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The Evolution of Leather Apron

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  • The Evolution of Leather Apron

    Maybe its me, but it seems that over the last few months, the community has been discussing Leather Apron almost as often as it has Jack The Ripper.

    Out of consideration to this development, I thought it might be a good thing to collate all the facts and theories available and put them on one thread. So often discussion on an aspect or individual within the Case becomes strewn hither and tither all over the joint.


    Since Mr. Begg and Chris George provided the excellent series on Harry Dam in Ripperologist ( Oct-Dec 2009)...that there was a documentary on Fred Best put together at the same time the book by Andrew Cook came out ( Case Closed )...and Simon Wood has been looking into HH Frederic...this thread might be used to put together thoughts on the evolution of Leather Apron.
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  • #2
    I will stick to newspaper items I find and reproduced them here on this thread.

    Would anyone else care to chip in here ? We need the following for starters:

    First mention of Leather Apron in a periodical: I believe it was the Star on September 4th
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    • #3
      An example of the early (non-London ) coverage of Leather Apron:

      Birmingham Daily Post (Birmingham, England)
      Thursday, September 6, 1888
      AND

      The Leeds Mercury (Leeds, England)
      Thursday, September 6, 1888

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      • #4
        From the Pall Mall Gazette on the morning of Chapman's death:


        ANOTHER MURDER—AND MORE TO FOLLOW?
        The Pall Mall Gazette (London, England)
        Saturday, September 8, 1888


        The most significant thing in this article is that the police had been alleged to have been discussing Leather Apron around the time of Polly Nichols' murder, which of course was "about a week" before September 8th.



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        • #5
          Moving right along here,,,

          In the recent issue of Ripperologist ( Dec. 2009, #109), Mr. Begg wrote a fine article which mirrored his presentation at the London Conference on " Leather Apron " entitled "Did Leather Apron Really Exist ?".

          I've copied a few sections of the first part of the article as you can see and hope that others will contribute here on the subject matter.

          For starters, Mr. B provided the following :

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          • #6
            The thought has occurred to me and probably many others as well, that Leather Apron is and was considered to be more than just a signature found on a letter...which a significant number of people believe Jack The Ripper was and only was. In short, Leather Apron is or was a tangible entity and not some intangible phantom such as many think the Ripper was.

            Mr. Begg asks us to consider :

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            • #7
              My response to this would be that while Pizer may have been or was known as Leather Apron to Thick for years...that his activities ( if in fact true accounts of his conduct with street women of the unfortunate class as supplied by the ladies in the first place) may have been overlooked due to no women being threatened to the extent (read: murdered ) Nichols was and that only upon her murder did a need to divulge this extent of his behavior amongst them materialize.

              In short, no smoke, no fire. Only after Nichols' murder did all the little incidents ( alleged or otherwise ) come to the fore and had Nichols not been murdered...the revelation of the man known as Leather Apron ( In this case Pizer ) to the community may not have materialized.
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              • #8


                Immediately, I have a question as to the timing of this report and how this relates to Leather Apron as Pizer.

                Pizer had been out of the loop for a week by the time of Abberline's report.

                If at any point any of you wish to provide your thoughts, please do so.
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                • #9



                  The immediate response to the comment that there was no inquiry into nor mention of a Leather Apron in regard to the prior two Whitechapel victims of murder, Mrs.Smith & Mrs. Tabram ,would seem to be resolved by the fact that in the Smith murder, she did not die immediately and had orally provided her description of her attackers....just as Tabram's murder finds a constable coming forward with his recollection of a guardsman and of course, the recanting of the night in question by Mary Ann Connally, a.k.a., Pearly Poll.
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                  • #10



                    In reviewing the actual September 11th issue of the Star, the statement that is contained in the paragraph above:

                    "..that when anyone spoke of Leather Apron, they meant John Pizer..."

                    .... does not appear to be in that specific issue of the paper.

                    This is the section relating to the conversation Sgt. Thick had with a Star representative.

                    In fact, you'll notice that despite Thick appearing to be reluctant to divulge information to the reporter in question, he does that very thing as you can see for yourself :

                    The Star, Sept. 11th,1888:

                    The man's identity was borne out by what a Star reporter subsequently gleaned from

                    SERGEANT THICKE,
                    a stout-built, keen, but pleasant-faced man, with thick, drooping, yellowish moustache, dressed in a light check suit.
                    The Sergeant who, by the rough characters among whom his profession takes him, is better known as Johnny Upright, had just been deep in consultation in the station yard with a crowd of detectives, when our representative had the good fortune to get an introduction.
                    "Of course, you've come about the Whitechapel murder," he said, when a Star card was handed to him. "Now, you know as well as I do that I cannot tell you anything."
                    Our representative urged that he might be able to say something without damaging the public interest, and with a little questioning a few facts were obtained. The sergeant emphatically denied that, as the neighbors had said, "Leather Apron" had for the last six weeks been going about his business in an ordinary manner. "He's been in hiding safe enough, and it's my opinion his friends have been screening him. He has not been in lodging houses; he is too well known there and the people who frequent them would have been ready to lynch him. Why the other day a woman told me plainly that if she saw him she would kill him, and I could do what I liked with her afterwards. No," keen Johnny Upright continued, "'Leather Apron' has not been into a lodging-house since the Sunday

                    THE WOMAN DENOUNCED HIM IN WHITECHAPEL,
                    and the police were bamboozled into letting him go." The Sergeant modestly disclaimed any great deal of credit in making the capture. "I've known him for years," he said. "I didn't take him on the strength of any published descriptions of him. It was not, however, till the early hours of this morning I was told where I could put my hands on him."
                    The Star reporter mentioned that the people in Mulberry-street discounted the importance of the finding of knives. But the Sergeant was not to be trapped into saying anything about the knives - whether there were any bloodstains on them. "I don't mean to say anything to prejudice the case against the man. We are still making inquiry, and in the present stage of the case I can't say any more."
                    The report yesterday afternoon that a second "Leather Apron" - "the real man" - had been arrested and taken to the Bethnal-green Police-station was quite without foundation; nobody was detained there at all yesterday.
                    From inquiries at all the police stations this morning it seems that the police are in possession of no further clue.
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                    • #11
                      Thick, it needs to be pointed out, did say that when people in the neighborhood spoke of Leather Apron, they meant Pizer at Chapman's Inquest.

                      Sorry for any possible and assumed misrepresentation of what Mr. Begg wrote earlier in the article. I'm trying to do three things at once and I neglected to mention the above line in the previous post.
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                      • #12
                        Does anyone recall the article in which Pizer's ( I'm pretty sure it was Pizer ) mother made a comment about his head not being "right" or making a gesture suggesting that ? I'll be damned if I can find the article now that mentioned a man's Mom in that context, yet I'm sure it was Pizer's.

                        Help is appreciated.
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                        • #13
                          First mention of Leather Apron Sept 1st?

                          I just posted this to the pearly Poll thread but haven't seen it mentioned anywhere else so felt it belonged here too.

                          Is this the first mention of Leather Apron in the press on Sept 1st 1888 in the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent?

                          Here the name of "Leather Apron" is given to the press by "German Moggy" an acquaintance of Polly Nichols who was the last person to see her alive and speak to her at 2.30am- meaning German Moggy is probably Emily Holland.

                          leather apron.JPG

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Debra Arif View Post
                            I just posted this to the pearly Poll thread but haven't seen it mentioned anywhere else so felt it belonged here too.

                            Is this the first mention of Leather Apron in the press on Sept 1st 1888 in the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent?

                            Here the name of "Leather Apron" is given to the press by "German Moggy" an acquaintance of Polly Nichols who was the last person to see her alive and speak to her at 2.30am- meaning German Moggy is probably Emily Holland.

                            [ATTACH]11675[/ATTACH]
                            Hi Debs
                            Yes, this is the earliest mention of Leather Apron. The article does not say that the name was given by "German Moggy", but by "women" in a similar position to Nichols. This conforms with what police and newspapermen said, namely that it was following the murder of Nichols that the name "Leather Apron" came to the fore. In other words, he had not previously been heard of. It seems to have been Thick who then said that Pizer was known as Leather Apron and it was assumed that he had for some time past ill used prostitutes, whereas that in fact appears to have been wholly erroneous. Nobody ever said in mitigation that by ill-using prostitutes Pizer had brought the accusation upon himself.
                            Paul

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                            • #15
                              Mogg?

                              Interesting find Debs,

                              Thank you.


                              This is the second case Ive seen where the name 'Mogg' appears, the other being McKenzie and Mogg Cheeks.

                              Am I correct that Mogg is a version of Margaret?

                              Monty

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