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Suggested annotations for Hallie Rubenhold's book "The Five" (2019)

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  • Originally posted by Chris Phillips View Post
    The source for this is given as London Metropolitan Archives, HOBG 510/18, which Rubenhold says is a settlement examination that took place on 13 February 1888 when Polly was in the care of Holborn Union. Sugden says this examination took place at Mitcham Workhouse (which belonged to Holborn Union).
    This seems to be a rare error by Sugden, Looking at the record, the entries before and after are headed Mitcham, but Polly's is "Infirmary" (Archway Infirmary).

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Chris Phillips View Post

      This seems to be a rare error by Sugden, Looking at the record, the entries before and after are headed Mitcham, but Polly's is "Infirmary" (Archway Infirmary).
      Actually, Polly's seems to be the only one that wasn't headed Mitcham, so the mistake is understandable. Apparently she went to Mitcham immediately afterwards, so the examination was entered into a Mitcham register.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Chris Phillips View Post

        Actually, Polly's seems to be the only one that wasn't headed Mitcham, so the mistake is understandable. Apparently she went to Mitcham immediately afterwards, so the examination was entered into a Mitcham register.
        I just checked the creed register for Mitcham workhouse and Mary Ann Nicholls is listed as admitted 4/1/88 and a note says she is 'under orders', which usually means the person is the subject of a removal order.

        Mary Ann Nicholls 36 admitted entered from St Lukes [parish], 4.1.88 'under orders'
        Mitcham Workhouse Creed Register HOBG/547/01

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Chris Phillips View Post
          But Helson's report [Ultimate Sourcebook, p. 26] says that (at some point) he was summoned by the Guardians to show why he should not be ordered to contribute to her support, but the summons was dismissed [thus also Sugden, pp. 43, 44].
          Rubenhold's treatment of this point is quite revealing. She bases it on a report of comments made by Polly's father after her murder, in the East London Observer, 8 September 1888:
          "He believed that three or four years ago the deceased lived with a man who kept a smith's shop in York-street, Walworth. He did not know that she had lived with any other man: but on one occasion the parish of Lambeth summoned her husband for her maintenance. His defence was that she was living with another man. She denied it, but the summons was dismissed."
          https://www.casebook.org/press_repor...elo880908.html

          Based on this, she suggests that Polly's husband would have employed a private investigator to follow her and investigate her movements. And then:
          "Eventually, at the behest of Lambeth Union, Nichols was summoned to the Magistrates' Court in order to explain himself. He had his answer prepared well in advance. He produced the skilfully gathered evidence of his wife's 'adultery without consent'. According to Edward Walker, his daughter denied that she was living with another man, but the judge seemed convinced by the material. It was ruled that William was now absolved of his financial responsibilities ..."
          [page 55]

          "Adultery without consent" is not a quotation from the newspaper report, but relates to Rubenhold's earlier discussion of the Matrimonial Causes Act, which she says forbade orders for maintenance if the wife was guilty of adultery without her husband's consent.

          But Inspector Helson's report also gives some details of why Lambeth Union's claim was refused. As a police report, it might be expected to be both more accurate and more objective than the recollections of Polly's father. Why should Rubenhold not have referred to it? This is what Helson wrote:
          "For some time he allowed her 5/- per week, but in 1882, it having come to his knowledge that she was living the life of a prostitute he discontinued the allowance. In consequence of this she became chargeable to the Guardians of the Parish of Lambeth by whom the husband was Summoned to show cause why he should not be ordered to contribute towards her support, and on these facts being proved, the summons was dismissed."
          [Ultimate Sourcebook, p. 26; my emphasis]

          Clearly the most important of the facts that were proved would have been that she "was living the life of a prostitute".

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Chris Phillips View Post

            Rubenhold's treatment of this point is quite revealing. She bases it on a report of comments made by Polly's father after her murder, in the East London Observer, 8 September 1888:
            "He believed that three or four years ago the deceased lived with a man who kept a smith's shop in York-street, Walworth. He did not know that she had lived with any other man: but on one occasion the parish of Lambeth summoned her husband for her maintenance. His defence was that she was living with another man. She denied it, but the summons was dismissed."
            https://www.casebook.org/press_repor...elo880908.html

            Based on this, she suggests that Polly's husband would have employed a private investigator to follow her and investigate her movements. And then:
            "Eventually, at the behest of Lambeth Union, Nichols was summoned to the Magistrates' Court in order to explain himself. He had his answer prepared well in advance. He produced the skilfully gathered evidence of his wife's 'adultery without consent'. According to Edward Walker, his daughter denied that she was living with another man, but the judge seemed convinced by the material. It was ruled that William was now absolved of his financial responsibilities ..."
            [page 55]

            "Adultery without consent" is not a quotation from the newspaper report, but relates to Rubenhold's earlier discussion of the Matrimonial Causes Act, which she says forbade orders for maintenance if the wife was guilty of adultery without her husband's consent.

            But Inspector Helson's report also gives some details of why Lambeth Union's claim was refused. As a police report, it might be expected to be both more accurate and more objective than the recollections of Polly's father. Why should Rubenhold not have referred to it? This is what Helson wrote:
            "For some time he allowed her 5/- per week, but in 1882, it having come to his knowledge that she was living the life of a prostitute he discontinued the allowance. In consequence of this she became chargeable to the Guardians of the Parish of Lambeth by whom the husband was Summoned to show cause why he should not be ordered to contribute towards her support, and on these facts being proved, the summons was dismissed."
            [Ultimate Sourcebook, p. 26; my emphasis]

            Clearly the most important of the facts that were proved would have been that she "was living the life of a prostitute".
            I completely agree Chris. I emphasised exactly the same points in the new A to Z entry recently.

            Comment


            • How would you ‘prove’ that a woman was a prostitute? In Alice McKenzie’s case PC Neve gave evidence at her inquest to say he had seen her drunk and talking to men in the street. That seems to have been the only reason he was called as a witness.

              [Coroner] Did you know the deceased? - I have known her about the place for 12 months, and have seen her the worse for drink.

              [Coroner] Have you ever seen her about at night? - Between 10 and 11 o'clock. It was my opinion she was a prostitute.
              I have seen her talking to men.

              The Ultimate unequivocally describes her as a prostitute.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
                How would you ‘prove’ that a woman was a prostitute? In Alice McKenzie’s case PC Neve gave evidence at her inquest to say he had seen her drunk and talking to men in the street. That seems to have been the only reason he was called as a witness.

                [Coroner] Did you know the deceased? - I have known her about the place for 12 months, and have seen her the worse for drink.

                [Coroner] Have you ever seen her about at night? - Between 10 and 11 o'clock. It was my opinion she was a prostitute.
                I have seen her talking to men.

                The Ultimate unequivocally describes her as a prostitute.
                It would also be interesting to know where Helson got the information from. Evidently her husband had been spoken to, but so had the authorities at Lambeth. It's to be hoped he wouldn't have relied solely on what her husband had said for his report.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
                  How would you ‘prove’ that a woman was a prostitute? In Alice McKenzie’s case PC Neve gave evidence at her inquest to say he had seen her drunk and talking to men in the street. That seems to have been the only reason he was called as a witness.

                  [Coroner] Did you know the deceased? - I have known her about the place for 12 months, and have seen her the worse for drink.

                  [Coroner] Have you ever seen her about at night? - Between 10 and 11 o'clock. It was my opinion she was a prostitute.
                  I have seen her talking to men.

                  The Ultimate unequivocally describes her as a prostitute.
                  Baxter was more interested in revealing Alice’s vices than he was in discovering her identity. She smoked in bed FFS! His summing up at Alice’s inquest proves HR’s point to perfection.

                  Of course, it was wrong of HR to leave the info about Polly out of the 5.

                  The identification of the MAN living with a scavenger in Islington in 1881 as being Polly is also rather weak. Dawes Court was in Finsbury apparently.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post

                    Baxter was more interested in revealing Alice’s vices than he was in discovering her identity. She smoked in bed FFS!

                    Of course, it was wrong of HR to leave the info about Polly out of the 5.

                    The identification of the MAN living with a scavenger in Islington in 1881 as being Polly is also rather weak.
                    Certainly in writing this stuff up I'm trying just to present relevant information in a neutral, objective way, with interpretation kept to a minimum.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Chris Phillips View Post

                      It would also be interesting to know where Helson got the information from. Evidently her husband had been spoken to, but so had the authorities at Lambeth. It's to be hoped he wouldn't have relied solely on what her husband had said for his report.
                      Neve had seen Mckenzie ‘talking to men’. That was enough for Baxter. Before he sat down he had Alice pegged as a typical Ripper victim - a drunken doss house unfortunate. And even worse, she smoked in bed!!!

                      That was what he and the London press wanted.

                      Comment


                      • Which police officer was it who wrote of Polly’s ‘immoral’ activities?

                        Comment


                        • Rubenhold puts forward the Mary Ann Nichols recorded as living at 61, Wellington Road, Lower Holloway on the 1881 census with a scavenger named George Crawshaw as the Buck’s Row victim.

                          The POB of the Mary Ann Nichols in question was given as Finsbury, and Rubenhold explains that by saying, “… her place of birth in the Finsbury Ward of London would accord with someone who had claimed they were born near Shoe Lane.”

                          Was Finsbury a Ward? Not my area of expertise, but I think Finsbury was a Borough, comprised of three wards: Holborn, Central and East. In any case, Dawes Court was in the City of London Ward of Farringdon Without, not far from Holborn, but not in any sense in Finsbury.

                          Wellington Street itself was in the Borough of Finsbury, and how often have we come across a census POB being incorrectly recorded as the place where the individual was on census night?

                          Two more things about Rubenhold’s take on the Crawshaw situation. First, she tells us that he and Mary Ann Nichols lived in ‘a room’. The census doesn’t say that. She made it up. Secondly, she tells us that William Nichols employed a private detective to follow Polly from Lambeth to Holloway to obtain evidence of her living with another man. She states it as a fact.
                          Attached Files

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
                            Rubenhold puts forward the Mary Ann Nichols recorded as living at 61, Wellington Road, Lower Holloway on the 1881 census with a scavenger named George Crawshaw as the Buck’s Row victim.

                            The POB of the Mary Ann Nichols in question was given as Finsbury, and Rubenhold explains that by saying, “… her place of birth in the Finsbury Ward of London would accord with someone who had claimed they were born near Shoe Lane.”

                            Was Finsbury a Ward? Not my area of expertise, but I think Finsbury was a Borough, comprised of three wards: Holborn, Central and East. In any case, Dawes Court was in the City of London Ward of Farringdon Without, not far from Holborn, but not in any sense in Finsbury.

                            Wellington Street itself was in the Borough of Finsbury, and how often have we come across a census POB being incorrectly recorded as the place where the individual was on census night?

                            Two more things about Rubenhold’s take on the Crawshaw situation. First, she tells us that he and Mary Ann Nichols lived in ‘a room’. The census doesn’t say that. She made it up. Secondly, she tells us that William Nichols employed a private detective to follow Polly from Lambeth to Holloway to obtain evidence of her living with another man. She states it as a fact.
                            Let’s not forget how significant it was to Polly that she had been born in the printer’s parish of St Bride’s (according to HR).

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
                              Rubenhold puts forward the Mary Ann Nichols recorded as living at 61, Wellington Road, Lower Holloway on the 1881 census with a scavenger named George Crawshaw as the Buck’s Row victim.

                              The POB of the Mary Ann Nichols in question was given as Finsbury, and Rubenhold explains that by saying, “… her place of birth in the Finsbury Ward of London would accord with someone who had claimed they were born near Shoe Lane.”

                              Was Finsbury a Ward? Not my area of expertise, but I think Finsbury was a Borough, comprised of three wards: Holborn, Central and East. In any case, Dawes Court was in the City of London Ward of Farringdon Without, not far from Holborn, but not in any sense in Finsbury.

                              Wellington Street itself was in the Borough of Finsbury, and how often have we come across a census POB being incorrectly recorded as the place where the individual was on census night?

                              Two more things about Rubenhold’s take on the Crawshaw situation. First, she tells us that he and Mary Ann Nichols lived in ‘a room’. The census doesn’t say that. She made it up. Secondly, she tells us that William Nichols employed a private detective to follow Polly from Lambeth to Holloway to obtain evidence of her living with another man. She states it as a fact.
                              As far as I can see Finsbury wasn't a ward. "A Vision Of Britain ..." shows several administrative units that were called Finsbury, but none of them seems to come close to including Polly's birthplace. Maybe Rubenhold just confused "Finsbury" and "Farringdon"?

                              On the whole, that census entry doesn't look like a particularly good match for Polly. The surname is spelled with two 'l's, the age is 5 years out, the place of birth is wrong and the locality is unexpected.

                              It's puzzling that several reference books say that Polly was in Lambeth Workhouse between 6 September 1880 and 31 May 1881. I wonder if anyone knows whether those dates come from.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Chris Phillips View Post

                                As far as I can see Finsbury wasn't a ward. "A Vision Of Britain ..." shows several administrative units that were called Finsbury, but none of them seems to come close to including Polly's birthplace. Maybe Rubenhold just confused "Finsbury" and "Farringdon"?

                                On the whole, that census entry doesn't look like a particularly good match for Polly. The surname is spelled with two 'l's, the age is 5 years out, the place of birth is wrong and the locality is unexpected.

                                It's puzzling that several reference books say that Polly was in Lambeth Workhouse between 6 September 1880 and 31 May 1881. I wonder if anyone knows whether those dates come from.
                                The age on the 1881 census picked put by HR (and previously by a poster on Casebook back in early 2000) is maybe out by 5 years in the wrong direction too. Mary Ann Nichols usually had her age as several years younger than she was, never older.

                                The Lambeth workhouse puzzle is something we have discussed on both Casebook and JTRForums.
                                In a nutshell and some of this from memory:-
                                -There were three women using the name Mary Ann or Mary Nichol(l)s after 1882 and one of those appears to be 'our' Mary Ann Nichols.

                                -Before 1882, there are two women in Lambeth workhouse who appear in the creed registers for Renfrew Road too. One was aged 49 in 1881 and was born Bournemouth (from census). The other one is a woman aged 39, married and a laundress, believed by Sugden to be the right woman.

                                -The Lambeth Renfrew Road creed Register covering the period of the 1881 census shows that it was the 39 year Mary Ann Nicholls who was in Lambeth Renfrew Road at the time of the 1881 census (admitted 9 Feb and discharged 28 May 1881 and picked out by Sugden for these dates) but checking the 1881 census for that institution, it is the 49 year old Mary Ann Nicholls born in Bournemouth who is recorded as in Renfrew Road workhouse .The 49 year old MAN was not in the Renfrew Road workhouse according to the creed register on census night but was admitted and discharged on dates both before and after the date of the census.


                                -The settlement records show that the 39 year old Mary Ann Nicholls (also spelt Nichols) was the wife of a William James Nicholls who had lived at Queen Street (an address also given in one of the workhouse records as far as I remember) she had several children also in the workhouse and her husband had left her chargeable while he went to seek work.

                                ,
                                If Mary Ann Nichols was receiving maintenance from her husband in 1881 then wouldn't she have been turned away from the workhouse?

                                In 1880/81 and early 1882 there is a Mary Ann Nichols of around the right age used by 'our' Mary Ann Nichols in her settlement records etc (altered to be younger than her actual age) a regular in Newington Casual ward (there is a thread about this too somewhere) and this would perhaps fit more in the pattern of behaviour of someone who was still being maintained financially by her husband but occasionally ran out of money and needed to use the casual ward?

                                Comment

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