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Coming to work for Valentine's school

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  • Coming to work for Valentine's school

    In this article by Stawell Heard, originally published in Ripperologist 32, 2000, there's some uncertainty about how Druitt came to work for Valentine's school, with a local historian, Neil Rhind, speculating that it could have been through sporting circles, or simply by Valentine advertising a position which, perhaps due to Blackheath's sporting opportunities, attracted Druitt:

    Druitt, mixing in sporting circles, must have known of Blackheath's sporting activities and Neil Rhind speculates that Druitt might have heard, through sporting circles, that George Valentine needed a new member of staff. He also suggests that it is quite possible that George Valentine might simply have advertised. Blackheath's sporting reputation might, of course, have encouraged Druitt to apply.
    I found this ad from 1880, I don't recall seeing it before but it would seem likely to be the occassion of Druitt's employment, no? The ad could of course have been carried in other publications, as well.
    One interesting piece of information is Druitt's salary from the school, 180£. The aforementioned article was close:
    As a teacher, he appeared to earn around £200 per annum (above the average for the time, which was around £119 per annum). This figure is borne out by the fact that a cheque for £50 was found on his body when it was retrieved from the river. Fifty pounds would have been one term's salary. Out of this salary, Druitt would have to have paid George Valentine for board and lodging. Added to this was his share of expenses at chambers.
    but the ad specifies the salary included room and board, not to be paid for. The 180£ could of course have gone up some from 1880 to 1888.

    That would then fairly precisely account for a 16£ cheque found on Druitt: one month's salary, if his salary in eight years had gone from 180 (15£ a month) to 192 (16 £ a month) - perhaps when Valentine no longer lived at the school, Druitt had increased responsibility and corresponding pay?

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Eliott place school1880.jpg Views:	2 Size:	84.1 KB ID:	587911
    Last edited by Kattrup; March 21, 2022, 09:16 AM. Reason: including note about salary

  • #2
    Interesting find Kattrup.

    I can’t recall if we know when Druitt was first employed by the school but we know that he graduated with a 3rd class BA degree in 1880 but wasn’t admitted to the Inner Temple until 1882. During this gap Jon Hainsworth has speculated that he might have enrolled on a medical course (in an attempt to follow in his fathers footsteps, but then dropped out to move into Law,) which ‘could’ account for any medical/anatomical knowledge that the killer ‘might’ have had. Either way though, graduating in 1880 makes it entirely likely that Druitt would have been looking for work in that year.
    Regards

    Michael🔎


    " When you eliminate the impossible whatever remains no matter how improbable......is probably a little bit boring "

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Michael Banks View Post
      Interesting find Kattrup.

      I can’t recall if we know when Druitt was first employed by the school but we know that he graduated with a 3rd class BA degree in 1880 but wasn’t admitted to the Inner Temple until 1882. During this gap Jon Hainsworth has speculated that he might have enrolled on a medical course (in an attempt to follow in his fathers footsteps, but then dropped out to move into Law,) which ‘could’ account for any medical/anatomical knowledge that the killer ‘might’ have had. Either way though, graduating in 1880 makes it entirely likely that Druitt would have been looking for work in that year.
      Hi Michael

      As far as I know, Druitt started in the autumn of 1880 at the school, all commentators I’ve seen agree on that, but I do not know how it is known.
      it is known that he was registered there in spring 1881, so possibly the autumn 1880 is an inference from that date, i.e. he must have started prior to being registered.
      but since everyone agrees he started autumn 1880, I think the ad looking for an assistant master from September is the likely starting point.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Kattrup View Post

        Hi Michael

        As far as I know, Druitt started in the autumn of 1880 at the school, all commentators I’ve seen agree on that, but I do not know how it is known.
        it is known that he was registered there in spring 1881, so possibly the autumn 1880 is an inference from that date, i.e. he must have started prior to being registered.
        but since everyone agrees he started autumn 1880, I think the ad looking for an assistant master from September is the likely starting point.
        Thanks Kattrup, I couldn’t recall anything about when he actually began working at the school. It appears to tie up though. I wonder if it’s possible that Druitt might have been a little slow in responding to the ad, for whatever reason, and that the job was taken but Valentine retained his name? Or that Druitt came second on a list of candidates? Then perhaps their new man was found to be unsuitable and so Valentine contacted Monty and offered him the job in spring ‘81? Speculation of course. That certainly could have been the very ad that Druitt saw as he was looking for some way to earn a living after graduating though.
        Regards

        Michael🔎


        " When you eliminate the impossible whatever remains no matter how improbable......is probably a little bit boring "

        Comment


        • #5
          An interesting find, Kattrup.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Kattrup View Post

            Hi Michael

            As far as I know, Druitt started in the autumn of 1880 at the school, all commentators I’ve seen agree on that, but I do not know how it is known.
            it is known that he was registered there in spring 1881, so possibly the autumn 1880 is an inference from that date, i.e. he must have started prior to being registered.
            but since everyone agrees he started autumn 1880, I think the ad looking for an assistant master from September is the likely starting point.
            He’s at the school in the 1881 census, of course, which is April 1881, but Skinner and Howells found an earlier reference to February 1881. I don’t recall on what this was based—I think it was a Blackheath directory. I believe the autumn of 1880 was always just an inference, but this would suggest that the inference was correct.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Michael Banks View Post
              That certainly could have been the very ad that Druitt saw as he was looking for some way to earn a living after graduating though.
              What do you think he thought of those three sisters in need of immediate want?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Scott Nelson View Post

                What do you think he thought of those three sisters in need of immediate want?
                I don’t think that he would have considered them with William having control of the family fortune..
                Regards

                Michael🔎


                " When you eliminate the impossible whatever remains no matter how improbable......is probably a little bit boring "

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi everyone,

                  Druitt was definitely at Eliot Place School in Autumn 1880. Below is a transcription from the Kentish Mercury which shows he was playing football for the school in December that year:

                  Kentish Mercury, Sat 11 Dec 1880, p.2
                  ELIOT-PLACE V. BLACKHEATH PROPRIETARY SCHOOL—Played on the ground of the former on Saturday, and resulted in a victory for the B.P.S. For the school Church, Pass, Smith, and W. Sutherland played well, while for Eliot-Place M.J. Druitt, Lusching, Murray, Lindley, Mennie and Borwick did their best to save a defeat.

                  I suspect that he did apply to the August 1880 advert and began teaching at Eliot Place during September (when term would have commenced after the summer holidays). A bit of background: it was really common for young men who had just graduated from university in the late nineteenth century to take on teaching or tutoring jobs while they decided what they wanted to do with their careers. This was probably why Druitt took the job at Eliot Place originally. However, I sincerely doubt that he ever wanted a career in medicine. If you look at who Druitt was and where his talents lay, the Bar was always going to be an obvious choice!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
                    An interesting find, Kattrup.
                    Thank you, Gary - always interesting to try and find new nuggets of information

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Joanna View Post
                      Hi everyone,

                      Druitt was definitely at Eliot Place School in Autumn 1880. Below is a transcription from the Kentish Mercury which shows he was playing football for the school in December that year:

                      Kentish Mercury, Sat 11 Dec 1880, p.2
                      ELIOT-PLACE V. BLACKHEATH PROPRIETARY SCHOOL—Played on the ground of the former on Saturday, and resulted in a victory for the B.P.S. For the school Church, Pass, Smith, and W. Sutherland played well, while for Eliot-Place M.J. Druitt, Lusching, Murray, Lindley, Mennie and Borwick did their best to save a defeat.

                      I suspect that he did apply to the August 1880 advert and began teaching at Eliot Place during September (when term would have commenced after the summer holidays). A bit of background: it was really common for young men who had just graduated from university in the late nineteenth century to take on teaching or tutoring jobs while they decided what they wanted to do with their careers. This was probably why Druitt took the job at Eliot Place originally. However, I sincerely doubt that he ever wanted a career in medicine. If you look at who Druitt was and where his talents lay, the Bar was always going to be an obvious choice!
                      Thank you, Joanna, that’s very interesting, I don’t recall seeing that before, so certainly an interesting find.
                      as I mentioned above and as RJ Palmer commented, I believe the idea that Druitt started at the school autumn 1880 was an inference from the later sources. But I’m not very knowledgeable about him, perhaps some of the experts could weigh in about it.
                      However, the piece you quote certainly establishes without doubt his presence at the school. I think it would be the earliest reference placing him at the school so far?

                      And I agree that Druitt would not have sought a career in medicine, the idea is of course acknowledged and presented as speculation, so no problem with that.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        As Kattrup says, the suggestion that Druitt might have started a medical course is pure speculation with zero evidence and I agree with what Joanna says about Druitt being more suited to Law, but I personally don’t dismiss the idea. Parental pressure can come into play with these kinds of decisions. As his older brother went into Law perhaps his father might have applied a bit of pressure on Monty to go into medicine like he had. Continuing the family tradition etc. Although perhaps not keen Monty might have decided to give it a go but then deciding that it wasn’t for him he moved to Law. After all we do have an unaccounted for gap after he graduated. All that said, it’s still pure speculation of course.
                        Regards

                        Michael🔎


                        " When you eliminate the impossible whatever remains no matter how improbable......is probably a little bit boring "

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I just got a message from Jon Hainsworth correcting me that his suggestion about Druitt and medical training. He suggests that Druitt might simple have undertaken classes as a part-time student. He points out that Druitt was referred to as a medical student by MacNaughten, Abberline, Sims, the Noth Country Vicar and JT Nisbet. He also points out that from various sources he and Christine found that the term ‘Doctor’ was used loosely and interchangeable with ‘medical student.’

                          Jon also pointed out that Druitt took a Public Service examination during his 2 year hiatus yet he didn’t become a Public Servant.
                          Regards

                          Michael🔎


                          " When you eliminate the impossible whatever remains no matter how improbable......is probably a little bit boring "

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hi,

                            I am afraid I am going to have to respectfully disagree with Jonathan Hainsworth here. I don't really think any of the sources he cites can be put forward as definitive evidence that at any point Druitt undertook any kind of medical training. First, as far as I know, Abberline knew very little about Druitt and only commented on the drowned doctor suspect because the question was put to him by a journalist. As for Sims, he seems to have got most of his information from Arthur Griffiths who had access to Macnaghten's notes (and may have received some additional details from Macnaghten). Macnaghten can therefore be the only source of the doctor label, and if it was the case, as I suspect, his source of information was Henry Richard Farquharson it would appear he made this mistake based on Farquharson's reference to his suspect as a son of a surgeon. I wrote an article on Farquharson that was published in the Ripperologist a while back and when I was researching it I was struck by how Farquharson focuses on this aspect of Druitt's background and makes no mention of his actual occupations. As for the North Country Vicar story, this really seems to be an example of the kinds of fiction described as fact that were widely circulated about the Ripper crimes in the years after they took place and seem to stem from the conventions of melodramatic fiction and popular beliefs that the Ripper was a doctor or had spent time in a lunatic asylum, etc. I see no need to confabulate these sources with the historical person of Montague Druitt.

                            I am also confused by the referral to a '2-year hiatus' here. During the period 1880 to 1882 Druitt was occupied and employed as an assistant schoolmaster? A hiatus would imply that he was out of work, which certainly was not the case.

                            However, one interesting link between Druitt's eventual career at the Bar and the Civil Service Exam is that both are in the realm of a career in 'public life.' Note that in 1878, in Student’s Guide to the Bar Walter Rouse Ball wrote that the profession of barrister ‘draws to itself in increasing numbers the best talent and education in the country’ (p.10). For clever, middle-class young men like Druitt training as a barrister represented an opportunity to enter the realms of ‘public life’ –which could lead to many other career opportunities coming their way outside the legal profession as well as within it such as places on the boards of businesses, a career in journalism, or one as an MP. One notable example is the career of early twentieth-century Prime Minister H.H. Asquith.

                            Another interesting point here is that Druitt's father does not seem to have been on board with his son becoming a barrister, something that is hinted at in the codicil to his will and even a letter Jonathan and Christine published in their latest book! William Druitt's opposition may explain the delay between Druitt's graduation from university in 1880 and his joining the Inner Temple in 1882. By the mid-nineteenth century, the costs incurred through being called to the bar and undertaking pupillage were estimated to come up to around £450 (Rowbotham et al., 2013, p.42). In Students Guide to the Bar Ball estimates that the average cost of qualifying for the bar was £150 per year over a three-year period. Significantly, the £500 legacies William Druitt assigned to each of his three younger sons were not to be paid until after the death of their mother or said son had reached their 24th birthday. In the event, it was not until 12 August 1882 (three days before Druitt's 25th birthday) that his father handed over the money. The codicil states:

                            "And whereas my said son has now attained that age [of 24] and has requested to make him certain advances while qualifying himself for the profession of a Barrister. Now I declare that all sums of money so advanced by me during my lifetime to my said son shall be considered as part payment of the said legacy of five hundred pounds and shall be deducted therefrom."

                            25 was the age of absolute majority in the Victorian Era so it may have been that Druitt delayed a bit to make absolutely sure that his father had no power whatsoever to interfere with his career plans?

                            I hope this information is relevant and interesting to other posters, sorry to have gone a bit off-topic. Druitt's position at the school is certainly a very interesting part of the story so lets get back to the topic at hand!



                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hello Joanna,

                              I didn’t make the connection with your name on here and the excellent article in Ripperologist which I’ve just re-read. I agree of course that there is no proof definite that Druitt undertook any medical training and JH accepts this too, he suggests the possibility that he might have attended classes as a part-time student. As you pointed out that Druitt’s father didn’t appear to have been fully supportive of his choice of Law as a profession, might this not have been because he’d hoped that he might have followed him into the medical profession (especially after William had ignored that path and gone into Law?) Might Monty have felt pressured by his Father to at least consider this path and isn’t it possible (though unproven or even unprovable) that attending classes might have been a way of ‘dipping his toes’ so to speak?

                              Regards

                              Michael🔎


                              " When you eliminate the impossible whatever remains no matter how improbable......is probably a little bit boring "

                              Comment

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