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  • Valentine's School

    From Sean Crundall :



    Hi all,

    Here's a photo postcard, I recently purchased, of 9 Eliot Place, Blackheath. Likely, the photo was taken in the 1900's. I don't think this photo has been shown before.



    Today, the site of George Valentine's school is occupied by two semi detached houses (private residences). Both houses were built in 1911. Valentine's school closed its doors c.1896, reopening as Nelson College. Nelson College closed in 1908, and the buildings were demolished the following year.

    Today's Blackheath would be instantly recognisable to Montague John Druitt, with many Georgian and Victorian buildings still standing.

    Regards,

    Sean.
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  • #2
    Nice one, Sean!

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    • #3
      Thanks, Robert.

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      • #4
        Sean:

        You sharing this is a really nice gesture. Thank you once again, pardner.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
          Sean:

          You sharing this is a really nice gesture. Thank you once again, pardner.
          Hi How,

          A pleasure!

          I do possess a couple more vintage photo postcards of Eliot Place one of which has, I think, appeared in a few publications and purports to show no. 9. The other depicts the site of no. 9 and was probably taken during the 30's or 40's.

          My best wishes,

          Sean.

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          • #6
            I don't know if #9 is in this lot:


            http://www.ideal-homes.org.uk/lewish...th/eliot-place

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
              Hi Robert,

              I believe no. 9 is third left from the pointed gable with window. This building still stands and provides a good point of reference. At best, the purported no. 9 photo merely gives us an eye squinting glimpse of Valentine's school.

              Thanks,

              Sean.

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              • #8
                Hi all,

                The photo postcard is labeled: "Nelson College, Eliot Place, Blackheath".

                Valentine's school is located between the building with the pointed gable (not to be confused with the pointed gable building with window, which is located slightly further along the street) and the building covered with vine/ivy, one end of which is just visible in the photo.

                My regards,

                Sean.

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                • #9
                  Hi Sean,
                  Great find!
                  It shows there are always new things to find out there. Well done and thanks for sharing it with us. XX

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                  • #10
                    If only those stones could speak!
                    Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                    "Suche Nullen"
                    (F. Nietzsche)

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                    • #11
                      Walls have ears and now you want them to speak as well?


                      You're a hard taskmaster, Gareth.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Debra Arif View Post
                        Hi Sean,
                        Great find!
                        It shows there are always new things to find out there. Well done and thanks for sharing it with us. XX
                        Cheers Debs,

                        I remain eternally optimistic that many interesting and significant finds are still out there; in fact, much recent research confirms this point.

                        Even at this late date I don't think it's impossible to discover the reason for Druitt's dismissal.

                        If molestation of one or more of his charges was indeed the source of the "serious trouble" at Valentine's school then the reason for his dismissal must have been Blackheath's worst kept secret. In a small village with a close knit sporting community, of which Druitt played a significant role, the reason for his dismissal must have become common knowledge among his peers. His remaining at Blackheath was an impossibility.

                        I believe it likely that the reason for his dismissal also reached the ears of his legal brethren at the Temple. He had reached a seemingly impossible crossroads in his life. But such a circumstance, for a confident and stable man, need not have been the end of the road: Druitt was young, educated and solvent. A distant colonial world, full of opportunities, beckoned. He could easily have escaped any scandal that may have overtaken him at Blackheath.

                        I think his mother was his big tie to London.

                        My very best wishes,

                        Sean X X.

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                        • #13
                          Many thanks once again to Sean for sharing this photograph.

                          "Another photo postcard of Eliot Place, this one showing the site of Valentine's school (marked by the two semi detached houses with pointed gables). I'm not too sure of the date."
                          -Sean Crundall-

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                          • #14
                            Cheers, How!

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                            • #15
                              Rumours in Blackheath

                              Thanks Sean Crundell! A terrific find!

                              It is hard not to feel a shiver to see such a picture, knowing that "The Ripper" lived in that perfectly normal looking abode tucked in between other equally normal-looking bourgeoisie dwellings.

                              You're correct that it may have been an open secret in Blackheath regarding the late Mr Druitt, but I don't think it was about the things you mentioned. These are, I counter-argue, modern conjectures that are incautiously disconnected from the admittedly meager primary record. The scraps we have, by contrast, consistently and persistently assert that M. J. Druitt's secret deviance involved erotic fulfillment through acts of homicidal ultra-violence committed against poor, defenceless women of the "unfortunate" class.

                              Montague's brother, William, would never have brought up his brother's dismissal if it was of a remotely scandalous nature. This is confirmed by the fact that no other newspaper bothered to even mention this detail - likely because Druitt was sacked in absentia (as he as from one of his sporting clubs). They claim the suicide of this successful, young barrister is inexplicable and can only be explained by an inherited and temporary though tragically lethal derangement.

                              In other words the dismissal (if it really occurred at all at the school then it was likely between December 21st and December 30th 1888) is, I argue, the reddest of red herrings.

                              Here is, for example, the scuttlebut that a retired admiral claimed he recalled consuming Blackheath about, presumably, the late Mr. Druitt (with the admiral's memory tangled up with the un-named Thomas Cutbush 'scoop' from 1894):

                              "When we lived there [Blackheath] formerly [e.g. before 1895] it was considered dangerous, for the terrible series of crimes committed by "Jack the Ripper"were then being perpetrated, and many people believed that he lived in Blackheath. ...he was never caught, although it was sometimes stated that he had been and was confined in Broadmoor." [my italics]

                              H. L. Fleet, "My Life and a Few Yarns", 1922, Allen and Unwin.

                              A highly regarded figure [name with-held at their request], who has researched this subject for many years, has recently found a primary source that, I think, at last pinpoints the location and activities of "Montie" Druitt; between the Miller's Court murder on November 9th 1888 and his own self-murder in early December 1888.

                              This will be revealed down the track, for those interested.

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