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  • A Note About Polly's Bonnet

    Hi all,

    Just a quick thought that's occurred to me very recently that I wanted to post before it went out the ear it came in. We all know about Polly's "jolly new bonnet" and if you're like me you've been left with the impression from Ripper books that she had purchased the bonnet that day. But in researching this week it occurred to me that this is not necessarily the case. She made that statement at her old lodgings in 18 Thrawl Street, where according to Emily Holland she had not visited in 10 days. They could only say the bonnet was new to them, so Polly could have purchased it (or stolen it, been gifted it) any time in the previous week and a half.

    Yours truly,

    Tom Wescott

  • #2
    Good thinking, Tom. Although i'd suggest that amongst the ladies of Polly's class, even clothing which was ten days old would still be looked upon as "new". It might even have been an attempt at sarcasm on Polly's part.

    Cheers,
    Adam.

    Comment


    • #3
      Far too much has been read into this bonnet comment. The most logical place from which Polly got the bonnet was the same place she got the £3 and 10 shillings worth of clothes she absconded with - the Cowdrys. When Polly turned up at her new place of employment she would have done so with only the clothes on her back. Sarah Cowdry would have had to have outfitted her new housemaid in at least one, if not two full sets of clothes in order for her to be considered presentable and ultimately to represent the family. Among the things she would have been given would have been a bonnet. It goes without saying that when Polly left the Cowdrys' she took her new wardrobe with her (believing, rightly) that it was hers. Selling or pawning these items bit by bit would have paid for her lodging, food and drink until she ran out of money around the 24th of August. Presumably Polly kept a few things, including the bonnet - which it probably would have only been a matter of time before she pawned.

      There was no reason for anyone at the lodging house to have noticed her bonnet on that night or at any time prior to that, so the reliability of the statement that it was 'new' is totally subjective. At any rate, it's a throw away type of statement along the lines of 'why would I care anyway, I've got a lovely hat', spoken by someone who was so drunk that they could barely walk. That rather puts it in perspective!

      Comment


      • #4
        There is that interview with a clergyman who claimed to have given clothing to one or more of JtR's victims shortly before the murders. I always considered this could have to do with Polly's bonnet but I don't think we are too certain about this information in the first place.
        The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Tom_Wescott View Post
          Hi all,

          Just a quick thought that's occurred to me very recently that I wanted to post before it went out the ear it came in. We all know about Polly's "jolly new bonnet" and if you're like me you've been left with the impression from Ripper books that she had purchased the bonnet that day. But in researching this week it occurred to me that this is not necessarily the case. She made that statement at her old lodgings in 18 Thrawl Street, where according to Emily Holland she had not visited in 10 days. They could only say the bonnet was new to them, so Polly could have purchased it (or stolen it, been gifted it) any time in the previous week and a half.

          Yours truly,

          Tom Wescott
          Hello Tom

          Just caught up with this thread, five years late. :Eyebrows:

          No disrespect, Tom. Don't you have this wrong? Grasped the wrong end of the stick, perhaps? Isn't the point that Polly didn't personally purchase the bonnet but that she was gifted it, presumably by "Jack"?

          How could a woman sho is living hand-to-mouth, trying to earn enough money to pay for a bed for the night, afford to purchase a new bonnet? It just doesn't wash. Sorry.

          Cheers

          Chris
          Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical"
          https://www.facebook.com/JackTheMusical/ Hear sample song at https://tinyurl.com/y8h4envx.

          Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conferences, April 2016 and 2018.
          Hear RipperCon 2016 & 2018 talks at http://www.casebook.org/podcast/.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Anna Morris View Post
            There is that interview with a clergyman who claimed to have given clothing to one or more of JtR's victims shortly before the murders. I always considered this could have to do with Polly's bonnet but I don't think we are too certain about this information in the first place.
            Hi Anna,

            Do you know any more about this? Iím looking for links between the victims.

            Thanks

            Emily

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Emily Marshall View Post
              Hi Anna,

              Do you know any more about this? Iím looking for links between the victims.

              Thanks

              Emily
              Hi, Emily. It is somewhere on the Forum here. I think Debra A. posted it. I'll give it some thought. If we remember the name of the clergyman we might find it pretty fast. It is something about a clergyman who ministered in a prison.

              ~~~~~~~~

              A long time ago I thought Polly's "jolly NEW bonnet" really meant something because it was suggested that MAYBE it was a gift from the Ripper. If we drop that connotation because we really know nothing about the bonnet, it may all be rather mundane. My friends and I love yard sales and thrift stores. I got a beautiful Iceland wool sweater just before Christmas. It is NEW to me but it isn't a new sweater. It is really bright and pretty and if I socialized and used Polly's vocabulary I might well say, "look at my jolly NEW sweater."
              The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Emily Marshall View Post
                Hi Anna,

                Do you know any more about this? I’m looking for links between the victims.

                Thanks

                Emily
                Hi Emily,

                Research from Debs regarding Millbank Prison and 5 victims staying there. Post #3 specifically.

                http://jtrforums.com/showthread.php?t=10108

                Comment


                • #9
                  Is Polly actually reported as having said "jolly NEW bonnet"?
                  Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                  "Suche Nullen"
                  (F. Nietzsche)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thank you Anna and Jerry!

                    That’s very interesting about Millbank, that’s the second time I’ve seen the number 16000 prostitutes connected with Millbank so I will run some numbers and see if it’s statistically significant that five of them were Whitchapel murder victims.

                    Could it be Reverend GP Merrick?

                    I have a happy few hours ahead, thanks again!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
                      Is Polly actually reported as having said "jolly NEW bonnet"?
                      What she was reported as saying was:

                      "I'll soon get my doss money. See what a jolly bonnet I've got now," She was wearing a bonnet which she had not been seen with before...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Pall Mall Gazette 1st Sept 88
                        Attached Files

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
                          What she was reported as saying was:

                          "I'll soon get my doss money. See what a jolly bonnet I've got now," She was wearing a bonnet which she had not been seen with before...
                          Thought so, but she's often quoted as saying "See what a jolly NEW bonnet I've got".

                          Thanks, Gary and Jon
                          Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                          "Suche Nullen"
                          (F. Nietzsche)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It does seem that the bonnet was new (unfamiliar) to those at 18, Thrawl Street, where she hadn't stayed for a week or so. Which, of course, was Tom's point.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              That is why it is so important to re-check sources. For years authors used the jolly bonnet as a suggestion it was a gift from the Ripper and the thought was expanded that it was a NEW bonnet. I have an idea if Polly had gotten a truly NEW bonnet she would have pawned it.

                              As I recall, her old bonnet was "pinned to her dress". That always seemed odd. I should re-read all about that.
                              The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

                              Comment

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