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  • Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
    Question one of what I hope will be many more.....
    ***************************************

    Tom:

    Quick question.

    In your section on Berner Street, you mention several possible scenarios as to who murdered Stride.

    You lean towards Overcoat Man-Pipe Man being the same man and also the likely murderer of Stride.

    Unless I am mistaken, you feel the man Lawende saw was Eddowes' murderer.

    My question is....how do you reconcile the appearance of Overcoat Man with the appearance of the man who was seen

    by Joseph Lawende ?

    Again, I understand you were only making suggestions and aren't committing to either as the only possibility.

    Thanks.
    Hi Howard, I don't know that I have a strong opinion about whether or not Lawende saw the Ripper or even Eddowes, but I am of the opinion the police believed he had. As for Overcoat/Pipe Man, I believe the best information puts him as the last person known to have been seen with Stride, and so must be prime suspect in her murder (though, of course, that doesn't make him her murderer). To be honest, I don't know that I've put much thought towards reconciling the two, but perhaps I should.

    Yours truly,

    Tom Wescott

    Comment


    • Thanks Tom...
      To Join JTR Forums :
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      Comment


      • Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
        Thanks Tom...
        I should elaborate by pointing out that in writing the book I wasn't intending on chasing the actual Ripper, but in the next one, I'm sure I'll have my take on all this. But in Ripper Confidential I do present some reasons for Lawende (as opposed to Schwartz) having been Anderson's witness. It's easy to miss if you're not careful.

        Yours truly,

        Tom Wescott

        Comment


        • I'll order the paperback in May. (I'm currently mobile for a couple weeks.)
          Very happy to hear that the book is about to go into print.

          I'm pretty sure of what to expect about Stride and the Goulston Street graffito, but "the name of a woman who may have met the Ripper and survived to tell the tale"? Hmmm…could that be Pearly Poll?

          I also think that incorporating popular Ripper-related search words into the description of the book on amazon to boost its searchability was a great idea.


          PS.: Haven't been able to do any Ripperology nowadays (some major changes in my life, including a new boss + new work locations) and recently I even sold a bunch of books from my Ripperological collection (and made some good money, but I kept the real good ones), but I've been wondering about the potential existence of any sources in Toronto, maybe at the police archives, maybe something Tumblety-wise/inspector Andrews-wise? Because I'll be visiting there relatively often, work-related.
          Best regards,
          Maria

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Maria Birbili View Post
            "the name of a woman who may have met the Ripper and survived to tell the tale"? Hmmm…could that be Pearly Poll?
            Possibly this might relate to Millhouse, about whom I know next to nothing.
            Best regards,
            Maria

            Comment


            • Edward Stow

              Edward Stow regrettably informed me that he no longer goes on this site. I was looking forward to exchanges with him on this thread. But was good enough to post this critique. I've no doubt there's more to come. He said I could share it here.

              Ripper Confidential Critique Tom Wescott
              Chapter 1
              Footnote 2 – misspells Valance Road – should be Vallance Road
              On page 12 Tom says that the ‘Northeastern Railway’ line ran through Buck’s Row. In 1888 the line was run by Great Eastern Railway, South East Railway and the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway on track put down by the East London Railway Company. The London and North Eastern Railway Company was not formed until 1923 when it operated in this area.
              On page 13 Tom says: “If you believe Mizen, the men told him that he was wanted by another constable because a woman was found dead.”
              This is nothing like what Mizen said. Mizen said one man – not ‘men’ – told him that there was a woman lying there on her back. Specifically nothing was said – according to Mizen – about her being dead.
              Tom continued “The men denied stating that there was already a PC present.”
              The ‘men’ didn’t – one man did – the man who Tom prefers to call Cross. The other man, Paul, never expressed a recorded opinion on the matter.
              On page 14 Tom says: “Neil found himself flanked by three large men… Harry Tomkins, Charles Bretton, and James Mumford…”
              I’m not sure how Tom knows how large they were, but in any case only two of the three were present at first. Mumford came along later.
              On page 16 Tom says: “It is also possible that she’d (Polly Nichols) done a turn as a confidential informer for the police, as Mr Cowdrey was the Chief of Works for the local police department.”
              This seems to me to be a remarkable piece of speculation. We have Polly Nichols – who was ‘very disorderly’ and the ‘worst woman’ on Trafalgar Square – being placed with a God-fearing police contractor because she was a police informant? There is no evidence to give the slightest suggestion that she was an informer.
              On page 17 Tom says “After the brief stay at Gray’s Inn (2nd August), Polly seems to have drifted back into the abyss of the East End lodging houses.”
              I don’t believe there is any evidence that Polly had stayed in the East End before this so she wasn’t going ‘back’ to the East End.
              On page 18 Tom confidently links Polly to an anonymous story printed six years after her death, that claimed that “the first victim of the Whitechapel outrages” had been “in the habit of secreting table knives and who had been imprisoned for attempting to stab an official” but had then been ‘tamed under the influence of kindness” at an unnamed Workhouse Infirmary.
              The first victim could be Emma Smith or Martha Tabram. Or the story could be a load of rubbish – the provenance is not exactly good. An anonymous writer, at an anonymous Workhouse recounting the tale six years later.
              Is there any evidence to suggest Nichols was imprisoned for attempting to stab an official?
              On page 20 Tom confidently (again) decides that Polly was last living at 35 Dorset Street - based on the address given on her death certificate.
              Various addresses had been given for her – I would suggest that we cannot judge with any confidence where she as living on her last night.
              She was not a native of the East End and so far as I am aware there are no accounts of her living in the East End prior to August 1888.
              The one address that we do have independent corroboration for her having stayed there is 18 Thrawl Street – from her friend and the lodging house keeper Emily Holland. But she wasn’t there on her last night.
              We also have 55 Flower and Dean Street, 56 Flower and Dean Street and Boundary Street (somewhat further to the north) – besides 35 Dorset Street. Quite a few different addresses for less than a month – but then she was an itinerant so it isn’t very surprising.
              On a positive note I liked the way Tom demystified the twee romanticism which has attached to the victims. Although Polly may well not be the knife wielding jailbird of the ‘Woman’s Signal’ story, we know enough to tell that she was a rough lot.

              Comment


              • Edward also posted the following. He believes that Debra Arif's stellar researching regarding Poll's movement in the lodging houses and her sickness following the murder of Martha Tabram somehow proves that her story about the two soldiers was true and contradicts the (what I believe to be) rather overwhelming evidence I present in BHM which points to it not having been true, including Inspector Reid's own statements that reflect this.

                Ripper Confidential Critique
                Many have spoken of this book as a counter to speculative suspect theory books. In my opinion this is a false division. Speculation, conjecture and hypothesising all in favour of a pet theory, being blind to facts that contradict ones prior position, an endeavouring to turn speculation into fact – these are all features of any Ripper book – whether it is about Police beats, the latest suspect or the oldest shawl. They could be found throughout the 'Bank Holiday Murders' and inevitably within ‘Ripper Confidential’.
                This is not necessarily a bad thing. History books inevitably involve telling a story with incomplete facts at the disposal of the writer and to tell that story they provide their own reading of the facts – their theory. Speculation is invariably involved. That is just how it is.
                In the 'Introduction' to ‘Ripper Confidential’ Tom states with clear eyed certainty “that Mary Ann ‘Pearly Poll’ Connelly fabricated the story about having spent August Bank Holiday in the company of Martha Tabram and two soldiers. The evidence in this instance is so strong that it must, for the sake of accuracy, become part of the narrative from this point forward.”
                I don’t agree with that at all. In my opinion the conclusions Tom drew about Pearly Poll’s character – linking various events together to create a certain picture - have been demolished by subsequent research, which in turn changes that picture.

                Comment


                • Tom,

                  As you know, the Winthrop Street slaughtermen are a favourite topic of mine, so I was pleased to see them given a good airing in your book.

                  One thing that I don't go along with is the suggestion that Henry Tomkins was necessarily an 'unapologetic misogynist'. As I read it, his comment about 'not liking' women was an attempt to deflect the implication that he had anything to do with the sort of women who might call at a Whitechapel knacker's yard in the early hours of the morning, rather than women in general. He was in fact a married man.

                  As for the local police being able to vouch for his character, it seems the Tomkins family (including his father and at least one brother who were also horse slaughterers) may have only recently moved to the East End from Manchester. Certainly his brother Thomas's child, Ellis, was Christened in Manchester on 9th November, 1887. The family had relocated to Manchester from Belle Isle in Islington in 1872/3, after William Tomkins (Henry's father) had been caught stealing horse fat from John Harrison (the founder of Harrison, Barber).

                  I find the exchange between Tomkins and Baxter (which varies considerably from newspaper to newspaper) quite remarkable. Tomkins would not explicitly admit that 'women' called at the yard, he would not admit to having been to the pub that night and he insisted there were already two civilians present at the scene when he arrived (he alone, it would seem, as some reports say he ran ahead of Britton). He was clearly being 'economical with the truth', for some reason or other.

                  Failing to get satisfactory answers to his, and the jury's, questions, the normally in-control Wynne Baxter eventually threw in the towel and dismissed Tomkins with a comment about not understanding his 'slaughterhouse language'.

                  Much is made of how thoroughly the police checked out the slaughtermen's activities on the night of Polly's murder. However, a few days afterwards, James Mumford couldn't remember how many horses they had killed that night.

                  Regards,

                  Gary

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Tom_Wescott View Post
                    Edward also posted the following. He believes that Debra Arif's stellar researching regarding Poll's movement in the lodging houses and her sickness following the murder of Martha Tabram somehow proves that her story about the two soldiers was true and contradicts the (what I believe to be) rather overwhelming evidence I present in BHM which points to it not having been true, including Inspector Reid's own statements that reflect this.
                    I bet he says 'later research shows' rather than naming me though!

                    I agree with you. My finds showed that Pearly Poll was off the streets from August to Oct 1888, practically the whole time of the murders so had no involvement in events after Martha's murder, as you speculated she may have in TBHM, but nothing else. Having said that, I'm not entirely convinced Poll was lying about the soldiers either. She may have been with Foggerty who was apparently a soldier himself in 88.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Debra Arif View Post
                      I bet he says 'later research shows' rather than naming me though!

                      I agree with you. My finds showed that Pearly Poll was off the streets from August to Oct 1888, practically the whole time of the murders so had no involvement in events after Martha's murder, as you speculated she may have in TBHM, but nothing else. Having said that, I'm not entirely convinced Poll was lying about the soldiers either. She may have been with Foggerty who was apparently a soldier himself in 88.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
                        Tom,

                        As you know, the Winthrop Street slaughtermen are a favourite topic of mine, so I was pleased to see them given a good airing in your book.

                        One thing that I don't go along with is the suggestion that Henry Tomkins was necessarily an 'unapologetic misogynist'. As I read it, his comment about 'not liking' women was an attempt to deflect the implication that he had anything to do with the sort of women who might call at a Whitechapel knacker's yard in the early hours of the morning, rather than women in general. He was in fact a married man.

                        As for the local police being able to vouch for his character, it seems the Tomkins family (including his father and at least one brother who were also horse slaughterers) may have only recently moved to the East End from Manchester. Certainly his brother Thomas's child, Ellis, was Christened in Manchester on 9th November, 1887. The family had relocated to Manchester from Belle Isle in Islington in 1872/3, after William Tomkins (Henry's father) had been caught stealing horse fat from John Harrison (the founder of Harrison, Barber).

                        I find the exchange between Tomkins and Baxter (which varies considerably from newspaper to newspaper) quite remarkable. Tomkins would not explicitly admit that 'women' called at the yard, he would not admit to having been to the pub that night and he insisted there were already two civilians present at the scene when he arrived (he alone, it would seem, as some reports say he ran ahead of Britton). He was clearly being 'economical with the truth', for some reason or other.

                        Failing to get satisfactory answers to his, and the jury's, questions, the normally in-control Wynne Baxter eventually threw in the towel and dismissed Tomkins with a comment about not understanding his 'slaughterhouse language'.

                        Much is made of how thoroughly the police checked out the slaughtermen's activities on the night of Polly's murder. However, a few days afterwards, James Mumford couldn't remember how many horses they had killed that night.

                        Regards,

                        Gary
                        Hi Gary, thanks for that. A glance at the hospital registers for just September of 88 (and probably any month) will show you that a disturbing array of misogynists were married and all too happy to send their wives to the hospital. I call Tompkins an 'unapologetic misogynist' because the statements he made clearly had an impact on the jury and coroner, and yet he made them knowing they'd be recorded not only in legal record but in all the newspapers. That's pretty unapologetic.

                        As for Mumford not remembering how many horses he killed that night, I don't see how that's significant? To me it just shows that the men didn't attempt to 'get a story together' and that other than the murder it was a night like any other. I doubt a drive-thru attendant at McDonald's could tell us how many burgers he sold two days ago.

                        Yours truly,

                        Tom Wescott

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Debra Arif View Post
                          I bet he says 'later research shows' rather than naming me though!

                          I agree with you. My finds showed that Pearly Poll was off the streets from August to Oct 1888, practically the whole time of the murders so had no involvement in events after Martha's murder, as you speculated she may have in TBHM, but nothing else. Having said that, I'm not entirely convinced Poll was lying about the soldiers either. She may have been with Foggerty who was apparently a soldier himself in 88.
                          Hi Debs, that's a fair enough statement, although I would imagine the briefest of inquiries on Reid's part would have turned up Foggerty's name. And the story Poll told suggested the two soldiers were strangers to herself and Tabram. And no one saw them together with any soldiers that night. Etc. etc.

                          Yours truly,

                          Tom Wescott

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Tom_Wescott View Post
                            Hi Gary, thanks for that. A glance at the hospital registers for just September of 88 (and probably any month) will show you that a disturbing array of misogynists were married and all too happy to send their wives to the hospital. I call Tompkins an 'unapologetic misogynist' because the statements he made clearly had an impact on the jury and coroner, and yet he made them knowing they'd be recorded not only in legal record but in all the newspapers. That's pretty unapologetic.

                            As for Mumford not remembering how many horses he killed that night, I don't see how that's significant? To me it just shows that the men didn't attempt to 'get a story together' and that other than the murder it was a night like any other. I doubt a drive-thru attendant at McDonald's could tell us how many burgers he sold two days ago.

                            Yours truly,

                            Tom Wescott
                            Hi Tom,

                            You say that Tomkins would have 'fallen under much keener suspicion if not for the married and more respectable (and less openly misogynistic) Charles Bretton providing him with an alibi for every moment of the evening'.

                            I'm not sure how you arrive at the conclusion that Bretton was more respectable than Tomkins. Or for that matter that he was less openly misogynistic. We know virtually nothing about him. Both men appear to have had stable marriages.

                            And to repeat my point, Tomkins was indirectly asked 'Do prostitutes call at your place of work in the middle of the night?' His clumsy answer, 'I don't like them. I don't have anything to do with them' strikes me as an attempt to distance himself from those women specifically, not women in general. Clearly both Baxter and Tomkins knew the 'women' under discussion were prostitutes.

                            If the slaughtermen couldn't remember exactly what they were doing on the night in question, I don't see how their alibi could have been more than just 'Yes, we were together all night.'

                            Gary

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Tom_Wescott View Post
                              Hi Debs, that's a fair enough statement, although I would imagine the briefest of inquiries on Reid's part would have turned up Foggerty's name. And the story Poll told suggested the two soldiers were strangers to herself and Tabram. And no one saw them together with any soldiers that night. Etc. etc.

                              Yours truly,

                              Tom Wescott

                              Hi Tom.
                              Perhaps that was the night they first met?!

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Debra Arif View Post
                                Hi Tom.
                                Perhaps that was the night they first met?!
                                A blind date?

                                Comment

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