12 November 1888
Mr. Richard Mansfield's tenancy of the Lyceum is drawing to a close, but Mr. Mansfield had no intention of leaving London at present. Shortly before Christmas he will open the Globe Theatre for winter season. Among his arrangements for the evening performances are a revival of "Prince Karl," to be followed by the production of a new play. Concurrently with these items, Mr. Saville Clark's adaptation of "Alice in Wonderland" will occupy the afternoon bill throughout the holidays.
Although the police diligently continued their inquiries they had not, down to an early hour this morning, succeeded in capturing the Whitechapel murderer. Several persons were arrested, either on Saturday or yesterday, but they were able to give a good account of themselves. Great excitement continues to prevail in the neighbourhood. A description of scenes in the streets last evening will be found in another part of our impression.
SUNDAY EVENING IN SPITALFIELDS
"Nothing fresh; no arrests today" is this evening's summary of the state of things by the police in Whitechapel and Spitalfields. There seem, however, to be hundreds of people to whom the subject of the latest tragedy is still fresh in its horror, and who are flocking in and out of the murky little street, full of the all absorbing theme, or huddled together in little groups under the flickering lamps, listening to anybody who has anything to say about it, or can give the latest rumours of arrests made or suspicious characters seen. The public houses are of course all full, and as the doors swing open every now and then one can hear the babel of conversation going on there is all about the murder. Flaring naphtha lamps are throwing a lurid glare over barrows of walnuts and piles of apples, and lighting up the uncouth crowds engaged in eager discussion, while three or four hoarse throated fellows, flaunting crimson advertisement sheets and bright red covered pamphlets, are braying out inducements to take "the Whitechapel Blood book - the Book of the Whitechapel 'Orrors, only a penny." Two stalwart policemen are still stationed like a couple of mutes at the head of Miller's court, from which the general public are still excluded, though the wretched inhabitants of this dreary little nook flit in and out, seemingly not greatly affected by the notoriety into which their little burrow has been suddenly dragged.
It is a dismal, dreary scene presented here in the misty gloom of this November evening, and it is all the more gruesome and depressing from the revolting conversation of many of the people, especially of a line of rough looking fellows who stand with their backs against the wall opposite the head of Miller's court, smoking short pipes, chaffing the crowd, and bandying unseemly jests about the shocking occurrence. As early as four o'clock in the morning, it is said, people began to drop round to have a look at the scene of this latest horror, and all day long they have come and gone, and still they are clustering here, and streaming in and out. But the main thoroughfares look very quiet and deserted, at all events to those familiar with them only on weekdays. The gaslights flicker feebly over the sloppy pavement, and there is a clammy fog in the air. It is six o'clock, and bands of street preachers are beginning to make themselves heard through the dusky streets. Yonder is the clear, pleasant voice of a young girl rising into the gloomy night, rendering with great pathos and expression one of Mr. Sankey's most melodious ditties. Sweetly and tremulously her voice soars out, and then perhaps fifty people round her catch up the chorus, some of them taking their parts with great precision and effect. The chorus dies out, and again the bright young voice swells with evident emotion, and passers by stop and listen, and rough jests are hushed. It seems as though every few paces in this neighbourhood of Spitalfields street singers and preachers are doing their best to take full advantage of the solemnizing effect of these successive tragedies. "There is no doubt," said a City missionary, "that the impression has been very profound among these unhappy women. We have had special meetings for them, and at the very outset of our efforts we got thirty four of them away to homes, and we have had a good many others since. I knew the poor girl who has just been killed, and to look at, at all events, she was one of the smartest, nicest looking women in the neighbourhood. We have had her at some of our meetings, and a companion of hers was one we rescued. I know that she has been in correspondence with her mother. It is not true, as it has been stated, that she is a Welshwoman. She is of Irish parentage, and her mother, I believe, lives in Limerick. I used to hear a good deal about the letters from her mother there. You would not have supposed if you had met her in the street that she belonged to the miserable class she did, as she was always neatly and decently dressed and looked quite nice and respectable." "You have been at this work a good many years?" "Seven years in this neighbourhood." "And do you find the state of things improving in any degree?" "Well, I think there is a little improvement - some little improvement. I have been out and about the streets at all hours, and have sometimes found a shocking state of things. I remember a year or two back going out one night and finding eleven women who had crept for shelter into the staircase of one house. They were quite destitute, and were sleeping here. The opening of the refuges of one sort and another has done something to reduce the numbers found in this way, but there is still a deplorable state of things."
Out into the darkness again and round into this lane, where the poorest of all the lodging houses are to be found. What a queer world it is. But down into the very deepest depths little bands of devoted men and women make their way with perfect impunity. They trundle in their harmoniums, distribute their books, and set up singing and praying; and it seems as though the most hardened ruffians and the most abandoned profligates dare do nothing more at the most than assume an air of stolid and sullen neutrality. Push open this door! What a picture for a Doré! The huge coke fire, the sleek looking, sprawling cats basking in its glow, the dark, uncouth shadows in the background, the men stretched in sleepy indifference on the kitchen forms, the rows of women with bandaged heads, and gaunt, haggard figures seated under the flaring gas, singing with the fervour of cherubim, and the grimy, half clothed, curly headed, roguish little imps of children pitchpoling about the sawdust floor, or sandwiched in between their mothers, piping up with their shrill little voices in the general chorus. What a strange phase of life it is! Out again into the murky lane and we are stopped by a singularly repulsive looking little woman, whose face looks as though at some time or other it has had a terrible blow that has flattened it all in. She wants a word or two with her friend the missionary. Where has "he" gone to? She cannot get out half a dozen words before she bursts into tears. She bares her skinny arm to show how thinly she is clad and how wasted she is, and she tries to blurt out the story of her wrongs. Twenty long years, and now "he" has gone, and she is left alone to fight her own way, and she sobs and cries, and begs the missionaries' help. A few more peeps into the kitchen, where other bands of workers are gathered, and in one of which a young lady, bereft of eyesight, is offering up a prayer of piteous earnestness for the ragged company seated amid the pots and pans of the lodging house kitchen. Out again, and once more there is a plea for the missionaries' aid. Her sister, alas! has got into trouble. Oh if the missionary would but try to get them married! "A very common task," says the missionary. "During my seven years I suppose I have managed to get a couple of hundred married under such circumstances at least." Away again up into a comfortable, clean, and tidy little room in a block of model dwellings. Here is an exceedingly respectable looking young woman, who has been helped out of this lodging house life. Her husband had committed forgery, and she was plunged from comfort and respectability down into the deepest depth. Just in time they found her, and helped her up again, and here she is in a decent little home and work found for her. One who has dipped here and there into that awful lodging house life can well understand the fervent gratitude of this poor girl, who hardly seems to know which to be most thankful for - the help out of the lodging house kitchen or the recovery of her only child from bronchitis. "We keep on dragging them out," says the missionary, "but others keep on streaming in." What this part of London would be without such work Heaven only knows.
The evil fate which may befall those who interest themselves too deeply in the police business of a matter like the present murder was strikingly exemplified last night in the case of a gentleman, stated to be a doctor, who had taken on himself to discover the perpetrator of the crime through his own exertions. About ten o'clock last night the idle and inquisitive crowd, who since the ghastly discovery was made have infested Dorset street and its immediate neighbourhood, had their attention attracted to the extraordinary behaviour of a man who for some short time before had been officiously making inquiries and generally conducting himself in an unusual manner. Over a pair of good trousers he wore a jersey in place of a coat, and his face was most palpably artificially blacked. His manner led to considerable remark and at last a cry was raised that he was "Jack the Ripper." In the prevailing state of the public mind in the district this was quite enough to inflame the anger of those in the street, and he was at once roughly seized. Fortunately for him, there were a large number of policemen about, both in uniform and plain clothes, by whom he was at once surrounded on the first alarm being given. He at first resisted capture, but happily for himself, soon realised his position and consented to go quietly to Leman street Police station. Meanwhile, the officers who had him in charge had the greatest difficulty in saving their prisoner from the fury of the mob, who amid the wildest excitement made the most desperate endeavours to lynch him. As it was, he was very roughly handled and considerably bruised by the time he reached the police station, where he gave his name and address, which are withheld by the police authorities. He stated that he was a medical man, and had disguised himself in order to endeavour by what he thought were detective means to discover and apprehend the perpetrator of the Whitechapel horrors. He also gave such particulars of himself as enabled the police to quickly substantiate their accuracy, and to discharge him after short detention in the cells.
Great excitement was created last night about a quarter past nine in Wentworth street, Commercial street, close to Dorset street, by loud cries of "Murder" and "Police" which proceeded from George yard buildings. Police Sergeant Irving and Police constable 22 HR were quickly on the spot, and at once rushed into the buildings, which are a large set of model dwellings. In the meantime the street rapidly filled with persons from the adjoining houses, while some of those who lived in the top storey of the buildings clambered on to the roof in order to intercept any person who might attempt to make his escape by that means. After a little inquiry, however, by the officers the truth came out. It seems that a Mrs. Humphries, who is nearly blind, lives with her daughter on the second floor of the buildings, and about the time mentioned went to an outhouse for the purpose of emptying some slops. As she went in a young man, who is courting her daughter, and was on his way to visit her, slipped out of the place past her. Mrs. Humphries at once asked who it was. The young man, who, it is said, stutters very badly, made some unintelligible answer, and the old lady, who, like her neighbours, was haunted with the terror of "Jack the Ripper," at once gave the alarm, which was promptly responded to. The mistake, however, was soon explained, and quiet restored in the vicinity.
That the public excitement has not abated to any appreciable extent, was clearly demonstrated by the crowded state of the streets in the neighbourhood of Whitechapel yesterday. Dorset street, the scene of the latest ghastly tragedy, was during the afternoon and evening in practically a congested state. The throngs, which extended even into Commercial street, rendered locomotion all but impossible. Jostling the assembled people were vendors of pamphlets fresh from the press descriptive of the Whitechapel crimes, and these the hawkers advertised by shouting out in shrill tones, which could be heard even above the cries of the proprietors of fruit and confectionery stalls, who appeared to be doing a thriving trade. Two police constables guarded the entrance to Miller's court, where, of course, the crowd was thickest; and the adjacent shop of the landlord of the house in which the body of the murdered woman had been found, was besieged with people anxious, if possible, to glean further particulars. The inquisitive idlers within and about Dorset street comprised men and women of nearly every class. Little or nothing occurred to satisfy their curiosity beyond the news of an occasional arrest on suspicion. These arrests served but to emphasise the condition of frenzied excitement to which the populace had been reduced, so little did subsequent police inquiry justify them. Amongst three or four detained was a strange man at Bishopsgate street Police station. the circumstances under which he became an object of attention were these. Some men were drinking at a beerhouse in Fish street Hill. One of them began conversing about the Whitechapel murder, and a man named Brown, living in Dorset street, thought he detected a bloodmark on the coat of the stranger. On the latter' attention being called to it he said the mark was merely paint, but Brown took out a pocket knife, and rubbing the dried stain with the blade pronounced it to be blood. The coat being loose, similar stains were seen on the man's shirt, and he then admitted that they were blood stains. As he left the house at once, Brown followed, and when the suspicious stranger had got opposite to Bishopsgate Police station, he was given into the custody of an officer who was on duty there. The prisoner gave the name of George Compton. On being brought before the inspector on duty, he excitedly protested against being arrested in the public street, alleging that in the present state of public feeling he might have been lynched. The man had been, it is said, arrested at Shadwell on Saturday by a police constable, who considered his behaviour suspicious, but he had been discharged, and had come on to London. It was alleged that before he left the Fish street hill beerhouse he had made contradictory statements respecting his place of residence and the locality in which he worked. Another arrest was effected at an early hour in the morning through the exertions of two young men living in the neighbourhood of Dorset street. Like many others in the district, they appear to have constituted themselves for a time amateur detectives, and have been perambulating the streets on the lookout for suspicious persons. About three o'clock yesterday morning they had their attention drawn to two men in Dorset street who were loitering about. The two men separated, and one of them was followed by the two youths into Houndsditch. They carefully observed his appearance, which was that of a foreigner. He was about 5 feet 8 inches in height, had a long pointed moustache, was dressed in a long black overcoat, and wore, also, a cloth deerstalker hat. When near Bishopsgate street the young man spoke to a policeman, who at once stopped the stranger and took him to Bishopsgate street Police station. Here he was detained pending inquiries; but inasmuch as he and the other prisoners were released before ten o'clock at night, it goes without saying that satisfactory explanations of their movements were given.
It would seem indeed that the police at the present moment are absolutely without a tangible clue as to the person or movements of the murderer. With no information of a definite character to work upon, their position is admittedly a difficult if not a deplorable one, a fact which some of their number in confidential moments are ready enough to admit. Beyond the usual trouble and complication attending an inquiry into the surroundings of a crime like this - the last and most horrible in the long catalogue of East end murders - the police have to deal with the unfounded statements and charges of weak nerved or officious persons who have become unduly excited over the recent tragedies - statements and charges which must of necessity be inquired into, although the authorities know only too well that no result of any value will accrue to them to reward their industry. This, at about one o'clock on Sunday morning a man was charged on suspicion at the Commercial street police station by a well dressed young fellow, who had seen him talking with a woman in Bishopsgate street. The man charged, who was well dressed, but evidently the worse for drink, noticed that he was being watched, and, according to his accuser, hurriedly left his female companion and jumped on to an omnibus, on which, arriving at Shoreditch, he was given into custody. There can be no doubt whatever that in the present state of public excitement in the Whitechapel district the safety - or at any rate the liberty - of no man who acts in the least degree incautiously is safe.
The clue on which the police on the first discovery of the crime founded their strongest hopes of discovering the criminal - the finding of a pilot coat in the victim's room - seems to have utterly broken down, as it is now pretty certain that the garment in question was the woman's own property, or at any rate left in her charge by one of her many acquaintances. Even were this not so, the coat would not tally with the description of the man in whose company the unfortunate woman Kelly was last seen - a well dressed man with a long overcoat over an ordinary coat. As already stated, there is a discrepancy as to the time at which the murder was actually committed, and there is also some doubt as to whether any portion of the body was removed. On the latter some important evidence will be given at the inquest which will be opened this morning at Shoreditch Town Hall by Dr. R. M'Donald, M.P. As to the former, many persons who have been interviewed state that the unfortunate woman never left the house at 26 Dorset street, after she entered it on Thursday midnight, while, on the other hand, others, who declare that they were companions of the deceased and knew her well, state that she came out of her house at eight o'clock on Friday morning for provisions; and, furthermore, that they were drinking with her in a local tavern at ten o'clock on the same morning as her mutilated body was found at eleven. The woman Maxwell, who stated that she saw the deceased alive at half past eight on Friday morning, adheres to her story. She has also given a description of the murdered woman's dress, which she says was black, with red trimming. A woman named Kennedy was on the night of the murder staying with her parents at a house in the court immediately opposite the room in which the body of Mary Kelly was found. This woman's statement, if true - and there seems little reason for doubting its veracity - establishes the time at which the murder was committed. Her statement is as follows:
About three o'clock on Friday morning she entered Dorset street on her way to her parents' house, which is situate immediately opposite that in which the murder was committed. She noticed three persons at the corner of the street near the Britannia public house. There was a young man, respectably dressed, and with a dark moustache, talking to a woman whom she did not know, and also a woman poorly clad, without any headgear. The man and woman appeared to be the worse for liquor, and she heard the man ask, "Are you coming?" whereupon the woman, who appeared to be obstinate, turned in an opposite direction to which the man apparently wished her to go. Kennedy went on her way, and nothing unusual occurred until about half an hour later. She states that she did not retire immediately she reached her parents' house, and that between half past three and a quarter to four she heard a cry of "Murder!" in a woman's voice proceed from the direction in which Mary Kelly's room was situated. As the cry was not repeated she took no further notice of the circumstance until the morning, when she found the police in possession of the place, preventing all egress to the occupants of the small houses in this court.
Kennedy has been questioned by the police as to what she had heard during the night, and she has repeated substantially that statement as follows:-
On Wednesday evening about eight o'clock she and her sister were in the neighbourhood of Bethnal green road, when they were accosted by a very suspicious looking man, about forty years of age. He wore a short jacket, over which he had a long top coat. He had a black moustache and wore a billycock hat. He invited them to accompany him into a lonely spot, "As he was known about here, and there was a policeman looking at him." She asserts that no policeman was in sight. He made several strange remarks and appeared to be agitated. He was very white in the face, and made every endeavour to prevent their "looking him straight in the face." He carried a black bag. He avoided walking with them and led the way into a very dark thoroughfare "at the back of the workhouse," inviting them to follow, which they did. He then pushed open a small door in a pair of large gates and requested one of them to follow him, remarking, "I only want one of you;" whereupon the women became suspicious. He acted in a very strange and suspicious manner, and refused to leave his bag in the possession of one of the women. Both women became alarmed at his actions and escaped, at the same time raising an alarm of "Jack the Ripper." A gentleman who was passing is stated to have intercepted the man while the women made their escape. Mrs. Kennedy asserts that the man whom she saw on Friday morning with the woman at the corner of Dorset street resembled very closely the individual who caused such alarm on the night in question, and that she would recognise him again if confronted with him.
This description of the man suspected of the murder tallies exactly with that in the possession of the police. and there is very little doubt that the murderer entered Kelly's house late on Thursday night or early on Friday morning.
Mrs. Elizabeth Phoenix, residing at 157 Bow Common lane, Burdett road, Bow, called at the Leman street Police station about nine o'clock last evening and made a statement to the officers on duty which it is thought will satisfactorily establish the identity of the murdered woman. She stated that about three years ago a woman, apparently the deceased from the description given of her, resided at her brother in law's house at Breezer's hill, Pennington street, near the London Docks. She describes this lodger as a woman about 5ft 7in in height, and of a rather stout build, with blue eyes and a very fine head of hair, which reached nearly to her waist. At that time she gave her name as Mary Jane Kelly, and stated that she was about 22 years of age, so that her age at the present time would be about 25. There was, it seems, some difficulty in establishing her nationality. She stated first that she was Welsh, and that her parents, who had discarded her, still resided at Cardiff, whence she came to London. On other occasions, however, she declared she was Irish. She is described as being very quarrelsome and abusive when intoxicated, but "one of the most decent and nicest girls you could meet" when sober. About two years ago she left Breezer's hill, and removed to Commercial road, from which quarter she had been reported to Mrs. Phoenix as leading a loose life. It has been stated more than once that Kelly was a native of Limerick, but a telegram received from that place last night says that inquiries made in the city have failed to identify the latest Whitechapel victim as a native of the town. The Limerick police were stated to have been communicated with by the London police regarding Kelly's antecedents, but the report was unfounded. It is believed that if Kelly belonged to the city she left it with her people many years ago.
On Saturday afternoon a gentleman engaged in business in the vicinity of the murder gave what is the only approach to a possible clue that has yet been brought to light. He states that he was walking through Mitre square at about ten minutes past ten on Friday morning, when a tall, well dressed man, carrying a parcel under his arm, and rushing along in a very excited manner, ran plump into him. The man's face was covered with blood splashes, and his collar and shirt were also bloodstained. The gentleman did not at the time know anything of the murder.
A somewhat important investigation was made on Saturday in the room in Miller's court in which the woman was murdered. The police had reason to believe that the murderer had burnt something before leaving the room after the crime, and accordingly the ashes and other matter in the grate were carefully preserved. Dr. Phillips and Dr. Macdonald, M.P., the coroner for the district, visited Miller's court, and after the refuse had been passed through a sieve it was subjected to the closest scrutiny by the medical gentlemen. Nothing, however, was found at the examination which is likely to afford any assistance ot clue to the police.
It may be stated that although Dorset street is only a very short thoroughfare no less than fifteen hundred men sleep every night in the common lodging houses with which it abounds. In Miller's court quite a panic has occurred, and Mr. McCarthy, the landlord of the houses, states that the result of the alarm engendered by the murder has already been the loss of four tenants who, presumably, are too frightened to remain in the immediate vicinity of so terrible a tragedy. The doctors were engaged for some time yesterday at the mortuary in Shoreditch Churchyard making a post mortem examination of the body. Every portion of the deceased was fully accounted for, and at the conclusion of the investigation the various pieces were sewn together and placed in a coffin. During the day a large number of persons animated by morbid curiosity called at the mortuary and asked for permission to look at the remains. All such requests were, of course, refused. No arrangement has as yet been made as to the funeral.
On enquiry late last night at the Criminal Investigation Department in Scotland yard or reporter was informed that no telegram had been received at that office announcing the arrest of the murderer or anybody likely to prove to be the man so long sought for. What may be an important piece of evidence has, however, fallen into the hands of the detectives engaged in the case. About 3.30 yesterday afternoon a man's shirt covered with blood was found in the area of some schools in Russell street, opposite the side entrance of Drury Lane Theatre. This garment has been submitted to Dr. Mills, divisional surgeon, for examination.
The Scotland yard authorities have published the following proclamation head "Murder - Pardon": Whereas on November 8th or 9th, in Miller court, Dorset street, Spitalfields, Mary Janet Kelly was murdered by some person or persons unknown, the Secretary of State will advise the grant of Her Majesty's gracious pardon to any accomplice not being a person who contrived or actually committed the murder, who shall give such information and evidence as shall lead to the discovery and conviction of the person or persons who committed the murder.
(Signed) Charles Warren, the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis.
In the House of Commons today, Mr. Conybeare is to ask the Home Secretary whether he can state the exact reason why the late head of the Detective Department in the Metropolitan Police resigned his position; whether it is the fact that Sir C. Warren has now practically the direct control of the Detective Department; and, whether, in view of the constant occurrence of atrocious murders, and the failure of the new organization and methods to detect the murderer, he will consider the propriety of making some change in the arrangements of Scotland yard. Mr. Pickersgill is to ask the Home Secretary who is at present the head of the Criminal Investigation Department; whether the Home Office communicates with him directly or through the Chief Commissioner of Metropolitan Police; and whether arrangements have been made at the Home Office for the investigation of crime apart from Scotland yard.
A Glasgow correspondent, telegraphing last night, says: The police report tonight that when a constable was going his rounds he heard shouts of "Murder!" He hastened forward, and found a woman named Georgiana Douglas, aged thirty, lying in a sunken area in St. Vincent street, Glasgow, in a pool of blood. She said she had entered the stair above with an unknown man, who suddenly stabbed her in the chin and threw her out of the staircase window from a height of twenty feet. She was received in an ambulance waggon to the hospital. A man was apprehended today, but she could not identify him. She said her assailant had dark whiskers, and looked like a sailor.
Sandringham, Nov. 11.
His Royal Highness the Duc D'Aumale and the Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne have terminated their visit to the Prince and Princess of Wales, and have left Sandringham.
The Prince and Princess of Wales with Prince Albert Victor rode over to Billington yesterday morning to the "meet" of the West Norfolk Hunt. The attendance was brilliant, and nearly all who were present at the county ball, including the guests at Sandringham, and a large contingent of the neighbouring yeomen and their wives and daughters were present on horseback or in carriages. The Prince and Princess of Wales and Prince Albert Victor hunted with the hounds, returning to Sandringham after the sport.
The Prince and Princess of Wales, accompanied by Prince Albert Victor, the Princesses Louise, Victoria, and Maud, and the guests staying in the house, were present at Divine Service this morning at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in the Park, the ladies and gentlemen of the household being in attendance. The Rev. F. Hervey, Rector of Sandringham, Domestic Chaplain to the Prince and Princess of Wales, and Chaplain to the Queen, officiated, and the sermon was preached by the Rev. R.T. West, M.A., Vicar of St. Mary Magdalene, Paddington.
The first anniversary of the attempted meeting in Trafalgar square was celebrated yesterday in Hyde Park by a gathering of close upon 4,000 people. Few banners were displayed, but a large number of red flags, the inscription "Remember Trafalgar square" being prominent; also "Remember Chicago, November, 1887." The chief speakers were Mr. William Morris, Mrs. Parsons (Chicago), and Mr. Cuninghame Graham, M.P. The latter said that there was at least one man who would raise his voice against the legal murder of the working classes. He condemned the capitalist classes who exploited the people, and longed for the return to Parliament of men who would really represent the people. Though the murder of these men was unavenged, he did not go upon the line of an eye for an eye and blood for blood. He was pained at the sights of misery and want by which he was surrounded, and hoped that ere long the workers of the human race would enjoy that measure of comfort which by right to them belonged. Resolutions were passed condemning the exploitation by capitalists, demanding the dismissal of Sir Charles Warren and Mr. Matthews, and asking for the release of Harrison, who was sentenced to five years for complicity in the Trafalgar square riots last year. A considerable force of police was on the ground, but at no time was their intervention necessary.