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 A Ripperologist Article 
This article originally appeared in Ripperologist magazine. Ripperologist is the most respected Ripper periodical on the market and has garnered our highest recommendation for serious students of the case. For more information, view our Ripperologist page. Our thanks to the editor of Ripperologist for permission to reprint this article.
The Butcher’s Row Suspect – Was He Jack the Ripper?


In his memoirs, retired City of London Police Inspector Robert Sagar reportedly said about the Jack the Ripper murders, “We had good reason to suspect a man who worked in Butcher’s Row, Aldgate. We watched him carefully. There was no doubt that this man was insane, and after a time his friends thought it advisable to have him removed to a private asylum. After he was removed, there were no more Ripper atrocities.” (Reynolds News, 15 September 1946.) Earlier remarks attributed to Inspector Sagar tell us that “…suspicion fell upon a man, who, without a doubt, was the murderer. Identification being impossible, he could not be charged. He was, however, placed in a lunatic asylum and the series of atrocities came to an end.” (The City Press, 7 January 1905). These accounts are similar to those made by retired London Metropolitan Police Superintendent Donald Swanson, who wrote privately about the Met’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Assistant Commissioner Robert Anderson’s suspect, a Polish Jew. Swanson, a Chief Inspector at the time of the murders, wrote that Anderson’s suspect was taken with difficulty to a place and identified by a witness. But the witness refused to provide further evidence against the suspect, effectively terminating the identification process, so that no charges could be brought against him. Consequently, the police reluctantly had to return the suspect to his brother’s house, where “he was watched by police [City CID] by day & night.” More significantly, Swanson wrote “And after this identification which suspect knew, no other murder of this kind took place in London.” In other words, as soon as the suspect realised that he was identified, the murdering of prostitutes by his recognized modus operandi (slashing of the throat), came to an end. Swanson named this suspect “Kosminski.”

Melville Macnaghten, the Chief Constable of the Metropolitan Police, described three Ripper suspects in a confidential 1894 police memorandum. One of these suspects he named as “Kosminski,” a Polish Jew and a resident of Whitechapel. Macnaghten also thought that this particular Kosminski went to an asylum about March 1889. Could Kosminski, or somebody similar, have worked as a butcher in Butcher’s Row, and could he have been watched by the police prior to that date? Sagar implied that the suspect he had watched worked as a butcher, but gave few other details. Who was this Butcher’s Row suspect and was his brother’s or another relation’s “house” actually a butcher’s shop? If so, when did the police keep watch on this suspect? And who were his “friends”, if not the suspect’s brother, or another relation?

Butcher’s Row, Aldgate High Street during late Victorian times. Street numbers refer to the premises addresses. Map 145, B22, no 71 Vol .3 (By permission of the British Library)

The Location of Butcher’s Row

The name “Butcher’s Row” originates from long before Victorian times, when animals were herded up from Essex along Whitechapel Road to the old (“ald”) city gate. Here, the animals were slaughtered so owners could avoid paying taxes on live animals brought inside the city walls. This practice continued well into the nineteenth century, long after the special taxation had been abolished. By the latter half of the century, Aldgate, along with Spitalfields and Whitechapel, had become progressively more populated by Jewish immigrants from the Continent. Many Jewish-run hotels and restaurants sprang up on side streets near the Aldgate High Street thoroughfare to support the abundant Jewish trade shops operating in the immediate area. There was a large slaughterhouse behind a row of shop stalls on Aldgate High Street and north of Little Somerset Street. This slaughterhouse probably supplied much of the meat sold in the Aldgate area. Further east, where Aldgate High Street became Whitechapel High Street, there were at least six other slaughterhouses licensed to produce meat for human consumption. To attract numerous Jewish customers shopping in the streets, many Gentile butchers put up signs that they sold kosher meat.

By late Victorian times, the Butcher’s Row in Aldgate consisted of a short row of shop fronts along the south side of Aldgate High Street, between the crossroads of the Minories, on the west and Mansell Street, on the east. Most of these butchers’ premises were covered by daytime canopies that reached out for about 6 feet over the pavement on Aldgate High Street. The shop stalls were typically 16 to 20 feet wide and the premises extended back from the street some 75 to 120 feet. Butchering occurred in back areas and/or compartments, where the carcasses were stored. Upper floors and back rooms were sometimes used as a residence for shopkeepers and their families. The map of the Aldgate High Street area shows the location of Butcher’s Row, Aldgate, in the late Victorian period, where it can be seen that it was situated entirely within the City of London boundary.

Another City Detective’s Account

The Aldgate High Street area map clearly shows that Sagar and his colleagues kept watch on the Butcher’s Row suspect from within their jurisdiction. This territorial surveillance may clear up some of the mystery in Donald Swanson’s statement about the City CID maintaining watch, for a short time, on the “house” of the suspect’s brother. The City Police were presumably doing so because the building they were watching was in the City of London proper, not in the Metropolitan Police district of Whitechapel. But these inferences alone are insufficient to further examine events surrounding the alleged police surveillance in the area. Fortunately, another City Police officer’s account appears, in part, to corroborate Sagar’s description, and also provides additional details about the suspect and his work location. Ex-City Detective Inspector Henry Cox told of watching a Ripper suspect in Thomson’s Weekly News, on 1 December 1906. Cox gave additional information about the suspect, such as his physical appearance, his nightly walks, and other habits. Cox said of himself and other fellow detectives: “We had the use of a house opposite the shop of the man we suspected, and disguised, of course, we frequently stopped across in the role of customers.” If his description of watching a suspect is the same as Sagar’s account, this street was, in all probability, Aldgate High Street, where the suspect’s shop was situated on the south side, within (or near) the row of butcher and meat sales shops. If the suspect lived in the back of the shop or on one of the three upper levels common for buildings on the south side of the street, it could have been from one of these locations to which Swanson referred when he said the “house” was watched by the police.

We may assume at this point that the suspect was subjected to an identification and was aware that he may have been watched, but unaware of the degree of police surveillance and the specific point of observation. On the other hand, Sagar’s account may pertain to a time prior to the attempted suspect identification, which seems to be the case. In this latter instance, the suspect would be unaware that he was being watched.

But it is easy to visualize why police, if they remained undetected, could have easily watched the suspect from the opposite side of this street. Aldgate High Street was a major East End commercial thoroughfare; although only 500 feet long, it was some 80 feet wide and accommodated a heavy flow of street traffic throughout the day and into the night. If detectives were keeping surveillance on a shopworker from a house across the street, the wide distance across this street would have made it relatively difficult for the suspect to discern undercover police if they ventured onto the street, especially when it was crowded with shoppers, carts, and vans. Most of the other streets in the Aldgate area were very narrow, and it would have been next to impossible for police hiding within a house across one of these smaller streets to remain unseen from the other side of the street for an extended period of time. In summation, the dense volume of traffic passing through a busy thoroughfare like Aldgate High Street at all hours would have made it easy for the police to keep watch on the suspect without his notice, although it presumably would have been difficult to follow him if he left his shop.

Cox also said that the police, while undercover, used to chat with the Jews on the street. These Jews never suspected that Cox and his colleagues were detectives, otherwise they would not have discussed the Ripper murders as openly with them as they did. The police had to explain to the inhabitants that they were inspectors who were monitoring employers of under-aged children working in the sweated tailoring industry. Considering Cox’s story, as well as Sagar’s account of the suspect being taken by friends to an asylum, we might surmise that the suspect observed was a Jew, possibly Anderson’s Polish Jew suspect. Cox recalled that he followed the suspect one night after the suspect left his shop, and walked towards Leman Street. The suspect may have been attempting to return to his residence or another shop, but perhaps, on realising that he was being followed by Cox, tried to avoid leading Cox and the police to his doorstep. After two aborted attempts to accost street women, albeit with the knowledge that he was being followed (!), the suspect returned “back to the street he had left where he disappeared into his own house [or shop].” We will shortly consider where this suspect’s shop could have been, and from what house the detectives observed him.

Early drawing of Butcher’s Row, Aldgate, circa 1817. The Turk’s Head Inn can be seen centre left. Hickenbotham Butchers (no 77) at far right. The future butchers shops of Solomon De Leuw (no 73) and Frederick Louisson (no 75) can be seen left centre and right centre, respectively. (Reproduced by permission of the Guildhall Library)
Aldgate High Street Commerce in 1888-1891

If we now look at a time period, late 1888 to early 1891, in which this suspect could have been briefly watched, a survey of the trade directories may prove enlightening as to what the surrounding neighbourhood was like and how the suspect may have fit in. However, unless the suspect was a shop owner, his name wouldn’t necessarily appear in the business directories. Moreover, the April 1891 London Census may have been recorded too late to reveal any names of suspicious workers in butcher shops if they had been incarcerated just after the murders. But there may be other clues to assist us. In 1888, there were 17 addresses listed as butcher shops along Aldgate High Street: nos. 44–46, 48–60, and 62. Unlike many of the other businesses in the area, the fact that these premises did not change from butchery to some other trade (at least in our survey years of 1888–1891), attests to the continued demand for meat products in such a centralized location. So if a butcher’s shop suddenly changed hands or closed their business, it may hold some significance as far as some important change disrupting the lives of the inhabitants of the premises.

The following snapshot of late Victorian life along Aldgate High Street may seem somewhat prolonged, as far as who lived where and for how long, but the purpose behind such an elaborate review is to discover and establish any possible connections among families who lived on Aldgate High Street at the time of the Ripper investigations. So in light of any suspicious activities surrounding a Butcher’s Row suspect around the time of the Jack the Ripper murders, let us look at the trade commerce on both sides of Aldgate High Street for these years, starting with the south side of the street, from east to west (the reader may follow the map for the numbers of premise locations.)

Beginning with the southeast side of Aldgate High Street at Mansell Street, there was a potato dealer, James Littlefield, at no. 43. The 1891 census later listed him as a “coal merchant.” Butcher shops actually started with no. 44, with the carcass butchers, Scales & Leuw (Levy Leuw, a Jew, was listed as a 46-year-old Holland-born meat salesman); then, Joseph Hartwell at no. 45, followed by 49-year-old London-born Henry Nathan, who was at no. 46. These three premises all had families working in them at the time of the census. A wine and brandy merchant, Christopher Hill, operated a pub at no. 47 (now the Hoop & Grapes). Further west, there were the carcass butchers, Thomas Brown, Matthew Flicker, and William Lankester/James Tyler listed at nos. 48-49, 50-51, and 52, respectively. The April 1891 census shows that a butcher, William Morris, headed Brown’s shop at nos. 48-49. Lankester stayed at no. 52 until 1891, at which time the business was run solely by Tyler. Further west, at nos. 53-54, were the carcass butchers Attfield & Knott. By 1890, Attfield was gone and Thomas Knott continued to head the shop until 1891 when his son William took over the premises. More carcass butchers were located at nos. 55, 56, 57, and 58. These shops were headed by Nice & Hawkins, James Killby, Cooke & Banks, and George Bullas, respectively. In 1890, a London-born Jew, Frederick Louis Louisson, joined Cooke & Banks at their premises; Louisson assumed sole proprietorship in 1891.

Of the three remaining butcher shops along the Row, two were headed by Jews. At no. 59 was the 44-year-old, Rotterdam-born, Solomon De Leeuw, who was listed as a meat salesman. He stayed at this address until sometime in 1891 (he is listed in the census), when another Jew, George Louisson, the son of Frederick, took over the shop. Next door, at no. 60, was a Gentile butcher, George Rayment. Rayment’s shop was next to Harrow Alley, a winding passage that led south, behind the rows of butcher shops at nos. 58-60, to the large slaughterhouse, before finally terminating at Little Somerset Street. Behind nos. 59 and 60 in this alley stood a small pub, The Still & Star, listed as 61 Harrow Alley and run by William Godfrey. Also present in Harrow Alley was a Polish-born tailor, Lewis Kingberg, at no. 9, and Phillip Solomon, a general goods dealer, who occupied two large buildings at nos. 7 and 8. Large goods warehouses and stores buildings were situated under the railway arches and the Haydon Square Goods Depot.

Metropolitan Railway lines to the Aldgate Station, started in 1876. These railway lines provided further underground West End of Butcher’s Row, circa 1875. Centre - Turk’s Head Imperial Wine & Spirit Warehouse; right centre - butcher shop of Solomon De Leuw in the early 1880’s (Reproduced by permission of the Guildhall Library)

Returning to Aldgate High Street, the last butcher shop, no. 62, was a small building that stood on the west side of Harrow Alley. A brick archway joined this shop to Rayment’s shop, forming a covered entrance to the alley. This shop at no. 62 was run by another Jew, the 39 year-old, Rotterdam-born, Morris Bosman. His small ground-level premises was some 25 by 50 feet in area. The west side of Bosman’s shop bordered an open area surrounded by general goods warehouses. We shall see shortly why this location may hold some significance to the City Police story of watching a suspect in Butcher’s Row. Further west, the railway lines ran through a clearing at the Minories Junction. This area once contained warehouses and butcher shops that were eventually demolished for the construction of the connections to the Aldgate East and the St Mary’s stations in Whitechapel, both completed in 1884.

West of Bosman’s shop was a brewery at no. 63 shared by the Lyon Bros., glass bottle makers, and two brewers, A B Walker & Sons and Joseph Nunneley & Co. An old establishment, the Turk’s Head Imperial Wine & Spirit Warehouse, stood just west of this location, until the early 1880s, when it and several adjacent butcher shops were demolished. These former building locations were left as open areas leading to the Minories Junction adjacent to the recently constructed railway lines. Further along at no. 65, above the railway, was the Booking & Inquiry Office for Passengers, Parcels and Goods for the London North Western Railway. Beyond this office, at nos. 76-77, were the dining rooms of Henry Trespole Myers. Sometime prior to the April 1891 census, these premises were taken over by German-born Joseph Wesl and family, who converted the rooms into a hotel and pub. Next door, at no. 78, was another pub, the Rose & Crown, headed by Richard Milchard in 1888. Milchard was followed by Mrs Jane Vancolle in 1889, and in 1890, the 33-year-old, London-born, Woolf Hart had assumed proprietorship of this establishment.

Continuing west, nos. 79-81 were part of a large building that rounded the corner into the Minories. A 29-year-old tailor, Joseph Levy, born in Aldgate, occupied no. 79 in 1888 (not the same individual as witness Joseph Levy at the Eddowes inquest). In 1890, Levy also took over nos. 80-81 from a hosier, John Goodman. Levy was actually listed in the 1891 census as occupying no. 1 Minories when the address changed from no. 79. Across the street, on the southwest corner of Aldgate High Street and the Minories, was a large building at no. 83, occupied by the Anderson Brothers, boot and shoemakers. By 1891, this premises became known as Anderson’s Boot Manufacturing Company, Ltd. The 1873 Ordinance Survey Map shows that this address was a clothing establishment, one of the old clothes exchange premises that Jews had started in the Spitalfields Market.

Moving across to the north side of Aldgate High Street, there was the Postal Telegraph Office, Money Order and Savings Bank at no. 2. This post office had a large clock on the outside, from which PC James Harvey used to track back the time of his arrival at the bottom of the Church Passage entry into Mitre Square, minutes after the Catherine Eddowes murder. Continuing east, next door at no. 3 was a hosier, John Augustus Neale, who occupied the premises until 1891, after which a dentist, Edward J Comley, became the tenant. At nos. 4–5, on the northwest corner of Aldgate High Street and Houndsditch, was a musical instrument shop owned by John H Ebblewhite.

St. Botolph’s Church taken in the Minories looking north, date unknown. Did Catherine Eddowes solicit here? (Image courtesy of Philip Hutchinson)

Across the Houndsditch crossroad was the Church of St Botolph’s, built in 1744, known locally as the Prostitute’s Church. East of the churchyard, there were three premises on Aldgate High Street. The first of these, no. 7, was a dining room operated by Willatt & Wattam. In 1889, Kallin & Radin, hairdressers, shared these premises until 1891, when they were replaced by another hairdresser, Karl Frederick Plunneke. No. 8 was occupied by Weakley & Sons, brushmakers, while no. 9 was an Italian café and restaurant run by Francesco Canuto. By 1889, this café was taken over by 40 year-old Charles Castagna, born in Verona, Italy. Next to the café, at nos. 10-13, were four premises: the Three Nuns Hotel; an adjoining barroom; the Metropolitan Railway’s Aldgate Station manned by William Hills, signalman and watchman; and a tobacco shop run by Salmon & Gluckstein. It appears that the barroom, railway station office and tobacco shop were all part of the hotel premises. The Three Nuns Hotel was managed by Samuel East, Jr., until 1889 or 1890, when his wife assumed proprietorship. By 1891, one Frederick W Ayers was the landlord. On the night of the 1891 census, Orbell Musk and his wife, Eleanor, were listed as the inn managers. The significance of the tobacconists, Salmon & Gluckstein, at no. 13, will be discussed shortly.

Further east along Aldgate High Street, there was a refreshment bar at nos. 19-20, run by William Harris, Jr. Next door at no. 21 was the dairyman, George Bolam. Charles Croft, a 36-year-old ham and tongue dealer, replaced Bolam in 1890 (interestingly, Bolam then shows up in the Middlesex Street directories as a “cowkeeper” at no. 27, on the corner and next door to no. 1 Hutchinson Street, the house/shop of the Eddowes inquest witness Joseph H Levy.) By 1891, Croft shared the premises with Hyam Kaustenfield, a 32-year-old Russian jeweller, and his family. At no. 23, Thomas Franklin kept coffee rooms. These shops stood in front of Crown Place, an enclosed alleyway containing several small buildings that appear to have been an entry to a livery. Next door, no. 24, was known as the Bull Inn Yard, where oilman Matthew Lee shared the premises with Solomon Zimmerman, a “rag” merchant, who stayed there until 1889. John Thompson & Son, carmen, joined this address after Zimmerman had left. According to the 1891 census, a Warsaw-born tailor, Solomon Davison, aged 42, and his family had joined Lee and Thompson at no. 24. The east side of the Bull Inn Yard was punctuated by the recently formed Aldgate Avenue (not shown on the 1887 map), a narrow street of shops and dwellings, accessible by an archway off Aldgate High Street.

Across from Aldgate Avenue, continuing east on Aldgate High Street, no. 25 was known as the Bull Inn, also headed by Samuel East Jr. The Inn was originally renovated and opened in 1888, and East Jr. ran the premises until 1890, when it disappeared from the listings. This building possibly sat unoccupied for a time and may have been eventually demolished as adjacent buildings were enlarged, or it may have been incorporated into the Aldgate Avenue address numbering. This building may have particular significance to our story of the police surveillance on Butcher’s Row, and thus it is discussed later. The next four shops were nos. 26, 27, 28 and 30, all situated opposite the central portion of Butcher’s Row. These premises were occupied, respectively, by: Sarah Lee, a confectioner; 49-year-old Polish-born Phillip Greenbaum (& Sons), watchmakers; 49-year-old Henry Phillips, a furniture dealer; and William Hattersley, Jr., an ironmonger, respectively. We will have a little more to say about the furniture dealer, Henry Phillips, shortly.

Former butcher shop of Morris Bosman at no. 62 in Butcher’s Row in the 1880’s - 1890’s, view circa 1902 - looking west. Entrance to the Still & Star pub in Harrow Alley can be seen on the left. Did Sagar’s suspect work here?

No. 31 is shown in Figure 1 as a large tobacco manufacturing warehouse, about 75 feet wide and 250 feet long. This building housed the Adkin & Sons Company. The 1891 census shows that John James, tobacconist, was the head of these premises. Next door at no. 32, the directories list a tailor, Abraham Lazarus Pozner, who was a tenant until 1891, when he was replaced by Hellner & Semel, hairdressers. The April census, however, shows that Henry Hill, 28, had coffee rooms at this address. Next door, at no. 33, was another tobacconist, 43-year-old London-born, Samuel Abrahams, who ran his business at this address throughout our survey period. John and Robert Venables, woollen manufacturers, were listed at no. 34. These premises comprised an elongated building, about 130 feet long and 30 feet wide, on the west side of a gateway entrance to Black Horse Yard. The 1891 census shows that eleven shop assistants lived and worked there.

Black Horse Yard was a small alleyway that punctuated Aldgate High Street and meandered north, where it exited at Middlesex Street. The 1891 census shows that the four buildings within the yard were uninhabited at the time. Continuing east of this yard on Aldgate High Street, at no. 35 was a fruit dealer, 37-year-old, London-born Henry Levy and his family. He and his wife, Mary, had seven children and two servants at these premises at the time of the census. Next door at no. 36, was Joseph Mark & Co, woollen drapers. The 1891 census shows that this address was headed by Amelia Abrahams, a 44-year-old widow with five children, two servants, and two boarders (shop assistants). Mrs Abrahams was the widow of the late Louis Abrahams, who appears in the 1891 Jewish Chronicle list of donors at 38 Aldgate High Street, though the actual address was no. 36, because no. 38 did not exist. Finally, the Essex, a public house, stood on the corner of Aldgate High Street and Middlesex Street. This pub was managed by the same Samuel East, Jr., who ran the Three Nuns Hotel and the Bull Inn from 1888 to 1889. In 1890, the Essex was taken over by Richard Milchard, who had managed the Rose & Crown in 1888.

Aside from this brief survey of the trades on Aldgate High Street from 1888-1891, is there anything else that could assist us in evaluating who and where our suspect was, assuming he was a Jew and worked in, or near, Butcher’s Row, but not necessarily as a butcher? Let us turn briefly to the Jewish Chronicle Records of Births, Marriages and Deaths (1840-1895) to see if additional information could supplement the Business Trades summary. Further on, we will examine whether this information could be related in any way to the accounts of detectives Cox and Sagar and the Metropolitan Police.

Family and Neighbourhood Relations

The following brief study of several families in the area illustrates how close the Jewish community was, and that relationships existed among different families that lived and worked close to one another in small sectors of the East End, like Aldgate High Street. I found several families of interest to our study of the area. The first of these families was that of a John Abrahams. In 1895, when he died at 230 New Road, Islington, aged 92, he left three children, Abraham, a Mrs Benjamin, and Julia. Abraham married a Julia Gluckstein in 1866 and they lived at 31 Middlesex Street until she died in 1891, aged 45. Abraham’s other sister, Julia, married the furniture dealer Henry Phillips, and they lived at 28 Aldgate High Street. She died in 1895, aged 49. It was in front of this address that Catherine Eddowes was picked up for drunkenness hours before her murder on 30 September 1888.

Another family was headed by Samuel and Hannah Gluckstein of 34 Whitechapel Road. They had eight children, among them Bertha, Helena, Henry, and Julia. Bertha married a Lawrence Abrahams, and at the time of her death in 1886, she lived at 26 High Street, Whitechapel. Helena married Barnett Salmon in 1863, and they lived at 117 Leman Street. Samuel Gluckstein had co-founded one of the largest tobacco businesses with his son-in-law, Barnett, in 1873. Their motto was Largest and Cheapest Tobacconists in Europe, and they had set up shop next to the Three Nuns Hotel, on Aldgate High Street to undoubtedly take advantage of the future railway lines. In 1894, Barnett Salmon’s son, Alfred married Frances, the daughter of Abraham Abrahams and Julia (née Gluckstein, married 1866). Alfred lived at 115 High Street, and he signed a trades petition on 28 October 1888 to the Home Office for extra police patrols in Whitechapel during the Ripper scare, made on behalf of Samuel Montagu, the local Member of Parliament. Another of Samuel Gluckstein’s children, Henry, lived at 100 Leman Street. Henry had two daughters; one, Lena, married a Hyam H Lyons in 1887, but she died the following year, aged 20. Another daughter, Hannah, married the tailor, Joseph Levy in 1887, who occupied the premises at 79 Aldgate High Street (or 1 Minories according to the census). Joseph was the son of a Moss G Levy, who lived at 4 Middlesex Street. In 1886, Solomon Joseph Britton was sharing the premises at 1 Minories with Levy as a manufacturer’s agent. Britton left the following year, 1887, to return to his family’s business at 13 Houndsditch. From 1888 to 1889, Britton served as the Secretary of the Imperial Club in Duke Street.

As mentioned, John Abraham’s son, Abraham, married Julia Gluckstein. They had three sons, Lawrence (who married Bertha Gluckstein), Isaac, and Solomon. Isaac, who was a cigar manufacturer, married a Jane Levy. By the 1890s, they lived at 212 Whitechapel Road. They had two sons, Phillip and Lawrence. Phillip, like Alfred Salmon, signed the October 1888 trade petition to the Home Office requesting more police surveillance in Whitechapel during the Terror. Lawrence married Elizabeth, the daughter of his mother’s sister, Annie (Mrs Barnett Hart). The other of the Abrahams’ sons, Solomon, married an Amelia Levy. Solomon and Amelia lived at 19 Great Prescott Street until her death in 1889, aged 30. Amelia was the daughter of Moss Levy, whose son, the tailor Joseph, was married into the Gluckstein family.

A final family of interest was that of George and Julia Louisson, who lived at 60 Leman Street. Julia died in 1867, later followed by George in 1883, at the age of 83. They had at least two children. One, Julia, married an Edward E. Levy, the son of a Hyam Levy of 123 Lautie Terrace, SE. Another was a son, Frederick, who married an Annie Isaacs in 1866. They lived at 6 St. Marks Street, Goodman’s Fields. By 1880, they had lived on Aldgate-High Street at no. 35, then moved to no. 75 the same year. But this house was to be shortly demolished to make way for the Metropolitan Railway. By 1882, Frederick and Annie had moved to 97 Grosvenor Road. Their son, George, married a Florence Levy in 1892.

Both Frederick and his son George were the carcass butchers listed at nos. 57 and 59 Aldgate-High Street in the 1890- 91 directories. By 1891, Frederick and his wife, Annie, lived at 3 High Street, Whitechapel. Annie was the daughter of an Isaac and Rachel Isaacs who lived in Harrow Alley, which ran behind Butcher’s Row. The Isaacs had three other children living in 1883, a Mrs H S Harris of 116 Houndsditch, a Mrs J Lialter of 6 Aldgate High Street and a Mrs D Levy of 60 Rodney Street, Liverpool. In 1880, Frederick contributed to a relief fund for relatives of an Isaac Friedwald, along with several others, including J A Britton of 13 Houndsditch, the father of Solomon, who was later the Secretary of the Imperial Club, on Duke Street. In 1892, the butcher, Frederick Louisson, attended a retirement ceremony for Metropolitan Police Detective Inspector Frederick Abberline at the Three Nuns Hotel, across the street from his shop. Some 900 Jewish families throughout London are listed as Contributors in the Jewish Chronicle’s 1891 List of Donors to the Society for Relieving the Aged Needy. This is not a very large number considering that there were over 40,000 Jews living in London at the time, many of whom received the charity proceeds. Perhaps established families that lived near one another, worked close by, or attended the same synagogue, encouraged their associates or relatives to donate to this fund. Thus, familiar names may have been gathered, not at random but through a plexus of communal relationships. Some of these contributors include: butcher Joseph Levy of 1 Hutchinson Street; furrier Martin Kosminski of 48 Berners Street; S(amuel) Kosminski and J Woolf of 170 Aldersgate Street; Henry Gluckstein of 26 High Street, Whitechapel (father of Hannah, the tailor Joseph Levy’s wife); Louis Abrahams of 38 Aldgate High Street; Mrs Annie Abrahams of 33 Aldgate High Street, and two of the butchers working in Butcher’s Row, Morris Bosman and Frederick Louisson.

The Location of the Suspect’s Shop

With the little information available to evaluate the possible location of the suspect’s shop during our survey period, we might examine the occupation, ethnicity, and residency time of shopkeepers along Butcher’s Row. This last factor is important because, as we have seen, the suspect was reportedly taken away to an asylum. Thus, an examination of those individual shop owners who disappeared during, or shortly after, the time that the suspect was watched could provide possible clues to their relationship to the suspect.

The first possibility is that the suspect was somebody other than a butcher who worked on the south side of Aldgate High Street. The suspect could have been, or worked for, someone in the following trades: a tailor; a dining room keeper; brewers; glass makers; a pub keeper; or bootmakers. Recall the tailor Joseph Levy at no. 79 had acquired a hosiery business from John Goodman at nos. 80-81. Levy’s brother-in-law was Hyam H Lyons, who married Lena Gluckstein in 1887, but she had died in May 1888. At the brewery rooms, the Lyons Brothers, glass bottle makers, shared the premises with Walker and Nunneley until sometime in 1890, when the Lyons disappeared. Could Lyons, distraught by his young wife’s death, have been the suspect the police watched at his “brother’s” brewery shop (no. 63) on Aldgate High Street?

There was also the Anderson Brothers, bootmakers at no. 83; one brother had left by 1889, leaving Stewart Anderson to run the business alone. By 1891, it had grown into a company, employing many boot- and shoemakers. Unfortunately, the April census shows that this building was empty when the enumerator called, so it was not likely used at night. This leaves the Rose & Crown pub, the dining rooms of Henry T Myers and the brewery rooms run by A B Walker & Sons/Joseph Nunneley & Co. At the pub and dining rooms, it seems unlikely that the police could carefully watch a suspect, with customers coming and going well into the night.

Another possibility is that if the suspect worked as a butcher in Butcher’s Row, it could have been at any one of these butcher’s shops on the south side of the street. First, consider the Gentile butchers there at the time: Joseph Hartwell, Henry Nathan, Thomas Brown, Matthew Flicker, William Lankester/James Tyler, Attfield & Knott, Nice & Hawkins, James Killby, Cook & Banks, George Bullas, and George Rayment. These proprietors remained at their shops during the period except for: Attfield, who left sometime in 1888-89; Thomas Knott, who was replaced by William Knott in 1891; Lankester, who left in 1890-91; and Cook & Banks, who disappear in 1890-91. The 1891 census shows that William Knott, aged 21, held Thomas Knott’s premises with his wife and children. The census also shows that the shops of Hartwell, Nice & Hawkins, Kilby, Cook & Banks, and Bullas as “uninhabited” or “not occupied at night,” suggesting that some of these Gentile butchers left their businesses at night and lived elsewhere.

The more likely possibility is that the suspect was a Jewish butcher, in which case he could have worked in either: 1) the shop of Scales and Levy Leuw at no. 44; 2) the shop of Solomon De Leeuw at no. 59 (later held by George Louisson); 3) Morris Bosman at no. 62; or 4) the shop of Frederick Louisson at no. 57. It is interesting that out of this group of butchers, all but De Leeuw appear to have headed their businesses through 1891. Although De Leeuw and his family are listed at no. 59 in the April 1891 census, the trade directory for the same year shows that George Louisson ran the premises. George Louisson may have taken over De Leeuw’s shop due to financial constraints, or because De Leeuw may have become incapacitated. The 48-year-old Leuw and 44-year-old De Leeuw, both born in Holland, also may have been brothers.

Detective Inspector Cox described the suspect’s premises as a “little shop.” If we compare the sizes of the Butcher’s Row shops at ground level, we see that Bosman’s premises was the smallest and was separated from Rayment’s shop by a brick archway, instead of a building wall. Bosman’s shop was also next to an open area on the west. It could thus be more easily watched than all of the other butcher shops that shared adjacent walls and possibly inner-locking doorways. Moreover, unlike the other shops, Bosman’s shop was also surrounded by open area to a considerable extent on the south side, and could have thus been additionally watched at the back of the building from William Godfrey’s pub, the Still & Star, or from one of the smaller warehouses in the Haydon Square Goods Station. It can also be observed that Solomon De Leeuw’s shop (no. 59) was situated just north of the Still & Star pub, potentially allowing the police an additional point of observation, in case a suspect decided to slip through adjacent Harrow Alley.

The shops in Butcher’s Row that had families listed in the census were apparently open at night when census enumerators called, and probably served as living quarters in back rooms or on upper floors. These premises included all of the shopkeepers identified as Jewish on Aldgate High Street. Thus, if all of the Jewish butcher shops were inhabited at night and one of them housed the suspect watched by the City CID, it would lend weight to Swanson’s writing that the City Police kept watch on the house by day and night. I think that the most likely target was the small shop of Morris Bosman. His shop was ideally situated across from the Aldgate Railway Station and the abandoned premises of the Bull Inn (see below), from which the police, either at ground level or from one of the floors above, could have directly observed the suspect around the clock.

Aldgate High Street circa 1912, looking West. Centre - Three Nuns Hotel; Right Centre - Aldgate Railway Station; far right - Salmon and Gluckstein’s Tobacco shop; St Botolph’s church steeple is visible behind the hotel. The location of former Butcher’s Row on left. (Image courtesy of Philip Hutchinson and Rob Clack)

The Location of the Police Stakeout House

If the suspect worked on the south side of Aldgate High Street, from which house could the police have observed him? A logical choice would be one that was either totally uninhabited previous to the occupation by the police, or one that may have been left empty during the night. Let’s start with no. 7, the dining rooms of Willet & Wattam. Sometime between 1888 and 1889, they added the hairdressers Kallin & Radin to their premises, therefore suggesting that extra rooms or space was available. This four-level building was across from west end of Butcher’s Row and appeared to have sufficient room to house a small police surveillance team. Could the police have stayed here at night while observing their suspect in 1888-89? A couple of other reasonable locations include the ironmonger, Hattersley, at no. 30, which closed at night, and the Essex pub at the east corner of Aldgate High Street, where the police may have had access to a small room.

A better location for surveillance of a suspect would have been the Three Nuns Hotel at no. 10 (and nos. 11-13), run by Samuel East, Jr. This location seems like an ideal stakeout spot, because it was adjacent to and partly above the Aldgate Railway Station, which had an office in the hotel premises, next to Salmon & Gluckstein’s tobacco shop. It may be significant that the 1891 census recorded the tobacco shop as “uninhabited.” Could this shop be where the police kept surveillance on the suspect at night? If it turned out that the suspect was known to a shopkeeper on the opposite side of the street, would the police not have had better success convincing the shopkeepers of using their building as a nighttime watch post, especially if they knew of the suspect’s mania?(1) From this locality, the police could look directly across the street at shop nos. 62-77 on the south side (also see note 4 for this same type of surveillance scenario at another proposed location in Mile End).

Sketch of the Three Nuns Tavern, circa 1878. Shortly after the murders, the upper part of the clock tower was removed. The centre entrance led to the bar where Albert Bachert met a suspicious man just before midnight on 29th September 1888. (Image courtesy of Philip Hutchinson)

Another possible location for the City Police stakeout house was the Bull Inn Yard at no. 24. There were, at one time, three businesses sharing these premises, including the rag merchant Solomon Zimmerman, who disappeared between 1889 and 1890. Could his shop have been used for the police look-out during this time, until taken over by the tailor, Solomon Davies in 1891? It is curious that John Thompson & Son continued to be listed at this location in the 1891 directory, while Davies was listed in the April census.

But the ideal location to watch a suspect from the north side of Aldgate High Street was, I think, next door at no. 25, the Bull Inn. Recall, that the Bull Inn was managed by Samuel East, Jr., until some time after 1889, when it closed. Also recall that Samuel East, Jr., seems to drop out of sight when his wife took over his other establishment, the Three Nuns Hotel, located several doors away.

The existence of an abandoned building (no. 25) from sometime, say, in late 1889 to 1891, across from the heart of the Butcher’s Row shop fronts, suggests an ideal look-out house from which police, unseen, could have watched a suspect by day and night. And from this observation point, the police had the advantage of looking directly across the street into the small shops of Morris Bosman and Solomon De Leeuw.

Did Eddowes Know Someone in Butcher’s Row?

The 1 and 2 October 1888 editions of the Daily News reported that Albert Bachert, who would become the Chairman of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee in 1889, entered the Three Nuns Hotel about an hour before the murder of Elizabeth Stride, on 30 September. There, he met a man of a dark complexion, height about 5 feet 6- or 7-inches tall, who was carrying a black shiny bag. He pestered Bachert with questions about local prostitutes before disappearing with an elderly woman selling matches. Could this strange man have met Catherine Eddowes in or near the hotel shortly thereafter? This man was possibly the same one seen with his shiny black bag on 8 November by a Mrs. Paumier, in Artillery Row, about two minutes walk from Miller’s Court in Dorset Street, and seen again by her the following day on Dorset Street (The Daily Telegraph, 10 November 1888).

Catherine Eddowes was arrested at about 8:30 pm on the evening of 29 September by City PC Louis Robinson on the north side of Aldgate High Street in front of no. 28, the address of the furniture dealer, Henry Phillips. In the inquest testimony, Robinson stated she was slumped in the footpath at no. 29, but he probably meant no. 28, as no. 29 had been incorporated into the adjacent premises. When released from the Bishopsgate Police Station at 1:00 am on 30 September, Eddowes made her way back along Houndsditch south to Aldgate High Street, instead of walking east towards her lodging house on Flower & Dean Street. At approximately 1:35 am, three men leaving the Imperial Club on Duke Street, Joseph Lawende, Joseph Levy, and Harry Harris, saw a man and a woman standing together at the front of Church Passage, a covered entry to Mitre Square (were the couple waiting for PC Watkins to leave the Square?) Lawende and Levy briefly glanced at the man; the woman had her back to them. When later shown Eddowes’ clothes, Lawende recognized them as being similar to those worn by the woman he had passed in Duke Street.

There is a caveat to the account above that suggests Eddowes and her killer may have been sighted in a different location, and that the couple seen by Lawende was another man and woman. A story appeared in the Derby Daily Telegraph of 1 October 1888, the relevant part reading:

Wattam’s Hotel, no 7 Aldgate HIgh Street, next to the Three Nuns Hotel, circa 1911. From 1889 to 1891, Abraham Radin, the former employer of wife poisoner George Chapman, shared a hairdresser’s shop at this address. (Image courtesy of Rob Clack)

. . . indeed one of the policemen who saw the body [Eddowes] in the mortuary expressed his confident opinion that he had seen the woman walking several times in the neighborhood of Aldgate High Street. . . . The police theory is that the man and woman, who had met in Aldgate, watched the policeman [Watkins] pass round the square, and they then entered it for an immoral purpose.

I came across a similar story written by a London correspondent for the 2 October 1888 New York Times:

The only trace considered of any value is the story of a watchboy who saw a man and a woman leave Aldgate station, going towards Mitre-square. The man returned shortly afterward alone. The police have a good description of him. . . . a policeman swears he was not absent over 15 minutes from Mitre-Square, and must have been watched by both man and woman as he went through, they following. [Emphasis mine]

This account is interesting because the Aldgate Station is adjacent to the Three Nuns Hotel, where earlier in the evening Albert Bachert encountered a suspicious man.

It would also be intriguing to know if the “watchboy” cited above worked at the Aldgate Railway Station, and if this “watchboy” knew the man by sight and what, if any, evidence he provided to the City Police. The 1891 census shows a lone 40-year-old watchman, William Hills, manning the station. Did a watchboy, or watchman, see the suspect in the underground, or above the Station building on Aldgate High Street, and where exactly did the man meet the woman? Unfortunately, the City Police records, mostly destroyed, can tell us nothing further about these possible sightings.

Mitre Square was less than a minute’s walk from Butcher’s Row. Watkins made his last round in the Square at 1:30 am, prior to discovering Eddowes’s body on his return at 1:45 am. If Eddowes had returned to Aldgate High Street after being released from the Bishopsgate Police Station, could it be there that she met the Ripper, perhaps by a prior arrangement? Was it her killer who gave her money to buy drink hours before her death, because he worked on the street, and met her in a pub close to the location where she was arrested? Or is it possible that Eddowes met a man outside no. 28? The suspect, if roaming about at night as Cox described, would have known the local patrol beats of constables, including that of Watkins, who passed the corner of Aldgate High Street before turning north on Mitre Street. The Ripper and Eddowes could have observed Watkins walking along Leadenhall Street, and watched him from somewhere along Aldgate High Street, until he turned to go up Mitre Street. Eddowes and the suspect could then have waited at the corner until Watkins exited the Square at about 1:31 am, whereupon they entered, after Watkins had moved further up Mitre Street. This scenario, if correct, invalidates the sighting by Lawende and his companions on Duke Street. But significantly, it gives the murderer more than the estimated 3 to 5 minutes with his victim, between Lawende’s (possible false) sighting at 1:35 am, and when PC James Harvey stood at the bottom of Church Passage at 1:41 or 1:42 am (when he heard and saw nothing.)

Witness Joseph H Levy’s Family

As discussed in the section above, one of the witnesses at the inquest of Catherine Eddowes was the butcher, Joseph Hyam Levy, a 46-year-old London-born Jew. Levy saw a woman and a man together at the top of the Church Passage to Mitre Square on the night of 30 September 1888, ten minutes before the body of Eddowes was found. Levy had lived on 1 Hutchinson Street as far back as 1869. His parents were Hyam and Frances Levy, who lived at 36 Middlesex Street. Frances died in January 1889 and Hyam died years earlier, leaving his butchery business to the family. Levy had several sisters, and two brothers, Abraham and Jacob. Abraham, while of unsound mind, hanged himself in 1875. Jacob, also a butcher, was sent from his house at no. 36 Middlesex Street to the City of London Lunatic Asylum in August 1890, where he died on 29 July 1891.

Aldgate High Street looking East, circa 1905. The Three Nuns Hotel is visible on the left, site of Abberline’s retirement ceremony in 1892. The arrow shows the location of Catherine Eddowes arrest on the evening of September 29th 1888, just hours before her murder. (Image courtesy of Rob Clack)

It is curious that the A-Z cites researcher Steward Hicks as stating that Lady Anderson, the wife of Robert, once remembered that the Ripper was interred in an asylum near Stone. This asylum was likely the City of London Asylum at Stone. Could Lady Anderson’s recollection refer to the butcher, Jacob Levy, and did Jacob work or trade in Butcher’s Row, perhaps with the dairyman George Bolam at no. 21 Aldgate High Street, who almost certainly knew his brother, Joseph? Assuming Jacob was the suspect and that he and Joseph did business with other butchers in the Butcher’s Row area in 1888-90, it could move the surveillance period on Anderson’s suspect back from 1891, earlier to one year or more, just before Jacob’s incarceration. This would also strengthen the case of the witness identification (if he was Joseph Levy) that Anderson was so certain of. And if Joseph was this witness who saw Eddowes at the top of Church Passage, it means that the scenario described earlier, where the Ripper and Eddowes followed Watkins into the Square from the Mitre Street entrance, could be incorrect.(2)

Assessing the Police Accounts

Was the suspect whom Sagar watched a Jew? His account of the suspect being locked in an asylum by his “friends” is certainly reminiscent of Kosminski, but Sagar makes the suspect out to be a butcher. Cox’s account contains more information about the neighborhood where the police watched the suspect, and this seems to also identify him as a Jew. But Cox does not specifically describe the suspect’s occupation, although, by inference, he could have been a tailor. Cox also recalled that the crimes ceased immediately after the suspect was put under observation, and he makes it clear that there were no Ripper-like murders after the murder of Mary Jane Kelly. This is significant, because as soon as the suspect was aware he was being watched, the murders came to an end, as Sagar and Swanson also said. But Swanson could have been counting in the series of murders that of Frances Coles, who was killed on 13 February 1891. To add to the confusion, the American journalist Richard Harding Davis quoted Robert Anderson in the 4 November 1889 Pall Mall Gazette as saying: “After a stranger has gone over it, he takes a much more lenient view of our failure to find Jack the Ripper, as they called him, than he did before.” So the timing of the police surveillance is questionable; on one hand we have Cox telling us that it occurred for “nearly three months” after Kelly’s murder, and, on the other, the surveillance appears to have taken place much later, possibly from late 1890 to the early part of 1891. The preceding accounts thus make it uncertain that the interval of time described by Cox pertains to the accounts given by Swanson and Sagar. The time period of the surveillance put forward by Cox could also suggest the observation of a different suspect. But it seems logical to conclude that since Sagar and Cox were both City Police officers, their recollections would refer to the same individual, Sagar reportedly saying that the suspect “without a doubt, was the murderer” and Cox, that the suspect “had something to do with the crimes.” Moreover, if Sagar’s statement parallels Swanson’s account, they should all be referring to Kosminski. But Cox dismissed the notion that the suspect ended up in an asylum, stating: “a third party claims that he is an inmate of a private asylum [as of 1906]. These theories I have no hesitation in dispelling at once.” He also said that, as far as he knew, the suspect he watched was never arrested, but simply gave up his nightly prowls when he knew he was being watched, and eventually “removed from his usual haunts.” This assessment indicates that Cox could have been recalling a different suspect altogether or, quite possibly, was the least informed among Sagar, Swanson, and Macnaghten as to what eventually happened to their suspect.

View looking east on Aldgate High Street circa 1913. Butcher’s Row is on the right side. The Rose & Crown pub is visible on the far right. The Haydon Square Goods Station is visible in the centre right. (Image courtesy of Rob Clack)

The Police Seaside Home (in Hove), where Swanson said that the suspect was identified, didn’t open until March 1890. This means that the suspect whom Cox watched shortly after the Kelly murder may not have been the same one that Swanson and Sagar described – the reason being is that Cox implies that he was “on duty” watching this suspect only until about February or March 1889. On the other hand, Sagar and Cox may have watched the same suspect, but at different times. Cox said that the suspect “became insane” at times and had spent time in the Surrey Asylum. He may have been released long after Cox’s assignment ended, only to be later watched by Sagar and other detectives. Another possibility is that both men watched the same suspect at the same time, but that later one of them incorrectly remembered the time period. A final scenario is that both officers watched different suspects at different times. In this case, there may have been a situation where a suspect such as the tailor “David Cohen” or somebody similar was observed by Cox in 1888-89, while Sagar may have watched a butcher, or somebody like the hairdresser Kosminski in 1890-91.

Sagar said that after a time, the suspect’s “friends” thought it advisable that he be removed to an asylum. This could refer to Kosminski, confined by his family as a lunatic, wandering at-large. Work associates or relatives (possibly his “brother”) may have approached the Metropolitan police, reporting his psychotic behavior, so he was taken by the police to be identified, certified insane and incarcerated as the chief Ripper suspect. Some of the City Police involved in the surveillance probably didn’t know the full details of the suspect having been suddenly “removed” to an asylum, or if he had even been arrested. Macnaghten wrote that “Kosminski” was sent to a lunatic asylum about March 1889, which seems to fit Cox’s recollections of his surveillance duties on the suspect until February or so. But Macnaghten may have also garbled certain evidence he’d heard about an early City Police suspect with Kosminski, or quite possibly a Kosminski watched by the City Police actually entered an asylum about this time. However, no butcher on Aldgate High Street named “Kosminski” has been found in the trade directories. In any case, if the “brother’s house” mentioned by Swanson was an in-law’s or friend’s shop in Butcher’s Row, the suspect may not have been listed in the directories. And the April 1891 census could have been recorded after he was incarcerated.

To recapitulate, the time line put forth by Cox for the observation period would seem to put Aaron Kosminski out of the picture. Aaron was, after all, 1) a hairdresser, not a butcher; 2) he hadn’t worked for years and had no known connection to Butcher’s Row; and 3) after the murder of Mary Jane Kelly on 9 November 1888, Aaron was on the streets for over two years, until he was brought to a workhouse infirmary, just before being permanently incarcerated in early February 1891. With respect to this last point, the London journalist George R Sims wrote a description of two unnamed suspects (Ostrog and Kosminski) in Lloyd’s Weekly News on 22 September 1907, which does seem to point to Aaron as one of the suspects. Sims wrote that both men were

…alive long after the horrors had ceased and though both were alive in an asylum, there had been a considerable time after the cessation of the Ripper crimes during which they were both at liberty and passing about their fellow men. [Emphasis mine.]

If Sims’ account of Kosminski is correct, it lends weight to Swanson’s account that City Police were watching Kosminski at his “brother’s” house, probably sometime in 1890-91. But if the police watched another suspect around the clock in Butcher’s Row, say from the Bull Inn at no. 25, it suggests that the surveillance period was also late in 1890, when the premises was abandoned, and no longer listed in the directories.


If the recollections of the City of London policemen Robert Sagar and Henry Cox are combined with those of the Metropolitan Police officials, principally Donald Swanson and Melville Macnaghten, to profile a single suspect, then: The suspect was a Jew and worked either as a butcher; a butcher’s assistant; or a meat salesman.

He probably lived in the East End. Cox said he occupied several shops in the East End and Swanson wrote that his brother’s house was in “Whitechapel.”(3)

If he didn’t live on one of the floors above a shop, he slept in the shop in Butcher’s Row because he knew he was being watched, and didn’t want to lead police to his actual residence.

He was confined to a workhouse/asylum after information was supplied to authorities by his family or work associates. The motive for the murders was revenge against prostitutes. On the night that Cox shadowed his suspect, he apparently tried to accost two women. It is likely that the police had additional evidence against the Butcher’s Row suspect, pointing to violence against women. Macnaghten, in his confidential police Memorandum, wrote that the Kosminski suspect “had a great hatred of women, especially the prostitute class.”

No “Kosminski,” “Levy,” or “Cohen” has been found in this study who can be linked to a Jewish butcher shop in Butcher’s Row. But this does not mean that any of these individuals, or somebody similar, could not have worked in the shops of Morris Bosman, Solomon De Leeuw, Levy Leuw, or Frederick Louisson. Examination of the electoral rolls may or may not establish a familiar name, like those above, or, for example, an Abrahams or Gluckstein. Two likely scenarios, I believe, are that: 1) the police watched a suspect in Bosman’s shop from across the street in the abandoned premises of the Bull Inn, or from next door at the Bull Inn Yard (several doors east of the Aldgate Railway Station); or, 2) the observation took place on the shop of Solomon De Leeuw from either of these same premises. It is interesting that De Leeuw and the other Jewish butcher, Levy Leuw, at no. 44, were both Dutch born and could have been brothers or inlaws. It is also remotely possible that a relative or employee of Frederick Louisson was the suspect that police watched. One clue that needs to be followed up is Cox’s statement that the suspect spent time in the Surrey Asylum. This was probably the county asylum at Tooting, where another Ripper suspect, Michael Ostrog, was confined at one time.

Judging by Cox’s assessment of the suspect and his fate, it is apparent that he didn’t know what ultimately happened to the suspect after he stopped his nightly prowls. Sagar may have known a little more, as he echoes what the Met police said about Kosminski being sent to an asylum. The City Police had watched the suspect in their jurisdiction, but he was later picked up by Met police, or taken by relatives to an asylum. Sagar, who conferred with Met officers nightly at the Leman Street Police Station during the Terror, probably debriefed his city colleagues on the suspect’s observed activities, but he heard little else after being suddenly told that the suspect had been locked away for good as a lunatic. After being told this by the Met, Sagar then likely briefed his superior, City Police Assistant Commissioner Henry Smith. But Smith could discover no further details. Smith and the City Police may have only been informed that a suspect was in an asylum, with no evidence (or obtainable evidence forthcoming) to secure a murder conviction. Smith wrote that he “visited every butcher’s shop in the city, and every nook and corner which might, by any possibility, be the murderer’s place of concealment.” In the succeeding years, Smith, like other police officials involved with this suspect (or suspects), only recalled that the Ripper was never caught and that “he completely beat me and every police officer in London; and I have no more idea now where he lived than I had twenty years ago.”(4)


I thank Robert Clack and Philip Hutchinson for providing some of the historical Aldgate High Street photographs from their personal archives. I also thank Christopher T George for his editorial review and suggestions and Jane Coram for her assistance with image captions and article layout.


Charles Goad 1887 Fire Insurance Map of London, sheets #71 and #121

Sir Henry Smith, From Constable to Commissioner: The Story of Sixty Years, Most of Them Misspent, (London: Chatto & Windus, 1910), 158-160.

Paul Begg, Martin Fido, and Keith Skinner, Jack the Ripper, A-Z. 3rd ed. (London: Headline, 1996), 162.

Mark King, “Jacob Levy” at

Jewish Chronicle Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, Indexes: 1840-1869, 1880-1889 and 1890-1895, and The 1891 Donors to the Society for Relieving the Aged Needy at

Kelly’s Post Office London Street Directories, 1888-1891

Old Ordnance Survey Map of Aldgate 1873-1894, Alan Godfrey Ed. Sheet 7.67

Jack London, People of the Abyss (London: Macmillan, 1903).

H.L. Adam, The Trial of George Chapman (Hodge, 1930).

Arthur G Morrison, “Whitechapel,” The Palace Journal, 24 April 1889

Whitechapel Board of Works District Annual Report 1889

Stewart Evans and Keith Skinner, The Ultimate Jack the Ripper Companion (London: Carroll & Graf, 2000). Chapter on the City Police Suspect with recollections of Sagar and Cox, pp. 637–44; information on the Anderson Suspect, pp. 623- 36.

1891 London Census Returns RG12/281/f 68; RG12/235/f 68-69, 84-86; RG12/235/f 73-77, 90; RG12/275/f 61, 88-90; RG12/280/f 122

Many articles on nineteenth to early twentieth century East London can be found here:


1 When Sir Robert Anderson was interviewed about the Luard murder case in The Daily Chronicle, 1 September 1908, he remarked that, in the case of the Whitechapel murders, there were two distinct clues that were destroyed. One clue was the obliteration of the writing on the wall in Goulston Street; the other clue was a clay pipe that was smashed by a doctor in the fireplace of Mary Kelly’s room. Although it has been surmised that Anderson was referring to a pipe found underneath Alice McKenzie’s body in 1889 or to Joseph Barnett’s (unbroken) pipe in Miller’s Court, it is more likely that he meant another pipe found and broken in Kelly’s room. But he may not have been so concerned with the pipe itself, as with the particular blend of tobacco found in it. Say, a blend that could be traced to a certain tobacco shop, which a suspect was known to frequent.

2 The assumption commonly made about this report is that the Ripper and Eddowes watched Watkins from the Church Passage entrance to Mitre Square at Duke Street, and entered the Square after he had left. But it would have been impossible for them to see if Watkins had actually left the Square from this vantage point unless they walked to the end of the passage. This doesn’t seem likely if they thought that Watkins could still be in Mitre Square.

3 Whitechapel, as understood colloquially during the late nineteenth century, went some distance beyond the bounds set by the parish authorities of St Mary’s, and included much of Aldgate, Spitalfields, and a considerable portion of Mile End. Researchers Chris Phillips and Rob House have recently uncovered evidence that Aaron Kosminski actually had two elder brothers, Isaac and Woolf, who had changed their last names to “Abrahams.” Isaac ran a successful tailor’s business at 74 Greenfield St. (Mile End) from 1886 to sometime before 1892. Opposite no. 74 was no. 16, the former home of Aaron’s married sister, which was listed as “unoccupied” in the April 1891 census, and from which Aaron was returned to the Workhouse with his hands tied behind his back on 4 February 1891. If Cox’s surveillance account of making use of a house across from the suspect’s shop is taken into consideration here, the police may have briefly occupied no. 16 Greenfield St. early in 1891.

4 Henry Smith is referring to a date of about 1890. A contrary view to the claim that Smith didn’t know the identity of the Ripper is contained in the Introduction of H.L. Adam’s “The Trial of George Chapman” (1930), wherein Adam acknowledges that Smith was among those who knew the Ripper’s identity. Did Robert Anderson convince Smith that the Ripper’s identity was known after publication of Smith’s book in 1910?

Related pages:
  Joseph Levy
       Dissertations: Coles, Kosminski and Levy – was there a Victim/Suspect/... 
       Dissertations: The Polish Jew Suspect - Jewish Witness Connection: Some ... 
       Ripper Media: Jack the Ripper: A Cast of Thousands - Joseph Hyam Levy 
  Robert Sagar
       Dissertations: A Mystery Play : Police Opinions on Jack the Ripper 
       Message Boards: Robert Sagar 
       Police Officials: Robert Sagar 
       Press Reports: City Press - 7 January 1905 
  Scott Nelson
       Dissertations: A Reply to Kosminski and the Seaside Home 
       Dissertations: An Alternate Kosminski Suspect and Police Witness 
       Dissertations: Isaac Kosminski 
       Dissertations: Kosminski´s Relatives