Beverley Research Trip

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On Monday November 26th 2012 I set off from Hull on the Hull to Beverley train with a view to visiting the East Riding Archives, at the Treasurers House, Beverley.  The reason for the trip was two fold.  The first part of my research was aimed at investigating a local paranormal mystery that is relevant to the Sculcoates area of Hull.  As Sculcoates fall under the jurisdiction of the East Riding Council, many of the records are kept at the East Riding Archives.  The second leg of my research trip was to investigate two Jack the Ripper scares that had occurred in Beverley during the 19th century.

Jack the Ripper Scares

I first discovered the two scares in The Hull Daily Mail archives and searching further a field discovered more reports in the National press, I was, however, hoping to find the source material from Beverley, so at some point a trip across to the archives was on the cards.  The two reports were from the years 1891 and 1894 and covered two unsavoury characters that had visited Beverley and been arrested after Jack the Ripper Scares in the district. 

At the East Riding Archives I searched the old back issues of The Beverley Guardian, which at the time was published every Saturday.  It wasn’t long before the search turned up several articles from 1891 and 1894.  In the past The Beverley Guardian has provided me with details on Frederick Bailey Deeming, under his alias Harry Lawson, and in their February 1890 editions featured announcements of his marriage at St. Mary’s Church in Beverley.  His subsequent career in Hull, and trial for fraud also featured, as well as his arrest in Australia and trial for murder.  The Beverley Guardian was also a great source of information in the search for material on Mary Jane Langley and her unsolved murder on the outskirts of Marfleet and Preston.  Having the local slant on these cases proved valuable as it mentioned other names and locations as well as being more in depth.   

The Paranormal Mystery

Without giving too much away on this little mystery, I visited the archives to obtain several historical documents from the early 19th century that shed new light on an age old mystery.  I have been investigating and researching this particular location for years now, but with little published about it, and less written on the internet I decided to find the historical documents that pertain to the location when it was first mooted and eventually built.  A couple of books have tackled this location, but they give very little in the way of historical facts.  My aim was get back to the local acts that made the construction of this location and start researching the history from that point.

In the East Riding Archives search room I was very pleased to be shown several historical documents dating back to 1817 that showed the meetings and acts that were set in place for the construction of this location.

September 11th 1888

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September 11th 1888

If September 10th was a frantic day of press reports and commentary, then September 11th 1888 was a day of almost hysterical stories and press reporting across Britain and further afield. 

Numerous reports appeared in, The Western Mail, The York Herald, The Star, The Standard, The Morning Post, The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent, The Pall Mall Gazette, The Northern Echo, The Liverpool Mercury Etc, The Leeds Mercury, The Huddersfield Daily Chronicle, The Glasgow Herald, Freeman’s Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser, The Dundee Courier and Argus, The Daily News, The North Eastern Daily Gazette, The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post, The Bury and Norwich Post and Suffolk Standard, The Birmingham Daily Post, The Belfast News Letter, The Aberdeen Weekly Journal, The Daily Colonist, The Daily Telegraph, The East End News, The Echo, The Evening News, The Irish Times, and The Montreal Daily Star.

In Australia the following published stories, The Morning Advertiser, The Launceston Examiner, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Argus, The Brisbane Courier, The West Australian, The Burra Record, The Morning Bulletin, The South Australian Register, The Daily News, The Maitland Mercury, The Traralgon Record, and The Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser.

In New Zealand the following printed stories, The Marlborough Express, The Ashburton Guardian, The Star, The Aucland Star, The Press, The Evening Post, The Daily Telegraph, The Timaru Herald, The Wanganui Herald, The Colonist, The Hawke’s Bay Herald, The Nelson Evening Mail, The Poverty Bay Herald, The West Coast Times, The North Otago Times, The Fielding Star, The Southland Times, The Otago Daily Times, and The Taranaki Herald.

September 11th 1888 was also the day that Dr. Cowan and Dr. Crabb visited the police to inform them that they believed Jacob Issenscmid to be the Whitechapel Murderer. 

This past week

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The past week


In the past week I had the opportunity to peruse some old Hull newspapers that covered the years 1889 to 1940.  Among the newspapers were several articles pertaining to Jack the Ripper and the Whitechapel Murders.  I was able to collect copies of articles on the likes of Sir Charles Warren, Sir Melville Macnaghten, and several other police officials, who were in service during the “Autumn of Terror.” 

I was also able to obtain copies of newspaper reports on several suspects, from Frederick Bailey Deeming, James and Florence Maybrick, Charles LeGrand, Francis Tumblety, and several other suspects that are rarely discussed despite their candidacy being much stronger than the likes of some who have been mentioned in the past!

I was also able to collect material, including newspaper reports, and material gleaned from primary sources on the likes of Annie Millwood, Ada Wilson, Emma Elizabeth Smith, Martha Tabram, Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Susan Ward, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, The Whitehall Mystery, Mary Jane Kelly, Annie Farmer, Rose Mylett, Elizabeth Jackson, Alice McKenzie, the Pinchin Street Torso, and Frances Coles, as well as several other victims who were killed in the vicinity in the months after the initial “Jack the Ripper” scare! 


This Saturday I had the pleasure of lecturing at the Western Library, on Boulevard, off Hessle-road in West Hull.  The library is opposite the former home of one Frederick Richard Chapman, and close to the site of one of the Hull Dispensary’s that he worked at, and the former church where he was a church warden.  The library itself is an historical gem, built in 1895 and being the first in Hull to be erected using public funding.  The library closed in 2011 and reopened only recently after a £800,000 regeneration project and I must say it is a lovely bright place with many of the historical features kept for future generations to admire.  Among the improvements were the erection of extra meeting rooms, a lift, extra shelving, solar roof panels, and a new IT facility.  The original Victorian counter is still present, and many of the walls have been restored. 

The lecture was arranged by The Friends of Hull Library, who asked that I go along and discuss Hull’s Ghostly Myths and Legends.  It was a lovely atmosphere, and I came away with more bookings for future lectures.  I was also pleased that not only was the room packed, but that the crowd had so many stories and questions in the Q+A session I held afterwards. 

All in all it was a great day, and I hope to return to the library very soon.

Heritage Open Days Hull

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this weekend saw the Heritage Open Days across the UK, and closer to home in Hull.  On Saturday I had the pleasure of visiting Hull’s Neptune Inn, a location that was built in the 1700’s but by the 1800’s had been closed and was sold to the Hull Customs.  It was here, in 1863, that Robert D’Onston Stephenson began working as a clerk of the first class to the Hull Customs.  The property is owned by the Trinity House Corporation, who Robert D’Onston Stephenson’s father worked for in his role as Receiver of Corporation Dues and Receiver of Bouyage.  Two roles that were jointly operated by the Trinity House Corporation, the Hull Customs, the Hull Dock Corporation and the Hull Corporation.  It was also through the same roles and employers that Lewis Carroll’s maternal grandfather worked, albeit in the 1700’s.

The massive awe inspiring building retains many of the original features after it was renovated some years ago and stands opposite the bank that was used by Frederick Bailey Deeming prior to him defrauding Messrs Reynoldson’s!  Deeming arrived in Hull in November 1889 and opened up an account at the bank, and traded with them until he closed his account and wrote three cheques for jewellery at Mr. Reynoldson’s jewellery store, where the current Schue branch is on Hull’s Whitefriargate. 

The bank stands on the corner of Whitefriargate and Parliament-street, another location that appears in Hull’s Ripperological history.  Several people were removed to Parliament-street police station between 1888 and 1900 for “Ripper like conduct” and it acted until the central police station during the period. 

Also on Parliament-street stood what was known as Messrs Tenny and Dawber, a solicitors firm that Joseph Dawber was running.  Joseph was Robert D’Onston Stephenson’s cousin, and would later be locked up in Hull Gaol for fraud.  Curiously, the 1891 Census shows that at the same time he was in prison, Frederick Bailey Deeming, under the alias of Harry Lawson, was also an inmate!  Small world!

Leaving Neptune Inn I paid a visit to the Holy Trinity Church, where William Wilberforce was christened.  It was also here that Robert D’Onston Stephenson’s father was also christened!  The church is always a pleasure to walk about, and features the tombs and remembrance plaques of hundreds of former Hull notables including former Mayors, Alderman, and Merchants.  The tower was open, but with my dodgy ticker and the heat I didn’t risk the climb. 

After Holy Trinity Church I visited the Pacific Exchange, which was advertised as being open 10:00 – 15:00 but at 14:00 was already closed.  Regardless I walked along to Hull’s only National Trust property, Maister’s House.  The house has a magnificent staircase and upper balcony, but it was undergoing structural integrity checks, so scaffold bars and boards blocked much of what was previously on show.  Hopefully they will discover the problem and save this unique location.

From Maister’s House I had a quick look around Hull’s Museum Quarter, where a collection of vintage cars were on display.  Leaving the museums I headed for the Georgian Houses but discovered that the tours needed booking despite the official guide stating that no booking was required.  When I enquired about the time I was told the next available tour would be in a hour and half, so I left for other locations. 

Blaydes House was next on the agenda, a beautiful 18th Century property built and owned by the Blaydes family.  It was the Blaydes family who built a ship named “The Bertha,” which would be later renamed “The Bounty” which was known for its infamous mutiny.    

Leaving Blaydes House my next stop was St Mary’s Church, known to many as St Mary the Virgin.  The church dates from the 14th Century, and is packed with historical features that make it a place to visit over and over again.  Once again, for health reasons, I decided against the tower climb. 

Taking in other locations, such as Ye Olde White Hart, White Hart, Sailmakers, and George Hotel, I finished the day at Hull’s Bob Carver’s fish and chips shop.  A piece of Hull’s history in itself.        

September 7th 1888

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September 7th 1888

The hot topic of the day on September 7th 1888 was the funeral of Mary Ann Nichols, sometimes referred to as Polly, and Nicholls.  Several news reports published that Mary Ann Nichols had been buried at Ilford Cemetery by her father, among them was the Daily News, The Times, The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent, The Morning Post, The Standard, and The Western Mail.

September 5th 1888

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September 5th 1888

Whilst inquiries were ongoing in Whitechapel, the British Press were still covering the inquest and subsequent adjournment of Mary Ann Nichols.  Once again the story of the alleged assault outside Foresters’ Music Hall was making the headlines, with The York Herald, dated that day, featuring a brief overview of the incident. 

Further up north The Dundee Courier and Argus, dated September 5th 1888, printed a report that claimed Great Britain was awash in a crime epidemic and the police were to blame.   Among the listed cases of recent murder, mutilation and suicide, was a brief report that the police in Whitechapel were clueless and had yet to make an arrest.

The following was the main report of the day, it was featured in several newspapers, from the following,

Aberdeen Weekly Journal,

The Dundee Courier and Argus,

The Leeds Mercury,

The Irish Times,

THE WHITECHAPEL MURDER.  It is stated that the police conducting the inquiries into the Whitechapel Murder believe that they have a clue to the perpetrators of the crime, and that certain persons are being kept under surveillance.  No arrest, however, is expected to be made until after the adjourned coroner’s inquiry, when important evidence pointing to the murderer or murderers may be given, unless the suspected persons attempt to leave the district.

The Spooky Isles - Jack the Ripper Week…

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  The Spooky Isles

Continuing on with Jack the Ripper Week is The Spooky Isles, with a fantastic post on The Top Five Jack the Ripper movies.  The post, written by Eric McNaughton, can be viewed here,

Today, hot off the press, is another article on The Spooky Isles, from some fella called Mike Covell.  The article is entitled “Jack the Ripper Scares during the “Autumn of Terror” and can be viewed here,

Ripperology roundup

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More on Charles Cross:

The theory that Charles Cross aka Charles Allen Lechmere, who was also mistakenly called “George” in the earlier press reports, and Ripper books, is gathering pace, with more publications featuring the story. 

Charles Cross was born Charles Allen Lechmere in the year 1849.  His birth was registered in St. Anne’s Soho, and he was the son of John Allen Lechmere and Maria Louisa Lechmere, nee Rouson.   

In 1858, Charles’ mother, Maria Louisa remarried, to Thomas Cross, who was a police constable.  Charles took his surname on occasion.

In the 1861 Census, they can be seen residing together, [RG9, P276, F29, P5, GSU542605]

Thomas Cross       36           Head      Police Constable

Maria Louisa Cross            34           Wife

Emily Cross                          14           Dau        Scholar

Charles Cross                      11           Son

 In 1871, at the age of 20, he married Elizabeth Bostock, who was at the time aged 21.  The marriage took place on July 3rd 1870, in the Parish of Christ Church, Watney-street, in the Borough of Tower Hamlets.  Charles’ father was named as John Allen Lechmere, and Elizabeth’s father was listed as Thomas Bay Bostock.  Charles’s occupation is listed as Carman, and the marriage took place at the Christ Church.  [P93/CTC2, Item 026]

 The 1871 Census lists, [Class RG10, P530, F45, P28, GSU8213387]

In the Civil Parish of St George in the East,

Charles A Lechmere            21           Head      Carman

Elizabeth Lechmere            21

 The London Echo, dated September 3rd 1888, featured the following,

 Charles A. Cross, a carman, in the employ of Messrs. Pickford and Co., said that on Friday morning he left his home about half-past three. He reached Messrs. Pickford’s yard at Broad-street, City, at four o’clock. He crossed Brady-street into Buck’s-row. Was there any one with you? - No, I was by myself. As I got to Buck’s-row, by the gateway of the wool warehouse, I saw someone lying at the entrance to the gateway. It looked like a dark figure. I walked into the centre of the road, and saw that it was a woman. At the same time I heard a man come up behind, in the same direction as I was going. He was about thirty or forty yards behind then. I stepped back to await his arrival. When he came, I said to him, “Come and look over here. There’s a woman.” We then both went over to the body. He stooped one side of her, and I stooped the other, and took hold of her hand, which was cold. Her face was warm. I said to the man, “I believe the woman is dead.” The other man at the same time, put his hand on her breast over her heart and remarked, “I think she is breathing, but very little, if she is.” He then said, “Sit her up,” I replied, “I’m not going to touch her. You had better go on, and if you see a policeman tell him.” When I found her, her clothes were above her knees. There did not seem to be much clothing. The other man pulled her clothes down before he left.

Did you touch the clothes? - No, Sir.

Did you notice any blood? - No, it was too dark. I did not notice that her throat was cut. I then left her, went up Baker’s-row, turned to the right, and saw a constable. I said to a constable - the last witness - “There’s a woman lying in Buck’s-row. She looks to me as though she was dead, or drunk.” The other man then said, “I believe she is dead.” I don’t know who this man was; he was a stranger, but appeared to me to be a carman. From the time I left my home I did not see anyone until I saw the man who overtook me in Buck’s-row.

The Coroner - Did you see anything of a struggle.

Witness - She seemed to me as if she had been outraged.

You did not think so at the time? - Yes, I did; but I did not think she had been injured.

You had no idea that she had been injured at all? - No.

 The Star, another London based newspaper, also published September 3rd 1888, featured the following, which gave the address for Charles Cross,

 CARMAN CROSS was the the next witness. He lived at 22 Doveton street, Cambridge-road. He was employed by Pickfords. He left home on Friday at twenty minutes past three, and got to Pickford’s yard at Broad-street at four o’clock. He crossed Bradley-street into Buck’s-row. He was alone. He saw something lying in front of the gateway - it looked in the distance like tarpaulin. When he got nearer he found it was a woman. At that time he heard a man coming up the street behind him; he was about 40 yards behind. Witness waited until he came up. He started as though he thought witness was going to knock him down. Witness said to him, “There’s a woman.” They both went to the body and stooped beside it. Witness took the woman’s hand, and finding it cold said, “I believe she’s dead.” The other man put his hand on the breast outside the clothes - over her heart - and said, “I think she’s breathing, but very little.” He suggested they should shift her - set her up against the wall - but witness said, “I’m not going to touch her. Let’s go on till we see a policeman and tell him.” Before they left the body the other man tried to pull the clothes over the woman’s knees, but they did not seem as though they would come down. Witness noticed no blood; but it was very dark. He did not see that her throat was cut. They went up Baker’s-row, and saw the last witness. Witness said to him, “There’s a woman lying down in Buck’s-row on the broad of her back. I think she’s dead or drunk.” The other man said, “I believe she’s dead.” The policeman said, “All right.”

The following day, The Times, dated September 4th 1888 featured the following testimony:

 George Cross, a carman, stated that he left home on Friday morning at 20 minutes past 3, and he arrived at his work, at Broad-street, at 4 o’clock. Witness walked along Buck’s-row, and saw something lying in front of the gateway like a tarpaulin. He then saw it was a woman. A man came along and witness spoke to him. They went and looked at the body. Witness, having felt one of the deceased woman’s hands and finding it cold, said “I believe she is dead.” The other man, having put his hand over her heart, said “I think she is breathing.” He wanted witness to assist in shifting her, but he would not do so. He did not notice any blood, as it was very dark. They went to Baker’s-row, saw the last witness, and told him there was a woman lying down in Buck’s-row on the broad of her back. Witness also said he believed she was dead or drunk, while the other man stated he believed her to be dead. The constable replied “All right.” The other man left witness at the corner of Hanbury-street and turned into Corbett’s court. He appeared to be a carman, and was a stranger to the witness. At the time he did not think the woman had been murdered. Witness did not hear any sounds of a vehicle, and believed that had any one left the body after he got into Buck’s-row he must have heard him.

Charles Cross died in 1920 and was survived by his wife, Elizabeth, who eventually passed away on 12 September 1940.  Her death was registered:

Name: Elizabeth Lechmere, Birth date: Abt 1849, Date of Registration: Jul- Aug- Sep 1940, Age at Death: 91, Registration District: Essex South Western, Inferred County: Essex, Vol: 4A, Page: 418.

Charles Allen Lechmere’s last will and testament reads:

Charles Allen Lechmere, of 2 Rounton-road, Campbell-road, Bow, Middlesex, died 23rd December 1920.  Probate London, 2 June to Elizabeth Lechmere, Widow, Effects £262

Today, The Docklands and East London Advertiser, featured a follow up report on Charles Cross as a suspect in the Ripper Murders.  The article can be read here,

 The story of Charles Cross as Jack the Ripper was also published in the past 24 hours in Pakistan!!!  The story, available online at Pakistan Today, can be viewed here:

September 3rd 1888

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September 3rd 1888

By September 3rd 1888 more British newspapers were featuring the case, but with very few new details making print.  A few letters to the press were published in this period, but many, like the letter written to The Daily News, by Mr. Henry Tibbetts, 24, of Artillery-lane, Bishopsgate-street Without, were already very negative in feeling towards the Met. Police.  Even press opinion was speaking out against policing in the district, with The Dundee Courier and Argus, of the same date, publishing a scathing commentary on the Whitechapel police.  The same publication theorised that a gang might be involved.

The story also reached Yorkshire when The York Herald published a short report on the case.  The short report featured details on the opening of the inquest, and how the body had been identified.

The Hull press, up to this point, had covered the discovery of Nichols, which was published in the last edition of The Eastern Morning News, on April 1st, and a brief overview of events so far in the September 3rd 1888 edition of The Hull Daily Mail.

A week in Ripperology.

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Frederick Bailey Deeming

This week I have been busily researching Frederick Bailey Deeming when I came across more articles pertaining to him in the Hull press.  The articles, covering the period of 1894 until 1950, feature a number of local slants on Deeming’s time spent in Hull.  There are retrospectives of his time spent on the run, his time in Hull Prison, and the discovery that he was a murderer.

A number of articles mentioned Deeming in passing, concentrating on Hull crime and criminals in general, with a few looking at the police officers and local government officials involved in the Deeming fraud trial of 1890.    

Jack the Ripper in the Hull and Yorkshire Press 1888 – 1950

This week I searched both The Hull Packet, The Hull Daily Mail, Yorkshire Evening Post, The York Herald, and Yorkshire Gazette for any articles pertaining to Jack the Ripper.  The search resulted in 277 articles featuring Jack the Ripper from the perspective of the Yorkshire press.   Topics include suspects, theories, murders, police officials, and local scares.  There are also a number of articles that look back at the “Autumn of Terror” as well as articles written and submitted to the Yorkshire press by police officials and theorists from the period.  Among some of the most interesting are articles covering Jack the Ripper and the Black Magic theory, but sadly Robert D’Onston Stephenson does not feature!   


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New Finds:

Whilst I have been housebound I had the pleasure of seeking out new articles in the Hull Press via digitisation projects.  This has allowed me to search from the relative comfort of my home and has turned up some fascinating results.

Over the years my scope of work has covered 10 suspects with links to my home town of Kingston upon Hull, so with access to the Hull Daily Mail archives I decided to search for any articles pertaining to any of the 10 suspects, resulting in the finding of numerous articles on the likes of Frederick Bailey Deeming, and even some material from the 1920’s exploring Lewis Carroll’s connections to the city.  Among the articles were many reports on the Whitechapel Murders, many of which I have never seen before, and other similar atrocities and Ripper scares.  There was a fascinating article regarding Jack the Ripper and Black Magic, that appeared in the Hull press in the 1920’s, and some fascinating material on the likes of Betty May and Aleister Crowley.

New Photographic Finds:

In the last 6 years I have searched and searched for a photograph showing the birthplace of Hull born Robert D’Onston Stephenson.  Despite poring over hundreds of books, webpages, and photo archives I could not trace an image, then, within the space of a week, I uncovered not one, but two!!  The images show two different views of the Stephenson family home.  One from the street facing the property from a side and showing the neighbouring houses, the other shows the property from the front, but at a much later date!!  Needless to say I am very excited about these images.


This month marks my third year on social networking site Twitter.  It has seen me post almost 7,000 tweets, and I have a little over 900 followers.  The site has become a useful networking tool for likeminded Ripperologists, Historians, and True Crime followers.  Here is to another 3 years!!

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