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Was Alice Mackenzie A Prostitute?

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  • #16
    While I believe all of the C-5 at times engaged in casual prostitution as needed, I am not sure all of them were engaged in that act when they were killed. One of my theories is that something about these women, at specific times and locations, set off the killer.

    If we could go back in time and do a sociological interview of women on the streets of the East End, what percentage of them could be called 'unfortunates' or prostitutes? We know of a lot of other women who fit that category but were not murdered.
    The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
      That’s very true.

      I have to say that when I saw Alice introduced as a prostitute in The Ultimate, my hackles rose. But when you put all this stuff together, especially the fact that she may have blown McCormack’s 1/8 on drink, the possibility that she was trying to obtain money when she met her killer seems quite high.

      We’ll never know, I suppose. And, of course, it doesn’t really matter precisely what ignominies she suffered in life.
      It has always been a complicated subject, hasn't it?! And it isn't as if we, as a group, as Ripperologists, never discuss it, because we do.
      We only have to look at Dr Phillips describing the Pinchin St victim as a prostitute to know that there was obviously some male judgements being made when we see it said about the remains of an unidentified female.

      Comment


      • #18
        I have looked for information about prostitution in Victorian London but have never found answers to some of my questions. Something I learned early in Ripperology was that England had a different view of prostitution than the U.S. which will forever have a Puritan streak.

        Since it was legal for women to sell their favors, was it really a huge issue that it was done by unfortunates? We have learned from other sources that the lower or working classes did value marriage and families. On the other hand there was a murder or two committed when people who wanted to get married could not afford the necessary fees. If people could not afford to get married it seems looser arrangements would be the norm. Once again behavior could be plotted on a spectrum.

        How did London Victorians REALLY view prostitution? How much are our opinions colored by modern life when in most developed nations widows, disabled and elderly women are likely to have a social safety net? (I think we have to be sexist and limit this to women because Victorian male prostitution, at least males for males, would have been extremely illegal.)
        The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by Debra Arif View Post
          It has always been a complicated subject, hasn't it?! And it isn't as if we, as a group, as Ripperologists, never discuss it, because we do.
          We only have to look at Dr Phillips describing the Pinchin St victim as a prostitute to know that there was obviously some male judgements being made when we see it said about the remains of an unidentified female.

          Bang on. That excellent observation Debs is actually the core of what I said.. Yes, authority judged these women without actual proof. They were labeled.. Whether by design or by default.. Labelled they were.


          Phil
          from 1905...to 19.05..it was written in the stars

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by Phil Carter View Post
            Bang on. That excellent observation Debs is actually the core of what I said.. Yes, authority judged these women without actual proof. They were labeled.. Whether by design or by default.. Labelled they were.


            Phil
            Phil,

            Are you suggesting that Tabram, Nichols, Chapman, Kelly and Coles were labelled prostitutes without there being any evidence that they engaged in such activity?

            Surely the evidence of Pearly Poll, William Nichols, the women of Thrawl Street, Timothy Donovan, Amelia Farmer, Joseph Barnett and James Murray make it reasonable to assume they were.

            I can’t recall the names of the two witnesses who described stride as a prostitute, but the police opinion to that effect (Swanson 19/10/88) was given after enquiries had been made into her history.

            I just don’t see the ‘authorities’ automatically assuming these women were prostitutes before anything was known about them.

            The comment by Phillips is somewhat odd, but I wonder whether he would have made it if there hadn’t been a recent spate of prostitute murders in the East End?

            Gary

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
              Phil,

              Are you suggesting that Tabram, Nichols, Chapman, Kelly and Coles were labelled prostitutes without there being any evidence that they engaged in such activity?

              Surely the evidence of Pearly Poll, William Nichols, the women of Thrawl Street, Timothy Donovan, Amelia Farmer, Joseph Barnett and James Murray make it reasonable to assume they were.

              I can’t recall the names of the two witnesses who described stride as a prostitute, but the police opinion to that effect (Swanson 19/10/88) was given after enquiries had been made into her history.

              I just don’t see the ‘authorities’ automatically assuming these women were prostitutes before anything was known about them.

              The comment by Phillips is somewhat odd, but I wonder whether he would have made it if there hadn’t been a recent spate of prostitute murders in the East End?

              Gary
              Hello Gary,

              No, I am not saying that. What I AM saying is that authoritarian Victorian figures and even social commentators had a tendency to attach labels to all destitute women.. In general. Now that does include all women of that unfortunate position in life.

              I'm not saying they didn't, at times, or occasionally, sell themselves out of sheer necessity.. They no doubt did.
              But prostitution as a profession.. No.
              As, I said I'm my previous reply, most of them had some partial money coming in via, Hawking, washing sheets, cleaning, etc. When there was none such money coming in, only then did they have to consider selling themselves.

              They weren't prostitutioning themselves whilst a n other income was coming in. It wasn't a profession. That is what I'm saying.

              So I'd rather call them destitutes who, without money, slept rough, outside.

              Hope you are well. ��



              Phil
              from 1905...to 19.05..it was written in the stars

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by Phil Carter View Post
                Hello Gary,

                No, I am not saying that. What I AM saying is that authoritarian Victorian figures and even social commentators had a tendency to attach labels to all destitute women.. In general. Now that does include all women of that unfortunate position in life.

                I'm not saying they didn't, at times, or occasionally, sell themselves out of sheer necessity.. They no doubt did.
                But prostitution as a profession.. No.
                As, I said I'm my previous reply, most of them had some partial money coming in via, Hawking, washing sheets, cleaning, etc. When there was none such money coming in, only then did they have to consider selling themselves.

                They weren't prostitutioning themselves whilst a n other income was coming in. It wasn't a profession. That is what I'm saying.

                So I'd rather call them destitutes who, without money, slept rough, outside.

                Hope you are well. ��



                Phil

                Hi Phil


                They were not destitute in the true sense were they? because several had the money for lodgings and spent it on drink, So they only technically became destitute when the money was no more, but from what we read they were able to get money on a regular basis for their lodgings as there is no real explanation as to how they came by their money can we draw an inference as to how they did acquire it?

                Whereas I agree that with the exception of Kelly whose profession as a prostitute was shown on her death certificate. There is however also a strong inference with regards to some of the others which it may be right and proper to draw that inference that prior to their deaths they were in engaged in prostitution. In particular i make mention of Eddowes first

                She left the police station and had a place of abode to go to, but no instead of going to that place she for whatever reason goes to a location away from where she is lodging and at some point on that journey meets a man who would turn out to be her killer and who she goes with to a dark secluded location, for what purpose? not to discuss the time of the day ! and certainly not to sleep as Ms Rubehold would have us believe!

                Then we have Nicholls who had spent her doss money on drink and at 1.40am and 2.30 am had told two different people she was going out to get her doss money. Now where was she going to try to get that money from at that time of the morning. with a killer on the loose?

                Rubehold and her followers will suggest that she was going to borrow or or beg for it, come on in Whitechapel at that time of the morning. I doubt that very much

                Chapman much the same, she had no money for her lodgings and went out to try to get some. She must have gone voluntarily with her killer to that location, and for what purpose ?

                And staying with Rubehold and her wacky ideas these three were certainly not killed in upright positions while they slept at those locations.

                In concluding anyone whether they be a normal married woman, or a known prostitute, casual or otherwise who is prostituting themselves at any one time is acting at that time as a prostitute

                www.trevormarriott.co.uk

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Phil Carter View Post
                  Hello Gary,

                  No, I am not saying that. What I AM saying is that authoritarian Victorian figures and even social commentators had a tendency to attach labels to all destitute women.. In general. Now that does include all women of that unfortunate position in life.

                  I'm not saying they didn't, at times, or occasionally, sell themselves out of sheer necessity.. They no doubt did.
                  But prostitution as a profession.. No.
                  As, I said I'm my previous reply, most of them had some partial money coming in via, Hawking, washing sheets, cleaning, etc. When there was none such money coming in, only then did they have to consider selling themselves.

                  They weren't prostitutioning themselves whilst a n other income was coming in. It wasn't a profession. That is what I'm saying.

                  So I'd rather call them destitutes who, without money, slept rough, outside.

                  Hope you are well. ��



                  Phil
                  I’m very well, thanks, Phil. Hope you are too.

                  Let’s consider Polly Nichols. She’d only been in the East End for a few weeks, and according to the women she lived with at Thrawl Street she had been operating as an ‘unfortunate’ during that period. They knew nothing else about her other than that on the night of her murder she had gone out into the streets in the early hours of the morning confident that she could earn money on account of her ‘jolly bonnet’ (i.e. her appearance). They mentioned no other occupations Polly had been engaged in. The police considered her a prostitute and according to them her husband had ceased paying her allowance because she was living as a prostitute - a fact he claimed to have proved to the satisfaction of the Lambeth guardians. Her body was found in a dark corner behind the Whitechapel Road - an ideal spot for illicit sex, but a very unlikely sleeping place.

                  On that basis, is it unreasonable to conclude that Polly had probably operated as a prostitute on some level for a number of years, certainly since she had arrived in the East End, and most likely on the night in question?

                  I personally think not, but the question arises whether we should label a woman who had had several other occupations a ‘prostitute’. Perhaps it would be just as accurate to call her a servant, a laundress, a wife, a mother. Or, as you say, a destitute. But given the likelihood that she was soliciting on the night in question and that it was that activity which led to her death, would it be right to ignore that fact?

                  What if all the victims had been occasional laundresses and each and every one of them had been killed on their way home from a laundry, would people be saying it was wrong to call them laundresses because they had also been servants, charwomen and prostitutes?

                  The likelihood is that most, if not all, of the victims were killed because they were operating as prostitutes when they met their killer. If they had been selling matches at the time, they would be considered victims of a match-seller killer - whatever other occupations they had had previously.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post
                    Hi Phil


                    They were not destitute in the true sense were they? because several had the money for lodgings and spent it on drink, So they only technically became destitute when the money was no more, but from what we read they were able to get money on a regular basis for their lodgings as there is no real explanation as to how they came by their money can we draw an inference as to how they did acquire it?

                    Whereas I agree that with the exception of Kelly whose profession as a prostitute was shown on her death certificate. There is however also a strong inference with regards to some of the others which it may be right and proper to draw that inference that prior to their deaths they were in engaged in prostitution. In particular i make mention of Eddowes first

                    She left the police station and had a place of abode to go to, but no instead of going to that place she for whatever reason goes to a location away from where she is lodging and at some point on that journey meets a man who would turn out to be her killer and who she goes with to a dark secluded location, for what purpose? not to discuss the time of the day ! and certainly not to sleep as Ms Rubehold would have us believe!

                    Then we have Nicholls who had spent her doss money on drink and at 1.40am and 2.30 am had told two different people she was going out to get her doss money. Now where was she going to try to get that money from at that time of the morning. with a killer on the loose?

                    Rubehold and her followers will suggest that she was going to borrow or or beg for it, come on in Whitechapel at that time of the morning. I doubt that very much

                    Chapman much the same, she had no money for her lodgings and went out to try to get some. She must have gone voluntarily with her killer to that location, and for what purpose ?

                    And staying with Rubehold and her wacky ideas these three were certainly not killed in upright positions while they slept at those locations.

                    In concluding anyone whether they be a normal married woman, or a known prostitute, casual or otherwise who is prostituting themselves at any one time is acting at that time as a prostitute

                    www.trevormarriott.co.uk
                    I can’t remember her exact words, but HR says we would be surprised at how common it was for the East End poor to buy each other drinks and lend each other money. Nichols had only been in the East End for a few weeks. Had she built up such a vast network of generous pals in that time that she could be confident of finding someone in the early hours of the morning who would drop a few coppers into her ‘jolly bonnet’?

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
                      I can’t remember her exact words, but HR says we would be surprised at how common it was for the East End poor to buy each other drinks and lend each other money. Nichols had only been in the East End for a few weeks. Had she built up such a vast network of generous pals in that time that she could be confident of finding someone in the early hours of the morning who would drop a few coppers into her ‘jolly bonnet’?

                      Hello Gary, Trevor,

                      Gary.. Thank you for asking.. Not too bad thank you. 😊

                      Trevor mentioned a point that is often overlooked. Only MJK is described, on her death certificate, as a "Prostitute". If, and I'm trying hard to see moth sides here.. If the others were "known" to regularly sell themselves, they too, surely, would have been classed as "Prostitutes".. officially.. In other words, also on their death certificates. I can see no reason why not if MJK is classed as such?
                      It raises a point we may have to consider. Was there a difference between MJK and the others, socially speaking? You see, to me, if she IS classed, on an official paper, as a prostitute, and the others, are not... Then what in 1888, constitutes a woman to be classed as a prostitute, officially?

                      It's just a suggestion.. But my only explanation is that MJK was commonly known to prostitute herself.
                      In other words, "generally speaking".. known as a prostitute in the local community.

                      If that be the case..the local community obviously did not, generally speaking, regard the other women as "prostitutes". I cannot come to any other conclusion.

                      I note, however, that the police did class these women as prostitutes. The question remains. Why?


                      Phil
                      from 1905...to 19.05..it was written in the stars

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        What would have been the alternative for MJK?

                        ‘Widow of a coal miner possibly named Davis or Davies’, perhaps?

                        No occupation other than prostitute has come down to us, and that does seems to have been a full time occupation at periods in her life.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          I don’t think I’ve ever seen Alice’s death cert. Does anyone know what occupation was recorded for her?

                          If not, I’ll order a copy from the GRO.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Phil Carter View Post
                            Hello Gary, Trevor,

                            Gary.. Thank you for asking.. Not too bad thank you. ��

                            Trevor mentioned a point that is often overlooked. Only MJK is described, on her death certificate, as a "Prostitute". If, and I'm trying hard to see moth sides here.. If the others were "known" to regularly sell themselves, they too, surely, would have been classed as "Prostitutes".. officially.. In other words, also on their death certificates. I can see no reason why not if MJK is classed as such?
                            It raises a point we may have to consider. Was there a difference between MJK and the others, socially speaking? You see, to me, if she IS classed, on an official paper, as a prostitute, and the others, are not... Then what in 1888, constitutes a woman to be classed as a prostitute, officially?

                            It's just a suggestion.. But my only explanation is that MJK was commonly known to prostitute herself.
                            In other words, "generally speaking".. known as a prostitute in the local community.

                            If that be the case..the local community obviously did not, generally speaking, regard the other women as "prostitutes". I cannot come to any other conclusion.

                            I note, however, that the police did class these women as prostitutes. The question remains. Why?


                            Phil

                            Hi Phil
                            Well the police were the ones that were out on the streets and would haven soon become familiar with those plying their trade as a prostitute. anyone found soliciting would first be given a street caution as set out below in the police codes.

                            That is possibly why many of these women were using different aliases !

                            Police Codes

                            1. There is frequently considerable difficulty in dealing with prostitutes in the absence of any private complaint or express statutory provision regarding them. The latter is not infrequently found in some local enactment. The exercise of great tact and patience in the matter is in any case necessary. Prostitutes cannot legally be taken into custody simply because they are prostitutes ; to justify their apprehension they must commit some distinct act which is an offence against the law."

                            2. Under the Vagrancy Act, 1824, s. 3, every common prostitute wandering in the public streets or public highways, or in any place of public resort, and behaving in a riotous or indecent manner, is deemed an idle and disorderly person, and liable to one month's imprisonment with hard labour.

                            3. Police should observe if prostitutes, especially foreign women, are attended or watched by a souteneur or bully with a view to proceedings under the Vagrancy Act, 1898. (See ROGUES AND VAGABONDS.)

                            4. Under the Metropolitan Police Act, 1839, every common prostitute, or night-walker, loitering, or being in any thoroughfare, or public place, for the purpose of prostitution or solicitation, to the annoyance of the inhabitants or passengers, is liable to a penalty of 40s.

                            5. Under the Town Police Clauses Act, 1847, every common prostitute or night-walker loitering and importuning passengers, for the purpose of prostitution, is subject to a similar fine, or fourteen days' imprisonment in default.

                            6. A constable may arrest, without warrant, any person whom he sees committing one of these offences. It is, however, necessary to prove that the woman is a common prostitute, and therefore the usual practice is that she should be cautioned the first time she is seen committing the offence, a note being made of the fact of the caution having been given.

                            7. The greatest care is necessary in dealing with prostitutes. Women arrested under the most compromising circumstances often stoutly protest their innocence, and any appearance of arbitrary action is rightly resented by the public. It is therefore essential for police to be quite sure of their facts—habitual frequentation night after night, passing and repassing, overt solicitation (especially of youths or elderly men), noisy or indecent behaviour—before arresting. Even although a gentleman accosted and complaining to the police may naturally refuse to charge the offender, he may possibly consent to give his name and address to the constable for the private information of the magistrate.


                            8. Police should carefully avoid being drawn into conversation with any prostitute, for unfounded charges and suspicions may easily arise therefrom. At the same time they should avoid bullying or unduly harassing these unfortunate persons if their conduct is orderly, and be acquainted with the address and way to any houses or shelters of refuge for them.


                            9. County and Borough Councils may make byelaws imposing a penalty upon every person who in any street or place to which the public have access commits or attempts to commit any act of indecency with any other person.

                            10. The police have no power to interfere with men and women talking together in the streets, so long as they behave themselves properly, and are not assembled together in such numbers as actually to cause obstruction in the thoroughfares; but if it is absolutely necessary to interfere, then it must be done civilly and firmly, without any offensive language or manners.

                            www.trevormarriott.co.uk

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              I always thought MJK having 'prostitute' for occupation on the death certificate was a big deal and notable since that was not on other victims' records. We have discussed this at various times. What I find interesting is that Mary was not known for any other work, no hawking, charring,laundry,etc. I find that significant.

                              Here is a new thought. Mary may or may not have been a widow. However that was, she did not have a part of her life known to her associates when she lived a legally married life. Is it possible that a middle aged woman, known to have been married and a mother, would have been given the benefit of the doubt and listed by a known occupation other than prostitute?

                              Alternately, might a young woman with no known occupation have more easily been labelled prostitute if she was known to get most of her livelihood from men?
                              The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                According to her death certificate, Alice’s occupation was ‘charwoman’.

                                The registrar who signed it was John Hall, the same man who had signed Polly Nichols’ death cert the year before - the Whitechapel horse coroner.

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