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  • The Death of Edward Druitt

    For those who are unfamiliar with the Druitt family Edward Druitt (1859-1922) was Montague's younger brother and served as a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Royal Engineers. According to Farson, when writing about the family history of mental illness in 1972, “Edward Druitt, however, was absolutely ‘normal’…he was married on 19 February 1889 at the Manor House, Chideock in Dorset to Christina-Mary-Filumea, the eldest daughter of Sir Frederick Aloysius Weld. There were four children, all diabetics…” (Farson, 1972: 141) These statements are puzzling as they seem out of place in a discussion of the prevalence of insanity in the Druitt family. However, Farson was mistaken; while Edward Druitt did have four children, they were not diabetics-- he was.

    I have managed to access this information since Edward died in Scotland and copies of Scottish death certificates are available via the Scotland's People website. Although I can't post the actual copy right now, I have made a transcription of it:

    Name/Surname: Edward Druitt, Lieutenant Colonel Royal Engineers, Retired. Married to Christina Mary Filumena Weld

    When/Where died: 1922 July twenty-fifth
    5 hr 45 m at the Craig House Edinburgh, usual residence 91 Iverna Court London

    Sex: M

    Age: 63 Years

    Father & Mother: William Druitt, Doctor of Wimborne deceased Anne Druitt, b. Harvey deceased

    Cause of death/duration: Diabetes Mellitus, 4 years Cert. by W.W. Alister, MD

    Informant: Arthur Druitt, brother 19 Inverleith Place

    When/Where Registered: 1922 July 26 at Edinburgh


    Edward Druitt died at the Craig House in Edinburgh, Scotland on 25 July 1922. According to his death certificate he had been suffering from diabetes for four years at the time of his death, and the authorities were informed of his passing by his brother Arthur. Interestingly, the Craig House was at that time more familiarly known as the Royal Edinburgh Asylum.

    In other words, Edward Druitt died in a mental hospital of diabetes just over 30 years after his mother had suffered the same fate in 1890. Given that the symptoms experienced by Ann Druitt were most likely exacerbated by diabetes, it perhaps no surprise that Edward also most likely died insane. The discussion in Farson quoted above occurs in reference to information he received about the ‘strong streak of melancholia in the family probably due to diabetes’ (Farson, 1972: 140) from Montague’s niece. To me, this evidence appears to suggest that Montague's niece was trying to persuade Farson that the family madness took the form of depression and diabetes rather than some kind of psychosis. Any other perspectives on this information are more than welcome.

    Finally, some more information about Craig House can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craig_House,_Edinburgh

  • #2
    Thanks for yet another valuable post, Joanna.
    Its much appreciated.
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    • #3
      Interesting post, Joanna. The electoral registers seem to give Edward's last London address as 9 Bullingham Mansions (1918) after which he appears to have left London. That would tally with a four year illness until his death in 1922.

      In 1922 the hospital superintendent said that one half of the patients admitted in 1921 were voluntary patients.

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      • #4
        In times past there were a lot of metabolic diseases that could not be well diagnosed and certainly could not be treated. Keep in mind President John Kennedy suffered all his life from Addison's disease and treatments were just beginning to be effective while he was in the White House.

        Even a decade later a writer said mental asylums could be "emptied" if diseases of thyroid, adrenals, etc. would be adequately diagnosed and treated.

        I have long wondered if there was a genetic, metabolic disease that was prevalent in the Druitt family. I would suggest it would be a disease that was heterozygous, needing only one copy of the gene, since so many were affected. (I am over simplifying genetics here as I well know multiple genes or parts of genes can be involved, as in the case of severe migraine which I have. It seems a crumb of a gene from one parent will pass this horror.)
        The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

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        • #5
          I would argue that the significance of Edward Druitt is that he too looked like Sims in that 1879 picture on "The Social Kaleidoscope", though with his parted from the side.

          Edward married the daughter of a Catholic Big Shot right around the time of Montie's disappearance, and did not attend his older brother's funeral.

          This wedding was blessed by the Pope, something unimaginable if it had got out that he was the brother of Jack the Ripper, or even hard to conceive of the marriage going ahead at all.

          We know that Macnaghten and Sims knew there was hereditary mental disease in the Druitt family because how could they not know? Confirmation is supplied in Guy Logan's serialised version of the Druitt solution in 1905, the Montie figure, Mortemer Slade, has an uncle who drowned himself -- in 1879.

          If the family, or the police chief, or the famous writer, or the MP, or the Vicar could have got the surgeon's son off the hook -- especially as there was never going to be a trial -- because he was suffering a progressive mental disease that rendered him delusional, they would have happily done so. They all judged that they could not.

          Furthermore, Mac and Sims had a private motive, we know now, to clear the drowned barrister so that a close friend's family was not in danger from being tarnished (a danger Sims reportedly mentioned candidly and directly in 1905).

          They judged they could not, because the evidence of guilt was overwhelming.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Joanna View Post
            For those who are unfamiliar with the Druitt family Edward Druitt (1859-1922) was Montague's younger brother and served as a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Royal Engineers. According to Farson, when writing about the family history of mental illness in 1972, “Edward Druitt, however, was absolutely ‘normal’…he was married on 19 February 1889 at the Manor House, Chideock in Dorset to Christina-Mary-Filumea, the eldest daughter of Sir Frederick Aloysius Weld. There were four children, all diabetics…” (Farson, 1972: 141) These statements are puzzling as they seem out of place in a discussion of the prevalence of insanity in the Druitt family. However, Farson was mistaken; while Edward Druitt did have four children, they were not diabetics-- he was.

            I have managed to access this information since Edward died in Scotland and copies of Scottish death certificates are available via the Scotland's People website. Although I can't post the actual copy right now, I have made a transcription of it:

            Name/Surname: Edward Druitt, Lieutenant Colonel Royal Engineers, Retired. Married to Christina Mary Filumena Weld

            When/Where died: 1922 July twenty-fifth
            5 hr 45 m at the Craig House Edinburgh, usual residence 91 Iverna Court London

            Sex: M

            Age: 63 Years

            Father & Mother: William Druitt, Doctor of Wimborne deceased Anne Druitt, b. Harvey deceased

            Cause of death/duration: Diabetes Mellitus, 4 years Cert. by W.W. Alister, MD

            Informant: Arthur Druitt, brother 19 Inverleith Place

            When/Where Registered: 1922 July 26 at Edinburgh


            Edward Druitt died at the Craig House in Edinburgh, Scotland on 25 July 1922. According to his death certificate he had been suffering from diabetes for four years at the time of his death, and the authorities were informed of his passing by his brother Arthur. Interestingly, the Craig House was at that time more familiarly known as the Royal Edinburgh Asylum.

            In other words, Edward Druitt died in a mental hospital of diabetes just over 30 years after his mother had suffered the same fate in 1890. Given that the symptoms experienced by Ann Druitt were most likely exacerbated by diabetes, it perhaps no surprise that Edward also most likely died insane. The discussion in Farson quoted above occurs in reference to information he received about the ‘strong streak of melancholia in the family probably due to diabetes’ (Farson, 1972: 140) from Montague’s niece. To me, this evidence appears to suggest that Montague's niece was trying to persuade Farson that the family madness took the form of depression and diabetes rather than some kind of psychosis. Any other perspectives on this information are more than welcome.

            Finally, some more information about Craig House can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craig_House,_Edinburgh
            In Ann Druitt's case, she was not insane in the sense of running around threatening people.. From what I read of her case notes, her problems centered around refusing to eat and basically was in a state of stupor most of the time. This can be a symptom of depression.
            Last edited by Mark Kent; November 26, 2015, 07:46 PM. Reason: additions

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            • #7
              Edward Druitt was something of a high flyer. He became one of HM Inspectors of Railways and in that postion most notably presided over the report of the Quintishill disaster. Some symptoms of diabetes can give the appearance of mental illness and if it was only diagnosed four years prior to his death it could be type 2 diabetes.

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              • #8
                Edward's daughter Mary died in 1918, which wouldn't have helped his state of mind.

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                • #9
                  Thanks for all the replies, they are much appreciated!

                  Robert,

                  Thanks for the information about Edward's last address. From my research as well it appears he disappears from view in 1918.

                  All four of Edward's children predeceased him and his wife. The eldest, Mary, born in Brisbane, Queensland on Jan 24 1890, married Charles Talbot Joseph Gerard Walmesley on January 9 1912 and died on September 3 1918, the same day that she gave birth to her third child. An account of Mary’s funeral was published in the Reading Mercury on September 14 1918. Although her mother was in attendance and her husband’s absence was mentioned and attributed to war service, no mention is made of her father being present, nor is any reason given as to why he was not there. The last reports of Edward discharging his duties for the Board of Trade were made in February 1918 so it would appear that he was incapacitated by this date. However, untreated or poorly regulated diabetes is likely to make an individual seriously physically ill without any mental health issues arising.

                  After retiring from the Royal Engineers Edward Druitt worked for the Board of Trade heading up inquiries into railway disasters. An interesting account of his career and involvement in one such inquiry can be found in The Quintinshill Conspiracy: The Shocking True Story Behind Britain's Worst Rail Disaster.

                  The impression I get of Edward from what I have read of him was that he was solid, amiable but none-too-bright with a tendency to revere authority figures whether they were his father-in-law or his boss.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks Joanna. Yes, absence from his daughter's funeral certainly seems suggestive.

                    Walmesley remarried in 1920 but helped with Edward's estate in 1922, and 26 years later dealt with Christina's estate. She apparently died a Carmelite nun.

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                    • #11


                      Entranceway to Craig House Hospital, Edinburgh, where Edward Druitt died on 25 July 1922.
                      Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical"
                      https://www.facebook.com/JackTheMusical/ Hear sample song at https://tinyurl.com/y8h4envx.

                      Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conferences, April 2016 and 2018.
                      Hear RipperCon 2016 & 2018 talks at http://www.casebook.org/podcast/.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks Chris. A few more :

                        http://www.scotsman.com/news/letters...ylum-1-2811775

                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3pjIJSITek

                        It looks as though insulin came a shade too late for Edward :

                        http://www.everydayhealth.com/diabet...ough-time.aspx

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                        • #13
                          Posting

                          Edward Druitt (1859-1922) was Montague's younger brother and served as a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Royal Engineers.…he was married on 19 February 1889 at the Manor House, Chideock in Dorset to Christina-Mary-Filumea, the eldest daughter of Sir Frederick Aloysius Weld.
                          From A Catalogue of Rare and Valuable Books 1907
                          Attached Files

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                          • #14
                            Prior discussion on Casebook (click) where Johnr said the actual newspaper report of the Weld-Druitt wedding appears in the SOMERSETSHIRE GAZETTE of 21 February, 1889. (Does anyone have access to that please?) No Druitts attended the wedding, this was just a month after Montie's funeral. But Johnr wrote the guest list was a Catholic who's who. I wonder if Frank Gasquet, later Cardinal, attended. His brother Dr Gasquet was treating Ann Druitt at the time.

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                            • #15
                              A Christina Weld in the 1871 Census of England and Wales, (click) but this is not her. But it could well be her aunt for instance, note the 1818 birthplace of Chideock, the family seat. This household listing is the Franciscan Convent of our Lady of Dolours, Taunton, Somerset and Louisa Jerningham (Head) was the Lady Abbess. So this Christina Weld in the census may well have been a nun.

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