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The Princess Alice Disaster.

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  • Anna Morris
    replied
    Adam is right that we have no idea how Liz' mouth may have been injured.

    In a slightly different vein it is interesting to note the newspaper report of an Annie Stride identifying victims of the Princess Alice. At a later time Liz used the name Annie Fitzgerald when she was picked up for D & D. Later yet, at the time of her murder, newspaper reports in the U.S.--How posted one of these clips before--Liz' nickname was given as Hippy Lip Annie.

    Annie was a very common name, like Mary Jane, but maybe there is a little pattern here that could tell us more about Liz. Her marriage to John Thomas broke down about 1879. Perhaps she had an entirely new life.

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  • Robert Linford
    replied
    Some of it's online :

    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=...20lock&f=false

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  • Adam Went
    replied
    I think it's a bit dangerous to speculate on how Liz might have received any injuries to her mouth. Living the lifestyle that she did and had done for some time before her death, it could have happened in any number of ways - she could have been in a fight, she could have been drunk and fallen over, it might have just been some sort of deformity. There's any number of possibilities. However, if she really was on the Princess Alice and got out of it with an injury to her mouth, then she was very lucky indeed! And yes, she sought financial assistance from the Swedish church in England, not through any other funds that might have been put forward to aid in the disaster recovery.

    Sean, I shall have to look for that 2013 book you mentioned!

    Cheers,
    Adam.

    Leave a comment:


  • Anna Morris
    replied
    Chris Scott investigated the report from the Woolwich paper and there is a discussion at www.casebook.org/forum/messages/4921/12065.html .

    Very interesting but no absolute solutions.

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  • Anna Morris
    replied
    There is a lot about Liz and the Princess Alice.

    "Echo", 8 October, 1888:

    "Annie Stride in the "Princess Alice,"

    With reference to the identity of Elizabeth Stride, the Woolwich newspapers of the time of the Princess Alice disaster have been referred to and it has been found that a woman of that name was a witness at the inquest, and identified the body of a man as her husband, and of two children then lying in the Woolwich Dockyard. She said she was onboard at the time, and saw them drowned her husband picking up one of the children and being drowned with it in his arms. She was saved by climbing the funnel, where she was accidentally kicked in the mouth by a retired Arsenal police inspector, who was also clinging to the top of the funnel. The husband and two children are buried in Woolwich Cemetery."

    I don't know what to make of this. ANNIE Stride? Can anyone check the Woolwich papers of the time?

    I tried to ad to the other post & it didn't take. Another article, 4 October, 1888 had Michael Kidney's and Elizabeth Tanner's testimonies. Mrs. Tanner said Liz' had had the roof of her mouth destroyed in the disaster and that she had recognized the body by that feature!

    Kidney said Liz and her husband were employed on the Princess Alice. He said two of the nine children drowned and the rest of them were in a school run by the Swedish Church. In the first article I referenced, Rev. Olsson had testified that the Swedish church did not have any school. Kidney also said that Liz had said friends of her husband had some of the children.

    Someone could write quite a dissertation on this. Even if there was an Annie Stride connected to the Princess Alice, how would that connect to Liz? Relative of John Thomas Stride? Sister-in-law? CURIOUS!

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  • Anna Morris
    replied
    It's always good to refresh on the research. Liz got help from her CHURCH, not necessarily a fund for the Princess Alice disaster.

    "Daily News", 6 October, 1888, Inquest testimony:

    Rev. Sven Olsson of the Swedish Church in Trinity Square testifieded that Liz had registered with the church in 1866 as a single woman. She was married to John Thomas Stride in 1869, but not in the Swedish church. Rev. Olsson had given her the hymn book in the past winter.

    "She told me that he [Stride] was drowned in the Princess Alice disaster. She was very poor then and would have been glad if any assistance. I gave her assistance about that time.

    "I do not remember having heard that she had any children. If it were true that her husband went down in the Princess, I think she would have applied for relief from the fund which was raised at the Mansion House."

    "Morning Advertiser", 4 October, 1888, Inquest testimony:

    Elizabeth Tanner testified, "She told me that she lost the roof of her mouth at the time the Princess Alice went down, and I recognize her by that. She was in the Princess Alice when it went down, and her mouth was injured."

    Michael Kidney had testified that two of Liz' children drowned in the disaster and the rest were in a school run by the Swedish church. In the other article, Rev. Olsson had testified that the church did not have any school. Kidney also said, "I have heard her say that some friends of her husband had some of the children." Then, "The deceased and her husband were employed on the Princess Alice."

    Michael Kidney testified, "She said she had nine children. and that two were drowned in the Princess Alice."

    The court had investigated this and pointed out that Liz would have been 25 years old at the time of the disaster and so it would have been unlikely she had nine children. The only case of a father and two children of proper age known to have perished in the disaster were named Bell, age 38, with two sons aged 10 and 7 years.

    Then there is speculation about whether or not Liz Stride could be another woman. "It is therefore possible that the body upon which the inquest is now being held is not that of Elizabeth Stride, but of some unknown woman."
    Last edited by Anna Morris; June 24, 2016, 07:03 PM. Reason: add

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  • Sean Crundall
    replied
    Originally posted by Phillip Walton View Post
    There were many marine disasters during the LVP, its only because it happened on the River Thames that the Princess Alice disaster is notable. Many disasters occured at sea where the only indication was when a vessel failed to arrive at its destination.
    Hi Phillip,

    If I remember correctly the Princess Alice disaster was the worst inland maritime disaster of the age.

    Best wishes,

    Sean.

    Leave a comment:


  • Sean Crundall
    replied
    ,
    Originally posted by Anna Morris View Post
    There was a bit more to Liz' Princess Alice tale, though. Her associates reported that she blamed a speech impediment on getting kicked in the face while escaping the disaster.

    As I have said many times, her mouth appears deformed in the mortuary photo, but who knows how she was assaulted in the last hours of her life. The postmortem did not find the kind of damage she blamed on the kick in the face, though she had a number of missing teeth, on the bottom jaw if I remember correctly.

    This doesn't mean anything one way or another about proving her presence on the Princess Alice. She at least seems to have used the disaster to define parts of her life. If her tales are made up, then a question would be, what is the kernel of truth, if any? Perhaps she had a significant injury at the time of the disaster and her cleaned up version was based on the Princess Alice. For example if she was badly beaten by a man at that time, could she have covered the actual circumstances with something less embarrassing, even heroic? Wonder if she could be found in infirmary records around that time?

    I have known abused women who have done just this; covered a severe, even life threatening beating by a man, with a heroic tale.
    Hi Anna,

    The infirmary records may well be worth a search, although I'm not sure where any of the injured survivors were treated. There was a large hospital in Shooters Hill, not too far from Woolwich town centre, which has since been converted into luxury apartments. Aside, there's also a public house in Thamesmead named The Princess Alice which is located near Gallions Reach, where the fatal collision took place. I've been there a couple of times for Sunday lunch.

    Sadly it's quite feasible that Liz may have been seriously assaulted at some point in her past by a former client or partner, hence the apparent deformity and deficient teeth. The deformity could also be the result of a congenital defect; the missing teeth could be the result of poor diet and a lack of oral hygiene, hence the cachous!

    My regards,

    Sean.

    Leave a comment:


  • Sean Crundall
    replied
    Hi Curryong,

    To my knowledge, three books have been published on the Princess Alice Disaster. They are: The Wreck of the Princess Alice, by Edwin Guest, 1878. A very rare book. The Great Thames Disaster, by Gavin Thurston, 1965. And more recently, The Princess Alice Disaster, by Joan Lock, 2013. The last two can often be had from Amazon and sometimes come up on e-bay.

    Best wishes,

    Sean.

    Leave a comment:


  • Anna Morris
    replied
    There was a bit more to Liz' Princess Alice tale, though. Her associates reported that she blamed a speech impediment on getting kicked in the face while escaping the disaster.

    As I have said many times, her mouth appears deformed in the mortuary photo, but who knows how she was assaulted in the last hours of her life. The postmortem did not find the kind of damage she blamed on the kick in the face, though she had a number of missing teeth, on the bottom jaw if I remember correctly.

    This doesn't mean anything one way or another about proving her presence on the Princess Alice. She at least seems to have used the disaster to define parts of her life. If her tales are made up, then a question would be, what is the kernel of truth, if any? Perhaps she had a significant injury at the time of the disaster and her cleaned up version was based on the Princess Alice. For example if she was badly beaten by a man at that time, could she have covered the actual circumstances with something less embarrassing, even heroic? Wonder if she could be found in infirmary records around that time?

    I have known abused women who have done just this; covered a severe, even life threatening beating by a man, with a heroic tale.

    Leave a comment:


  • Adam Went
    replied
    Hi all,

    Curryong:

    No, I don't believe there's ever been a full length book written on the subject. Bit of a shame really as there's ample material out there if you care to look, especially press reports and the like from the time which are fairly easily accessible now. Sadly, however, i'm not sure how well such a book would sell as the interest and knowledge of the disaster just isn't there.

    Anna:

    I have to agree with Sean that given the circumstances Liz and plenty of her fellow women were living in, it's not surprising that they would seize the opportunity to try and make a claim for monetary gain. It's possible of course that she may have had friends or distant relatives on the boat, but her claim was for immediate family. In any case it definitely would have been the talk of the town for weeks and possibly months afterward, so word would have got around.

    Cheers,
    Adam.

    Leave a comment:


  • Sean Crundall
    replied
    Hi Curryong,

    I've never believed the story of Stride losing family members in the Princess Alice disaster, however, I do believe that she made a spurious claim on the fund and quite possibly knew someone who perished in the disaster. Given the fact that many of the victims remained unidentified, potentially left it open for anyone to make a false claim against the fund.

    It's remarkable that even today there is a type of person in society who attempt to attach themselves to tragedies in order to illicit sympathy, if not money. However, given the extreme deprivation of the time that many people existed under, it's perhaps not too surprising that Stride should have made such a claim. Perhaps there was a trend in making claims against disasters.

    I once worked at the Woolwich Arsenal for two years and researched its history. Warren trained here, Ostrog was arrested here, and one of Druitt's brothers also trained here; the bodies of the victims' of the Princess Alice disaster were also stored here in makeshift mortuaries, referred to a "sheds".

    The Woolwich Arsenal Heritage Centre hold a small collection of sketches and artefacts relating to the 1878 disaster, but no documents mentioning Warren, Ostrog or Druitt. I've checked!

    Best wishes,

    Sean.

    Leave a comment:


  • Curryong
    replied
    Yes Anna. I think people sometimes do want to be the centre of attention, want to gain some admiration and sympathy. Years ago there was a man who apparently used to hold court in our local pub with tales of his experiences as a army sergeant with Australian troops in the Vietnam war.

    He had dozens of tales to tell and on Anzac Day even marched wearing medals with the other local ex servicemen. It only came out, after one ex serviceman got suspicious of him, that he'd studied up on the War, bought his medals and the nearest he'd been to Vietnam was on a holiday to Thailand!

    Sad and pathetic as that is, I can imagine Liz might want to brighten up her drab life and those of her companions in the pub in the same sort of way. Tragedy in the loss of husband and family, pathos in now being a sorrowing childless widow, and also triumphing over death by surviving a terrible sinking.

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  • Anna Morris
    replied
    Considering Liz and the Princess Alice, we could speculate a bit, for what it's worth. When people are near or observe terrible disasters, they feel a part of the action. Like it is said that everyone of my generation remembers exactly where they were and what they were doing the day President Kennedy was assassinated. Those who are extremely physically close to events have even more vivid accounts of their involvement in historic tragedies, even if they were just bystanders.

    So I wonder if Liz witnessed the disaster or had friends who were aboard. On the other hand she was known to be a drinker and surely Princess Alice lore was discussed in the pubs. Maybe over time she felt a part of what happened.

    Leave a comment:


  • Curryong
    replied
    The Princess Alice is still the marine disaster that caused the greatest loss of life ever, within British territorial waters. That alone makes it remarkable and its extraordinary that it's been forgotten in the way it has. I have looked for a book on this disaster but there is none as far as I know.

    Everything seemed to conspire against passenger survival. The incredibly swift sinking of the Princess Alice for instance, the fact that it sank right at the most polluted part of the Thames, (so if the passengers weren't dragged down by heavy clothing they literally drowned in sewage in many cases) so many hundreds of Lononers, male and female, who had never learned to swim and therefore had no chance of saving themselves. It's all so very sad.

    To add insult to injury too, the other vessel involved, the collier 'Bywell Castle' was lost with all hands in the Bay of Biscay in 1883.

    Leave a comment:

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