An Investigation Of Pubs, Beer & The Ripper
A. M. Phypers
It was whilst reading the interesting dissertation 'The Pubs and Jack The Ripper' by John Smithkey at the Casebook site that I was reminded of the importance of public houses in the story of Jack The Ripper. This is no coincidence; the pub has long-since been one of the great British institutions. Public houses represented an important part of life in Victorian London, and especially in that inner core which by 1888 had been recently christened ‘The East End’. All the Ripper’s victims were heavy drinkers, some were definitely alcoholics and they were all most certainly well acquainted with the local hostelries.
Spurred on by the article I have revisited some old research, which was performed in 1987-88 and added to it. It is my intention that the information contained here is a starting point in our piecing together the role of the pubs in the Whitechapel Murders. For this I believe that we need to understand the place of the pub in the society of the time, which I have tried to explain below. Following this I have attempted to correlate the information we have. Any number of pubs are mentioned in Ripper literature but the information is often confused or incorrect and it has not been tied together in one place. It is hoped that this piece will form a basis for further investigations and discussions by readers of it.
Background -- Let’s Escape to the Pub!
By the 1880s the part of London bounded by the docks of Shadwell, Wapping and Limehouse, running north through Stepney, Whitechapel, Spitalfields, Bethnal Green and Shoreditch was an area characterised by poverty. Labour was frequently casual, such as in the docks and the London markets where workers were hired by the day. Even in occupations where the work was regular, hours were often long and the pay pitiful. There were pockets of affluence and some desirable addresses but the bulk of the population was living in dirty, overcrowded houses, which were frequently rented by the room, in ill-drained and ill-lit streets and courtyards. Sometimes the back gardens of larger, older houses would be built over with single or twin story shacks, the side passageway giving these new hovels access to the main street. A family of six might easily find itself living in a room under ten feet square, and to help with the rent they might even take in a lodger. If the occupants were working different shifts, several of them could use the same bed at different times of the day!
With much of the cheaper land in central London being redeveloped for commercial premises and for the new railways in the middle years of the century, a displaced working class population had moved east. At the same time the nineteenth century saw a change in the balance of the population with many thousands of country dwellers moving into the cities to fill the new industrial jobs and to service the population that lived there. Combined with the arrival at the London docks of Irish immigrants escaping the famine in the 1840s and Eastern European Jews fleeing persecution from the 1870s, East London was becoming grossly overcrowded by 1888.
Through the heart of the old East End ran Commercial Street. It was the result of redevelopment in the 1840s, which had been aimed largely at slum clearance. Unfortunately the effect of demolishing the old rookeries was short lived as a result of the factors listed above. Running off both sides of Commercial Street between Wentworth Street the south end and Spitalfields Market was a section known as the ‘Wicked Quarter Mile’. Here the back streets were characterised by the presence of the ‘common lodging houses’ in and out of which lived the lowest social classes. These ‘doss houses’ contained a communal kitchen and perhaps one other shared room downstairs for the lodgers, and charged for a bed by the night. A double bed would cost 8d, a single 4d and when the all the beds were taken a rope might be fixed down the middle of the room with residents sleeping against it back-to-back for 2d. Those without the money for their lodgings were evicted nightly. It was in the doss houses of Dorset Street, Fashion Street, Flower & Dean Street and Thrawl Street that the victims of Jack The Ripper lived, the exception being Mary Jane Kelly who had her own room in Millers Court (partitioned off behind a house in Dorset Street).
The Role of Public Houses in East London
Little wonder then that the local residents sought refuge from their miserable existence in the public houses. There were certainly plenty to choose from. It is often said that that in the old East End there was ‘a pub on every street corner’, and a glance at the records for the time suggests that this is not a huge exaggeration. Indeed the one mile section of the Whitechapel Road running from the corner of Commercial Street to Stepney Green contained no less than forty-eight pubs in 1899. In 1888, in an area thriving with various businesses connected to Spitalfields Market, there were six pubs on Commercial Street just between the corners of Wentworth Street and Hanbury Street; today there are three.
There is some evidence that pub numbers were already falling by this time. A temperance map compiled twenty years earlier shows a heavier cluster of pubs in the market area than can be accounted for in the street directories of 1888. One specific example is a pub called the Northumberland Arms at 44 Fashion Street, a mean side road connecting Commercial Street to Brick Lane. Having traded as a public house for some time, it is still listed in the 1888 Kelly’s London Post Office Directory (licensee Thomas Bergin), but then disappears suddenly the following year. It did not trade as a pub subsequently.
Pubs were not only places in which to drink. With their bright lights and warm fires they provided an excellent place for family, friends and colleagues to meet. And with many homes lacking cooking facilities they were also a source of wholesome hot meals. Furthermore pubs could be relatively inexpensive places in the days before governments discovered their true potential for raising tax. It was still possible to get roaring drunk for a shilling, but many of their patrons didn’t choose to do that, using them for conversation or for playing cards or pub games. Some pubs ran or formed a meeting point for savings clubs. Members contributed small amounts of money to local societies to provide for social outings, burial funds, or simply to save in order to secure a loan at low interest. Larger public houses with separate rooms might provide facilities for dancing or music (which included participatory singing), or for debates. This included political gatherings, with political parties hiring rooms for lectures, debates and recruitment meetings.
It is unlikely however, that many of the characters from the Spitalfields doss houses patronised public houses offering wholesome entertainment or facilities for self-improvement. Most of the pubs in that locality had small drinking areas only, though some may have had an upstairs bar too. Regulars were packed in, often whole families together. Conditions were rudimentary with most pubs favouring bare wooden floors and long tables.
Brewers and Drinks
For many patrons of these pubs the objective was to obliterate their menial existence for a while. One way to achieve this was through drinking spirits, such as gin. The latter had been a particular social problem in eighteenth century society and being a relatively cheap spirit it was still very popular. The novelist Margaret Harkness describes beggars in the docks collecting enough coins to buy their “three ha’pence of gin”.
References to Jack The Ripper’s victims continually mention their fondness for the ‘mothers ruin’. However references to at least three of them indicate that they also drank beer, which by 1888 had become the main fuel of drunkenness. This was no accident. In fact some years earlier there had been a political ‘keep beer cheap’ campaign, not only to wean the urban population away from the harmful effects of gin, but also because beer was very filling. With much of the food affordable to the working classes being of poor quality, beer was considered nutritious.
During the late nineteenth century there were many more breweries operating than is the case today, and East London was well provided for. There were still some small, independent brewers, such as in nearby Spellman Street but, as the names show, the industry had experienced considerable amalgamations already. The largest operator was Truman Hanbury & Buxton. This company’s brewery stood at 91 Brick Lane, just minutes from the epicentre of the Ripper murders. In fact the brewer Mr. Sampson Hanbury had given his name to the street in which Annie Chapman was killed. As we shall see, in the area of Spitalfields east of Commercial Street T.H. & B. appear to have had a virtual monopoly of the tied houses. Another major brewer was Mann Crossman & Paulin in Whitechapel Road, and further east where it became Mile End Road was Charrington & Co. Heavy wagons loaded with barley from the East Anglian cereal belt still rolled into the East End along this major artery, whilst the hops were brought up from Sussex and Kent, where Catherine Eddowes had been hop picking.
The beers brewed were of four basic types. In approximate order of strength these were mild; pale (which we would now call bitter); porter and stout. All except pale were dark beers brewed with well-roasted barley. (Only during the First World War did dark beer go out of fashion when the government imposed energy restrictions on the industry). A close examination of the picture of The Britannia under the Casebook’s “Victorian London/Whitechapel photographs”, section shows some of these types listed on the sign affixed to the outside of the building. Porter was a very popular style in London, taking its name from the market workers who drank large quantities of it. When the railways facilitated the transportation of beer around the country, Burton-on-Trent in Staffordshire became an important centre of the brewing industry, the salts in the local water giving its beers a distinctive taste. Other brewers were copying this style of pale/bitter as ‘Burton’. All beer was more alcoholic than its equivalent brew today - even the mild would be stronger than a modern pint of best bitter and few stouts contained less than 8% alcohol by volume.
Drunkenness and Prostitution
Overall a population which sweated out its beer by performing long hours of hard, physical work appears to have held its drink well. However drunkenness was a common problem, especially at weekends and in the lowest districts. Given the moralistic nature of Victorian society this inevitably gave rise to considerable debate amongst the chattering classes. Often this was conducted through the columns of the newspapers, which had become obsessed with the condition of the underclass in what would now be described as ‘the inner cities’. The question as to whether people were poor because they drank, or drank because they were poor was well aired. In fact this debate pre-dated the Ripper murders by a few years. Early sociologists such as Charles Booth (who performed studies in the East End) had already investigated the subject. Booth had reached the unfashionable conclusion that it was the poor socio-economic conditions of the area that caused excessive drinking.
Whatever the cause, newspaper reports and court records of the time show a constant stream of offenders being dealt with by magistrates. A study of the penalties for being drunk and disorderly shows a full range of sentences, from fines to jail sentences with hard labour. Miscreants were frequently imprisoned because they could not afford to pay the fine. Elizabeth Stride was a regular at the Thames Police Court. She had been convicted eight times since the beginning of 1887 under her own name and probably under other names too. Catherine Eddowes was released (in line with a City of London Police policy), after being arrested for drunkenness, only to run into the killer.
A study of the books dealing with the Whitechapel Murders show that Spitalfields pubs contained their share of notorious characters. Of these, some of the most vivid portraits appear in Tom Cullen’s ‘Autumn of Terror’. An interview conducted in the late 1950s or early ‘60s with an old market porter called Dennis Barrett describes a shirtless Irishman who went from one pub to another starting fights; a legless man who when in drink would use one of his wooden legs to smash up pub interiors and a woman with the wonderful name Mrs. Flower-on-the-Flock who was mean with a knife! All three of these undesirables apparently lodged in Dorset Street. Barrett also described how Mary Jane Kelly plied her trade outside the Ten Bells. Cullen’s descriptions are very colourful, but they cannot always be taken as gospel. One gets the impression that either some of his elderly witnesses’ memories were faulty or else they were concocting or embellishing stories in the same way that so many witnesses did to journalists at the height of the panic. That said, accounts like this are useful in giving a flavour of Spitalfields at the time.
Preying on the unwary drinkers in the pubs was an unsavoury mix of characters looking to turn a quick buck. The worst houses were patronised by pimps, prostitutes, pickpockets, cardsharps and illegal bookmakers, all just waiting for their opportunity to part the visitor from his money.
In the dock areas women hung around the public houses aiming to pick up sailors who had been discharged from their ships with money to spend. After a few drinks the sailor would be lured away to the prostitute’s den. At or on the way to it he would be attached, robbed of his money and thrown into the road. Some students of the Frances Coles murder have alleged that the attack on Thomas Saddler in Thrawl Street after a drinking bout in the local pubs was just such an incident. Street garroting was one means of attack. Here the victim was grabbed from behind by a tall man and lifted by the throat. An old East End villain called Arthur Harding, writing about a slightly later period, mentions Flower & Dean Street and specifically the Fleur de Lis in Elder Street as favourite sites for garroting in the Spitalfields area. (He probably confused a pub called the Elder Tree with nearby Fleur De Lis Street).
Some prostitutes would sit in the pubs awaiting clients. However with little money to spend this was not a profitable means of attracting custom, and the chance pick-ups here were likely to be those of the ‘casuals’ who resorted to prostitution occasionally. Furthermore she had to be discreet, landlords were wary because the conviction of a prostitute for soliciting in his pub could lead to the loss of his license. Therefore for the hardened ‘pro’ a more reliable trade could be obtained by waiting outside the premises. Unfortunately the police had powers to arrest soliciting prostitutes and were under instructions to move loiterers on, so she had to keep moving, (though so numerous were these women in some places that the police didn’t bother them as long as they weren’t making nuisances of themselves). Prostitutes therefore developed beats of their own, walking the same streets for long periods and dipping into likely pubs periodically. This is why they were known as ‘street walkers’. Kelly, for instance, is known to have worked a beat in the Leman Street area as well as soliciting closer to home around Commercial Street. On the night she was murdered, Stride may have been working in the area on and to the south of the Commercial Road.
List A. Pubs Of The ‘Wicked Quarter Mile’ 1888
With hundreds of pubs to choose from in the East End it was not possible to document all of them in my research. So to begin with let us focus on the immediate area where the victims lived. Here they would have taken a social drink, as well as one when working. Obviously they would have been familiar with the pubs over a much wider radius, like those on the beats they pounded, but this is a good starting point especially since both Chapman and Kelly appear to have made their fatal encounters around this locality.
For this particular pub crawl we shall start at the Prince Albert in Brushfield Street, walk down to Crispin Street and then up Dorset Street. From here we cross Commercial Street and make our way straight to Hanbury Street, where we work back to the main road and along the eastern side of Commercial Street to Wentworth Street, nipping off down Thrawl Street for one drink on the way.
21 Brushfield Street
- Located on the northern side of Brushfield Street at the western corner of the junction with Stewart Street. Brushfield Street ran parallel with Dorset Street, both being to the west of Commercial Street. It formed one side of the Spitalfields Market area and it contained four other pubs which would have been sustained by the local market porters.
- The pub does not exist today.
- In 1888 the landlord was Samuel Fiddymont.
- After Annie Chapman was murdered, Mrs. Fiddymont described a wild-eyed man with bloodstains who entered the pub on the morning of the murder. Speculation has tied this character into a number of suspects at the time of the ‘Leather Apron’ publicity. Mrs. Fiddymont attended identity parades featuring serious suspects such as Pizer and Pigott. It is possible that she identified somebody like this who was later ruled out of being the murderer for other reasons.
1 Crispin Street
- Located on the eastern side of Crispin Street, the pub stood at the northern corner of the junction with White’s Row, (opposite Ravens Row). Crispin Street ran parallel to Commercial Street (to the west) and connected the middle of Brushfield Street to the bottom of Dorset Street and White’s Row.
- The pub does not exist today.
- The landlord in 1888 was Abraham Cohen. By the end of 1889 Cohen had gone from the pub and is not listed elsewhere in the Commercial Directory (unless he already had another business, which is an outside possibility). He was replaced by John Booker.
- There is no direct connection to any victim or suspect, but a meeting of the Mile End Vigilance Committee was held here on the Tuesday after Kelly's death. Almost certainly, this makes Cohen a member of that organisation.
HORN OF PLENTY
5 Crispin Street
- Located on the eastern side of Crispin Street at the northern corner of the junction with Dorset Street. The Providence Row Women's Refuge was on the other side of Crispin Street.
- The pub does not exist today. An old photograph does exist [but unfortunately not in the author's collection. Has anybody else seen it?]. The photo, which also shows the bottom end of Dorset Street, is very clear and identifies the Horn Of Plenty as a Charrington pub.
- The landlord in 1888 was Christopher Brown.
- A tailor called Maurice Lewis claimed that he saw Mary Jane Kelly drinking in this pub with one man and several women friends on the evening prior to her murder. Lewis named the man as Danny and one woman as Julia. He claimed that ‘Danny’ was the man she had lived with until recently and that he was an orange seller in the local markets. This is possibly a description of Joe Barnett and either Julia the prostitute who Barnett claimed caused his bust-up with Kelly when she came to stay, or Julia Venturney, a fellow resident of Miller’s Court. (They were quite likely the same person anyway). However Lewis also claims to have seen Kelly in The Britannia the following morning, after most Ripper students agree that she was dead. His identification of her could therefore have been wrong despite his claims to have known her for five years, i.e. long before she moved to Dorset Street. Newspaper reports after the murder show considerable confusion over Kelly’s identity from those claiming to have known her. Mary Jane was undeniably a bar-fly, but her use of the Horn Of Plenty must remain ‘not proven’.
BLUE COAT BOY
32 Dorset Street
- Located almost mid-street on the northern side, it was situated on the corner with New Court, the middle of the three narrow alleys which ran off that side of Dorset Street.
- The pub was demolished when Spitalfields Market was extended 1928-29.
- The landlord in 1888 was William James Turner. He remained here until 1905.
- The writer knows of no victims or suspects being spotted here - perhaps surprisingly given the location.
87 Commercial Street
- Located on the western side of Commercial Street at the northern corner of the junction with Dorset Street.
- The pub was demolished at the same time as the Blue Coat Boy. It can be seen in a photograph on the Casebook. Navigate to “Victorian London/Whitechapel photographs”.
- The landlord in 1888 was officially Walter Ringer - rather curious since according to researcher Adam Wood he had been dead since 1881! That is why contemporary accounts place Mrs. Matilda Ringer behind the bar. It has been said that Walter was also trading from 78 Brushfield Street as a picture frame maker, having previously owned such a shop at the corner of Commercial Street and White’s Row. In fact the shop owner was probably his cousin.
- The Britannia was sometimes referred to as “Ringer’s” in inquest testimonies. This may have given the jury the false impression that Ringer’s and The Britannia were two different pubs.
- The pub was the first choice of Annie Chapman and Mary Jane Kelly. The row that was to cause Annie’s famous fight with Eliza Cooper started in here. It also played host to a number of peripheral characters.
- Unconfirmed reports place Kelly in The Britannia at 11 p.m. on the 8th November in a drunken state. According to an article in the “The Yorkshire Post” a witness called Elizabeth Foster claimed to be drinking in here with her that evening. Foster did not appear at the inquest so there must be a question mark against the story. It is probably in The Britannia that Kelly picked up the man carrying a bucket of beer who was seen by Mary Ann Cox in Miller’s Court.
- The tailor Maurice Lewis claimed to have seen Kelly here at about 10 a.m. on 9th November, by which time she is supposed to have been dead. As with his sighting at the Horn Of Plenty there must be considerable doubt about Lewis’ identification. Caroline Maxwell also claimed to have seen Kelly standing outside the pub earlier that morning. Once again there are question marks about her identification or the date. Alternatively the doctors, as well as the majority of Ripperologists, are wrong about the time of Kelly’s death.
23 Hanbury Street
- Located on the north side of Hanbury Street, three doors from Annie Chapman's murder site at No. 29.
- The pub does not exist today.
- The landlord in 1888 was Thomas David Roberts.
- The writer is unaware of any sightings of victims or suspects here. It may be noted though that the pub yard, which was designated number 23a, was occupied by J. & T. Bayley’s packing case works. When John Davis discovered Annie Chapman’s body at no. 29, he first summoned help from two workmen called Kent and Green who worked at the yard.
- Stephen Knight claimed that there were Masonic meetings of the Humber Lodge and Lodge of Stability here and in the Weaver’s Arms.
17 Hanbury Street
- Also located on the northern side (closer to Commercial Street), at the eastern corner of the junction with John Street.
- It does not exist today. There is an old photograph, albeit taken 30 years later. See Sugden’s Complete History of Jack The Ripper, illustration 6. The pub can be clearly identified as a Truman Hanbury & Buxton house.
- In 1888 the licensee was William Turner. It is interesting that the landlord at the Blue Coat Boy shared the same name, though it appears that they were not one and the same person. Turner is a common surname and a number of William Turners are listed in the Commercial Directory. By the end of 1888 this Turner had departed. No licensee is listed for 1889. The following year the pub was managed by Edmund Farrow, formerly of the George IV (see below).
- The writer is unaware of any sightings of victims or suspects here. Knight claimed that there were Masonic meetings of the Humber Lodge and Lodge of Stability here and in the Black Swan.
- Another interesting connection to the Ripper was unearthed by researcher Andy Aliffe. It had been known that Mary Jane Kelly’s landlord, John McCarthy was friends with the music hall star Marie Lloyd, that he used to drink with her in the area and that she was instrumental in getting one of his daughters into show business. In fact, all four of McCarthy’s daughters ended up on the stage and this pub, which was popularly known as Cooney’s after its owner (who incidentally owned the common lodging house where Kate Eddowes lodged), had theatrical links. Several well-known personalities used to drink at the Weaver’s Arms. Many of them attended McCarthy’s funeral.
110 Commercial Street
- Located on the eastern side of Commercial Street at the southern corner of the junction with Hanbury Street.
- The pub still exists today. Less famous than the Ten Bells and the City Darts (Princess Alice), it is nonetheless well worth a visit. It has some interesting wall paneling which contains the names of long forgotten beers (though not of Victorian vintage). London Beefeaters hold meetings at the pub. The current licensee is of direct Huguenot descent. (Huguenots were French Protestants. Religious persecution caused many of them to flee to England from the 1680s onwards. A sizable contingent settled in Spitalfields where they built the Brick Lane area and operated the local silk trade).
- The Golden Heart was a Truman Hanbury & Buxton house.
- In 1888 the landlady was a Mrs. Charlotte Cakebread. This pub was in fact run by the Cakebread family for decades. Publican was an occupation which ran in families and the Cakebreads provide a classic example. The Commercial Directory for 1873 tells us that Samuel Charles Cakebread Snr. was the landlord here and that the nearby Queen’s Head belonged to a John Smithers Cakebread. It lists only three other people with that surname and all of them are London publicans!
- The writer is unaware of any sightings of victims or suspects here. The character Mrs. Flower-on-the-Flock described by Cullen allegedly slashed a man’s face outside.
92 Commercial Street
- Located on the eastern side of Commercial Street at the northern corner of the entrance to Red Lion Court (which was renamed Puma Court in the 1890s).
- The pub does not exist today.
- The landlord in 1888 was Frederick Garner. Kelly’s Directory of that year gives only his name and the description ‘beer retailer’, the pub not being named. This is not uncommon; for example the Horn Of Plenty is listed similarly. Both were unlicensed pubs. Premises licensed as full public houses were displayed on Ordnance Survey maps, whereas beer shops were not. As a result some Ripper students have been unable to trace particular pubs, or have mistaken one pub for another. Garner left the business during 1889 and is not listed in the Commercial Directory for 1890.
- The writer is unaware of any sightings of victims or suspects here.
84 Commercial Street
- Located on the eastern side of Commercial Street at the northern corner of the junction with Church Street, (now Fournier Street
- A Grade II listed building, the Ten Bells still exists today and is world famous. It is patronised daily by visitors on Ripper walking tours. The pub contains a great deal of Ripper memorabilia. It also has some fine nineteenth century wall tiles and a fantastic Victorian freeze of Georgian weavers in Spitalfields.
- Between 1976 and 1988 the pub was called the Jack The Ripper.
- In 1888 the landlord was John Waldron. Some press accounts refer to him as E. Waldron.
- It was another Truman Hanbury & Buxton house.
- Apparently another regular haunt of Mary Jane’s! Some authors mention that drinkers from here and The Britannia provided flowers for her funeral. Cullen has her pitching for trade outside.
- Elizabeth Prater drank here. She lived in the room directly above Kelly and she was also a prostitute. At 5:45 the morning of Kelly’s murder Prater, went out to the Ten Bells for an early morning drink.
- Charles Preston, who identified Liz Stride’s body, remembered her having been taken into custody for being drunk and disorderly at the Ten Bells one Sunday morning in the summer of 1888 (according to the testimony that appeared in the Daily Telegraph).
- Annie Chapman may have used the Ten Bells too. There was a persistent rumour that she had been in the pub around 5 a.m. on the morning of her murder, before a man arrived and called her outside. The story appears to have originated from the ‘pot-man’. It is hard to know whether there is any truth in this claim, but it is probably significant that nobody was called to testify to the story at the inquest.
74 Commercial Street
- Located on the eastern side of Commercial Street at the northern corner of the junction with Fashion Street.
- The pub does not exist today.
- In 1888 the landlord was Richard Dipple.
- Liz Stride used the Queen’s Head. Her lodging house keeper, Elizabeth Tanner, saw Stride in the bar at 6:30 p.m. on her last evening alive. The Jack The Ripper A-Z appears to repeat the story told by Charles Preston at Strides inquest (see Ten Bells above), but attributes the location to the Queen’s Head.
- In addition, it was outside this pub in the light provided by its lamps that George Hutchinson saw Mary Jane Kelly meet a ‘toff’ suspect in the astrakhan coat. He followed them back to Miller’s Court. Three days later he offered police a very full description of the man.
13 Brick Lane
- Located on the western side of Brick Lane at the northern corner of the junction with Thrawl Street. This section of Brick Lane ran parallel to Commercial Street with Thrawl Street connecting them.
- The building still exists but not as a pub. It was converted into a curry restaurant in 1991. When used for its original purpose the Frying Pan was another Truman Hanbury & Buxton pub.
- The licensee was William Farrow who came from another family of publicans. Records for 1873 show that William was already at this pub, whilst a Henry Farrow is listed as landlord of The Archers at 24 Osborn Street (which is still there today). William was an experienced landlord, evidently well trusted by the brewery because in 1888 he also held the license to The Old Three Colts at 450 Old Ford Road, Bow. This may have been a temporary appointment. By 1890 he had The Frying Pan and the George IV in Berner Street (see below).
- On her last evening alive Polly Nichols drank her doss money away here. Since there is no specific mention of a man with her (who would have been a suspect), we are entitled to guess that she was a regular.
42 Commercial Street
- Located on the eastern side of Commercial Street at the southern corner of the junction with Wentworth Street.
- A Grade II listed building, the pub still exists today but is now called the City Darts. It was renamed in the 1980s. Originally it took its name from Princess Alice Maud Mary, Duchess Of Saxony who was Queen Victoria’s third child and not after the boat which sank in the 1878 River Thames disaster.
- The landlord in 1888 was Arthur Ferrar. By the end of 1889 Ferrar had left the pub and had disappeared completely from the Commercial Directory.
- The Princess Alice was yet another Truman Hanbury & Buxton pub.
- Allegedly a favourite haunt of John Pizer, a.k.a. Leather Apron and his friend ‘Mickeldy Joe’.
- Frances Coles also used the pub. It is where she met the ship’s fireman Thomas Saddler, who knew her from a previous spell of shore leave. They moved on quickly because Coles was worried that other regulars, seeing her in the company of a client with money to spend, would expect her to buy them drinks. There followed a two-day drinking binge at other pubs around the district prior to Coles’ murder. By that time (February 1891) the landlady was Elizabeth Cruse.
List B: Other Local Pubs of Interest
A study of the available material reveals a number of other public houses with connections to the case. These and some others of interest are listed here, grouped by their location and connection with individual incidents.
142 Commercial Street
- Some way separated from the others listed previously, it was the only other pub in Commercial Street. It was located on the eastern side at the northern corner of the junction with Wheler Street.
- A beautiful, imposing Victorian pub, the building still exists today. After a period of closure and partial dereliction it was re-opened in 1999.
- The pub was a Charrington house.
- The landlord in 1888 was William Blumsom.
- The writer is unaware of any sightings of victims or suspects here, though the staff claim that the pub is linked to Joseph Merrick, the ‘Elephant Man’ who was resident at the London Hospital, Whitechapel. The ‘Commercial’ doubtless did a good trade from the nearby Royal Cambridge Hall Of Varieties at number 136.
154 Brick Lane
- Located on the eastern side of Brick Lane at the northern corner of the junction with Buxton Street.
- The building is still standing, but it is no longer a pub.
- The landlord in 1888 was William Rider.
- Alleged victim Martha Tabram, with her friend Mary Ann Connolly, met two soldiers on the August Bank Holiday, 1888 at a pub of this name. Tabram was murdered early the following morning. Writers on the subject have disagreed as to the pub’s location. Dan Farson thought it was The Two Brewers located at Dukes Shore, Limehouse. Given the location of the other places where Tabram was seen this is most unlikely. It was almost certainly this establishment unless the name was misreported. There was a pub called the Two Bells at 6-7 Whitechapel High Street, which would fit even better into the geography.
20 Whitechapel High Street
- Located on the southern side towards the Aldgate end, at the corner with White Swan Yard. (This was close to the corner of Leman Street).
- The pub does not exist today.
- In 1888 the landlord was a Frederick Davis.
- Having picked up their soldiers, Tabram and Connolly engaged in a heavy night of drinking with them before they paired off to visit separate alleys at about 11:45 p.m. The White Swan was mentioned specifically by Connolly as one of several pubs they visited.
89 Whitechapel High Street
- Located on the northern side of Whitechapel High Street at the western corner of the junction with George Yard, (now Gunthorpe Street).
- The pub still exists today and is a popular haunt with a mixed clientele. Some of the Ripper walks stop at it.
- In 1888 the landlord was George Cross.
- The mean alley beside the pub was George Yard in which stood George Yard Buildings on the left hand side. It was on a communal staircase there that Martha Tabram met her end. In addition the suspect Severin Klosowski, (a.k.a. George Chapman), worked at a barber’s shop in the basement c1890.
ANGEL & CROWN
2 Whitechapel Road
- Located on the northern side of Whitechapel Road between the eastern corner of the junction with Osborn Street and Green Dragon Yard.
- The pub no longer exists today.
- In 1888 the licensee was Thomas Bullock.
- Robin Odell has Tabram drinking here on the night of her murder as well.
34 Settles Street
- Located on the eastern side of Settles Street at the southern corner of the junction with Fordham Street. A church stood nearby. At its southern end, Settles Street joins Commercial Road opposite Christian Street.
- The building is still standing, but it is no longer a pub.
- In 1888 the landlord was Walter Cook.
- At 11 o’clock on the night of her death, Elizabeth Stride was seen here by two labourers called Best and Gardner. She was embracing a man who they described as definitely English. The couple then left and walked towards Commercial Road.
46 Berner Street
- Located on the western side of Berner Street, at the northern corner of the junction with Fairclough Street. The International Working Men’s Club and Dutfield's Yard were just yards away at number 40.
- The pub does not exist today. However it can be seen in a photograph on the Casebook… Navigate to “Victorian London/Whitechapel photographs”, choose “Berner Street” and study the first picture. A close examination of the above photograph (taken in 1909) shows advertisements for a variety of products. This is because the building was converted to a chandler’s shop c1897.
- In 1888 the licensee was Louis Hagens. He was another ‘beer retailer’ according to the Kelly’s. At no time before or after that year do the Post Office Directories tell us the pub’s name. By the end of 1889 Hagens had left and disappeared completely from the Trade Directory.
- Israel Schwartz, in what was probably a highly significant statement to the police, described an attack on Elizabeth Stride near the gateway to the International Working Men’s Club by a man. As Schwartz crossed the street Stride’s assailant called out the word ‘Lipski’ and an apparent accomplice, who had been standing in the pub doorway, started to follow Schwartz who ran off. Only later when talking to the Star newspaper (via an interpreter) did Schwartz allege that the second man had come out of the pub. Although it is frequently stated as fact, that detail may not be true.
68 Berner Street
- Located on the western side of Berner Street, south of Fairclough Street and at the northern corner of the junction with Boyd Street.
- The pub does not exist today.
- In 1888 the licensee was one Edmund Farrow. He was related to William Farrow (possibly his son), landlord of the Frying Pan in Brick Lane. Before the end of 1889 William had taken over this pub temporarily, whilst Edmund had moved to The Weaver’s Arms in Hanbury Street.
- Though it has no known connection to suspects or victims, this pub is of interest for more reasons than just its landlords. It was close to Stride’s murder scene. William Marshall who lived at number 64, witnessed her with a man close to his house.
24 Batty Street
- Located mid-street on the western side. Batty Street runs south from Commercial Road, parallel to Berner Street which is one block to the west of it.
- The pub does not exist today.
- The landlord in 1888 was Henry Guy.
- Another pub not known to have been used by Ripper victims or suspects, but still of interest. At the height of the panic which followed the ‘double event’ we know that the police watched a number of houses. One address identified in the press was 22 Batty Street, right next door to the pub. A lodger, or just possibly a visitor depositing washing, left a bloody shirt at this address. He never returned to collect it. Stewart Evans and Paul Gainey believe this person to have been the suspect Francis Tumblety, and that he was lodging at number 22.
- Israel Lipski lived at number 16 where he murdered Miriam Angel. He was hanged for the crime in 1887. Israel Schwartz said that the man he saw attacking Stride called out the word “Lipski”.
HOOP & GRAPES
14 Widegate Street
- Located on the southern side of Widegate Street at the corner with Sandy’s Row. It is only three minutes walk from Miller’s Court.
- The pub was rebuilt in 1902 and the building still exists today as the King’s Stores, (so named because of its proximity to some ex-government bonded warehouses). Modern photos can be found in John Smithkey’s article about the pubs.
- The border between the City Of London and East London runs through Sandy’s Row so the pub is busy with local office workers, especially as it contains a pizza bar and has big screen sports facilities.
- The pub was a Whitbread house.
- The licensee in 1888 was W. H. Burden.
- The pub makes the claim “Jack The Ripper last seen here”. This story almost certainly stems from the press reports that a chestnut vendor called Mrs. Paumier claimed to have seen a suspicious man when outside the pub with her barrow. A well-dressed stranger in a black coat and a black silk hat approached her from Artillery Row and asked, “I suppose you have heard about the murder in Dorset Street?” When Mrs. Paumier said she had, he replied “I know more about it than you” and walked away.
50 Middlesex Street
- Located on the eastern side of Middlesex Street at the southern corner of the junction with New Goulston Street. It is only two minutes walk from the building where a portion of Eddowes’ apron and the chalked graffiti were found.
- The pub still exists today but it was recently refurbished and renamed the Market Trader. The alterations have changed its character a little. Being close to the City Of London, the pub is popular with office workers as well as the local market workers.
- The licensee in 1888 was William Rose. He was still landlord in 1891.
- Another port of call for Frances Coles and ship’s fireman Saddler on their drinking bout, 12th February 1891.
36 Jewry Street
- Located on the eastern side of Jewry Street, just 50 yards south of Aldgate High Street. Mitre Square is two minutes walk away.
- The pub still exists today. Being on the fringe of the City it is patronised by many office workers.
- The landlord in 1888 was William Jones.
- It was a Charrington house.
- Albert Bachert, who was a member of the Mile End Vigilance Committee and later its Chairman, visited the pub on the evening of the ‘double event’. He described a suspect with a black hat and bag who approached him just before midnight and enquired about the local prostitutes, passing some uncomplimentary remarks about them as he did so. He then left with a woman selling matches. It is possible that this man knew of Bachert’s connection to the Vigilance Committee, but more than likely he was simply a crank. Other stories about Bachert suggest that he himself was something of a self-publicist.
74 Mile End Road
- Located on the southern side of Mile End Road at the western corner of the junction with Jubilee Street.
- The pub no longer exists today.
- The licensee in 1888 was Joseph Aarons. He was the Treasurer of the most famous and influential of the ‘Vigilance Committees’ which operated in the area, namely the Mile End Vigilance Committee From the 11th September the Committee met nightly at an upstairs room in the pub with a view to discussing developments about the case, collecting new information from the public and after the pub closed at 12:30, operating street patrols.
- Aarons took the pub during 1882. At some point during 1889 he left the business. This may have been a result of the loss of trade suffered by local businesses because of the murders. By 1891 he was back in business as a publican, running ‘The Horns’ at 53 Middlesex Street.
Points for Debate and Further Research
- How come that within one tiny area around Commercial Street some pubs like The Britannia, Ten Bells and Princess Alice gained lasting notoriety through the Ripper case, whilst others such as the Blue Coat Boy and the Red Lion don’t even merit a mention? Were the latter more strictly run houses, which refused service to persons they considered undesirable? Could they have been second rate establishments serving stale beer and inedible food? Does anybody have some ideas?
- We have identified pubs in which Tabram, Nichols, Chapman, Stride, Kelly and Coles drank. Nowhere have we linked a pub with Eddowes. Does anybody know of one?
- Could Jack The Ripper have been a local publican?
With Thanks To…
Casebook - Jack The Ripper. Especially to Stephen Ryder.
Casebook Productions Inc.
Cloak & Dagger Club website.
Adam Wood Esq.
Jack The Ripper - The Uncensored Facts, by Paul Begg (Robson Books, 1988).
The Jack The Ripper A To Z, by P. Begg, M. Fido & K. Skinner (Headline, 1991).
Autumn Of Terror, by Tom Cullen (Bodley Head, 1965).
Jack The Ripper First American Serial Killer, by Stewart Evans & Paul Gainey (Arrow, 1996).
Crimes, Detection & Death of Jack The Ripper, by Martin Fido (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1987).
The Streets of East London, by William J. Fishman (Duckworth, 1979).
East End 1888, by William J. Fishman (Duckworth, 1988).
Jack The Ripper - The Final Solution, by Stephen Knight (Harrap, 1976).
The People Of The Abyss, by Jack London (Nelson, 1903).
Jack The Ripper - In Fact & Fiction, by Robin Odell (Harrap, 1965).
The Complete Jack The Ripper, by Donald Rumbelow (W.H. Allen, 1987 edition).
East End Underworld: Chapters in the Life Of Arthur Harding, by Samuel Raphael (Routledge & Kegan Paul 1981).
The Complete History Of Jack The Ripper, by Philip Sugden (Robinson, 1994).
The Illustrated Police News.
The Daily Telegraph.
Kelly’s Post Office London Directories 1873-1910.
City Of London Directory 1888.
The East End Tourism Trust.
J. D. Wetherspoon Plc.
The Bishopsgate Institute.
The remaining pubs in the area. Cheers!