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Harrison Barber—Horse Slaughterers

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  • Nicholas Shippy Snr died on 26th April, 1849 at 3, Little North Street. His occupation was horse slaughterer. The cause of death was hypertrophy of the heart.

    The informant was a lady named Hannah Dyton of 6, Kate Street, Spitalfields. She was present at the death. If Kate Street was in fact Keate Street, then Hannah lived in the Dorset Street of its day.

    In 1851, 3, Little North Street was occupied by a groom named Richard Lake. William Barber lived next door. At the time, William Monk was still alive, but he had moved from Little North Street across the Whitechapel Road to Mount Place.

    There's little doubt in my mind that Shippy was a Monk's man.
    What is a bit of a mystery is who Hannah Dyton was. Was she related to Shippy in some way, or was her connection a 'professional' one? ;-) I haven't had much luck in tracking her down.

    Edit: she may have been the Hannah Dighton/Ditton who had several spells in the Raine Street workhouse and who was the victim of a vicious assault in Wentworth Street in January, 1854. She was described as a very poor woman residing in Flower and Dean Street and obtaining her living by charing.

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    • Another snippet from Henry Mayhew:

      "The best days for the cat's meat business are Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays. A double quantity of meat is sold on the Saturday; and on that day, Monday and Tuesday the weekly customers generally pay."

      Sounds like the knacker's yards may have been closed on Saturday Nights/Sunday Mornings.

      Of course, Mayhew was writing in the 1840s, but this amusing story from 1945 would seem to suggest that Sundays may well have been cat's meat free in the 1880s.

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      • The 1901 electoral roll for Winthrop Street makes interesting reading. At least four HB men there: James Mumford, John Vincent, Robert Wiffen and Fred Ling. And there's another familiar name, Thomas Lechmer(e), living at no. 3. When his daughter was Christened in December, 1900, his address was given as 4, Winthrop Street and his occupation was meat salesman. Over the years, nos 3 & 4 were home to several Monk's/Barbers/HB men. As we know, (those of us who have been paying attention) run-of-the-mill cat's meat men would queue up outside HB's yards with their carts and barrows in the early morning to collect the freshly-boiled horse flesh so beloved of their feline customers. Other cat's meat vendors, such as those who ran shops, could opt to have their stock delivered by HB.

        I wonder who TAL, the cat's meat Carter, worked for?


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        Edit: In addition, the 1901 census shows:

        Alfred Wand (Alfred Barber's brother-in-law) living at no. 19 and describing himself as a foreman horse slaughterer. In 1895, Wand married Florence Hammond, the daughter of Frank Hammond of 13, Winthrop Street.

        Ernest Abrams, a slaughterman (cats) living at no. 4.

        William Vincent, a carman (horse slaughterer), living at no. 22 with his father, John.

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        • According to the 1901 census, he was an employer.

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          • Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
            According to the 1901 census, he was an employer.
            Well spotted, Hawkeye!

            However, by 1911 he's still a meat carter but has been demoted to a worker (?) and in both years it's cat's meat he's carting.

            Perhaps my question should have been: 'I wonder whose cat's meat he was carting?'

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            • I don't know, but as late as 1939 he is a cat's meat stall owner. Clearly a man who lived for cat's meat.

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              • Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
                I don't know, but as late as 1939 he is a cat's meat stall owner. Clearly a man who lived for cat's meat.
                I think the stall was in Broadway Market and his dad had run it before him. And theirs was an artisan product, apparently, boiled up (down?) in the back garden.

                Body parts were found in the Regent's Canal nearby...

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                • Good years...

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                  • and bad years.

                    1910:

                    [ATTACH]16759[/ATTACH]

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                    • For the knackers, the world changed out of all recognition between 1888 and the second decade of the 20th century.

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                      • Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
                        According to the 1901 census, he was an employer.
                        He, his wife and two children were living in 2 rooms at 63, Brady Street. At the same address lived the family of a dock worker (3 rooms) and that of a fish carman (also 3 rooms).

                        I get the impression he wasn't a major 'employer' in the area. Self-employed, at best, I would have said, and if so, probably buying cat's meat from HB and selling it at a small mark-up to the likes of his old nan.

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                        • Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
                          I think the stall was in Broadway Market and his dad had run it before him. And theirs was an artisan product, apparently, boiled up (down?) in the back garden.

                          Body parts were found in the Regent's Canal nearby...
                          And on more than one occasion!

                          Plus it applies that part of the Rainham torso was also dumped in Regents Canal, close to St Pancras lock, nearby King´s Cross, some two and a half miles west of Broadway Market.

                          Straws in the wind...
                          "In these matters it is the little things that tell the tales" - Coroner Wynne Baxter during the Nichols inquest.

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                          • Originally posted by Christer Holmgren View Post
                            And on more than one occasion!

                            Plus it applies that part of the Rainham torso was also dumped in Regents Canal, close to St Pancras lock, nearby King´s Cross, some two and a half miles west of Broadway Market.

                            Straws in the wind...
                            Ah, King's Cross, "the chief seat of the London horse-slaughterers" - now you're talking. :-)

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                            • I, for one, am genuinely looking forward to the Lechmere book. The Bucks Row stuff we are all familiar with, but how does Lech geographically fit the other 2/3(?) series of murders? And where did he obtain his knife skills?

                              I'd also love to know more about Ma L. If her boy was a serial killer, I bet she had lot to do with it.

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                              • Originally posted by Gary Barnett View Post
                                I, for one, am genuinely looking forward to the Lechmere book. The Bucks Row stuff we are all familiar with, but how does Lech geographically fit the other 2/3(?) series of murders? And where did he obtain his knife skills?

                                I'd also love to know more about Ma L. If her boy was a serial killer, I bet she had lot to do with it.
                                I cannot say where the knife skills came from; I am just as convinced that the 1873 murder belonged to the torso series as I am that the Ripper and the torso man were identical, and so we need to have Charles an accomplished cutter at the age of 24. Could he have been involved in the horse butchering business at that time? I don´t see why not, but I have not a shred of evidence for it.
                                As for the anatomical insights spoken of, I have a pretty good idea where they came from, regardless of who the killer was.
                                How does Lechmere fit the torso murder geography? Well, which IS the torso murder geography? As far as I can tell, all the victims may have been picked up in Mitre Square. Or anywhere else, for that matter. What is of interest is how the torso murders have implications taking us further west in the metropolis, but that could easily owe to the killer having a bolthole to work from somewhere in this (very broadly outlined) area. For example.
                                I concur very much that Lechmeres mother will probably have played a pivotal role in what happened if the carman was the killer. His was a childhood that is a carbon-copy of that serialists often are about; an absent father, a seemingly wilful and strong mother and no real opportunity to root himself.
                                "In these matters it is the little things that tell the tales" - Coroner Wynne Baxter during the Nichols inquest.

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