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 A Ripperologist Article 
This article originally appeared in Ripperologist No. 19, October 1998. 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.
by Stawell Heard

All quotations from Arthur J Munby's writings are in italics.

On the evening of Monday 8th October 1888 a sixty year old gentleman was walking across some fields in Hadley, Shropshire, when he was accosted by seven collier lads and asked his name. He refused to give it. One lad, over six feet tall, responded by announcing, 'Then you are Jack the Ripper, and you'll come along wi' us to the police'. I enquired,' wrote the gentleman later, What authority he had for proposing such an arrangement. He hesitated for a moment, and then replied that he was himself a constable, and had a warrant (against me, I suppose), but had left it at home. "And, "he added fiercely, "if you don't come quietly at once, I'll draw my revolver and blow your brains out." "Draw it, then," said t feeling pretty sure that he had no revolver. He did not draw it; and I told him that I should certainly not go with him'.

At this moment, a forgeman approached on his way home from work. The gentleman hailed him and together they set off across the field with the seven collier lads in tow. After a short distance, the collier lads overtook them and their leader continued with his demands that the gentleman come with him to the police. Reaching a path which led to some pitmen's cottages, the two men made to turn off. The colliers' leader grabbed the gentleman and again insisted he come to the police. 'I shook him of and informed him that he had now committed an assault', wrote the gentleman. The colliers followed the two men to a pitman's cottage, where the gentleman thanked the forgeman for his trouble and gave him a coin. When, a minute later, the gentleman and the pitman emerged to confront the colliers, they had gone.

This story was related by the gentleman concerned in a letter to The Times of October 15th 1888. He signed himself only as 'An Elderly Gentleman', but we know him to have been Arthur J Munby, a civil servant, diarist and minor poet much taken to solitary wandering.

The reaction in the town to an accusation against a kindly old gentleman married to a local woman was one of indignation. Mrs Munby wrote to her husband on 12th October:

Hal come out with a black face showing he'd been at the pit a working, & Mrs Lowe with her charr'ds, but they both was telling me how if their chaps had ha' known what that lot had been up to they'd sure to ha' come out & run 'em, & thrash'd em too, and yesterday morning the postwoman was at the French, & a woman there told her as this tall fellow come from Leapers Bridge, & since they found out who they'd insulted he has disguised himself for fear o' being known. Strange to say Lizzie had heard about it & and wanted Jim to come over here on Tuesday morning but he wouldn't believe as there was anything in it. They are all indignant & say as you slid have come here in this country to be so annoy'd, but / say nothing about it, nor I shdn't ha' told (the) Rickets if they hadn't heard of it. I think nothing of it coming from such ignorance & folly, still I am indignant.'

Unlikely as such an accusation may seem, that autumn countless solitary gentlemen were being accused of the Whitechapel murders. In some ways Munby conformed to the popular conception of the Ripper. He was a little too old, perhaps, but he was wandering alone at night and, clearly well-dressed and respectable, he conformed to the 'decadent aristocrat' suspect group identified by Christopher Frayling. (1) What the seven collier lads who accused him that night could not have known, however, was that they had alighted upon a most singular man, a man whose diaries recorded a bizarre and fascinating double life.

Detailing what he termed his `hobby', the diaries record his meetings and interviews with working women over a period of forty years. It was a fascination which obsessed and sustained him, and it was founded upon heartfelt conviction: for the extraordinary fact is that Munby, the middle class civil servant, was, for thirty-six years, secretly married to Hannah, a maid of all work.

The story of their love and of Munby's peculiar obsession is one of the quirkiest and most bizarre to emerge from the Victorian era. Munby's diaries are a valuable, if idiosyncratic, historical source. They contain details of his interviews with all manner of working women, as well as the bizarre domestic arrangements he shared with Hannah. They are the diaries of a man who mixed with the higher echelons of society, yet who also visited music halls and circuses, collieries, even a rookery. They are the true story of the extraordinary life of Arthur J Munby.

The name Munby is unusual. For centuries, variants of it have been known in Yorkshire, but Arthur Munby's ancestors can be traced to the Hull area at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. (2)

Arthur Joseph Munby was born in Clifton, near York, on 19th August 1828, the eldest child of Joseph Munby, solicitor, and Caroline Eleanor Munby (nee Forth). He was educated at St Peter's School in York and at Trinity College, Cambridge. Afterwards, he read for the Bar, more at his father's insistance than from any desire to practise law.

His interest in working women was acquired at Cambridge. References to them predominate in the diaries, which were kept from 1859, when Munby was thirty, until 1898, when he was seventy. But evidence of his mixing in higher society is provided in less frequent descriptions of meetings with his friends. Lifelong friends included Henry James (the lecturer, not the novelist), Vernon Lushington (twin brother of Godfrey), R D Blackmore (who dedicated some editions of Loma Doone to Munby), and Alexander Macmillan (the publisher whose tobacco parliaments' Munby attended). In addition, he was long acquainted with Henry Matthews. (In one diary entry from 1887, Munby mentions attending a dinner at which he sat opposite Matthews and next to Lord Salisbury!) Theree are also frequent references to Swinburne, Ruskin, Rossetti and Sala. He records meeting Darwin and Thackeray - also Dickens (with whom, taking a night-time walk, he discussed realism). In all, his diaries number over sixty volumes, averaging two hundred pages - and that is quite besides his notebooks, his biography of Hannah and his photographs.

Beside his often unique value as a chronicler of working women, Munby also went out of his way to witness major events: the visit to London of Garibaldi, and another of Mazzini; the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales; the last day of the Vauxhall Gardens; or the first days of the Charing Cross to London Bridge railway line and of the Metropolitan Railway (the world's first underground railway).

In all this he was helped by the congenial hours of his employer, the Ecclesiastical Commission, which required him to work only the hours of ten till five and, later, ten till four. Munby could, at times, leave earlier, and he was able to take lengthy stretches of leave. Though the job had not filled him with enthusiasm, it did allow him the time he needed to pursue his engrossing `hobby', the chronicling of the lives and conditions of working women.

Munby did not have a particular fascination for prostitutes, but he was interested in them because they were working women. Their highly visible nature, especially at night, often meant Munby observed and sometimes chatted to them, encounters which he describes in his diaries. His attitude to prostitution was robust and not overtly moralistic, as shown by the following entry from 20th March 1859:

Breakfasted with Litchfield. Ormsby being there also. Talk chiefly of the comparative morality of this generation and the last, and of the advantage c r otherwise of repressing street vice: as to which on the whole I side against the puritans, & am in favour of the unmolested street walker - provided she be sober, well dressed, & not too importunate.'

Munby's attitude towards working women was untypical to say the least. With regard to prostitution, however, he was not, at this time, so out of step. The prevailing attitude in 1859 was one of what Trevor Fisher has termed 'uneasy toleration', (3) where the arguments of the puritans had lost out to those in favour of licensed brothels. Though Britain has never allowed licensed whorehouses, it had, by 1859, gone some way down that path in the face of the politically powerful argument that venereal disease was undermining the strength of the armed forces and was responsible for several military defeats. (4) This paved the way for the Contagious Diseases Acts of the 1860s, actually a sensible attempt at regulation but criticised at the time by puritans as condoning - even legalising - vice. (5)

Contrary to the hard, filthy reality of life as an East End whore, the life of a West End prostitute could be well paid, even glamorous. Indeed, many of the girls - then, as now - became trapped by the vast sums of money to be earned; caught, as it were, in a cycle of high pay and high spending. An exception was one Sarah Tanner, whom Munby had known for four or five years, She was a maid of all work when he first met her, 'a lively honest, rosy-faced girl, virtuous & self-possessed.' When he next met her it was in Regent Street. She was 'arrayed in glorious apparel. How is this? said I. Why, she had got tired of service, wanted to see life and become independent; & so she had become a prostitute, of her own accord & without being seduced. She saw no harm in it enjoyed it very much, thought it might raise her & perhaps be profitable.'

Munby noticed how her manners were improved' with her efforts to become, through reading and taking lessons, a suitable companion for a gentleman.

Munby met her soliciting two or three times in subsequent years. 'She was always well but not gaudily dressed: always frank and rosy and pleasant, and never importunate: nor did I ever hear her say a vicious word.' The last time he met her on the street, she was with a companion on the Strand.

She was stouter & healthier than ever, well dressed, not professionally as a lady, but quietly and well, like a respectable upper servant. ()How is this? I said again. Well, I've left the streets & settled down,' she said quietly. Married?' l asked. Oh no! But I'd been on the streets three years, and saved up () and so I thought I'd leave, and I've taken a coffeehouse with my earnings - the Hampshire Coffeehouse over Waterloo Bridge. (..) Now here is a handsome young woman of twenty-six, who, having begun life as a servant of all work, and then spent three years in voluntary prostitution amongst men of a class much above her own, retires with a little competance, and invests the earnings of her infamous trade in a respectable coffeehouse, where she settles down in homely usefulness and virtuous comfort.'

Munby visited the coffee house five days later and found it to be perfectly respectable. A local policeman agreed, telling Munby that he 'didn't think bad women went there at all.'

This case is not as unusual as one may think. Acton believed that most ex-prostitutes returned to respectable lives. Those that saved could enjoy their retirements. Others made good marriages or, like Sarah Tanner, ran their own businesses. Unlike hers, however, these were often of questionable legality. (6)

Collier girls were an abiding fascination for Munby. He visited collieries whenever he went to the north of England, to South Wales or to Belgium. A number of photographic studies he commissioned still survive amongst the Munby Papers. Most are studio studies, of collier girls clad in trousers and hats, poised with shovels and sieves, their grimy malnourished faces peering tiredly at the camera lens. They are sad, melancholic pictures, records of the hard existences of anonymous women who left no other trace behind them. Munby was outraged by a British Act of Parliament banning women coming closer than seven yards from the shaft. At Okengates, observing the women, he was taken for an inspector under this very Act!

In Belgium, where women still worked underground, he went so far as to don mining attire and descend into their subterranean kingdom. In September 1864, Munby read an article by. John Plummer `abusing the Wigan collier girls'. 'Am I,' he wrote in his diary, to brave public opinion in this matter and try to show the fools that a woman may wear trousers and have coarse hands if she likes?' In this, Munby found himself opposed to the received liberal opinion of his day, which believed that women should be free from such hard, 'degrading' labour. Munby believed women should be able to follow whatever manual occupation they chose. For this, he would have been branded a reactionary! In 1887, when female labour at the pits was again under threat, Munby was honoured to lead a deputation of Wigan collier girls to the Home Office.

Sometimes his interest in working women was misconstrued, leading to embarrassing situations. On one memorable occasion, he observed some dustwomen on the south side of Westminster Bridge. (`Dust' was household waste, principally from fires, which was collected and then sifted into coarse and fine. The coarse dust was used to break up marshy soil, the fine dust was used in brick-making. (7) )

Munby arranged for a photographer's doorman to persuade one of the dustwomen to have her picture taken, and she reluctantly submitted to the camera, remarking, when it was over, 'that's wuss than a day's work, that is.' Munby paid her a shilling, which was a day's pay. (8) When he paid the doorman, however, he was told there was `another young woman' close at hand, whom the doorman went and fetched. It transpired she was an envelope-maker in which, Munby explained, he had no interest - at which point the doorman whispered that she was prepared to be photographed with her clothes up'. The doorman apologised vehemently when Munby showed his disgust. There was, however, more to come: as Munby left, he was approached by 'A shabby-genteel young man who had been lingering about (and) now came up to me bowing. "Beg pardon Sir - but was you in want of any ballet girls or pose plastiques?

"On another occasion, Munby met a young woman by the British Museum. As they set off together, she put her arm through his, and, revealing she was an artist's model, began talking, within earshot of passers-by, of a nude party she had attended.

Sometimes Munby would hit on an occupation that would probably now be forgotten were it not for his diaries. One such was the work of the 'flither-lasses', who gathered winkles and mussels for use as fishing bait. In 1867 he had brought one of them, Molly Nettleton, a new rope measuring twenty-four fathoms. The following year he witnessed its use at Brail Head. These 'flither-lasses' had discovered an inaccessible stretch of the beach. To reach it, they tied a rope to a stake, then scaled down the cliff to collect the 'flithers' (mussels and winkles) below. Their strength and ability were acrobatic. Munby could see no sign of the girls on his arrival, but waited till they appeared below. He climbed down to the ledge on the cliff face where the stake was secured, then saw the rope begin to tremble. Molly's bonneted head appeared suddenly over the ledge, grasped the stake and then grasped Munby's proffered hand. From the ledge she proceeded to haul up the heavy baskets.

Another unusual occupation was discovered by Munby in 1.864 between the fork in two railway lines near Blue Anchor Lane, Bermondsey. Here he came across `a very strange looking girl without a bonnet or shawl, wearing a soiled ragged gown, and boots to match; having her arms bare, & her throat wrapped in flannel; for she was very hoarse. A tall hulking wench of eighteen, rolling along like a sailor' Munby guessed she worked in the market gardens, but he was wrong. `Sir, I scrapes trotters,' she told him. A second girl joined them, who told him that, besides trotters, they also scraped 'bullocks' feet, Sir, and horses' feet. We scrapes the hair of 'em, and steeps them in lime, & prepares the hoofs. We makes a place in the lime for ourselves to sit in: it do bum one's clothes so (this is lime on my frock), - and we has to wear these old boots': and she held up her prodigious chaussure. And it is nice work? Well sir, its nice for them as likes it': & she, for all her comeliness, seemed to be one of them. (The hooves were processed in the nearby glue, offal and bones works.)

Munby's concern for working women often lead to him performing acts of charity. Besides teaching Latin at the Working Women's College, with which he had a long association, he sometimes looked in on particular individuals. Two of the saddest were the cases of Julia Slingsby and Mary Anne Bell, both of whom suffered facial disfigurements. Julia Slingsby had had scrofula, which had destroyed part of her nose. She desperately wanted a mask, which Munby obtained for her. Mary Anne Bell had lost her nose in an accident. Our conversation,' wrote Munby, 'was amusingly peculiar. Well, Mary, your face looks quite nice now. - Yes Sir it's a deal better, if only I get a nose put on'- And when you've got a nose, what will you do?' Well Sir, when I've got my nose, I think I shall go into service.' How? But wont they find out you've got a false nose?' No Sir, I expect not - they wont seethe joining (sic). My nose will be fastened on with a hook, and I can take it off when I like!'

Munby was also not averse to visiting freak shows - he met the Canadian giantess Anna Swan and saw the Siamese twins Eng and Chang. He also attended the criminal trial of a transsexual barperson.

Milkmaids were another favourite - an admiration he shared with George Augustus Sala. One milkmaid, named Kitty, told Munby in 1864 that she lived in 'half of one room' in a court off Duke Street and walked from there each morning to the dairy at Charing Cross in time to start work at half past five. She worked a fourteen hour day, seven days a week, and spent another hour walking to and from her work. She had taken no holiday from 1852 until 1858. Her pay was nine shillings a week. 'Well then, surely they give you your meals, besides your nine shillings a week wages, Kitty?' Oh yes Sir, they do that.' At twenty-eight, noted Munby, 'Her delicacy of feature and complexion is gone, utterly marred by twelve years of rough work and weather. (..) And yet she is still queenly. If Kitty had been a lady, she would now be a stately young matron, with beauty scarcely yet mature, and whole drawing rooms at her feet.'

Yet the point was that Kitty was not a lady. If she had been, Munby would not have been interested in her. Usually, his interest in the women finished with the conversation. In one instance, however, the interest became lifelong.

On the 26th May 1854 Munby spoke to a maid of all work who was crossing the street towards the back road which led to Grosvenor Street. 'A tall erect creature,' he described her fifty years later, 'With a light firm step and noble bearing: her face had the features and expression of a high born lady, though the complexion was rosy & rustic, & the blue eyes innocent and childlike: her bane arms and hands were large and strong, and ruddy from the shoulder to the finger tips: but they were beautifully formed.'

She was Hannah Cullwick, a maid of all work in the employ of Lady Louisa Coles. A native of Shifnal, in Shropshire, she had turned twenty-one the previous day; Munby was twenty-five. They would be together the rest of their lives.

Munby dreamed of making her a lady, but it was not to be. They met furtively, though often daringly. A note from Hannah announcing that her mistress was out would send Munby charging round to her humble quarters. In 1860, he lamented that hard drudgery had made her to much rougher and coarser'. She delighted in it because she thought it pleased him, which, at times, it did. 'Her notion of love,' he wrote in one diary entry, 'Is doing things: a useful, practical notion! "You see" she triumphantly exclaimed, after some new service - "I can do anything for you!" She called him 'Massa', the Negro dialect for 'master'. Munby adored her commitment to hard work, her innocence and her ignorance. 'What was the Conquest, Massa?' she asked him one day. 'My dearest,' he replied, 'I like you better because you don't know'.

She took care to present herself to Munby as dirty as possible. 'I love you, Master' - 'she told him in 1862, 'and / will be your faithful drudge and slave!' Will be, my child?' said Munby. 'Have been - and alas still are: will be, I trust, something more than that, if devotion may have its due.'

Yet others often continued to treat Hannah as a working woman. Munby and Hannah had formed the habit of walking down the street apart, but in August 1862, on a visit to Southend, Munby resolved differently. 'I took her arm, and we began by having beer together like the rest; and walked through the town, and out along the beach & little cliffs towards the Nore.' Munby found, however, 'that people stared at our being together, and addressed me with respect, while they spoke bluntly to her as an equal.' Closer to home, where they might be known, they had to continue to walk apart unless they found some secluded spot.

Munby and Hannah could rarely share the same roof, except when on holiday. One occasion did present itself, however, when in 1867 Hannah got a job with a Miss Knight, who took in lodgers at her home in Margate. Munby took a short break there and lodged at the house. It must have been a strain for them both, though it was not without humour. Hannah's mistress commented to her that their guest was 'quite a gentleman' & i thought 'Yes mam, i could tell you that (sic). On leaving, Munby commented to Miss Knight that the servant was 'such a respectable young woman. She seems quite a superior gentleman's servant'

By 1872, with his bachelor friends marrying, Munby had given more thought to his relationship with Hannah. He mentioned her to his friend, Henry James, who responded sympathetically. Munby met Hannah's family. He longed, as he put it, for 'this long tragedy (to) be over, and I able to do justice to that divinely beautiful soul and to myself, without saddening the old age of others as dear as she is'. He enquired about marriage licenses and, returning home to York, broached the subject with his father, who expressed horror. -

Around this time, Munby's housekeeper at 6 Fig Tree Court, Inner Temple, was dismissed for drunkenness. While Munby visited Paris, where the Siege had lately ended, he installed Hannah. She cleaned the rooms so well that colleagues advised her to apply for the job, though warned her that 'the master is a "fussy old bachelor". Hannah got the job, but decided that she couldn't live there unless she and Munby were married. Hannah moved into the basement, but their domestic arrangements were complicated by the fact that Munby had a tenant. Even at home, unless absolutely in private, Hannah and Munby had to keep up the pretence of being master and servant. The strain must have been almost unendurable.

Arthur Joseph Munby and Hannah Cullwick were married at St James's Church, Clerkenwell, on 14th January 1873. Afterwards Munby asked her to call him Arthur. She did it once, but it didn't feel right. To her, until the end of her life, he would always be `Massa', though occasionally she lengthened this to 'Moussiri'. The marriage remained a secret to all except three of Munby's circle. He confided the truth, or various degrees of it, to his close friends Robert Borland, Henry James and Vernon Lushington. Munby wished more and more to make Hannah a lady, but she was reluctant. 'Me! What nonsense, Massa - I wouldn't be stuck up for worlds!' When friends called, Hannah, complete with uniform, had to assume her part of maid, and wait on them. 'If all that was wrote in a play and acted, folks'd say it couldn't be true!' No doubt.' Munby commented, 'but to me it is rather tragedy than comedy.' And on another occasion Hannah said: 'Ah, ours is a story that, a hundred years hence, no one would believe!' 'Not so:' thought Munby, 'perchance they shall both know and believe it:- and, if they honour her as she deserves, it is enough for me.'

When a neighbour, Josiah Reed, got married in 1876, he left his rooms, which Munby took on. Three new tenants came to join them, including one Herbert Henry Asquith, the future Prime Minister and later Earl of Oxford and Asquith. On one occasion, Munby's brother George arrived unexpectedly and Hannah waited on him. He could have had no idea that the servant whom he barely noticed was his own sister-in-law.

By 1877 problems had developed in the marriage. Derek Hudson has suggested that, with the extra rooms at Fig Tree Court, Hannah had become overworked, and that she was also possibly 'emotional(ly) frustrat(...ed)' and menopausal. (9) Liz Stanley sees it more as a class and gender issue, suggesting that Munby was unhappy with his domestic arrangements, and wanted out. Hannah's wilful refusal to become a lady provided the excuse he needed to banish her from his home. (1o) My own feeling is slightly different I believe the class issue had come to the fore and that Munby, with his bachelor inclinations, wanted the arrangement to end. He called in Dr Julius Pollock, a Harley Street doctor, who advised him to send Hannah to the country for her health. The doctor, not Hannah, provided Munby with the excuse he needed.

So Munby paid Hannah an allowance and she returned to Shropshire. Though they communicated frequently, and visited each other several times a year, they never lived together again. Munby's principal home became Wheeler's Farm, Pyrford, in Surrey, the former home of his friend Vernon Lushington. Still, at heart, the bachelor, he enjoyed being alone there. As Hannah remarked in 1891, It's rather a sad story, is ours `.

Both, however, looked forward to the next meeting. At the slightest hint of illness Munby sent telegrams and set off for Shropshire.

Munby retired in 1889. His diaries had become less detailed by this time, and in 1898 they ceased altogether. At 70,' he wrote, il faut finir.' He still maintained notebooks on Hannah, however, and she could still delight him. 'Do you know what mesalliance means, dear?' he asked her in 1905. Yes, Massa - you and me!'

By this time Munby was of an age when many of his friends were dead. One of those still living was Lowes Dickinson, who wrote to him in 1906: 'God bless you, old friend! I enjoyed a visit and long talk with Vernon Lushington last week - much of it about you.' To the locals at Pyrford, Munby was a kindly old gentleman. An invalid by 1907, he was also almost blind. The Reverend and Mrs Osborne used to visit him. Mrs Osborne recalled: 'We always found him sitting in a chair. As he was almost blind, we used to read the newspaper to him, and he took the keenest possible interest in everything. He loved to talk of the old days, but he never mentioned that he was married.'

Hannah Munby died on 9th July 1909 at the age of seventy-six. Her niece was with her, but Munby was unable to get there. Her grave in Shifnal Churchyard consists of three gravestones, two outer stones which read: 'HANNAH MUNBY and 'SHE LOVED MUCH' and a main stone which reads: 'SHE WAS FOR 36 YEARS OF PURE AND UNBROKEN LOVE THE WEDDED WIFE OF ARTHUR MUNBY OF CLIFTON HOLME IN THE WAPENTAKE OF BULMER'. Munby seems to have dropped his guard by this time. With his parents dead and his advanced years, he dropped bigger hints as to his relationship with Hannah. He published a volume of verse - his last - in late 1909, and dedicated it 'to the gracious and beloved memory of HER whose hand copied out and whose lifelong affection suggested all that is best in this book'. There was even a poem called 'Hannah', with the line 'But the best of all my servants is my faithful servantwife.'

There has been no time to discuss Munby's poetry here, but he was in fact a poet of no mean ability: Browning, no less, praised his poem Dorothy. He often wrote of working girls, of course, and in one poem, from Vulgar Verses (1891), he describes a cross-class marriage:

And did he marry her? Oh yes!
And did it answer? Well -
Those only, who have the heart to bless
A working wench, can tell.

For she is still a working wench,
And sits with hands still bare,
0' Sundays, on the poor folk's bench:
But he is with her there.

Arthur Joseph Munby died of pneumonia at Pyrford on 29th January 1910. He was eighty-one. (11) Shortly before his death he had astonished his brother George by telling him about Hannah. Far from being shocked or outraged, his brother was immeasurably sad, Munby revealed the details in his will, whence it became public knowledge. But George Munby, writing to his daughter in February 1910, asked her to 'Please (...) in talking about him, speak of him (...) in which way he well deserves to be spoken of; and, as to his marriage, it will be wise to remain silent, at all events for many days to come.'

Such silence is no longer necessary.


What exactly did make Arthur J Munby tick? One must be careful in psychoanalysing the dead, but the suspicion that Munby's obsession sprang from a sublimated sexual drive appears inescapable. Munby was probably one of those men whose privileged upbringing meant he was unable to see women of his own class as sex objects and was forced to turn, instead, to women of inferior social rank. Munby lived most of his long life pre-Freud. He began writing his diary in the year that Darwin's Origin of the Species was published and ended them two years before Freud's The interpretation of Dreams. He may have been quite unaware of his sexual feelings towards working women. Being a naturally caring man, his passions surfaced in his chronicling of their lives and in his acts of charity. The fact that it was only women and not men who were the recipients of this concern is (given Munby's heterosexuality) a telling observation.


1. Christopher Frayling - 'The House That Jack Built: Some Stereotypes of the Rapist in the History of Popular Culture', in Rape, ed: Sylvana Tomaselli and Roy Porter (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1986), pp 174-215 (pp 192-196). Also, 'Shadow of the Ripper', Timewatch (BBC TV, 7th September 1988).

2. Letter to the author from Lionel M Munby, 10th April 1998.

3. Trevor Fisher, Prostitution and the Victorians (Stroud: Sutton Publishing Ltd; New York: St Martin's Press, 1997), p 29.

4. Ibid., p x.

5. Ibid., pp 104-105.

6. Fellow Chesney, The Victorian Underworld (London: Temple Smith, 1970), pp 317-318..

7. Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor selected and introduced by Victor Neuburg (London: Penguin, 1985).

8. Ibid., p 235.

9. Derek Hudson, Munby, Man of Two Worlds: the Life and Diaries of Arthur J Munby 1828-1910 (London: John Murray, 1972), p 391.

10. Liz Stanley (ed), The Diaries of Hannah Culiwick, Victorian Maidservant (London: Virago, 1984).

11. Munby was buried in St Nicholas' Churchyard, Pyrford. The parish records show the position of the grave, but there is no trace of it today. It is not known when the gravestone was removed. A memorial (the one reproduced) is located inside the chancel.


Trinity College, Cambridge, Munby Papers, MS 100/94 (Hannah's letter).

The Times 15th October 1888, p 13. (Munby's letter re Jack the Ripper, signed 'An Elderly Gentleman')

Special thanks are due to Philip Henry Jones, my dissertation supervisor at Aberystwyth, for pointing me towards the Munby diaries in 1994; in particular, it was he who first made me aware that Munby had been accused of the Whitechapel murders. Thanks also to Diana Chardin, David McKitterick, and Alison Sproston of Trinity College Library, Cambridge, and to Lionel M Munby. Thanks are also due for the kindness and diligence of the Rev Nicholas Aitken and Brian Thomas, Rector and Verger respectively of the Parish of Wisley-with-Pyrford. Most of the diaries, letters and photographs come from the Munby Papers and are reproduced with the kind permission of The Master and Fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge.

Further Reading:

HILEY, Michael Victorian Working Women: Portraits from Life (London: Gordon Fraser, 1979).

HUDSON, Derek Munby, Man of Two Worlds: the Life and Diaries of Arthur J Munby 1828-1910 (London: John Murray, 1972).

LEE, Sir Sidney (ed) The Dictionary of National Biography, Supplement January 1901 - December 1911 Vol I (Oxford: OUP, 1920).

MUNBY, Arthur J and CULLWICK, Hannah Working Women in Victorian Britain, 18501910: the Diaries and Letters of Arthur J Munby (1828-1910) and Hannah Cull wick (1833-1909) from Trinity College, Cambridge (Marlborough: Adam Matthew Publications, 1993). (The entire Munby Papers on 32 reels of microfilm).

STANLEY, Liz (ed) The Diaries of Hannah Culwick, Victorian Maidservant (London: Virago, 1984).

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