The reference to his visiting his sister in Romford is in just about all the contemporary press reports, Debs. Hutch's police statement also records the Romford visit, even if it doesn't explicitly mention his sister in connection with it.
I’m rather surprised to see we’re doing Toppy all over again. I guess the mammoth “Hutch in the 1911 census” thread somehow failed, with its 2420 posts, to cover all angles.
Just briefly, and with all due respect to my former combatants on this issue, Toppy is a very poor candidate for the “witness” of Kelly notoriety, in my opinion, not least because his first appearance was in the “Ripper and the Royals”, a revisionist take on Stephen Knight’s “royal conspiracy” theory, which was published in 1993 and ultimately discredited by its own author. Amongst an assortment of gems in this book, which includes the infamous “Abberline diary", is an account of an interview with one Reginald Hutchinson who claimed his father was paid hush money to keep quiet about seeing one of the soon-to-be-murdered victims in the company of Lord Randolph Churchill. Various other high profile ripper-researchers got wind of Reginald’s claims around the same time, but each decided – after smelling a serious rat – that it wasn’t worth pursuing as genuine history.
There was no doubt that the Reginald in question was the son of George William Topping Hutchinson, born in Norwood in 1866, but the latter’s background and employment history is totally irreconcilable with what little can be gleaned about the Victoria Home “witness”. The former was described as a plumber who was “rarely, if ever, out of work” – understandable, considering that his father’s employment in the same occupation would have ensured an early apprenticeship and entry into the trade – whereas “our” Hutchinson was living in the worst slum area of the East End 1888 as a groom by trade, now working as a labourer, and had been for a least three years (assuming there is any truth to his claim to have known Kelly for three years, when the latter was living at Breezer’s Hill in St. George-in-the-East).
Those who seek to amalgamate the two men haven’t quite managed to explain how or why a 19-year-old Toppy would spurn the opportunity of an early and relatively speedy entry into a coveted and well-paid trade, choosing a significantly lower-rung avenue of employment, failing to secure regular work in that capacity, and living in self-imposed destitution in the worst part of the East End for at least three years before suddenly becoming a fully-fledged plumber with a West End address by 1891. The standard period of a plumbing apprenticeship was seven years, and in 1886 there had been a crackdown on “bodgers” and those taking shortcuts into the trade, rendering it extremely unlikely that a labouring former groom could transform into a “rarely, if ever, out if work” plumber in less than three years.
There is no evidence of any connection between Toppy and the East End of London until the former met his wife at a music hall, who happened to hail from the East End, in contrast to several unexplored “George Hutchinsons” who appear in the East End on census records.
Finally, we have the handwriting comparison, and the only document examiner of any repute to compare the original documents, Sue Iremonger, stated at the 1993 World Association of Document Examiners conference that whoever signed the 1888 statement – three times, and very differently – was not the signatory on Toppy’s 1898 marriage certificate. Toppy supporters who argue for a similarity tend to gloss over the fact that of the three statement signatures, only one can be argued to have some resemblance to any of Toppy’s efforts – the other two being completely dissimilar. Moreover, when comparing signatures, document examiners have repeatedly stressed the importance of using the original documents, as opposed to photocopied images on a screen, which can often create the misleading impression of being the same size and angle, when in reality they were nothing of the sort.
The hunt for the “real” George Hutchinson isn’t over yet, but Toppy he wasn’t, in my opinion.
All the best,
P.S. Sorry, I had to say something to drag them off the Crossmere threads!
I looked at the comparison of the Hutchinson signatures earlier in this thread, and all I can see are differences in slant, uprightness, letter formation, the height of the "t" crossbar (which also varies between being half missing to going straight across the top of the name to the second "h"), to the beginning of the capital "H"-- and I really don't see the great similarity others do in these signatures.
--------------- Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.
Just to repeat..the account of the witness Hutchinson, was aired in the mid 1970's, and the payment issue, [ the exact sum recalled in the book] was told by the alleged son of that witness,.it was not a scoop for 'The Ripper and the Royals..'
But I always fall on deaf ears.
I have been trying to find out more about plumbers and how they learned their trade and have discovered that in America at least there were opportunities to learn on the job as plumbers were needed in great numbers at this time. If this also applied in England, Hutchinson could well have become a plumber in a shorter time and without an apprenticeship.