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Biddy the Chiver’s Khazi

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  • #61
    Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
    Called her out of her name?
    It means impugned her reputation in some way. I think it’s an Oirish expression. Perhaps Mrs Smith called Biddy a prostitute, or claimed (correctly) that she and O’Rourke were ‘living in sin’ at the time.

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    • #62
      I suppose it's a female thing. She boasts about how violent she is but won't have her sexual morals questioned.

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      • #63
        Prostitute?

        I’ve seen no evidence of Biddy soliciting, but the kind of ‘lumbering’ of men that Harding claimed she participated in often involved luring men into dark places with promises of sex.

        On one occasion Biddy got very friendly with an old geezer in a pub and relieved him of his wonga. That’s the closest to ‘lumbering’ I’ve found so far.

        So, I doubt she was a prostitute and I don’t think she had anything to do with Jack the Ripper. (HR and co. please note.)

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        • #64
          Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post

          On one occasion Biddy got very friendly with an old geezer in a pub and relieved him of his wonga.
          Painful!
          Kind regards, Sam Flynn

          "Suche Nullen"
          (F. Nietzsche)

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          • #65
            Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
            Painful!
            Biddy and her mates claimed the man had no wonga - they suggested he had lost it before he reached the pub. When you get past a certain age bits do start dropping off here and there (apparently).

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            • #66
              The Tredegar riots are interesting in their own right. It appears they led to an exodus of Irish workers from some industrial areas of south Wales. Red Lion Square seems to have been the focal point of the disturbances in Tredegar itself. 5000 Welsh and English rioters attacked the Irish there, stoning the residents and ransacking their houses. On the Saturday alone, two houses were burned down and fifty ransacked, the furniture from them being dragged out into the square and burned.

              I wonder how the Enrights (and the Kellys for that matter) weathered this outbreak of anti-Irish feeling? Was that why they moved to London?

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              • #67
                In December, 1906, a Patrick Enright was charged at Thames Police court with failing to maintain his wife. He was reported as saying, ‘I left her thirteen or fourteen years ago. I couldnt maintain myself. It meant murder, and I should have been hanged, and she would have been somewhere else.’

                He was remanded, but I havent been able to discover the outcome of the case.

                It would seem that Biddy’s family disintegrated while she was still in her teens. I think Ive found her mother in the Poplar workhouse infirmary in 1891 and her older sister, Julia, boarding in the household of a candle maker named John Ball in West Ham. Ive had no luck (so far) with 16-year-old Biddy herself on the 1891 census.

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                • #68
                  The reputation of Biddy the Chiver had been established by 1895, when Bridget Enright was 21. How widespread was that reputation, I wonder? Obviously it eventually filtered down to Arthur Harding, but perhaps it was more local - Hoxton/Shoreditch - in the 1890s.

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                  • #69
                    Soliciting?

                    I’d forgotten this incident from February, 1907:

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                    I doubt Fagan was simply a knight errant escorting Bridget home through the dangerous streets of the East End. He at least must have believed he was to receive a reward for his gallantry.

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                    • #70
                      GRO Marriage Cert

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                      Bridget’s address is the same as that given at the time of the attempted robbery of Peter Fagan a few months previously.

                      She signed her name with a cross. I’d wondered whether she had attended school in Wales, and if so, whether she would have had Welsh school friends. It would seem not.

                      Her father’s occupation was given as a gas stoker. At Bow, perhaps? Or Beckton?

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                      • #71
                        Burial

                        I called St Patrick’s cemetery (Leytonstone) on the off-chance that as an RC person of limited means dying in Shoreditch Infirmary, Bridget may have been automatically buried in a public grave there. When one of my great grandfathers died in the STGITE infirmary in 1929, a notice was issued to his family to say that if they didn’t make alternative arrangements, he would be buried at St Patrick’s - they didn’t, and so he was. Somehow I couldn’t see Thomas O’Rourke arranging and paying for a private burial for Biddy.

                        The man at the cemetery was very helpful and confirmed that a Bridget O’Rourke, aged 56, of 3, Crooked Billet Yard (he initially read it as Gardens) had been buried in a public grave there on 20th Feb., 1934:

                        Grave 19
                        Row 44
                        Plot 11b

                        He also confirmed that my great grandfather, John Thurling (of Shovel Alley), had been buried in the same plot, albeit in a different row/public grave.

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                        • #72
                          “Chiver”?

                          This is from The Globe of 15th December, 1880:

                          “Mr David Bernstein, the “powerfully built” Polish Jew who stands charged by the police with stabbing a stranger in mistake for one of his acquaintances, and who asked the constable if it was the “chiveying” case he was wanted for, has made a contribution to one of the by-ways of the science of philology. In his book “In Gypsy Tents”, Mr. F. H. Groome, whose authority stands second to none in such matters, states that the total number of gypsy words which have been adopted into the slang dictionary was twenty-one, to which he doubtfully adds two more. “Chiveying”, which he does not include, must now be added to the catalogue. By the “chiveying” case, as the constable who arrested Mr. Bernstein was good enough to explain, was meant “the knifeing” case, and “chiveying” for “knifeing” is good Anglo-Romanes. Chivomengro or chinomengro is a knife, and comes from the word chiv or chin which means “cut”. From the same root comes chinro pronounced chiro, or churo or churo, which also means a knife, and gives birth to the French “argot” chourineur, a “stabber”, well-known to all those who have read “The Mysteries of Paris” by Eugene Sue. Some time ago we noticed the custom of thieves, also on police authority, of symbolising “money” by a nugget of coal and traced it to the fact that the same gypsy word stands for money and for coal. A member of the force with a fancy for philology would no doubt be able to collect from the East of London a few more curiosities of a like kind. For the origin of chiv or chin, cut, we must go straight to the Sanscrit; so that it is an eminently respectable word. Whether there be any connection of ideas between the common word “chivy” in the sense of “to drive” or “to run in a hurry”, and the phrase “to cut one’s stick”, cut being the translation of “chiv”, we scarcely venture to surmise.”

                          Reading this, I wonder whether it might also explain the nickname of ‘China Bob’, another of Arthur Harding’s characters. I have found evidence of someone called ‘Shiner Bob’ who I suspect may have been the original of Harding’s character. As with Biddy, his exploits are close enough to Harding’s version to suggest he was the same man, but different enough to suggest that Harding picked them up as an anecdote, possibly some time after they occurred.

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                          • #73
                            Farmfield?

                            As we have seen, in February, 1912 Bridget Enright was committed to a certified inebriate reformatory for a period of three years. The 1898 Inebriate’s Act laid the basis for the creation of both state-run and privately-run (certified) inebriate reformatories as a measure to counter the increasing problem of drunkenness in the population. Any person repeatedly convicted of drunkenness, or convicted of an imprisonable offence committed while under the influence of alcohol, could be committed to a reformatory for up to three years. Although there was no explicit gender bias in the legislation itself, the majority of those convicted under the Act and sent to the reformatories were women. In 1904, women made up 91% of those committed to these reformatories.

                            Almost from the outset, the Inebriate Reformatories system was deemed a failure, most of those committed under it re-offending within a short time of their release. The regimes of the reformatories were also criticised for being too lax. In November, 1908, the Illustrated London News carried a photo essay entitled “The Pleasant Lot of the Inebriate in Captivity”. It contained a number of images of the comfortable conditions in which the inebriates were held, including one showing a typical day’s food ration, which was said to be ‘better than the ordinary prison diet’:

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                            Cushy as the conditions in these institutions may have been, the lengths of the sentences, often measured in years rather than the days/weeks/months imprisonment that had been the norm for such offences, were considerably more harsh.

                            I’m off to the LMA tomorrow to have a gander at the records of the Farmfield Reformatory. Fingers crossed, if that was where Bridget was sent, I may be able to access her case notes. ����

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                            • #74
                              ĆChivĆ can ultimatelz be traced to Sanskrit rather than Romani? The Gzpsz, that is Rom, trace origins back to India, thus ĆchivĆ could easilz be originallz Romani.

                              MY [expletive] RAT-SIZED DOG flipped on the Croatian keyboard. I knew he'd get his eight or ten little legs on all the right keys sometime! He is like a spider that looks like a mop!

                              If "chiv" traces back to Sanskrit, it traces back to Romani (Gypsy) roots as the Rom are believed to come from India and thereabouts. MANY words in western languages actually trace back to India or Iran via Proto-Indo-European language.
                              The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

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                              • #75
                                Originally posted by Anna Morris View Post
                                ĆChivĆ can ultimatelz be traced to Sanskrit rather than Romani? The Gzpsz, that is Rom, trace origins back to India, thus ĆchivĆ could easilz be originallz Romani.

                                MY [expletive] RAT-SIZED DOG flipped on the Croatian keyboard. I knew he'd get his eight or ten little legs on all the right keys sometime! He is like a spider that looks like a mop!

                                If "chiv" traces back to Sanskrit, it traces back to Romani (Gypsy) roots as the Rom are believed to come from India and thereabouts. MANY words in western languages actually trace back to India or Iran via Proto-Indo-European language.
                                I’ve got an interesting old book, The Wind on the Heath: A Gypsy Anthology (1930). There’s a chapter on “Egipte Speche” and a glossary of “Romani Words” that includes chin (cut).

                                There are a few words - kushto (cushty=good, and possibly cushy = comfortable), bar (= pound), moey (mooey=mouth/face), chavo (chav = boy) - that seem to have made it into the English (or at least cockney) vernacular.

                                There’s even a word nokengro for a glandered horse. I suspect the nok element of the word may have something to do with knacker.

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