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Eddowes at the Casual Ward

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  • I thought "fieldwork" might mean hop-picking, but the times of year don't coincide.

    In fact, the times don't seem to match any crops. I wonder what she did "in the fields"?

    Debra, you are a living gold mine!
    Thanks for your time,
    dusty miller

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    • Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post

      Re Eddowes: it’s interesting that it seems she started calling herself Kelly from early 1884, and that her occupation was often stated to be field/garden work. I wonder if she really ever went to Romford, Ilford, Brentwood, Croydon etc. Or whether she made those up so as to present herself as a genuine vagrant deserving of a night’s B&B?
      I have to add that I am not 100 % certain that is Kate Eddowes as Kate Kelly although the age, husband John use of the same workhouse and casual wards does fit and I didn't find anyone else who matched the couple and appeared or disappeared at the times we would expect, as this couple do.

      Eddowes was doing fieldwork in the form of hop picking in the summer of 1888 so it is reasonable to consider she was involved in other seasonal fieldwork. I suppose a bit of both could apply-genuine use whilst tramping for work and also using it when there was no money for a night's lodgings. The regular casual ward users would probably need to spread out their stays geographically between the different workhouse so as to avoid being taken in to the main workhouse.

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      • Originally posted by Dusty Miller View Post
        I thought "fieldwork" might mean hop-picking, but the times of year don't coincide.

        In fact, the times don't seem to match any crops. I wonder what she did "in the fields"?

        Debra, you are a living gold mine!
        Although harvest time is the busiest in the farming year, there were presumably other times when casual workers helped out with sowing etc?

        That said, ‘field work’ seems a convenient catch-all if you’re trying to pretend you spent last night in a union 15/20 miles outside of London and you’re intending to spend tonight in another union a similar distance in the opposite direction.

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        • Originally posted by Debra Arif View Post
          I have to add that I am not 100 % certain that is Kate Eddowes as Kate Kelly although the age, husband John use of the same workhouse and casual wards does fit and I didn't find anyone else who matched the couple and appeared or disappeared at the times we would expect, as this couple do.

          Eddowes was doing fieldwork in the form of hop picking in the summer of 1888 so it is reasonable to consider she was involved in other seasonal fieldwork. I suppose a bit of both could apply-genuine use whilst tramping for work and also using it when there was no money for a night's lodgings. The regular casual ward users would probably need to spread out their stays geographically between the different workhouse so as to avoid being taken in to the main workhouse.
          Thanks, Debs.

          I’m afraid I’m looking at this through an Enright prism.

          As you know, Biddy and her family spent one night in the Abergavenny Whs in 1886, claiming to have spent the previous night in Brecon (different union, a day’s tramp away) and to be on their way to Hereford (different union, a day’s tramp away). However the last address we have for them is in Llangattock, which was within the Abergavenny union and there’s no evidence that Patrick was a casual farm worker or that he and his family had ever lived any kind of a vagrant life. He had worked in the South Wales iron industry and had settled accommodation for decades. (Or so it seems to me at present).

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          • So when I hear Kate saying, ‘I’m a hawker. I spent last night in Romford* (a market town a day’s tramp away) and I’m on my way to Croydon (a market town a day’s tramp away)’, I wonder whether these might be porkies designed to secure a single night’s unencumbered lodging.

            In Kate’s favour, the 24th, the night she claimed to have spent in Romford, was a Wednesday - market day.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Dusty Miller View Post
              I thought "fieldwork" might mean hop-picking, but the times of year don't coincide.

              In fact, the times don't seem to match any crops. I wonder what she did "in the fields"?

              Debra, you are a living gold mine!
              Thanks, Dusty.
              Field work would cover hopping and all other seasonal crop preparation and harvesting I think. I wondered about things like flowers and lavender which would have to be both planted and picked.
              Pea picking season was carried on in June in Essex, I know this from the cut throat murder of Johanna Driscoll in Essex in 1893, she was living in Poplar but arrived in Essex for the pea picking season.

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              • Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
                So when I hear Kate saying, ‘I’m a hawker. I spent last night in Romford* (a market town a day’s tramp away) and I’m on my way to Croydon (a market town a day’s tramp away)’, I wonder whether these might be porkies designed to secure a single night’s unencumbered lodging.

                In Kate’s favour, the 24th, the night she claimed to have spent in Romford, was a Wednesday - market day.
                I also think it is highly possible that Catherine Eddowes spent the odd night in the casual ward on the pretence that she was tramping looking for work or hawking but it's impossible to know where and which occasion because we do have an example of Eddowes doing one form of seasonal fieldwork when she went hopping in the 1888 season.

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