Ten years ago I embarked on a project to chart the connections between the “Jack the Ripper” case and my hometown of Kingston upon Hull, or Hull as it is often referred to. I started out with a single suspect, Robert D’Onston Stephenson, and embarked on planning, researching and writing “Jack the Ripper – From Hell, From Hull.”
As time progressed my tally of suspects increased, from one, to fourteen! I also carried out research into the contemporary newspaper articles published in the Hull press between 1888 and 1988, uncovering two giant folders of research.
So, when it came to writing the book I could no longer fit all the research into one volume, and one volume became two, two became four, and today the current tally stands at
The newspaper reports I had uncovered went into a single volume, however, as the volume was so large they were split into two volumes, resulting in the release of;
“Jack the Ripper” – Newspapers from Hull Vol I, which covers the year 1888
“Jack the Ripper” – Newspapers from Hull Vol II, which covers 1889 – 1988
The material also gave me enough information to write;
Leather Apron, “Jack the Ripper” and the Whitechapel Murders of 1888
I had also been researching the local connection between Michael Maybrick and Florence Maybrick in Hull. The research from that project went into;
“Jack the Ripper” and the Maybrick Family
Researching the case also gave me lots of information on each victim, I was particularly interested in three non canonical victims, but in researching one I came across a wealth of material that made it into;
Annie Chapman – Wife, Mother, Victim
Finally I also had enough material on Frederick Bailey Deeming to give him and his criminal deeds a book of their own. This resulted in the release of;
Frederick Bailey Deeming – “Jack the Ripper” or Something Worse?
“Jack the Ripper” From Hell, From Hull? Was growing so much now that it spawned another spin off,
“Jack the Ripper” – The Black Magic Myth, about the life, career, reputation and suspect candidacy of Robert D’Onston Stephenson. It was a book that started out a decade ago, working with a pen and paper at our old house in East Hull, and which has finally been completed for publication.
There are still two more “Jack the Ripper” titles on the way. As mentioned earlier the suspect tally with links to my hometown was 14! With that in mind the next two releases will be;
“Jack the Ripper” The Hull Connection,
Edwin Brough, Scalby Manor and the Hunt for “Jack the Ripper.”
Finally a decade on I can safely say that “Jack the Ripper” The Black Magic Myth is complete and finally the life of Robert D’Onston Stephenson can be recorded.
Thank you to everyone who helped out, especially Howard Brown for his foreword.
Thank you to Miika and the Creativia Team, and thank you to my family for their support.
All the books are available now on Amazon as either kindle or paperback editions.
For as long as I can remember I have always had a fascination with Hull Prison. My late father conducted work their when he was an industrial cleaner, removing asbestos from the prison in the 1980’s, my sister lived opposite on Hull’s Newtown Buildings, and as a teenager I was a student at David Lister School, just a stones throw away.
Over the years I have met many former inmates, listening to their stories, but it is the history of the building that fascinates me.
Some years ago I started researching the prison. I needed to as a part of the Frederick Bailey Deeming story and for the John Rennard aspect of the Marfleet Murder Mystery.
When Hull Daily Mail announced that the prison would be opening an exhibition in the former Governor’s Residence at the front of the prison I contacted the prison and spoke with Rob Nicholson.
Rob is an amazing guy, what he doesn’t know about the prison is not worth knowing, and together we exchanged research, I ended up sending entire census returns for the prison, lots of material on Frederick Bailey Deeming, and other items.
Eventually the research worked its way into the exhibition, something that I was very proud of.
In later years we filmed Prime Suspect – Jack the Ripper, with Prospero Productions at the main gate.
After that we recorded From Whitechapel to Whitefriargate with BBC Radio Humberside and David Reeves in the exhibition space with Rob.
This week marks the 150th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone by the Mayor of Hull, Mr. Atkinson, and as such the prison organised a friends and family day.
I had contacted Rob and was granted permission by the governor to join the day, but little did I know, I would get my own exclusive tour with Rob.
What Rob does not know about the prison is not worth knowing. He is a walking encyclopaedia of names, dates, stories, and is a really pleasure to listen to. He also has a wicked sense of humour and is a true gent.
We met at the main gate and whilst the friends and family went in, we admired the original entrance to the prison. It’s massive, and I mean MASSIVE stone entrance is imposing and threatening. We spent some time looking at the right hand side of the main gate. This was where the original notices were put up to announce whether an inmate had been reprieved or hanged. It felt very eerie stood here, knowing that this is where friends and family received word of those that had hanged or whether the Home Office had given them a last minute reprieve.
We waited until the other group walked off, then we headed for the old structure of the prison, the original wing. It was here that we stood and admired the height and stonework. Strange crenellations, mock battlements, and signs in stone of the Hull Corporations Three Crowns adorned the high walls of the building.
“This is the mortuary” he pointed out, to a simple stone structure, “this is where they were stored after they were hanged.” He pointed out as we walked around the building. He also pointed out where those who had sentenced to hang were left for an hour so that death could be officially announced. Leaving we walked in a corridor through the old wings that took us past where the male and female prisoners would have been segregated back in the Victorian period. We passed a series of bricked up doorways and arches, it was fascinating, and as the walkway was open at both ends, the wind blew through and it was actually pretty eerie.
We exited and again admired the structure of the building, with its high walls and metal fittings, where cages stood to allow prisoners to walk between wings.
We again entered the building and went on to one of the wings. My jaw dropped. Such magnificent Victorian architecture, but I was stopped in my tracks by the steel work. The original steelwork in the older Victorian section of the prison was made on site. It still bears the HMP Hull mark, but to see it all was fascinating. We stood and admired the steelwork before Rob took me along the first floor balcony to where the condemned would have made their final journey. We looked at an old bricked up archway, where dignitaries would have gone into the drop room to observe the act, and then we walked around to another room that was like a modern day wash room. Tiles adorned the walls and metal sinks hung off the walls. “This is where they were hanged.”
We stood inside the room for a while, just taking it in, on the spot where ten convicted murderers, had faced their end. Pinioned, hooded, and with noose around their neck, the hangman would send them to their final judgement.
Below us was the room where the deceased would be left for an hour.
We moved on and went up to the next floor before exiting via a large circular room, which is the massive green dome you can see from outside. The ceiling was so high it was breath taking, and again we were surrounded by locally produced steel.
Rob showed me where an escape hatch was situated, no longer in use, but used by officers should they need to escape quickly.
We moved through the prison, visiting the newer wings, passing the site of the old and much talked about “Seven Alleys” and Arnold Lavers Wood yard, now under tons of steel and concrete that form the high walls of the prison.
We entered another wing and at this point Rob left me whilst he logged us in at the office. Whilst I was waiting I met two members of staff, who were sorting books out to take onto the wings for the prisoners. As they sorted the books one fell. I looked at it and instantly recognised the face. It was none other than the death mask of Frederick Bailey Deeming. The book in question was Murders of the Dark Museum by Gordon Honeycomb. What I found fascinating is that Deeming was a former prisoner here for nine months in 1890-1891 for fraud. The book’s author passed away just yesterday, on the 150th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone at Hull prison. We discussed it and laughed it off, before heading across the wing to where Rob had himself encountered paranormal activity.
On the way back to the main gate we passed the spot where the ten condemned lay.
Arthur Richardson, 25/03/1902, William James Bolton, 23/12/1902, Charles William, 22/12/1903, Thomas Siddle, 04/08/1908, John Freeman, 07/12/1909, William George Smith, 09/12/1924, Robert Ernest Dalton, 10/06/1925, George Michael, 27/04/1932, Roy Gregory, 03/01/1934, Ethel Lillie Major, 19/12/1934.
No plaque, no memorial, no grave, just a “herb garden” remains.
We left by the main gate, once again admiring the old brick work that kept in people like Frankie Fraser, members of the Kray firm, IRA members, Frankie “The Mad Axe Man” Mitchell, Charles Bronson, Frederick Bailey Deeming, Arthur Richardson, William James Bolton, Charles William, Thomas Siddle, John Freeman, William George Smith, Robert Ernest Dalton, George Michael, Roy Gregory, Ethel Lillie Major, John Rennard, and of course Rough, the dog of John Rennard!
Thank you to Rob Nicholson and all the staff at Hull Prison for an amazing day that will stay with me for a long time.
Seems like ages ago that I last wrote on this blog. Things have been very hectic, and as such I have not had the time to get in. Hopefully, with a few new changes, things will start to plateau and I will be able to drop in now and then.
On Saturday August 9th 2015 I headed out to Scalby, the final resting place of Edwin Brough, whose bloodhounds were secured in London to be tested with a view to employing them in the hunt for “Jack the Ripper.”
This is my adventure!
I woke up early Saturday morning and headed out to get the newspapers, having a quick spot of breakfast on my return, then heading out to the train station. Very few buses were on the road at that time so I popped into the taxi office near my house and secured a taxi to the train station.
On arriving at the train station I purchased train tickets for Scarborough, and headed to the platform. Unfortunately, an incoming train had hit a deer, and because of this the crowds had started building up. I struck up a conversation with a security guard and we eventually caught the train, sitting together and having a laugh about the work we had done in the past.
Eventually we got to Scarborough, and I made my way to the Scarborough Library in search of their local studies room, aptly named “The Scarborough Room.” I had pre-arranged what I wanted to look at and was handed a stack of material on Scalby Manor and Edwin Brough, which I quickly viewed and secured copies for my files.
Most people will have left at that point, but I decided to look through the Scarborough newspapers of 1888. It made sense to me that they should mention Edwin Brough and his hunt for “Jack the Ripper,” with him being a former Justice of the Peace in the town. I was not disappointed. I found a stack of articles that discussed him, the bloodhounds, and “Jack the Ripper.”
I then broadened my search and found a series of articles about the paranormal side of Scalby Manor, including ghost sightings from the 1950’s through to the last decade.
I also found an interesting document signed by Edwin Brough, and a document showing the pedigree of the family.
Everyone at Scarborough Library were very helpful, and their knowledge of the material I was looking for was fantastic.
I left Scarborough Library in search of the right bus to Scalby. Earlier in the week I had contacted East Yorkshire Motor Services ( @EYBuses) and they were really helpful in getting me the right bus, sending me time tables and maps. This really helped and within no time I had not only found the correct bus stop but was on the bus heading out to Scalby. The village of Scalby is much larger than I expected and the bus driver stopped at the edge of the village and asked where I needed to be, when I told him that I was going to St. Laurences Church, he dropped me opposite.
The village of Scalby is lovely, a really beautiful place and so peaceful. I immediately found the church and was thankful that I had previously arranged with the church wardens a map and directions to the grave of Edwin Brough. As I walked through the churchyard, amongst the old headstones, I struggled to find the grave. Eventually two churchwardens crossed the churchyard and came to help. Together we still failed to find the grave, so I called Rev. Ferneley, whose number I had taken with me just in case. The Rev. quickly arrived as he lived in the Vicarage next door. Together we looked but still struggled to find it. Eventually we came across an overgrown ivy bush and jokingly I remarked “I have a feeling what we are looking for is under that bush.” He walked over, pulled away the ivy, and sure enough, we found the grave of Edwin Brough.
Interestingly, Brough was married with his wife and sister in law, who also acted as a servant at Scalby Manor before her death.
We cleared some of the bushes and ivy away then sat and chatted about the grave. I could have pulled all the ivy off and taken photos, I could have cleared the grave, but out of respect, and to keep the grave protected from the elements, I decided to keep it covered. The Rev. was pleased with the decision, and we shook hands and he departed whilst I took photos.
Eventually I left the churchyard. A wedding was due to take place and as the guests arrived I am sure they would not want to see a sweaty Ripperologist knee deep in ivy digging around the graves.
I headed off from the village of Scalby to Scalby Manor, a 25 minute walk covering 1.4 miles along Station Road onto Field Lane, then onto Burniston Road. The sun was high in the sky and it was hot, but luckily I had packed bottles of water for the walk, and as such it was a pleasant walk.
Eventually I arrived at Scalby Manor a little after 1 o’clock. I was warmly met by a gentleman who took my order, of fish and chips and a pint of coke, and I made my way to a table, picking up my hot food and ice cold drink. As I ate my lunch I pulled out all the research I had amassed and began reading it. At that point one of the bar staff walked by and said “Hello,” she saw the papers on my table, and we began chatting about the manor. She called over a more senior member of staff and the three of us began chatting about Edwin Brough, Scalby Manor, the Bloodhounds, “Jack the Ripper” and the paranormal past of the building. The two girls then invited me to take a look around, so we headed through the bar into the rear courtyard. It was here where Edwin Brough kept his beloved bloodhounds and as always it is a pleasure to see.
I had visited the location a year previous to this, just after they had cleared it all, and was accompanied by my wife, Susan, and my good friends Kathy and Dave. They stayed in the car, and I went in alone that time, having only a second to see the kennels. This time I had much longer and the three of us stood out in the sunshine talking about the kennels. I was pleased to see that one of them was in use by a friendly dog that belonged to the residents staying upstairs. I took lots of photos, said my thanks, and left to head back to Scalby.
This time I cut across the Camping and Caravanning Club grounds, cutting off a wedge of Burniston Road and Field Lane corner, then headed back along Station Road to Scalby. I had time to pop into the rest rooms and grab a drink before the bus arrived to take me back to Scarborough.
Arriving in Scarborough I had a few hours spare, so I decided to hit the seafront with my camera. After walking up and down the seafront I decided to head back to the station and make my journey home.
All in all it was a lovely day, I met and chatted with lots of lovely people and got a ton of research as well as two books, one on the Yorkshire Ripper and one on Jack the Ripper.
Thank you to the staff at East Yorkshire Motor Services, Scarborough Library and Local Studies, Scalby Manor, and the church wardens and Rev. Ferneley at St Laurences Church, Scalby, for all their help and advice over the weekend.
Well it has been one hell of a year. I seem to have not written much on the blog at all this year, but believe me it is for a very good reason. I have been so busy not just with “Jack the Ripper” but other projects that I rarely get to sit and update my blog. So here, in one post, is all the weird and wonderful news since my last posting. Forgive me if I go over the same ground again, but the projects are so exciting and it is fantastic to be a part of them all.
This week I had the pleasure of lecturing for a massive marketing company in London at Mindshare’s Huddle event.
Massive thank you to Chris Bourke, for not only booking me, but making me feel very welcome at the event. The lecture which was for Qriously Ltd, looked at “Jack the Ripper” and the media both past and present and was a very popular lecture. Everyone made me feel very welcome and I had a lovely time in London meeting everyone.
This year has seen the release of ten of my books, they are all available to download via Amazon, and two are currently available on paperback. Simply search for “Mike Covell” on the Amazon pages around the world and you will find the products.
At the moment sales are really impressive and I cannot thank the Creativia gang for taking me on board and looking after me and my titles. They are such a small tight nit group and they have worked wonders for me.
As you can imagine I am limited in what I can say about the movies at present, I know I am a tease, but I can only recommend that you visit the Thunderball Films website for updates on the projects that I am involved in. It is a very exciting time, and I look forward to working on some amazing projects as an historical director and executive producer that are heading our way.
I can confirm that there is a television show on the way looking at the “Jack the Ripper” case and other similar cases to ascertain fact from fiction, myth from reality. Whilst I am very limited over what I can and cannot say, I can say that it is a very interesting and exciting project tackled in a way that has never been tackled before in Ripperology. The title for the show is “Jack the Ripper: Reality and Myth.”
Many people will remember that earlier this year I set up AMAZING HULL TOURS. Since that time I had carried out numerous tours, lectures, and research for numerous people. The tours are going really well and recently were featured in the Hull Daily Mail after a number of people caught anomalous objects on camera. I take a back seat and allow people to take photos on the tour and if they capture anything on film I do not sway their opinion. That said, this last few weeks has seen a number of people capture unexplained activity on their cameras.
Earlier this year I met with my good mate John and we recorded a show on Jack the Ripper – The Hull Connection. Since then John and I have recorded more shows that look at the history of Hull. Show two featured a virtual walk around Hull’s Old Town, visiting some of the allegedly haunted pubs and talking about their history.
To listen to the shows simply visit:
HULL’S DARK MUSEUM
Earlier this year I teamed up with local businessman John Hemmingway to create a brand new visitor attraction in Hull. The idea is to showcase 700 years of the darker side of Hull’s strange history, from witchcraft to the hanging of pirates, ghost sightings, local legends and true crime. The project is moving at a great pace and I look forward to releasing news about this very soon. One area we hope to showcase is “Jack the Ripper” The Hull Connection.
I am very pleased to announce that due to the popularity of the URBAN LEGENDS podcasts that next year for the second season we have even bigger plans. Watch out for John and I around Hull filming in locations associated with true crime, Jack the Ripper, and the paranormal.
I am pleased to be the historian at the fascinating project housed within Annison’s Stables, on Witham, above and behind the 24 hour pharmacy. A lot of attention has been paid to this building and its magnificent history and in the future you will see some amazing tours, lectures, and the occasional paranormal investigation at the property. You will also see lectures on Mary Jane Langley being given at the property where Mr. William Mortimer Edmonds had his photography shop!
The “Chocolate Factory” on Wincolmlee, a lovely 19th century tallow mill will also see some magnificent projects taking place there. These will be run in conjunction with local businessman John Hemmingway, who I spoke about in regards to the DARK MUSEUM above.
2015 will see a wide range of new lectures and new tours, taking in aspects of Hull’s history long since forgotten. Among the new lectures will be a new Amy Johnson lecture, a new William Papper lecture, and a new lecture on Hull’s infamous Silver Hatchet Gang of the early 19th century.
New Books!!! Next year will see the release of a series of new books that will explore the darker side of Hull’s history. The series is all but finished and they will be submitted just after Christmas for a steady release through the year. It will mean a year of no “Jack the Ripper” releases from me, but I am saving the new “Jack the Ripper” projects for 2016.
The AMAZING HULL TOURS lectures have had a very busy year and bookings are coming well into 2015 with a lecture booked for December next year! All bookings for both tours and lectures can be made through AMAZING HULL TOURS at the following;
Or via emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
This week I had a free block of time so I headed on out to the Hull History Centre to conduct some research. It seems like ages since I last visited, and had in that time gathered together a list of items I wanted to view. These were mainly newspaper reports in the Hull Press covering various “Jack the Ripper” suspects such as Frederick Bailey Deeming, James Maybrick, Charles Le Grand, James Thomas Sadler, and a number of local “Ripper Scares.” As my many “Jack the Ripper” writing projects draw to a close I was chasing up a few loose ends to provide alternative views on some of the topics covered in some of the Hull based newspapers on the London based crimes.
After a couple of hours I came away with some new newspaper reports on the Hull Ripper Scare of 1900, when 5 women were stabbed. I also came away with reports on a Doncaster Ripper Scare, and articles, featuring contemporary sketches, on Frederick Bailey Deeming, James Thomas Sadler, James Maybrick, and Charles Le Grand.
The Hull History Centre gets “Touch Screen Technology.”
I have, for many years now, used the various Newspaper Readers and Printers at the Hull History Centre, so I was surprised and excited to learn that the old machines are to be replaced with state of the art machines. As part of the £7.7m History Centre Project, these new machines will be easier to load, easier to use, have touch screen technology, have clearer imaging, and as such the copies will be clearer. A central printing hub will also form part of the set up, and the Hull History Centre will be the first facility to utilise these models.
As a result of instillation and set up, the Hull History Centre will be closed over Thursday July 4th and Friday July 5th. This is a small price to pay for such an amazing step forward in Hull’s arsenal of local history research and I for one look forward to the new machines.
At the minute I am busy working on new projects for the end of the year and 2014. These will be revealed in time but include new lectures, events, tours, and media collaborations.
It is one of the perils of historical research that sooner or later you will meet a dead end in inquiries. As many readers of the blog will know I have for some time been researching the still unsolved murder of Mary Jane Langley, who was found brutally murdered on Preston Long-lane, now known as Neat Marsh-road.
Over the years I have amassed over a thousand newspaper articles from 1891 – 2012 on the case, from local, national, and even international sources. The newspaper articles give a clear idea of the events of the period, and for many years I had hoped to trace the elusive files from the murder inquiry. The problem was, the case involved both Hull and Borough Police forces, the murder took place on Hull and Borough Boundaries, and the Hull and Borough Magistrates carried out inquests and hearings in Hull and Preston.
These issues mean that tracing the file would be a problem from the start as neither the Hull nor Borough Police forces exist per se. They are today amalgamated into one larger force, Humberside Police, and as such a lot of the older files were sent for safe keeping and/or destroyed.
I had hoped that the files were held at the Hull History Centre, the East Riding Archives, or the National Archives, but searches at all three establishments failed to find any evidence that despite a series of Humberside/Hull/Borough files being available, none of the files featured the Mary Jane Langley file.
The other problem encountered was the fact that the case was never solved there was no murder trial as the charges laid against John Rennard, aka Jack Renny, were dropped and he was acquitted. At the time of the trial, murder cases were usually held at the York Assizes, but with no murder trial there was no paper trail.
Imagine my surprise when a re-read of A. A. Clarke’s Killers at Large (Arton Books, 1997) stated that unsolved murder cases are kept in Humberside Police’s headquarters and “protected by a heavy wire mesh and padlocked against the curious.”
With this snippet of information I made more inquiries, this time with Humberside Police. After a series of telephone calls to various departments, I was asked to put my query in writing.
Yesterday the reply arrived and sadly despite having a series of files that date back to 1909, there is nothing for the year 1891 and therefore nothing held on the still unsolved murder of Mary Jane Langley.
I must, however, thank Humberside Police for the help, assistance, and speedy reply in help solving this unique cold case from Hull and East Yorkshire’s past.
On the morning of January 30th 2013 I made my way to the Hull History Centre with a view to carrying out some research into the Hull Watch Committee and their views on the still unsolved murder of Mary Jane Langley, who was found brutally done to death in a ditch between Preston and Marfleet. The reports in the Hull Press of September 1891 hinted at a rift between the Hull Police, the Borough Police and the Hull Watch Committee on account of the two police forces seemingly employing the work of a psychic. The newspaper report read like a comical interchange with members of the Hull Watch Committee making fun of the Hull Police Force. It was certainly a very interesting series of articles and I was interested in tracing the primary sources at the Hull History Centre. Sadly, the Hull Corporation’s Hull Watch Committee Minutes books for the period are missing and only the typed up versions are available. I was soon to discover that these offered very little information on the case, so I consulted the Hull History Centre Catalogue and found a reference to the Hull Watch Committee files. Whilst these might not include the 1891 minutes, they do hold other interesting snippets of information on other crimes and topics that bear some relation on the case.
One particular area of interest was a file that stated “Police Reports: Regina Vs Henry Lawson.”
Previously I had uncovered the typed up version of this file which was more of a summary, but at the time I had searched for more information and found nothing. The typed up version of this document covered less than half a page and simply asked for funds in the extradition of Deeming from Monte Video. The second section of this typed up document again was short and sweet and stated that funds would be laid out on the pretext that someone else would foot the bill. It seemed to me as if there was more to this issue, but as the file on Deeming’s trial for fraud had been unearthed, and made no mention of this issue I was at a loss. Luckily perseverance (and a bit of luck) paid off and I was able to secure a look at a previously unseen file of material on Frederick Bailey Deeming and his time in Hull.
The file is essentially a 23 page file of material relating to the manhunt from Hull to Monte Video to track, and bring to justice, Frederick Bailey Deeming for the crime of fraud, and covers the principle police officials, the town clerk, Deeming’s legal team, and the Home Office, as they struggle to recoup money spent on the manhunt.
The file comprises of several pages of the Hull Watch Committee Minutes from their meeting at the Hull Town Hall on December 23rd 1891, it features:
As you can imagine this is a wonderful piece of the jigsaw that has been missing for some years. The material falls before and after the massive trial file on Frederick Bailey Deeming, uncovered some years ago, and casts more light on Deeming’s time and illustrious career in Kingston upon Hull. It shows more on the workings of the Victorian Hull police force, the Hull Watch Committee, and the lengths they, along with the Home Office, went to in order to recuperate the money spent on an international manhunt for one of the world’s worst criminals throughout history.
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.
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 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.