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  • Clay Pipe Alice?

    Can anyone point me in the direction of the original use of the nickname Clay Pipe for Alice McKenzie?

  • #2
    Donald McCormick, 1959, is my guess. But it's only a guess. He uses the name.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by R. J. Palmer View Post
      Donald McCormick, 1959, is my guess. But it's only a guess. He uses the name.
      Thanks, RJ! I can’t find anything earlier, so it doesn’t seem to have been used by her contemporaries.

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      • #4
        Try the Western Times of 18th July 1889:-

        https://www.jack-the-ripper.org/alic...zie-murder.htm

        Edit - rereading, I'm not sure that's a direct quote...it seems to relate to John McCormack's evidence at the inquest...

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Cogidubnus View Post
          Try the Western Times of 18th July 1889:-

          https://www.jack-the-ripper.org/alic...zie-murder.htm

          Edit - rereading, I'm not sure that's a direct quote...it seems to relate to John McCormack's evidence at the inquest...
          Thanks, Dave. According to The Times, McCormack said, Yes; she used to smoke, but I can't tell what sort of pipe she smoked; all I can say is she smoked. And Elizabeth Ryder said, I have seen her smoke in the kitchen. She used to borrow pipes, which were short clay ones, like the one produced.

          But it was a contemporary use of the nickname that I was trying to find.

          Perhaps it was a concoction of McCormick’s.

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          • #6
            RJ/Dave/Anyone - do you have the precise wording that Donald McCormick used? Did he explicitly say that Alice was known by the nickname Clay Pipe in her lifetime?

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            • #7
              Yes, I confess I hadn't thought about it, but it doesn't seem very likely that a clay pipe would have been unique enough in the 19th Century to be worthy of someone's nickname.

              More likely something that tickled McCormick's imagination in an age when the humble clay pipe had long since been replaced by the mass produced cigarette, and thus seemed quaint in retrospect.

              I knew a guy a few years back we called 'Vinyl Vince' because he would only listen to music on vinyl. Nothing the least bit wrong with that, but no one would have been called that nickname back in 1960.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by R. J. Palmer View Post
                Yes, I confess I hadn't thought about it, but it doesn't seem very likely that a clay pipe would have been unique enough in the 19th Century to be worthy of someone's nickname.

                More likely something that tickled McCormick's imagination in an age when the humble clay pipe had long since been replaced by the mass produced cigarette, and thus seemed quaint in retrospect.

                I knew a guy a few years back we called 'Vinyl Vince' because he would only listen to music on vinyl. Nothing the least bit wrong with that, but no one would have been called that nickname back in 1960.
                Two clay pipes were found on Kate Eddowes too, I believe. In Alice’s case, the interest in her smoking habits was presumably triggered by the discovery of a clay pipe on her body and there being a possibility that it had belonged to her killer.

                As you say, RJ, it seems unlikely that Alice’s habit of smoking a clay pipe would have been so unusual that it would have singled her out from other women.

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                • #9
                  McCormick, Chapter 11 is called "Clay Pipe Alice and Carroty Nell."

                  "She was known as 'Clay Pipe Annie' on account of her habit of smoking a clay pipe in bed, which was confirmed by the man whom she had been living for the previous six years, John McCormack."

                  Not my misprint. McCormick writes 'Clay Pipe Annie.' Page 158, second edition.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by R. J. Palmer View Post
                    McCormick, Chapter 11 is called "Clay Pipe Alice and Carroty Nell."

                    "She was known as 'Clay Pipe Annie' on account of her habit of smoking a clay pipe in bed, which was confirmed by the man whom she had been living for the previous six years, John McCormack."

                    Not my misprint. McCormick writes 'Clay Pipe Annie.' Page 158, second edition.
                    Thanks, RJ.

                    It does sound like it may have been a bit of colour dreamed up by McCormick.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by R. J. Palmer View Post
                      Yes, I confess I hadn't thought about it, but it doesn't seem very likely that a clay pipe would have been unique enough in the 19th Century to be worthy of someone's nickname.

                      More likely something that tickled McCormick's imagination in an age when the humble clay pipe had long since been replaced by the mass produced cigarette, and thus seemed quaint in retrospect.

                      I knew a guy a few years back we called 'Vinyl Vince' because he would only listen to music on vinyl. Nothing the least bit wrong with that, but no one would have been called that nickname back in 1960.
                      Another way to look at it is that the type of pipe a Victorian person smoked denoted their social status. A middle class person, say a Scotland Yard detective or a clergyman, would smoke a briar pipe or similar. Clay pipes were cheap and were smoked by working class and poor persons. Where I lived with my grandparents in Mossley Hill, Liverpool, in a semi-detached house built in the mid-thirties, I used to find scads of broken clay pipes that had been smoked by the farm workers who worked in the fields before the houses were built. So a person like Alice McKenzie couldn't afford a more expensive pipe but she could afford a clay pipe. As for the nickname, yes possibly the nickname was given to her posthumously but the sketches in the Illustrated Police News suggest that she was known sufficiently for smoking a clay pipe that she could have gained that nickname in life.


                      Illustrated Police News cover depicting sketches on the murder of Alice McKenzie


                      Possibly bogus photograph of Clay Pipe Alice McKenzie -- this Victorian worthy seems older than the woman murdered in Castle Alley
                      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


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
                        Thanks, RJ.

                        It does sound like it may have been a bit of colour dreamed up by McCormick.
                        Had I know she smoked in bed, I would have called her 'Smouldering Ember' or 'Asphyxiated Alice.'

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Chris G. View Post
                          Another way to look at it is that the type of pipe a Victorian person smoked denoted their social status. A middle class person, say a Scotland Yard detective or a clergyman, would smoke a briar pipe or similar. Clay pipes were cheap and were smoked by working class and poor persons. Where I lived with my grandparents in Mossley Hill, Liverpool, in a semi-detached house built in the mid-thirties, I used to find scads of broken clay pipes that had been smoked by the farm workers who worked in the fields before the houses were built. So a person like Alice McKenzie couldn't afford a more expensive pipe but she could afford a clay pipe. As for the nickname, yes possibly the nickname was given to her posthumously but the sketches in the Illustrated Police News suggest that she was known sufficiently for smoking a clay pipe that she could have gained that nickname in life.


                          Illustrated Police News cover depicting sketches on the murder of Alice McKenzie


                          Possibly bogus photograph of Clay Pipe Alice McKenzie -- this Victorian worthy seems older than the woman murdered in Castle Alley
                          Hi Chris, I think the pipe in the IPN sketch is more of a reflection of the discovery of the pipe on Alice?s body and the fact that she was said to have handed a pipe to one of her cronies for safekeeping shortly before she was killed than it is to her smoking habits being so unusual that they somehow defined her.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Chris G. View Post
                            Possibly bogus photograph of Clay Pipe Alice McKenzie -- this Victorian worthy seems older than the woman murdered in Castle Alley
                            Hi Chris.

                            That same photograph has been elsewhere identified as "Big" Rachel Hamilton, a 6' 4" Irishwoman and a bit of a terror as [an unofficial] policewoman, who died in 1899.

                            https://www.spookyisles.com/some-glasgow-eccentrics/

                            I don't know how accurately, but she does look big. Cheers.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by R. J. Palmer View Post
                              Hi Chris.

                              That same photograph has been elsewhere identified as "Big" Rachel Hamilton, a 6' 4" Irishwoman and a bit of a terror as [an unofficial] policewoman, who died in 1899.

                              https://www.spookyisles.com/some-glasgow-eccentrics/

                              I don't know how accurately, but she does look big. Cheers.
                              Thanks, R.J.
                              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

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