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  • Ripper Confession?

    I would like to discuss the following letter which supposedly was written by the Ripper. I can only find reference to it in "Terry Lynch:Jack the Ripper The Whitechapel Murderer" (pp 244-257) & "Evans & Skinner: Letters from Hell" (pg 167, pp 289-290). I think it deserves very close examination

    In Terry Lynch's book, the original letter is reproduced but it is almost indecipherable. The letter is transcribed in Letters from Hell. It is unique in that it takes the form of a lengthy poem. It spans 4 pages written in black ink with a red postscript. There is no attempt at disguising the writer as an uneducated man. In fact, the poetry and grammatical construction and words used are advanced in nature.

    As Terry Lynch points out, this letter was sent on November 8th 1889, exactly one year after the generally accepted final killing by the true Ripper. This may be significant or coincidental. A number of communications had been received in the preceding weeks threatening more killing. This letter was not like that.

    It must have taken a while to complete the poem, which appears to have been written with no errors that required crossing out etc The poem must have been composed over time and copied out in it's final form before posting on the selected date.

    Overall, the writer is not over boastful or threatening. He is not particularly insulting to the police. It is very unlike any other supposed Ripper letter. The writer seems quite modest and self deprecating
    Despite the effort he must have put into compiling this communication, he only states that he is a poor man from an East End dosshouse who internally rages against immorality around him - specifically the spending of good money on liquor and frivolity. He sounds most indignant at the antics of whores who sold their bodies, only to spend the money on drink.

    The blue writing is as the poem appears in Terry Lynch's book. The red words are variations that appear in Letters from Hell. The black words are my comments

    Dear Boss
    My first
    (finest) shot to justify myself I now fire
    An opening line that seems to state that this is the first communication from the Ripper
    You will see by this I am not a liar
    There should be some evidence within this letter that can be confirmed as truth
    Frank (Funk) Stupid fool, believes me to be insane
    Refers to Lyttleton Frank Forbes Winslow and his theories from the press
    Why did this letter writer refer to him as Frank? Does this imply that the writer is very close to Winslow? Winslow is usually listed in the press and his own authored works as Dr Forbes Winslow. Alternatively he goes under the name Lyttleton Stewart Forbes Winslow. References to FRANK Forbes Winslow are very few or none existant (I found one from the Old Bailey proceedings 1899) If Forbes Winslow was as well known in the East End as he says he was, he may have preferred to be known to the locals as Frank rather than Lyttleton because of the class barrier
    His next shotlog will be that I'm vain (tame)
    His next idea/theory/press story will be that the Ripper is vain? tame? lame?
    In the papers you sometimes see
    Letters written by him but not
    (none) by me
    An acknowledgement that this is the first communication from the writer
    He declares an accomplice is concerned
    That he has to prove and learn
    This seems to be a denial that an accomplice is involved - though it could be read as an admission that an accomplice IS involved, but that Forbes Winslow coudn't possibly know that
    He describes my complexion dark with good looks
    Tells the public he has my boots
    Togs & suits many of hats I wear
    And people at me often stare
    Refers to the story regarding Forbes Winslow's theory/evidence as to the ripper's identity. The reference to people staring may relate to possible witnesses
    Those spots (shots) are bullydogs (bully clogs) and not fair
    I don't think the last word is "fair". This appears to be referring to the blood on the boots/shoes. He may be deriding the suggestion that blood on the boots is human by stating that it is from bulldogs. This may be a general comment, or has the writer seen the boots at some point? Is this also a reference to dog fighting? A dog fight would be an excellent place to practice animal cruelty etc - I will post more on this later. This line is also the third line to rhyme in sequence, whereas the other lines are coupled
    The ......spots (true shots) I packed 2 pair (pails) in High street
    To me, this states that the boots / shoes of the Ripper were pawned in the High St (2 pairs)
    To pay rent (rents) buy food (no gin) but meats
    This is a comment on his life and that of others (whores?). He spends his money on rent and food - not drink or tobacco. He buys meat with his last pennies, which may go against the idea of his possibly being a slaughterman / butcher etc or at least he is not in regular employment as a slaughterman etc
    The togs have I, 2 suits both dark and blue over coat (Coats)
    An overcoat was suggested at one of the inquests
    Hard felt hats (hat) and blue ruff on my throat
    He accommodates us with a description of his complete wardrobe - though this may be what he possesses in 1889. The blue ruff, if a scarf, could be a comment on the witness description of a man with a red neck scarf in the Eddowes case. This may be an admission that it was not him at the entrance to Church passage.This in turn would alter the time available to the killer to mutilate Eddowes
    Long hair no beard and none on chin
    Is this him for real? Long hair and no facial hair - he doesn't say whether he is dark or fair haired
    Do neither smoke swill or touch gin
    He stresses that he does not drink, unlike others he sees

    This is the end of the first page. Terry Lynch places the following (below) as the next page, whereas Evans & Skinner in Letters from Hell, place the pages differently. The next line for Evans & Skinner is...
    At Finsbury St Paul's ward (hard) near
    I never dossed (dost) the rents are too dear

    Evans & Skinner's placement of the pages actually makes more sense, as the continuation from the bottom of the second page onto the third page reads...
    2nd page
    I spoke to a policeman who saw the sight
    And informed me it was done by a knacker (knocker) in the night
    3rd page
    I told the man you should try and catch him
    Say another word old chap I'll run you in

    I told the man you should try and catch him
    Say another word old chap I'll run you in
    Though common phraseology, "Old chap" may be some indication of the writer's age. ie he is not a youth and is probably at least the age of the policeman he refers to. Could this be Hutchinson approaching the policeman on the Sunday following the murder?
    Think (Flunk) old donkey, say he can me catch
    This is almost certainly "Frank" rather than "think" or "flunk", referring to Forbes Winslow. Old donkey could be construed as a horse-slaughtering reference
    He would soon find in me his match
    A mental match? ie Forbes Winslow may try but he will not catch him? It is possibly a physical threat to Forbes Winslow implying that the writer is fit enough to kill again at the time of writing
    The detectives of London are all blind (Hind)
    The last word is almost certainly "blind". Interesting that detectives are mentioned rather than policemen
    They know they cannot me search and find
    This does not seem derogatory to the police, who are often ridiculed and insulted in the usual Ripper communications. Here he merely states fact
    I think (Flunk) you should a spark make
    This is almost certainly "Frank" again rather than "think" or "flunk". You should a spark make - ie you should have a good idea / inspiration (I'm not sure "spark" is correct)
    He would soon be tired and try to escape
    This doesn't seem to apply to the "spark" in the previous line. "Trap" or "net" would be more appropriate. A snark (Lewis Carroll) would be very appropriate to a vivisectionist
    Operations will (you'll) begin this month again
    This doesn't appear to be a threat by the Ripper to kill again. It more seems to be a comment on the inevitable (and probably futile) police operations (see next line)
    Despatch the police and good strong men
    Whitechapel alone is the place
    He confirms that any Ripper murder would be in the vicinity of Whitechapel (The Abyss?) Is it the place to find society's dregs?
    The knife (man) is keen quick and leaves no trace
    As compared to a gun? Are other weapons available to him? Forbes Winslow's lodger was said to possess 3 revolvers
    My blood boils and with indignation rages
    To perpetuate more bloody outrages
    He is driven to kill by indignation - ie righteous anger. This is a statement, not a threat
    Destitution (Prostitution) against which I desperately fight
    If the first word is "prostitution" then this line continues coherently below as a comment on his chosen victims. If the word is destitution, then is the writer telling us that his blood boils when he is fighting off destitution, and he sees whores and others spending money on beer, gin, and music-hall shows?
    ([To]) Destroy the filth ........hideous whores of the night
    He has seen these hags - so he is often out late. He probably sees these women as the lowest of the low and viable victims
    Frequenters of Music Halls and drinkers of Hellish Gin****
    Dejected (ejected) lost cast down ragged mean and thin****
    For some reason, in Letters from Hell, these two lines are transposed, though it makes little difference to the flow of the letter
    My knives are sharp and very keen
    The Ripper has multiple knives? A vivisection kit?
    Determined I swear what I mean
    Is this a comment on himself and others? Does he see himself as morally correct, possibly referring to his honesty - including threats maybe? ie that if he threatens to kill someone, then it should be taken literally.
    At Finsbury St Paul's ward (hard) near
    I never dossed
    (dost) the rents are too dear
    A comment on Forbes Winslow's theory that the Ripper lodged near St Paul's Cathedral - the writer denies ever staying near St Pauls
    Whitechapel High Street ward (St hard) near my home (near army home)
    He lodges / lives in Whitechapel - possibly near the army home (a reference to George Hutchinson?)
    I always do my work alone
    A flat denial that any accomplice is involved or possibly more likely a description of his employment
    Some months hard gone near Finsbury Square
    The writer never stayed at Finsbury, but coincidentally, he may have been introduced to vivisection by a man who resided at Finsbury square
    An eccentric man lived with an unmarried pair
    The eccentric man may have been the house owner considering his activities
    Mad on vivisection (the cutting up of animals) he gave me a treat (threat)
    The last word is probably treat. The writer indicates a liking for the art of the vivisectionist. The majority of people would be horrified at witnessing such acts. The writer feels the need to clarify what is meant by vivisection, missing out the important word "live" ie the cutting up of live animals. Human vivisection was known and practiced at this time. Is he differentiating between the eccentric man cutting up animals and his own actions vivisecting humans?
    He would get hold of a dog or cat for a joke
    With one cut of the knife sever its throat
    This was unlikely to be all that happened to the dog/cat. This is obviously a useful technique for the Ripper. The practice was to silence the animal as well as to kill it.
    He was very dark, teeth (if new) pocked and marked (pocked marked) disease on nose, I did him meet (did him meet)
    A quite distinctive description. He mentions false teeth, as does Forbes Winslow in reference to his suspected lodger. The writer of this letter seems to be trying to match Winslow's suspect to his own story, as if there is an element of truth in Winslow's suspicions. is this a description of Blotchy? Did the writer and this man work together both in vivisection & the murders? The preceding 4 lines break the sequence of coupled rhyming lines
    The tale is false there never was a lad
    Who wrote essays on women bad
    This denies quite a substantial part of Winslow's theory in that the lodger supposedly wrote extensively about fallen women etc
    I'm not a flash away Belgravian Swell
    The writer is stating that he is not a man of substance as Winslow's lodger appears to be. It could also be a reference to George Hutchinson's Toff
    Although (Altho) self taught I can write and spell
    The writer has missed out on schooling for some reason - compulsory education was introduced in 1870. Does "self-taught" imply he was an orphan or similar?
    The Miller's Court murder a disgusting affair
    Done by a Polish knacker rather fair
    Is this a description of himself? I think it more likely to be what was being said about the murderer/suspect. The Ripper possibly recognises the murder of Kelly as "disgusting" after the fact. Could the ripper have horrified himself into stopping killing?
    The morn (of the morrow (murder))I went to the place
    He describes returning to Millers Court on the morning of the 9th
    Had a shine but left by (in) haste
    Does the Ripper carry a lantern? Did he check his handiwork through the window? Were his footsteps heard around 6am?
    I spoke to a policeman who saw the sight
    This must have been later in the day. It seems the Ripper may have been excited by returning to the crime scene very soon after the actual crime, possibly hanging around for a good while. He must have been local to get washed etc before he returned so early. He also seems to have a penchant for approaching the police. He seems like a man who would revel in the discussions about the murder and being literate, the press coverage in particular
    And informed me it was done by a knacker (knocker) in the night
    He was told of a knacker perhaps linked with the earlier comment regarding the fair haired knacker

    This is the end of the 2nd page where Evans & Skinner move to the line....
    I told the man you should try and catch him
    Say another word old chap I'll run you in

    Terry Lynch moves to the page as below, which seemingly links the "Swellish flash away" more closely with the Kelly murder. In this context, it does appear to be a comment on George Hutchinson's story ie The Ripper himself has seen Toffs/Dandys inviting whores to their home. It again seems to be a comment on their immorality.

    Is there an outside possibility that this poem was written by Hutchinson? A number of lines appear to relate to his story

    The swellish flash away I echo (Techs) I very often see
    Terry Lynch has that phrase as "I echo" and Evans/Skinner as "Techs". I think the most likely word here would be "looks"
    Treating whores and asking them to tea
    See above
    One night hard gone I did a policeman meet
    Treated and walked with him down High Street
    Another time when the Ripper approached and chatted to a policeman. The PC seemed quite at ease walking with this man down the High St, so the man must have looked reasonably respectable. Does "treating" imply he spent money on the PC? I think this would be doubtful. Perhaps the writer peddles some commodity such as food or coffee etc which he treated the PC to while walking. A coffee seller would greatly ingratiate himself with the beat PC by supplying free hot drinks
    The letter addressed to 22 Hammersmith Road
    The letter to Forbes Winslow that appears to have been posted on Oct 19th 1889 (Letters from Hell pg 163). It threatens another killing on the 5th or 9th of November 1889. I am not aware that this letter was published between Oct 1889 and Nov 8/9th. How did the author know of this letter? The writer of this poem has certainly seen this letter. Within the Oct 1889 letter, the writer refers to Forbes Winslow as seemingly "old sir Funk" which is reflected at times within this poem. Both funk and flunk can be possibly considered as derogatory terms for Forbes Winslow who by his own admission was well known in the East End
    Was written by some vulgar lying toad
    He seems to object strongly to something within this letter. Why this letter and not some other (which were still being received but possibly not publicised)? It mentions a threat to Forbes Winslow, to attack him in his own house. It also states that "someone told him" about the murders about to occur. Despite the threat that Jack will visit, the letter is not from Jack. It is curiously signed PSR Louigi but then the "o" is crossed out to read PSR Luigi at the "Poste haste Charing X address". I think the poem writer objects to the letter writer suggesting that the Ripper has given him information.
    Old Frank (Funk) thinks me a flash away swell
    A first rate man and in a fine house I dwell
    A reference again to Winslow's theories and possibly indicating that the Ripper thought that Winslow's theory was partly inspired by Hutchinson's Toff
    A fourpenny doss I have at a common east End dosshouse
    And do not dine on aristocratic grouse
    A straight description of his circumstances. It's in the present tense also (1889)
    When by luck some browns and bobs do make
    He has the capability of earning shillings for whatever service he provides. He is not in regular employment and has not got a steady income
    Sometimes early, but at others very late
    This could mean early / late in the day, or early / late as far as paying the rent or feeding himself is concerned.When he is abroad throughout the night, he may have no money at all, possibly implying a robbery aspect to the murders
    He thinks a large fortune I have got
    And love
    (loves) to ridicule and me mock (knock)
    The writer perceives that Forbes Winslow mocks and ridicules him - possibly connected with Forbes Winslow's plans to trap him. The writer seems to think himself morally superior to his peers, but is the subject of ridicule due to his circumstances and possibly his occupation
    He well knowing the reason that I kill
    Possibly, the Ripper agrees with the lunacy / periodic mania theory, or could the Ripper have been a patient under Forbes Winslow's care?
    The whorish women then I him (and them thin)
    I am not sure what the last 2 or 3 words are in this line, but the last word should really rhyme with "kill" - is it "The whorish women and them I will" ?
    Money (of which) Sir I have none
    But I detest ridiculous sarcastic puns and fun (I detest ridicule of my sarcastic plans and fun)
    Does this refer again to Forbes Winslow mocking him because of his social status? Or is he talking in general ie is he a horse-slaughterer (whore-slaughterer) commonly referred to as a knacker? Both these descriptions can be the subject of ridicule/puns etc which may wind him up (irritating incessant (cockney) humour / ribbing)

    J Ripper
    This does look like a proper signature in it's placement on the page, and has slight similarities to the original "Dear Boss" letters and signatures. This letter does not end with the usual threats, but in quite a friendly tone in that he promises to tell more at a later date.

    I will write more in a few days
    This was written in red ink. I'm not sure if he did write further or not, as later letters are not reproduced in "Letters from Hell" so I can't compare handwriting. There was one short communication that basically just said "Goodbye" from the Ripper, and another intriguing one that stated that a murder had been committed in a "secret place" (Letters from Hell)

    Although this letter may not be a true Ripper letter, it does raise the vivisection angle gleaned from French sources in 1888

    I'll follow this post up with more from the vivisectionist and anti-vivisectionist literature, some of which is at least if not more horrific than the Ripper crimes themselves. Also, there is a connection here between the philosophy and beliefs of the Theosophists as regards the body immediately after, just prior to, or during the process of death / dying

    The Finsbury Square location could possibly be connected to a doctor/taxidermist (vivisectionist?) suspect, J.D. Lampard mentioned recently in another thread.

    Lampard was reported (Scotland Yard Investigates pg 164) as frequenting the "Ram & Magpie" in Shoreditch, which is in the same general area (as far as I can locate). He is described as a frequent dosshouse lodger with "a great taste for anatomy & had dissected and stuffed different animals and birds. He was a good scholar and I have heard him speak of the human body in a very learned manner".

    He used Americanisms such as referring to people as "Boss" and was once affluent and well travelled but was now little more than an East End beggar. His clothing description and demeanour could be described as shabby genteel, seeing that "Even when badly dressed, he still retained a gentlemanly appearance". He also had a red face - Blotchy?

  • #2
    IF the Ripper does resent the whores selling their body for money for gin and the like, did he know/talk to/observe the victims doing just such a thing?

    He may have resented Nichols buying a hat or at least being overly pleased at obtaining the hat for the sole reason of attracting more clients

    He may have resented and even observed Chapman and Eddowes spending the doss money on drink and ending up out on the street late

    He may have resented Stride "dressing up" to attract clients. Would such a man approach her and try to get her in a dark place to kill her, and on being told "Not tonight" he threw her about in rage (BS man - Lampard fits the description)

    He may have thought that an otherwise "respectable" Kelly, with her own room and a steady partner, had just got rid of her partner for the purpose of inviting clients home

    Would these be the type of actions that enraged him?

    I can imagine him being sympathetic toward truly destitute women who prostitute themselves for food and lodging, but not those who do it for drink


    • #3

      Thanks for that....I'll give it more attention when I get back on later. Hopefully,someone else will take the time to read the material and start some discussion. Nice effort buddy.
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      • #4
        Sorry it's such a long post - it's a long poem!


        • #5
          Originally posted by Nemo View Post
          It is curiously signed PSR Louigi but then the "o" is crossed out to read PSR Luigi at the "Poste haste Charing X"
          ... "poste restante", I think


          • #6
            Most likely Sam - I thought it was a mistake by the author in putting "haste" but it does actiually look like restante with the "res" crossed out


            • #7
              Originally posted by Nemo View Post
              Most likely Sam - I thought it was a mistake by the author in putting "haste" but it does actiually look like restante with the "res" crossed out
              Is there an image of this letter somewhere, guys?

              Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical"
     Hear sample song at

              Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conferences, April 2016 and 2018.
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              • #8
                Hi Chris

                Its on pg 163 of "Letters from Hell"


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Nemo View Post
                  Hi Chris

                  Its on pg 163 of "Letters from Hell"

                  Thanks, Nemo. I'll check it out.

                  Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical"
         Hear sample song at

                  Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conferences, April 2016 and 2018.
                  Hear RipperCon 2016 & 2018 talks at


                  • #10

                    Good work as previously mentioned. I know this took some time putting together.

                    Permit me to question this line...the first line in the opening post:

                    Dear Boss
                    My first
                    (finest) shot to justify myself I now fire
                    An opening line that seems to state that this is the first communication from the Ripper

           I am sure you've already thought of it...a problem with a "second word" in a communication to the police or otherwise.

                    My question is not so much that you feel its "an opening line" or the first communique from the Saucy One...but there does seem to be the question of which word...."first" or "finest" is the correct one.

                    If the letter in Lynch's book is undecipherable as you mentioned and I have no reason to second guess you, then how do we know that his use of "first" is correct in the sentence ? It would seem to be a big factor in your presentation.

                    Because if its undecipherable...then how and ergo, why, would SPE/KS put the word "finest" in its stead in Letters From Hell ?

                    Could the original letter actually be decipherable and Lynch's copy or replica of the letter be a bad copy of the clearer original ?

                    Back to you old friend.
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                    • #11
                      Hi Howard

                      Most of the original Letter looks readable - it is just the reproduction of it in Lynch's book that is very low resolution

                      Of course I would like to see a better copy of the letter

                      Some words are obviously open to interpretation - as indicated by Evans and Skinner producing slightly different interpretations to Lynch. Evans and Skinner also have a different page order

                      Why do you think the two lines are transposed in Letters from Hell?
                      I can see the 2 lines in Lynch's book - whose mistake/interpretation is that?

                      The detectives of London are all blind
                      They know they cannot me seek and find

                      Sounds more likely than
                      The detectives of London are all Hind

                      Evans & Skinner may be copying words as they appear - ie it looks like Hind, but it is obviously "blind" - some of the other differences do not look correct on Lynch's part due to the number of letters involved

                      I can't comment further on the differences until I see a better copy. Most of the differences are minor, but some are quite significant as to the meaning of the writer

                      If the first word is finest, then it could still be interpreted as his first communication - but not necessarily

                      Later in the poem he states that you never see letters from him in the press

                      An important word for me is whether it reads destitution or prostitution

                      It's a bit daunting to go through the poem line by line, so I'll summarise my point

                      The writer of this poem represents a man who by coincidence, design or truth would more than adequately fit a modern profile of the Ripper

                      ie He is local to Whitechapel and lives in a dosshouse among his victims. He has experienced vivisection in his past where he may have gained the skills and mentality to kill as he did. He rages against people who spend money on frivolity while he is destitute and starving - especially the prostitutes. He returns to the crime scene on at least one occasion and often approaches / ingratiates himself with the police, His income is intermittent and sometimes he is out late at night

                      The letter does not include the "normal" aspects of a Ripper letter such as major spelling mistakes, threats to kill more victims and the like

                      A lot of work went into producing this poem. If it was not the Ripper, but a hoaxer, I would expect more threats, lurid details and boasting of his prowess etc

                      Any thoughts?

                      PS I also noted that the writer of the poem indicated that the Oct 1889 letter to Forbes Winslow was written TO 22 Hammersmith Rd when actually it purported to come FROM 22 Hammersmith Rd

                      Does anyone know if this letter was in the press between Oct 89 and Nov 89?

                      Forbes Winslow refers to this as a letter he received in 1888 predicting the murder of Kelly on the 9th November


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Nemo View Post
                        Despite the effort he must have put into compiling this communication, he only states that he is a poor man from an East End dosshouse
                        I don't know about the East End dosshouse, Nemo, as the letter purports to be addressed from a West End address, namely 30 Bangor Street, which was - and is, now renamed "Henry Dickens Court" - located in Notting Hill, W11. Interestingly, it appears that some properties were acquired in Bangor Street in October 1889, and were shortly due to open as dosshouses. The following is from the Times of 23rd October, 1889:

                        If one of those properties was 30, Bangor Street, then our doggerel-writer would have been one of its very first residents.

                        From further reading, Bangor Street is described elsewhere as "a notorious locality".


                        • #13
                          Thanks for that Sam

                          I couldn't find much about Bangor St

                          Previous to possibly moving to Bangor St around Nov 1889, I would suspect that the writer was in the East End

                          You would think it unlikely for him to supply his true address, but that article you have posted may have some relevance

                          The residents are to be informed of work elsewhere and in the colonies. Perhaps this letter was posted just as he was embarking on a journey elsewhere to seek work

                          Being literate and skilled with a knife at least, he may have been one of the first to benefit from the offer of work

                          I wonder if there are records from these dosshouses, or at least some indication of the ships used to transport the workers where passenger lists may exist. Of course he may have found work elsewhere in the UK

                          If a man was offered work in Australia say, would he get free passage at this time?


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Nemo View Post
                            Thanks for that Sam

                            I couldn't find much about Bangor St
                            There's loads, Nemo - before and after 1888/89. Theft, child abuse, burglary, a horse-owner breaking his animal's back... no murders that I could find, though. So that's a relief.
                            Previous to possibly moving to Bangor St around Nov 1889, I would suspect that the writer was in the East End
                            I wouldn't necessarily suspect that, Nemo. The letter could just as easily have come from a West End dosser, or even a middle-class West End hoaxer posing as one. The letter was, after all, postmarked "London SW", as distinct from "London W" or "London E".

                            Given that Bangor Street was apparently "notorious" (at least it would have been to those West Enders with little immediate knowledge of Thrawl St and Flower & Dean), then it would be just the sort of address that a West End prankster might have imagined a "Ripper" to have occupied.


                            • #15
                              You're correct in that there is loads about this place
                              There's a picture of it on this site


                              Bangor Street, the most notorious road of the Notting Dale ‘Special Area’ slum (on the site of Henry Dickens Court), was known as ‘Do as you like Street’, a place where ‘no one left their door closed’, and the venue of the Rag Fair. At the turn of the 20th century, the local district nurses were reported ‘valiantly holding their own in spite of the disturbance caused by nightly brawls and the noisy and unsavoury Sunday markets.’
                              Valerie Wilson recalled in an interview by the Notting Dale Urban Studies group: "They used to threaten us – don’t go up rag fair and the first thing we did when we got outside, we forgot all about it and went straight through rag fair… that was really like a film show, they used to hang old bits of clothing on the railings… the street would throng with people… there was a group of men who came out the war and they were all ex-servicemen, big tall strong men, and they couldn’t get work, so they formed this group and they dressed up in tulle like a fairy in a pantomime and they made their faces up, hideous like white faces and red rouged cheeks and red false curls and they used to dance and people, children and grown-ups, they formed a circle or square and people would throw a penny in."
                              As an example of local characters ‘who make the most of the notoriety of their surroundings’, and the slumming tradition, a Bangor Street urchin recounted some "hunderworld business", in which "the char-a-banc blokes bring the toffs to the end of the street, they pay 6 shillings and 6 pence a time, could you believe it? When the tic-tac man gives the word then father sloshes mother, she screams "Murder!" and I slosh father, then Ennis over the way sloshes his old girl and a free fight starts all around… Dad gives me a sprasy (6 pence)." Bangor and Wilsham Street also hosted more respectable Coronation street parties.

                              This is also interesting from a genealogical researcher..


                              John Robertson's last census entry in 1901 shows him living in Rackham Street in Kensington, close to the St Marylebone's Rackham Street Infirmary. Although he could see it from his front door, he could not have been taken in here if he fell ill; it belonged to another Poor Law Union. John's death certificate states that he died in Kensington Infirmary but that he was "from 35 Bangor Street". I wondered whether this could be a polite address used instead of the name of a workhouse. Working on this idea, we researched the workhouse system a little further and found that Bangor Street (now Henry Dickens Court), was very close to the rather unpleasant branch of the Kensington workhouse known as Mary's Place. If Bangor Street were a polite form of the workhouse address, this would imply that he entered the workhouse, was taken ill and transferred to the Infirmary, where he died. This was St Mary Abbots Hospital, run by the Kensington Poor Law Guardians in Marloes Road. We need to research further, possibly examining the workhouse records.