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Special Branch ledger entries relating to the Whitechapel Murders

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Chris Phillips View Post
    Excellent! So we have a dating system for 52983. At a guess, both the Churchill and the Medbey entries would be mid to late November 1888. (Assuming the volume of material went back up immediately after the murder of Mary Kelly.) Though apparently the Prince of Wales's visit to Middlesbrough, which Debs referred to on the same page as the Medbey entry, was on 23 January 1889. But if there are some other entries between them, that could work.

    As "Medbey" doesn't seem to be a known surname, I wonder whether it should be "Medley"?
    Returning for a moment to the exciting world of correspondence reference numbers, I notice that there is also a very small group of 'Ripper' letters from September 1889 that are filed under different numbers, which is somewhat curious.

    For instance, there are two anonymous letters from 10th and 11th September 1889 that are given the number 58895. This same number turns up in the MEPO files in reference to the New York Herald/John Cleary episode--the report of a body being found in Backchurch Lane. One MEPO report dated 10 September refers to 58895/16 which suggests this must have been a relatively new number, I would think, yet it also states "ff. 375-7." Does the different reference number (58895) suggests that Scotland Yard's first instinct was to file the Pinchin Street correspondence separately from the Whitechapel Murders correspondence because the cases were unrelated (?)

    Yet, at the same time, two other anonymous letters from 10 & 12 September 1889 are given the number 57885/186 and 57885/207. Why they weren't just filed along with the other correspondence is unclear--there isn't anything particularly unusual about these two letters.

    This second number 57885 appears several times in the MEPO files--many of the reports about Sadler/Francis Coles use it, but also discussion of a letter from the Rev. Barnett published in The Times in July 1889 . Also a letter to the Under Secretary of State from Sir Robert Anderson, warning that the correspondent E.K. Larkins (the Customs House official of the cattle boat theory) is a 'busybody' makes reference to correspondence that was given this number.

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    • #47
      Originally posted by R. J. Palmer View Post

      Returning for a moment to the exciting world of correspondence reference numbers, I notice that there is also a very small group of 'Ripper' letters from September 1889 that are filed under different numbers, which is somewhat curious.

      For instance, there are two anonymous letters from 10th and 11th September 1889 that are given the number 58895. This same number turns up in the MEPO files in reference to the New York Herald/John Cleary episode--the report of a body being found in Backchurch Lane. One MEPO report dated 10 September refers to 58895/16 which suggests this must have been a relatively new number, I would think, yet it also states "ff. 375-7." Does the different reference number (58895) suggests that Scotland Yard's first instinct was to file the Pinchin Street correspondence separately from the Whitechapel Murders correspondence because the cases were unrelated (?)

      Yet, at the same time, two other anonymous letters from 10 & 12 September 1889 are given the number 57885/186 and 57885/207. Why they weren't just filed along with the other correspondence is unclear--there isn't anything particularly unusual about these two letters.

      This second number 57885 appears several times in the MEPO files--many of the reports about Sadler/Francis Coles use it, but also discussion of a letter from the Rev. Barnett published in The Times in July 1889 . Also a letter to the Under Secretary of State from Sir Robert Anderson, warning that the correspondent E.K. Larkins (the Customs House official of the cattle boat theory) is a 'busybody' is given this number.
      My understanding is that the registers/ledgers were compiled in alpahabetical order from other files/records which were in existence and needed filing and storing away to create space and I belive they were created sometime after 1912.

      There are no smoking guns in them to positively identify the Ripper

      www.trevormarriott.co.uk

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      • #48
        Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post

        My understanding is that the registers/ledgers were compiled in alpahabetical order from other files/records which were in existence and needed filing and storing away to create space and I belive they were created sometime after 1912.
        I'm referring to the correspondence reference numbers--58895, etc. These were created and used in 1888 and 1889 and Assistant Commissioner Robert Anderson and others used them and sometimes referred to them in the bodies of their letters when responding.

        That these numbers were later referenced when compiling the Special Branch registers/ledgers is another matter.

        Comment


        • #49
          Originally posted by R. J. Palmer View Post

          I'm referring to the correspondence reference numbers--58895, etc. These were created and used in 1888 and 1889 and Assistant Commissioner Robert Anderson and others used them and sometimes referred to them in the bodies of their letters when responding.

          That these numbers were later referenced when compiling the Special Branch registers/ledgers is another matter.
          The simple explanation is that when the files/information you refer to were first received they were given the same file number. The police clearly had someone who was solely responsible for the recording and filing. The inital report/correspondence would have been read by a senior officer and if it needed further action taken it would have been actioned out for those enquiries to be done and then later filed after whatever had been done and wriiten off by a senior officer.

          www.trevormarriott.co.uk

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post

            My understanding is that the registers/ledgers were compiled in alpahabetical order from other files/records which were in existence and needed filing and storing away to create space and I belive they were created sometime after 1912.

            There are no smoking guns in them to positively identify the Ripper

            www.trevormarriott.co.uk
            Just to say again that I think everyone here understands that we are essentially trying to understand a filing system rather than looking for a "smoking gun". We always seem to be fighting against the misconception that Ripper researchers just see the case as a "whodunit" and aren't interested in understanding it on any other level.

            Your comment about your understanding of why and when the records were created is interesting. Can I ask whether that's something you arrived at just from looking at the records, or from other sources?

            I'm copying below Clutterbuck's summary of the records with dates covered. I must say to me it looks as though the first four at least were created contemporaneously with the records they indexed, rather than decades later.

            Click image for larger version  Name:	clutterbucksumm.jpg Views:	0 Size:	42.1 KB ID:	590463

            Comment


            • #51
              Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post
              The simple explanation is that when the files/information you refer to were first received they were given the same file number.
              Actually, the whole point of my post was to point out that the letters I referred to weren't given the same reference number. [And this particular correspondence had nothing to do with the Special Branch].

              One could dismiss this as the whim of the person doing the filing, and perhaps it doesn't interest you, but for whatever reason, some of the correspondence relating to the so-called 'Whitechapel Murders' were not filed with the rest of it.

              I'm assuming someone must have had a rationale for setting it up that way.

              Comment


              • #52
                Originally posted by R. J. Palmer View Post

                Actually, the whole point of my post was to point out that the letters I referred to weren't given the same reference number. [And this particular correspondence had nothing to do with the Special Branch].

                One could dismiss this as the whim of the person doing the filing, and perhaps it doesn't interest you, but for whatever reason, some of the correspondence relating to the so-called 'Whitechapel Murders' were not filed with the rest of it.

                I'm assuming someone must have had a rationale for setting it up that way.
                I am aware of that, and I have previoulsy identified other Ripper related files from the Register, which were spread out and not filed under The Ripper or The Whitechael Murders which was down to the person who did the filing and the way they did that filing

                www.trevormarriott.co.uk

                Comment


                • #53
                  Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post

                  I am aware of that, and I have previoulsy identified other Ripper related files from the Register, which were spread out and not filed under The Ripper or The Whitechael Murders which was down to the person who did the filing and the way they did that filing

                  www.trevormarriott.co.uk
                  Perhaps I could ask another question?

                  I've only just seen your post on Casebook where you say the records have been destroyed "or so we have been told":
                  https://forum.casebook.org/forum/rip...036#post785036

                  I must confess I'm a bit unclear about whether an official statement has been made about their destruction. Do you think there's any doubt about it?

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Chris Phillips View Post

                    Perhaps I could ask another question?

                    I've only just seen your post on Casebook where you say the records have been destroyed "or so we have been told":
                    https://forum.casebook.org/forum/rip...036#post785036

                    I must confess I'm a bit unclear about whether an official statement has been made about their destruction. Do you think there's any doubt about it?
                    In 2015 having obtained new evidence to support a new application for the release of the registers under The Freedom of Information Act, I submitted a new request to the Metropolitan Police. On March 6th 2015 I received the following response:

                    “The ledgers and registers were destroyed in line with the retention policy that the documents were to be retained for a period of two years after the last request to view the ledgers which expired 18 November 2013. As the ledger and registers were deemed to be of no policing purpose and the National Archives did not wish to hold the ledgers they were destroyed on 6th January 2014”

                    www.trevormarriott.co.uk

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post

                      In 2015 having obtained new evidence to support a new application for the release of the registers under The Freedom of Information Act, I submitted a new request to the Metropolitan Police. On March 6th 2015 I received the following response:

                      “The ledgers and registers were destroyed in line with the retention policy that the documents were to be retained for a period of two years after the last request to view the ledgers which expired 18 November 2013. As the ledger and registers were deemed to be of no policing purpose and the National Archives did not wish to hold the ledgers they were destroyed on 6th January 2014”

                      www.trevormarriott.co.uk
                      Thanks for clarifying that. So it was officially stated in response to a Freedom of Information request that the records had been destroyed.

                      But actually, that information only makes me want to repeat my question - is there any reason to doubt they have been destroyed?

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Chris Phillips View Post

                        Thanks for clarifying that. So it was officially stated in response to a Freedom of Information request that the records had been destroyed.

                        But actually, that information only makes me want to repeat my question - is there any reason to doubt they have been destroyed?
                        There is always a doubt with anything the Metroplitan Police tell you, I speak from past personal experiences

                        www.trevormarriott.co.uk

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post

                          There is always a doubt with anything the Metroplitan Police tell you, I speak from past personal experiences

                          www.trevormarriott.co.uk
                          Thanks again for clarifying.

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Chris Phillips View Post

                            Thanks again for clarifying.
                            further clarification !!!!!!!!!!!!!
                            “The register and ledgers were destroyed on 6th January 2014 at New Scotland Yard by Karen Fox, Senior Information Manager”

                            www.trevormarriott.co.uk

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post

                              further clarification !!!!!!!!!!!!!
                              “The register and ledgers were destroyed on 6th January 2014 at New Scotland Yard by Karen Fox, Senior Information Manager”

                              www.trevormarriott.co.uk
                              Thanks. Was that in response to a follow-up from you?

                              I suppose the decision to destroy the records would have created further records which could be the subject of further requests. And so ad infinitum ...

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                With the help of Debs and Simon, I have had a fairly thorough look through Felicity Lowde's blogs, and I've made a list of links to all her photos of the Chief Constable's Register. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were no fewer than 80 photos, including quite a number of complete pages. The list of links can be found here in the Resources section of jtrforums. In each case I've indicated the range of the alphabet covered, and have included rough estimates of the dates of the references.

                                The dating of the entries has been done partly by means of the references to folios of the Correspondence Register, which seems to have been filled up chronologically. A number of the entries in the photos can be dated, at least approximately, and with the help of these dated entries the dates ,for other folio numbers can be estimated. I've put a list of suggested dates here in the Resources section, in case they are useful to anyone. No doubt more can be found.

                                For entries with CID Registry references starting 52983, which apparently relate to the Whitechapel Murders, the dates can be estimated more precise with the help of the list of dated references compiled by R. J. Palmer and posted above on this thread. I have also placed a version of the list in the Resources section, with his permission.

                                As I said R. J.'s dates are more precise, but with only one exception, the two dating systems give consistent results. The exception is a 52983 entry that was about 4 months earlier than the apparent dates of nearby folio numbers. Perhaps a CID document was noted by Special Branch some time after its creation, or some time after the creation of the file it was in.

                                Finally, I have made a little list of entries that refer to the Whitechapel Murders (including entries with 52983 references). I've added estimates of the dates of these entries. As well as entries shown in the photos, I have also included notes on some entries from other sources (FOI disclosures and Lindsay Clutterbuck's thesis), though I think there may be more FOI entries than I have here.

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