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Special Branch ledger entries relating to the Whitechapel Murders

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  • Chris Phillips
    replied
    Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post

    I have previoulsy explained that the SB Ledgers were an early form of collators system which means that any information gathered by officers or sent to the police anonymously was recorded, so researchers shouldnt get carried away with some of these entries as some may be of a malicious nature,or completely unfounded

    www.trevormarriott.co.uk
    I doubt anyone here was getting too carried away by the idea of Mr Churchill being the Ripper.

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  • Trevor Marriott
    replied
    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"?
    I have previoulsy explained that the SB Ledgers were an early form of collators system which means that any information gathered by officers or sent to the police anonymously was recorded, so researchers shouldnt get carried away with some of these entries as some may be of a malicious nature,or completely unfounded

    www.trevormarriott.co.uk

    Leave a comment:


  • Chris Phillips
    replied
    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"?

    Leave a comment:


  • R. J. Palmer
    replied
    Originally posted by Chris Phillips View Post
    That sounds promising for dating purposes, assuming items were numbered chronologically.
    While waiting for the rain to stop this afternoon, I compiled the following, using the MEPO files and the reference numbers in the back of Evans & Skinner's "Letters from Hell."

    One can see the numbers are in chronological order, with two exceptions, which I mark in red. The second exception (under 19 July 1889) is an obvious mistake, because the three digits (207) are the same as the first three digits from the correspondence received the day before (2072) and chronologically close to the one received two days afterwards (2083) -someone apparently left out the last digit or it was no longer legible.

    This only leaves the 24 October 1888 communication (52982/601) and I wonder if an examination of the original document might indicate that this was either a typo or a transcription error (for 1001? or 901?) because it is way out of sequence.

    There is another oddity on July 24/25 1889, where two letters with different dates are given the same number. I don't know what this means, other than maybe the police believed it was the same correspondent?

    Finally, using this proposed chronology, the Special Branch correspondence evidently accusing "Mr. Churchill" of involvement in the murders (52983/1449) must date between 1 November 1888 and 8 January 1889. This would probably mean mid-to-late November on the principle that more communications would have been received right after the Mary Kelly murder. It looks like only about 80 letters were received and given the 52983 designation after July 1889.

    25 September 1888 - Communication from Bremen Police- 52983/239
    27 September 1888 - Communication from Bremen Police - 52983/289
    10 October 1888 - Communication from the Home Office - 52983/589
    19 October 1888 - Communication from the Bremen Police– 52983/826
    24 October 1888 - Communication from Rotterdam Police – 52983/601
    1 November 1888 - Abberline responding to Communication from the Home Office – 52983/1,119
    8 January 1889 - Anonymous Letter to ‘Dear Boss’ from ‘Jim the Cutter’ - 3/52983/1,852

    18 February 1889 - Threatening Letter to Charles Warren from Augustus Robertson Raffa[ ] – 3/52983/1,952
    31 March 1889 - Anonymous Letter to Commissioner of Scotland from Jack the Ripper -3/52983/1999
    18 July 1889 - Anonymous Letter to ‘Central Police Station’ from Jack the Ripper – 3/52983/2072
    19 July 1889 - Anonymous Letter to ‘Mister Monro’ from Jack the Ripper – 3/52983/207 (evidently the last digit is missing)
    22 July 1889 - Anonymous Letter to ‘Dear Boss’ from Jack the Ripper – 3/52983/2083
    24 July 1889 - Anonymous Letter from Jack the Ripper – 3/52983/2086 (ff. 332-3)
    25 July 1889 - Anonymous Letter from Jack the Ripper - 3/52983/2086 (ff. 328-330) Same correspondent as above, hence the same number?? –RP’s note
    26 July 1889- Anonymous Letter from Jack the Ripper – 3/52983/2087

    [Several more letters from 1889 along the same lines, with ascending numbers)

    Last letter using the 52983 reference number:

    26 January 1890 - Letter to Sir James Munro (sic) from Jack the Ripper – 52983/2166

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  • R. J. Palmer
    replied
    Originally posted by Chris Phillips View Post
    (Edit: Except how does the '3' at the beginning fit in?)
    The only example I see in Evans & Skinner's Sourcebook with the /3 before the 52983 is a letter received from the Bremen Police (pg. 592):

    “Translation of a communication from Bremen Police, dated 27 September 1888, 3/52983: 289”

    The others don't have it, but maybe it was just left off.

    Another thing I noticed: 3/52983 is used on many of the anonymous letters, but only after 8 January 1889. The anonymous letters from 1888 were filed differently, and many of them have docket numbers.

    The January 8th, 1889 letter is 3/52983/1852 and considering that Abberline's report of 1 November refers to correspondence 52983/1119, the chronology might be about right: 700 odd letters received in November and December 1888 re: Whitechapel Murders, about a dozen a day on average.

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  • Chris Phillips
    replied
    Originally posted by R. J. Palmer View Post
    The same reference number 52983 is on nearly all the "Jack the Ripper" letters sent to Scotland Yard. See "Letters from Hell."

    Edit: I shouldn't have written "nearly all," but much of it is, for instance a 'Ripper' letter addressed to Genl. Booth is 3/52983/2122

    A letter to the 'Chief of Scotland Yard' (Oct 8, 1889) is 3/52983/2123 (page 286)
    That sounds promising for dating purposes, assuming items were numbered chronologically.

    (Edit: Except how does the '3' at the beginning fit in?)

    Leave a comment:


  • R. J. Palmer
    replied
    The same reference number 52983 is on nearly all the "Jack the Ripper" letters sent to Scotland Yard. See "Letters from Hell."

    Edit: I shouldn't have written "nearly all," but much of it is, for instance a 'Ripper' letter addressed to Genl. Booth is 3/52983/2122

    A letter to the 'Chief of Scotland Yard' (Oct 8, 1889) is 3/52983/2123 (page 286)

    Leave a comment:


  • Chris Phillips
    replied
    Originally posted by R. J. Palmer View Post

    Isn't 52983 a reference for correspondence received, as opposed to an internal report?

    When the number is used, it sometimes refers to a specific letter.

    For instance:

    "With reference to your communication of the 25th instant, correspondence No. 52983/239, we have the honour..."

    (Sgt. Kuhrt's translation of a letter from the Bremen police).

    There are a couple of similar examples. I think the letters the Met received were given a number in chronological order.

    Abberlines report of 1 November 1888 would seem to be in response to a Home Office letter, the first line reading "With reference to the annexed copy extract from the Home Office letter..."

    So it is the Home Office's original letter that is 52983/1,119.

    I think I was wrong in assuming that all these letters had to do with specific suspects, but the majority of the correspondence might have been. But from the context, the number seems to refer to outside correspondence, including from the Home Office.
    Thanks. So the numbering system is different for the "CID Registry" items, with the number after the slash indicating an individual document rather than a file. That was really what I was getting at when I asked whether there could be thousands of files.

    Clutterbuck says the ledger is partly referring to incoming correspondence, and partly internal reports (pp 69, 70). What I'm not understanding is is why internal reports should have a "folio in the correspondence register", which all the entries have in the extracts I've seen, except those that have "CID Registry" instead.

    From what you've just pointed out, is it all correspondence - either correspondence in the CID Registry, or correspondence indexed in the Special Branch correspondence register?

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  • Debra Arif
    replied
    Originally posted by Chris Phillips View Post

    I suppose the Magrath entries represent two separate pieces of information about him, one from the CID and the other from another source? Perhaps he came to the CID's attention for a reason that wasn't connected with the Whitechapel Murders.

    I don't know whether it's important, but Clutterbuck (p. 264) has the "suspicious Irishman" entry first and says it was followed by the other.

    On p. 321 he explains the reference numbers a bit, using as an example 3214/196A. He says 3214 was a common prefix for all the Anarchist and Socialist files, 196 refers to a particular case (the Walsall case) and A means the first document in the file. That's for a Special Branch file. Maybe the CID files were numbered differently. The Churchill entry is numbered 52983/1449. Could there have been so many files on the Whitechapel Murders?
    Yes, the suspicious Irishman entry is the first of the two McGrath entries and is the one with the CID folio ref. I just pasted them in to my post separately and not paying attention to keeping them in the same order, sorry.
    I had noticed that about the Anarchist and Socialist related numbers in the Berner Street and similar entries.

    It's been a while since I looked at any of this, although I'm not sure refamiliarising myself with it will help one bit with my understanding how the numbering worked!

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  • R. J. Palmer
    replied
    There is another example on pg. 304 of the Sourcebook. Robert Anderson is writing to the Under Secretary of the State in reference to John George Donkin, and uses the notation "reference 52983/598",

    In the body of the letter Anderson refers to a letter received on 8 October.

    Leave a comment:


  • R. J. Palmer
    replied
    Originally posted by Chris Phillips View Post
    The Churchill entry is numbered 52983/1449. Could there have been so many files on the Whitechapel Murders?
    Isn't 52983 a reference for correspondence received, as opposed to an internal report?

    When the number is used, it sometimes refers to a specific letter.

    For instance:

    "With reference to your communication of the 25th instant, correspondence No. 52983/239, we have the honour..."

    (Sgt. Kuhrt's translation of a letter from the Bremen police).

    There are a couple of similar examples. I think the letters the Met received were given a number in chronological order.

    Abberlines report of 1 November 1888 would seem to be in response to a Home Office letter, the first line reading "With reference to the annexed copy extract from the Home Office letter..."

    So it is the Home Office's original letter that is 52983/1,119.

    I think I was wrong in assuming that all these letters had to do with specific suspects, but the majority of the correspondence might have been. But from the context, the number seems to refer to outside correspondence, including from the Home Office.

    Leave a comment:


  • Chris Phillips
    replied
    Originally posted by Debra Arif View Post

    Thanks. That is the way I have been reading them too.

    I am confused why the Magrath entry 'said to be connected with Whitechapel murders' does not carry the file number associated with the Whitechapel murder investigations, which I also thought could be a general file and not necessarily related to suspects because inquiries about Mary Ann Nichols were given that number, but then again Pizer was also mentioned in that particular document.
    I suppose the Magrath entries represent two separate pieces of information about him, one from the CID and the other from another source? Perhaps he came to the CID's attention for a reason that wasn't connected with the Whitechapel Murders.

    I don't know whether it's important, but Clutterbuck (p. 264) has the "suspicious Irishman" entry first and says it was followed by the other.

    On p. 321 he explains the reference numbers a bit, using as an example 3214/196A. He says 3214 was a common prefix for all the Anarchist and Socialist files, 196 refers to a particular case (the Walsall case) and A means the first document in the file. That's for a Special Branch file. Maybe the CID files were numbered differently. The Churchill entry is numbered 52983/1449. Could there have been so many files on the Whitechapel Murders?

    Leave a comment:


  • Debra Arif
    replied
    Originally posted by R. J. Palmer View Post

    Do you think the "/1522" would indicate a report written in 1889 or later?

    Not all of the 52983 notations have a further reference number, but 52983/239 was written on 25 September 1888; 52983/598 was 10 October 1888; and 52983/1,119 was Abberline's report of 1 November 1888.
    Yes. I think you are correct. That makes sense.

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  • R. J. Palmer
    replied
    Originally posted by Debra Arif View Post
    Medbey R alleged suspicious person at Tilbury 52983/1522 CID Registry
    Do you think the "/1522" would indicate a report written in 1889 or later?

    Not all of the 52983 notations have a further reference number, but 52983/239 was written on 25 September 1888; 52983/598 was 8 October 1888; and 52983/1,119 was Abberline's report of 1 November 1888.

    Leave a comment:


  • Debra Arif
    replied
    Originally posted by Chris Phillips View Post

    I would read it like that. In the extract posted on Casebook, two of the entries end in "at" or "of", indicating the significance of the preceding name (of a place or person). I think the others have to be read as just describing the person named. (Including Mr Churchill being described as the alleged perpetrator.)

    If Medbey was just the informant, I assume it would say something like "Medbey R alleged suspicious person at Tilbury reported by".
    Thanks. That is the way I have been reading them too.

    I am confused why the Magrath entry 'said to be connected with Whitechapel murders' does not carry the file number associated with the Whitechapel murder investigations, which I also thought could be a general file and not necessarily related to suspects because inquiries about Mary Ann Nichols were given that number, but then again Pizer was also mentioned in that particular document.

    Leave a comment:

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