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Why would Kate solicit?

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  • My only thought was that John McCarthy was reported to have discovered that Mary Kelly had been "walk[ing] the streets in the neighbourhood of Aldgate" [Times, 10 November 1888] and that "Elizabeth Phoenix" (and/or perhaps "Mrs Carthy") said she had been living a "gay" or "immoral" life "in the vicinity of Aldgate" [Morning Advertiser and Echo, both 12 November 1888]. Perhaps there's an implication there that the area was particularly associated with prostitution, perhaps not.

    I'd have thought the Booth police notebooks ought to mention it if it was the case?

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    • Originally posted by Chris Phillips View Post
      My only thought was that John McCarthy was reported to have discovered that Mary Kelly had been "walk[ing] the streets in the neighbourhood of Aldgate" [Times, 10 November 1888] and that "Elizabeth Phoenix" (and/or perhaps "Mrs Carthy") said she had been living a "gay" or "immoral" life "in the vicinity of Aldgate" [Morning Advertiser and Echo, both 12 November 1888]. Perhaps there's an implication there that the area was particularly associated with prostitution, perhaps not.

      I'd have thought the Booth police notebooks ought to mention it if it was the case?
      Yes, it does seem to come up that the area itself was associated with prostitution in some way.

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      • Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post

        I don’t follow, Debs. I’m trying to find out whether the area Kate headed to was such a hotbed of prostitution that it’s church was known as the ‘prostitutes’ church’. You see it repeated over and over by 20th/21st century writers.

        I think it was Arthur Harding who described punters from up west arriving in cabs to pick up women in Aldgate.
        Don't get me wrong, Gary-I'm sure the area was associated with prostitution.. My difficulty has always been in imagining that prostitutes *paraded around St Botolphs church itself, which is the idea we were presented with in the past. The prostitutes having immunity because they were walking around. We had past discussions about the legality of this, practicality of this, people trying to find references to it in historical sources. I think Chris P's idea of looking at Booth's notebooks might be something useful.

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        • Originally posted by Debra Arif View Post

          Don't get me wrong, Gary-I'm sure the area was associated with prostitution.. My difficulty has always been in imagining that prostitutes *paraded around St Botolphs church itself, which is the idea we were presented with in the past. The prostitutes having immunity because they were walking around. We had past discussions about the legality of this, practicality of this, people trying to find references to it in historical sources. I think Chris P's idea of looking at Booth's notebooks might be something useful.
          Yes, I’m with you on this, the parading around the church thing doesn’t ring true, but it’s rolled out endlessly as the examples provided by Mark and Dusty show. Wiki is often quoted as a source and Wiki in turn references the Worshipful Company of Parish Clerks. That sounds promising, but this is what they say:

          “The church is a short walk away from Mitre Square, the site of the murder of Catherine Eddowes by Jack the Ripper. It was often referred to as the "Church of Prostitutes" in the late Victorian period. The church is sited on an island surrounded by roadways and it was usual in these times to be suspicious of women standing on street corners. They were easy targets for the police, and to escape apprehension the prostitutes would apparently parade around the island, now occupied by the church and Aldgate tube station.”

          I believe the St Botolph’s website used to mention the prostitutes at one time, but they seem to have dropped it.

          Perhaps Aldgate was a favoured spot for prostitutes, but then so were numerous other places. I suppose it may have been far enough away from Kate snd Kelly’s home turf that she felt she could solicit there without being immediately spotted by someone who knew her.

          As I say, Harding speaks of punters from the west end picking up East End women at Aldgate. It was perhaps considered safer than venturing into the depths of Whitechapel and Spitalfields.

          I’ll have a look at Booth.


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          • Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
            ... Aldgate ... was perhaps considered safer than venturing into the depths of Whitechapel and Spitalfields. I’ll have a look at Booth.
            Take a look at the Mitre Square Goad, too (if you even need to!): I was stunned to see how many empty properties there were around the murder site. Was she looking for an empty house to spend the night in?

            M.

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            • Just a thought here....might it be possible that Mitre Square was used by prostitutes for its acoustics and multiple 'escape' routes should a constable, with those noisy, clodhopper boots approach it ?
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              • Here's a transcript of the portion of a 1906 article by Henry Smith dealing with Catherine Eddowes and John Kelly and the question of where Catherine was headed and why, that I mentioned earlier in the thread. Just for completeness. There were two articles published in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine Vols 178 and 179 titled 'The Streets of London' and 'More about the streets of London' by
                LIETENANT-COLONEL SIR HENRY SMITH, K.C.B., EX COMMISSIONER CITY OF LONDON POLICE

                MORE ABOUT THE STREETS OF LONDON
                BY LIETENANT-COLONEL SIR HENRY SMITH, K.C.B., EX COMMISSIONER CITY OF LONDON POLICE
                Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine Vol 179 1906 pp 693

                The Ashford hop-fields furnished the Whitechapel murderer with one of his victims. The night of Saturday, September 29, 1888, was a glorious one. It was light as day when shortly after midnight Catherine Eddowes left the police station in Bishopsgate, and not three-quarters of an hour afterwards was cut to pieces. This woman was the wife of a soldier, whom she left to live with another man. She drank heavily, and that, as I afterwards discovered, was not her only failing. She and her "husband" had made some money "hopping" and had got through it all in a week's time. On the afternoon of the 29th she pawned a pair of boots to get something for supper; but, instead of doing so, got drunk on the proceeds and was locked up, --a typical case altogether of everyday life in the "Far East" When sober enough to take care of herself she was released, the "reserve man" in charge of the cells advising her to go straight home and face the "hiding" which she said she was sure to get from her "old man." His advice she did not follow, for instead of walking away northwards in the direction of "Flower and Dean Street," one of the very worst streets in that notorious locality, he noticed that she turned left, and to the left again up Houndsditch, which would lead her inro Mitre Square, where she met her fate, presumably in the endeavour to replace by other means the money she had squandered. A ghastly sight she was by the light of the harvest moon as she lay in the corner of Mitre Square, and one not easily forgotten. Her "husband"-bad as he was, he was too good for her-I found fairly intelligent, and with a certain amount of confidence in and chivalrous feeling for the miserable being with whom he had lived. God knows how his confidence was abused! "She drank a bit, sir" he admitted, "but I am sure she would never do anything wrong." "I don't want, I assure you, " I said, "at such a time to hurt your feelings, but what was she doing about Aldgate and Mitre Square at that hour?"
                "Well sir, you see," he replied, "this is how it was; she had a daughter, very comfortable, living in Bermondsey; and whenever we were hard up she would go across to her, and she never came back without something." This story I was disinclined to believe, seeing that he could not, or would not, tell me where the daughter lived; but after a great deal of trouble, having discovered the woman in question, I found she had not seen her mother for years. How the money was got when times were hard does not call for explanation from me. That explanation " the streets of London" will afford.

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                • Never saw that before, Debs....I hope others appreciate the effort in transcribing the piece.
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                  • Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
                    Never saw that before, Debs....I hope others appreciate the effort in transcribing the piece.
                    Thanks, How. I always assumed it was well known but posting about it yesterday I did a google search afterwards and couldn't find it mentioned anywhere. .I found it a few years ago and once mentioned it on a JTRForums thread here about hop picking as Smith has Eddowes at Ashford hop picking and not Yalding. The original articles cover all different aspects of policing the London Streets and local characters and are quite large, two separate articles covering several pages in double column width.

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                    • Yes, thanks for that, Debs. Very revealing. If it’s true, it suggests Kate may have been doing something that brought in money behind Kelly’s back.

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                      • Originally posted by Debra Arif View Post
                        I've probably been around far too long. Scott once referred to me as Debra Arif and 'her like'..and that was more than 15 years ago..
                        I think I was referring to other researchers who come close to your caliber, Debs.

                        Sorry I don't remember the prostitutes church reference(s), but I believe they were in some newspapers close to the time of Eddowes' murder.

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                        • Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
                          Never saw that before, Debs....I hope others appreciate the effort in transcribing the piece.
                          No, I don't think I've seen that before, and it's very interesting - and is appreciated.

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                          • It's interesting to think of how Kate Eddowes's path came to cross with her killer's, but tempting to see it as an opportunistic encounter for both. The killer - especially if he had just come from Berner Street - would have headed towards Aldgate, expecting to find women there who could be 'bought' for the right price. Kate may have headed in that direction, hoping to play the sympathy card, and beg or borrow a few pence from a kindly looking stranger along the way. But would she have drawn the line if her killer had insisted on a little something in return for his generosity? "Never. I'm a good girl, I am."

                            Nevertheless, she was willing to accompany him to Mitre Square, where she would have found it very difficult to refuse him anything if he cut up rough.

                            Love,

                            Caz
                            X
                            I wish I were two puppies then I could play together - Storm Petersen

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                            • Originally posted by Scott Nelson View Post

                              I think I was referring to other researchers who come close to your caliber, Debs.

                              Sorry I don't remember the prostitutes church reference(s), but I believe they were in some newspapers close to the time of Eddowes' murder.
                              I believe you, thousands wouldn't.

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                              • Originally posted by Debra Arif View Post

                                Thanks, How. I always assumed it was well known but posting about it yesterday I did a google search afterwards and couldn't find it mentioned anywhere. .I found it a few years ago and once mentioned it on a JTRForums thread here about hop picking as Smith has Eddowes at Ashford hop picking and not Yalding. The original articles cover all different aspects of policing the London Streets and local characters and are quite large, two separate articles covering several pages in double column width.
                                I don't recall seeing it before. It's an important piece, and in the case of She Whose Name We Won'tMention it suggests that Smith drew his conclusions about Eddowes from circumstantial evidence, not because "prostitute" was how he defined all homeless and destitute women.

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