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Peckham House

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  • Peckham House

    I've just realised after two years that a report I found concerning Thomas' case, highlighted in the 'The 1832 Madhouse Act and the Metropolitan Commission in Lunacy ...' website, does appear to show that young Thomas was a resident lunatic at Peckham House Asylum, 112 High Street Peckham, in those years.
    I believe that Oswald Puckeridge may have also been resident there.

  • #2
    Interesting that that site links back to a Casebook press report, A.P. It's Jack's world, we just live in it.

    What years are you referring to? 1889-91 ?

    The Times (London).
    24 March 1891.

    In consequence of his condition application had been made to the parish authorities and the prisoner was removed to Newington Infirmary. From there he escaped and was afterwards taken to Peckham-house Lunatic Asylum. Witness afterwards found a sheath knife in the pocket of the prisoner's overcoat. The knife was produced in Court and appeared to be almost new. The blade was about 6in. long with a very sharp curved point. The witness informed the Court that for two years the prisoner had been unable to do work.


    • #3
      Thanks Sir Robert, I knew the report was there, but it is neat to have it confirmed by other unrelated sources.
      I remember Thomas expressing grave fears about going back to any of the Lambeth asylums, 'they will kill me' he said.
      After reading this I can understand his concern.

      Extract from The London Medical Gazette 1837-8 Editorial - Inquest on boy flogged at Lambeth Workhouse.A remarkable Inquest was held at Norwood in Surrey on 26th January 1838, on the body of a boy named Henry Bailey.
      The gist of the case may be comprised in a small compass. The boy, whose age is not stated, had been in Lambeth Workhouse, where he was flogged by a Mr Rowe, with such severity, that the body, when viewed by the jury, bore evident marks of blows, the back, thighs, legs and arms, being nearly covered with black marks, there was also a bruise on the forehead. Bailey had been removed to the House of Industry at Norwood, for the infant poor of the Parish of Lambeth, on the 13th January 1838, and died there on the 19th January 1838. Now as it appeared that on the post-mortem examination there was a disease of the lungs, it would be difficult to say that the punishment had absolutely caused the death of the child, but must have accelerated it.
      This fact did not escape Mr W Street, a surgeon of Norwood, who gave evidence. He was not conclusive on the situation of the death conceding that it was a "very nice legal point" Surely this is sad stuff. The severe whipping which would cause "much constitutional disturbance" in a child labouring under disease of the lungs, must inevitably hasten death.
      The perpetrator of the deed was beyond all human censure, having died on the very morning of Bailey's removal to the house at Norwood. The question should also be considered whether the inflictors knew that the child was seriously ill when they so misused it ?
      If they did, it is clear that they were guilty of manslaughter, not to say of a graver crime. If they did not, under what kind of inspection, medical or other, are the children in the Lambeth Workhouse ?
      The deceased, with his father and brothers, being homeless, had been received into Lambeth Workhouse, but were turned out again to shift as they could, and slept several nights in a stable. This had occurred in the very cold January of 1838. The verdict finally given was that the deceased died of disease of the lungs.
      This, inquiry, if it can be called one, was badly managed in many particulars. A juror wished to examine the father and brother, who. however, were not called.
      In such a case as this it was imperatively required that the professional witnesses should not only be free from all local partiality or bias, but from all suspicion of it; and therefore the services of some distinguished London surgeon should have been procured. Mr Watmore, indeed, the Clerk to the Lambeth Board of Guardians, stated not only that this inquiry was instituted at their particular desire, but that they had directed a post-mortem examination by two most eminent surgeons. Neither their names nor their opinion, however, are to be found in the report.
      Source: The London Medical Gazette 1837-8 Vol 21 1053 pp p 741 3rd February 1838

      Maybe they should have the next conference in that awful **** of a building?


      • #4
        That's the wonderful thing about Victorian England; there was ample opportunity for the 'sadists' to operate within the confines of respectable institutions and respectable society. It took a very rare bird indeed to chuck his social pretensions and take it to the streets.


        • #5
          Hey RJP, you sleeping in my bed or what?
          I was looking at these very posts just before you popped up with your comment.
          So how many lunatic asylums could Thomas have been in then?
          We have at least seven institutions, don't we?
          One rule for sleeping in my dreams, bring a full bottle of Mount Gay rum.
          I wish you a happy Valentine's Day and a resounding Yom Kippur.


          • #6
            I was thinking about you the t'other night, A.P., but I didn't have my pajamas on...

            I was sitting in a rocking chair, reading on odd report about a young man in 1888 who was running out of the Tower Subway and waving a 'curved' knife and yelling about Jack the Ripper; a crowd gave chase and I couldn't but help thinking of your deaf, dumb, and blind kid, Tommy, the Peckhamball Wizard, and his mean Uncle Charlie, fiddling about...

            I also saw Tommy's doppelganger about four months ago, wandering through the streets of my local town.

            A thin young man, perhaps 22, walking very catlike and his eyes darting about. I was sitting in my car in a parking lot and he was acting so oddly I couldn't help but watch him. Suddenly, what do you think, but he pulls out a string from his back pocket and starts pulling it taut between his hands, walking up behind a man who was drawing money out of one of those all-night automated bank tellers. I was certain he was going to 'garrott' the fellow, so I jumped out of my car and slammed the door very loud. Up springs this young chap, throws the string back in his pocket, and starts marching up and down like a toy soldier. When the fellow leaves the bank machine, he then walks up to it and **pretends** to draw out some bills. He then gives a hoot and a holler and a war cry and starts running wildly across the parking lot, tipping over grocery carts. There is a police box at one corner of the lot, and he next picks up the phone and starts hollering into it. I lose sight of him, but about 10 minutes later I came across him again, standing in the middle of the highway, his belt off, and, like a brilliant Spanish bull fighter, slapping the passing cars with his belt buckle, seemingly never missing a stroke and never failing to hit his mark accurately and true. It was the first time in my life I ever saw anyone so nearly as mad as the bloke described in The Sun, 1894. I'll grant you that.

            Happy Halloween and may your days soon grow longer...


            • #7
              The attention of the police has been directed to a suspicious incident which occurred on Saturday. About ten o'clock in the evening a man passed through the Tower Subway from the Surrey to the Middlesex side, and said to the caretaker, "Have you caught any of the Whitechapel murderers yet?" He then produced a knife, about a foot in length, with a curved blade, and remarked, "This will do for them." He was followed but ran away, and was lost sight of near Tooley street. The following is a description of the man:- Age, about 30; height, 5ft 3in; complexion and hair dark, with moustache and false whiskers, which he pulled off while running away. Dress, new black diagonal suit and light overcoat, and dark cloth double peak hat.

              Daily News, Sept 17, 1888

              I find this one particularly charming, because I've long been of the opinion that old Jack came from the Surrey side of the river.


              • #8
                There's that referring to a "disguise" again which we see every so often.

                How relation to time...did this Sept. 17th ( there's that date again !!) incident the article/story about the guy who was interested in purchasing disguises,Rajah ? I'm forgetful.

                It must be from all those cars I slapped on the interstate
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                • #9
                  Nice story RJ,
                  I remember driving on the main highway between Cairns and Port Douglas and coming across a chap walking on the side carrying a full-sized stuffed marlin, so I stopped and offered him a lift.
                  He pulled a knife out and said 'I'll gut you like a fish'.
                  I burnt tarmac with rubber.
                  But I stopped didn't I?