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  • Charles Lechmere’s Lair?

    Click image for larger version  Name:	C93050AC-267C-4699-B97A-56D5AFB2ABC2.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	98.1 KB ID:	584236

    Back in 2016, I posted an extract of an article that had first appeared in the Pall Mall Gazette on 12th September, 1889 under the title ‘Murder Morning in Whitechapel’. The anonymous authors of the piece, described as ‘Two Occasional Correspondents’, had paid a visit to the Pinchin Street arch where the torso of a woman had recently been found. On their way to Pinchin Street, via Leman Street, Cable Street and Backchurch Lane, they acquired a companion, a ‘casual acquaintance‘ who ‘picked us up at the cat’s-meat shop at the corner of Backchurch-Lane…’. Their companion seems to have gone along with them in the hope of obtaining a free drink or two and in return he offered this piece of wisdom to emphasise the ease with which a serial killer might avoid capture in the East End labyrinth: ‘you might do a murder a minute, send a large family to the board School, and die a natural death.’

    Robert Linford, Christopher Holmgren and I discussed this intriguing find on the Harrison, Barber thread and made an unsuccessful attempt to locate the cat’s meat shop. We had an inkling that nos 6 or 8 Backchurch Lane might have been the premises in question, but apart from finding them recorded as unoccupied on the 1881 and 1891 censuses, we could find no clue as to what went on in them.

    However, since 2016 the LSE has made more of its Charles Booth archive available online and the answer to the cat’s meat shop mystery seems to lie in one of the more recently digitised notebooks compiled by Booth’s researchers.


    On 10th October, 1887, a Mr Golding, one of Booth’s researchers, visited Backchurch Lane as part of an economic survey of St George in the East. On page 120 of notebook 29 he recorded his findings in respect of nos 6 and 8 Backchurch Lane:


    “Catsmeat vendor - shed only”


    I believe Nos 6 & 8 were close to the SE corner of Backchurch Lane and Cable Street under the arch of the London & Blackwall Railway viaduct. Although the ‘Occasional Correspondents’ made no reference to the railway arch, it seems pretty clear from the evidence of the notebook and census returns that the lock up cat’s meat premises were located under the arch.

    So that would appear to be the mystery of the Backchurch Lane cats meat shop solved: it was just a few yards from the junction with Cable Street in one direction and from the junction with Pinchin Street in the other direction.

    A couple of lock-up sheds that would have been perfect for the storing and dismembering of a body, within easy reach of the Pinchin Street arch. Should anyone with access to the premises have been of that frame of mind.








  • #2
    Notebook 29 and extract

    Attached Files

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    • #3
      PMG extract
      Attached Files

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      • #4
        I’m unable to provide a sharper Goad map at present. I believe 6&8 BL were under the L&BR viaduct on the right hand (E) side of the road in STGITE. The other side of the road was in Whitechapel the numbering was even on the E side and odd on the W. The proximity to the Pinchin Street arch can be seen.


        Attached Files

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        • #5
          Here it is
          Attached Files

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          • #6
            Compare the Booth notebook numbering to the Goad

            Reading N-S:


            30 to 12 Pulled down for railway purposes
            10 Coal Merchant (Office *
            8 Catsmeat Vendor Shed Only
            6 Do “ “
            4 Greengrocers shop employs 1 or 2
            Lab Cas
            2 Tinshop


            *Hinchcliffe/Charringtons coal screens(?)/depot
            Attached Files

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            • #7
              This is amazing stuff, Gary. Can I take it you have a possible proprietor in mind...?
              "In these matters it is the little things that tell the tales" - Coroner Wynne Baxter during the Nichols inquest.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks Ed!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Backchurch Lane had low numbers to the south end, high numbers to the northern end.
                  Odds on the left or western side.
                  Evens to the right or eastern side.
                  So 2 and 4 are the unnumbered properties above 33 Cable Street.
                  Meaning 6 and 8 were those lock ups under the railway arch.
                  I am very familiar with the other side of that arch which comprises a long tunnel with many side rooms - directly under the old Leman Street Station.
                  I will have a look when I get a chance.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    John Clearys words of a body in Backchurch Lane suddenly gets a slightly different hue now ... I commented on the matter some little time ago in a conversation with Jerry D, saying that it was odd that Cleary only got it almost right.

                    Maybe he got it VERY right!
                    "In these matters it is the little things that tell the tales" - Coroner Wynne Baxter during the Nichols inquest.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Christer Holmgren View Post
                      This is amazing stuff, Gary. Can I take it you have a possible proprietor in mind...?
                      I’m racking my brains to think of anyone case-related who was geographically connected to the area and might have been involved in the cat’s meat/horse flesh business.

                      In a bit I will summarise, for the benefit of those who aren’t already aware of it, the reason why the Lechmere/Forsdike/Cross family are a good fit. Then we perhaps need to see if we can prove/disprove that via land tax records etc.

                      There really couldn’t have been a more convenient/secluded ‘chop shop’ for the Pinchin Street dismemberment. We no longer have to worry about nosy neighbours at 147, Cable Street. ;-)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Edward Stow View Post
                        Backchurch Lane had low numbers to the south end, high numbers to the northern end.
                        Odds on the left or western side.
                        Evens to the right or eastern side.
                        So 2 and 4 are the unnumbered properties above 33 Cable Street.
                        Meaning 6 and 8 were those lock ups under the railway arch.
                        I am very familiar with the other side of that arch which comprises a long tunnel with many side rooms - directly under the old Leman Street Station.
                        I will have a look when I get a chance.
                        Thanks again! If you get some better photos, I hope you’ll post them on here for the record.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Or such a long slog with Torso over shoulder.
                          I presume the body could have been dumped approaching from Frederick Street not Pinchin Street itself.
                          Forsdike was ill - in the Workhouse infirmary.
                          Did Old Ma catch Charlie at it?
                          Where these premises searched as part of the local police search. But they woukd gave been full of bloody pieces of butchered horse flesh anyway.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post

                            I’m racking my brains to think of anyone case-related who was geographically connected to the area and might have been involved in the cat’s meat/horse flesh business.


                            James Hardiman?
                            Regards

                            Michael🔎


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

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Michael Banks View Post


                              James Hardiman?
                              Thanks, Mike.

                              I meant the immediate area. CAL had lived in Pinchin Street himself as a boy, his mother had lived there at more than one address, her second ‘husband’ had lived in Backchurch Lane and in 1889 she was living in Cable Street. The family also lived at a couple of addresses in Mary Ann Street. This really was their home turf for decades. Spitalfields/Whitechapel could have been on another planet (only a slight exaggeration).

                              I can’t remember the exact dates now, but I think we discovered Hardiman wasn’t even in the East End in 1888/9, he was running a cats meat shop in Clerkenwell.

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