to prisoner): Why don’t you come here for assistance, and not steal ? Prisoner, weeping, said she was very sorry that she bad been so tempted. The magistrate directed that the woman should have assistance, and discharged her.
Constable George ALLEN 292G Islington Gazette
Wednesday 4th May 1887
Police Constable 292G (George ALLEN) said that on the 25th July last he was on fixed point at Exmouth Street, Clerkenwell. He was a crowd outside number 40 and was told that Mr ROSS wanted him. On going to the shop he saw plaintiff on the ground, and BUTCHER holding him on the ground. Witness told them to let the man get up and plaintiff then said he had been kicked in the eye. He wanted to give BUTCHER into custody, but seeing no marks of violence, he did not feel justified in taking him into custody.
Wednesday 18th May 1887
Eliza Smith, aged 23, bagseller, of Fuller Street, Bethnal Green, was charged by Police Constable Allen, 292 G, with being drunk and disorderly in Farringdon Road, at quarter-past four on Saturday afternoon. The prisoner was discharged.
Monday 12th September 1887
Samuel Warner, aged 41, jeweller, Clerkenwell-close, was charged Police-constable George Allen, 292 G, with being drunk and disorderly Myddelton Street, Clerkenwell. He was fined 35s or five days.
Monday 3rd October 1887
Edward Brown aged 43 costermonger of Bowling Green Lane Clerkenwell was charged with violently assaulting Robert MOUNTFORD butcher of Wood Street St Pancras by throwing him down the stairs of 32 Bowling Green Lane on Tuesday afternoon. Constable ALLEN 292 G said that the prisoner's arm was badly bruised but was not so hurt as to be unable to attend. Prisoner was discharged.
Wednesday 14th December 1887
George Thomas PREADY aged 22 bill poster of Myddleton Place Clerkenwell was charged with disorderly conduct at Exmouth Street Clerkenwell and further assaulting Police Constable ALLEN 292G Mr Bennett ordered the defendant to enter into his own recognisances to keep the peace for six months.
Monday 6th February 1888
A VIOLENT ITALIAN. Giovanni Antonia, aged 28, of 7, Eyre-street-hill, St. Andrew’s, a musician, was charged before Mr. Barstow, at the Clerkenwell Police-court, on Friday, for throwing missiles to the'common danger of the public, at Clerkenwell Green; and, farther, charged with assaulting Police-constable Allen, 292 G, at the same time and place. Police-constable Charles Night, 321 G. stated that he was on duty that morning at 12.30 at Clerkenwell Green, when he saw the prisoner playing an accordian, and surrounded large crowd. After had finished playing, handed his hat round for money, and because he did not get any, he took brick from his pocket, and threw it at a boy, striking him in the back. At the time a lady and gentleman were passing in a "gig,” and the prisoner threw a crust of bread at them, at the same time striking the back of the "gig.” Witness took him in custody, and on the way to the station became extremely violent, which rendered assistance necessary. Police Constable Allen, 292 G, gave corroborative evidence, and the prisoner was fined 20s or 14 days.
Thursday 8th March 1888
Ellen Higgs, aged 45, news vendor, of Peter’s Lane, Clerkenwell, was charged by Police-constable George Allen, 292 G, with being drunk and disorderly ...
Thursday 10th May 1888
Drunk and disorderly
Margaret Wilson, aged 46, King’s Cross Road, was charged by Police-constable George Allen, 292 G, with being drunk in Margaret Street, Clerkenwell. Discharged.
Wednesday 23rd May 1888
The Islington Gazette
James Sibley, aged 29, of Bryan Street, Caledonian Road, a labourer, was charged with being drunk and disorderly. Police-constable Geo. Allan, 292 G, stated that at 7.45 on the previous evening he was called public house in King’s Cross Road, to eject the prisoner. When outside the house the prisoner was requested leave, but refused, and used abusive language. Fined 5s or five days.
Monday 28th May 1888
... aged 40, Biainghill Street, Clerkenwell, charwoman, was charged Police Constable George Allen, 292 G. with being drunk and disorderly Pentonville Road. Officer gave the evidence apprehended at 9.16 the previous evening, the prisoner was attempting ...
Tuesday 26th June 1888
.....also there drunk and behaving disorderly. The prisoner denied the charge, but Police Constable George Allen 292G, gave corroborative evidence to that of Police Constable Dunlop. Fined 55s or five days imprisonment.
Monday 2nd July 1888
Miscellanous charges at the Clerkenwell Police Court
Sarah Ann Bailey, aged 25, Godsde Street, was charged with behaving in a disorderly manner and using obscene language in Wharfedale Road. Police Constable George Allen, 292 G, stated that, one o’clock that morning, saw the prisoner lying footpath screaming. Witness tried to get her away, when she became abusive, and broke the constable’s whistle. Fined 10s or seven days’ imprisonment.
Tuesday 24th July 1888
Frank Kennedy, aged 16, of Beaconsfield Buildings, Caledonian-road, a baker, was charged Police-constable George Allen, 292 G, with unlawfully assembling with others not in custody in a riotous and disorderly gang, I throwing stones to the terror and annoyance the inhabitants at Edward Street. The constable stated that at eight o’clock on the previous evening he saw the prisoner with gang of others shouting and making use of obsene language at Edward Street. Witness requested them to go away, but the prisoner refused. Fined 10s., or seven days’ imprisonment.
Wednesday 15th August 1888
Assault a team conductor
George Webber, aged 81, of Green-street, Camden-town, cab-driver, badge 8621, was charged Police-constable George Allen, 292 with being drunk whilst In his employment as cab-driver, Pentonville-road. Tho constable said he saw the defendant asleep on his cab. Witness called to him, when he drove to the footpath. He was very drunk. The prisoner, who said was more sleepy than drank, was fined 10s or in default, seven days’ imprisonment.
Are you a Londoner, Station Cat? of course there was crime all over London, as in all big cities, but North London was and is a lot nicer to live in than the East End, even now when they have tarted up the east end. A lot of east end families migrated to the north, if they made some money. It happened in my family as to many others. There was nicer housing in north London and more green spaces, some parts with a village feel, no large areas of industry, docks and smelly factories.
I am a committed North Londoner.
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