This past week

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The past week

Research

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! 

 Lecture

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.        

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