East London Observer
Saturday, 27 October 1888.
The Berner Street Inquest.
The inquest on the body of Elizabeth Stride, the victim of the Whitechapel murderer in Berner-street, was resumed and concluded on Tuesday, at the Vestry Hall, Cable-street, when, it having been proved that John Thomas Stride, the husband of the deceased, had died in the Poplar and Stepney Sick Asylum in 1884, and Elizabeth Watts, or Stokes, who was first supposed to be the murdered woman, having heartily denounced the series of coincidences by which she was associated with the victim, Mr. Wynne Baxter summed up the strange coincidences of the case as surpassing the brothers Antipholis and Dromio, and the jury returned the usual verdict of murder against some person unknown.
During the three days of the week following the Sunday on which the dreadful double murder was committed, the following petition to “Our Most Gracious Sovereign Lady Queen Victoria,” was freely circulated among the women of the labouring classes of East London, through some of the religious agencies and educational centres :-
“MADAM, - We, the women of East London, feel horror at the dreadful sins that have been lately committed in our midst, and grief because of the shame that that has fallen on our neighborhood. By the facts which have come out at the inquests, we have learnt much of the lives of those of our sisters who have lost a firm hold on goodness, and who are living sad and degraded lives. While each woman of us will do all she can to make men feel with horror the sins of impurity which cause such wicked lives to be led, we would also beg that your Majesty will call on your servants in authority and bid them put the law which already exists in motion, to close bad houses within whose walls such wickedness is done, and men and women ruined in body and soul. - We are, Madam, your loyal and humble servants.” And here follow the 400 or 500 signatures.
The petition was presented in due form, and Her Majesty has replied in the following gracious terms to the request of Her earnest and loyal, if humble subjects:-
“MADAM, - I am directed by the Secretary of State, to inform you that he has had the honour to lay before the Queen the petition of women inhabitants of Whitechapel, praying that steps may be taken with a view to suppress the moral disorders in that neighborhood, and that Her Majesty has been graciously pleased to receive the same. I am to add that the Secretary of State looks with hope to the influence for good that the petitioners can exercise, each in her own neighborhood, and he is in communication the Commissioners of Police, with a view to taking such action as may be desirable in order to assist the efforts of the petitioners, and to mitigate the evil of which they complain. -I am, Madam, your obedient servant, GODFREY LUSHINGTON,
St. Jude’s Vicarage,