We are pleased to announce out final speaker for the East End Conference this November.
When Chief Inspector Donald Swanson was hand-picked by Commissioner Sir Charles Warren on 15 September 1888 to lead the Scotland Yard investigation into the recent murder of Annie Chapman in Hanbury Street, neither expected the series of Whitechapel murders to continue well into that year and beyond. Swanson was tasked with reviewing all the papers relating to each successive murder by the so-called 'Jack the Ripper' - witness statements, reports from local H Division officers, letters from the public - looking for links and clues to the killer's identity. Each potential lead had to be followed up, with many dead-ends.
The scope of this investigation would not only include the so-called 'canonical five', but also possible victims Alice McKenzie and Frances Coles, as well as the death of Rose Mylett, the attack on Annie Farmer, and the disturbing discovery of a headless torso in a Pinchin Street railway arch.
In his talk "SWANSON AND THE FOUR RIPPERS", Adam Wood will look at Donald Swanson's appointment by Commissioner Warren, and examine three cases which saw the involvement of the detective as part of the Ripper scare in the years 1890-94, which included a letter received from 'Jack the Ripper', the starting point of a long-standing suspect theory, and an assailant who bore a marked resemblance to the man seen with Elisabeth Stride by greengrocer Matthew Packer.
Adam Wood is Executive Editor of Ripperologist magazine, the leading publication on the Whitechapel murders. He is also Editor of the Journal of the Police History Society.
Adam is finalising his biography of the subject of his talk, and SWANSON: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A VICTORIAN DETECTIVE will be published early in 2019. His book TRIAL OF PERCY LEFROY MAPLETON for the official Notable British Trials series will be released in October 2018. Adam is also co-author of SIR HOWARD VINCENT’S POLICE CODE 1889 with Neil RA Bell.
He lives in Warwickshire, where he runs non-fiction publishing house Mango Books.
So, here is the final line up of speakers for this year’s highly anticipated East End Conference in November. Louis Berk, Emelyne Godfrey, Drew Gray, Philip Hutchinson, Tracy I’anson and Adam Wood will be speaking, with Richard Jones as our emcee.
We are proud to announce that all proceeds from this year’s East End Conference raffle will be donated to Cancer Research UK and to Macmillan Nurses.
We feel it is right to support such charities in memory of our friends Katherine Amin and Suzi Hanney who both passed away within the last twelve months.
Donations, be they items for the raffle or cash donations made at the event itself will be gratefully received, and due to the miracle of modern technology we will ensure the funds are received by the charities before the end of the conference weekend on the Sunday.
With less than a month to go until the conference, we are now throwing the spotlight onto our speakers and the talks they will be presenting to our delegates.
First up, is Louis Berk...
LOUIS BERK: ECHOES OF THE EAST END JEWISH COMMUNITY
Between their return to England in the time of Oliver Cromwell and the Second World War, the East End was home to one of the largest urban Jewish communities in Europe. In 1700 this community numbered only a few hundred, but by the Second World War it had swelled to several hundred thousand. The arrival of this population coincided with the rapid expansion of the East End due to the industrialisation of the UK, and as such there are many buildings which are related to this community.
Illustrated with photography from his many journeys through the East End over the past 14 years, Louis’s talk will uncover the remaining traces of this community in the backstreets and spaces of Whitechapel, Spitalfields and Stepney Green.
Louis Berk is a photographer whose work has been exhibited and published in print and on the internet. His books include “Whitechapel in 50 Buildings”, “Secret Whitechapel” (both co-authored with Rachel Kolsky) and his most recent work: “East End Jewish Cemeteries: Brady Street and Alderney Road” – the result of an exclusive 5-year project, published by Amberley Books in 2017. He is currently working on his fourth book, which will be published by Mango Books in 2019.
We’re delighted to reveal details of the next talk at the forthcoming East End Conference...
DREW GRAY: FAKE NEWS FROM WHITECHAPEL? RIPPEROLOGY AND THE ACADEME
Drew Gray’s talk will reflect on the current relative lack of academic historical research into the Whitechapel Murders of 1888 and suggest that this needs to change.
There has been a tendency for historians of crime in particular to ignore the case, and he argues that this has created an unwanted vacuum that has been filled by amateur history and the entertainment industry. While this is not of itself a ‘bad thing’, recognising the tremendous amount of excellent work that popular historians and 'Ripper' enthusiasts have undertaken, the lack of academic interest does have consequences for how the public view both the murders and the killer, and indeed the entire late Victorian period.
The cultural phenomenon of ‘Jack the Ripper’ has been allowed to emerge as a result and this fuels an industry that continues to portray the murderer, the murdered and the area in which these killings occurred in a manner that does a terrible and ongoing disservice to the women that were so brutally killed.
Drew will look at some of the issues raised by Ripperologist magazine in 2015 and ongoing debates within Ripperology, and suggest that more engagement with a wider pool of academic and non-academic actors might help Ripperology shed the less attractive elements of its public image.
Dr Drew Gray is a Senior Lecturer in the History of Crime at the University of Northampton, and has published three books and several articles on crime and violence in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century London, including 'London Shadows' (Bloomsbury). He has been lecturing on the Whitechapel murders and the social history of East London for twelve years.