Recent Findings

Archives, Libraries, Research, Stephenson Family No Comments »

During a recent trip to the newly opened Hull History Centre I found the following,

  • Mary Ann Dawber committing theft against Joseph Beecher 1892
  • Samuel Dawber, son of William and Mary Ann Dawber, inquest at the Angel Inn on Sykes street on 15th July 1892. Samuel was found dead at the north end of Queens Dock, Hull on the 14th July 1892.
  • Dawber and Townsley planning application dated 5/5/1904
  • Dawber and Townsley planning application dated 10/6/1904
  • Dawber and Sons planning application dated 6/7/1871
  • WC Dawber planning application 22/12/1883
  • WC Dawber planning application 3/10/1881
  • WC Dawber planning application 17/7/1882
  • Joseph Dawber planning application 3/12/1877
  • Robert Dawber planning application 14/10/1858
  • Robert Dawber planning application 13/7/1863
  • Robert Dawber planning application March/1866
  • Court papers of Joseph Dawber 27/2/1889
  • Will of Robert Dawber
  • Will of Joseph Dawber
  • Will of William Clark Dawber
  • Will naming Robert Dawber
  • Will naming Joseph Dawber
  • Letter from Tenny and Dawber dated 1873

And there is still so much more to search.  Next visit will see more information sought on the Dawber family, before turning my attention to the Stephenson family.

Hull History Centre - Review

Archives, Books, Hull Press, Libraries, Press Reports, Research 1 Comment »

The first thing you notice with the multi-million pound Hull History Centre is the size, compared to the rooms of the archives, and local studies library it’s enormous. The next thing you notice is how recognisable it is. I approached along High-street, and through the grounds of Hull College, and could see it from some distance away. It might not be tall, but with it’s curved roof, it stands out. I remember my first visit to the City Archives all those years ago, when I could not find the building, and found only a small door with a tiny brass plaque!

The grounds of the history centre are spacious and open, no dark corners, and with plenty of parking spaces and wonderful, if somewhat strange looking trees!

On entering I was met by a familiar face from Hull City Council, who watched over my son during his “Night at the Museum,” at the front desk. From this point you get a feel of how big the building actually is, this isn’t like the small office from the days of the archives, but a grand, well lit, modern area, with seating and views out across the car park to Hull.

I entered the main research area and noted all the books on display, so took a short while to have a look around, spotting new sources of information that I had, until today, never seen before. I poured over a couple of volumes of the Hull City Council/Corporation Minute books before going in search of the trade directories.

I approached the helpdesk and was met by some friendly familiar faces from the old Local Studies Library, and was informed that the trade directories were now kept in the all new search room, which was a room surrounded by glass, and well lit from all sides. To gain access I needed a County Archives Research Network Ticket (CARN) and although I had searched at Hull City Archives, Hull’s Local Studies, East Riding Archives, Carnegie Heritage Centre, Sutton History Centre, Bridlington Archives and Local Studies, I had never been told I needed one. At the East Riding Archives I had been issued with what appears to have been a day ticket, so asked if these were available. Luckily they were, but I would warn other’s who are hoping to view the actual archival arm of the building to take some identification with you such as a driving licence, pension book, benefits book, utility bill, bank statement, cheque guarantee card, family allowance book. As long as you have something recent with your address on.

It took a short while to register, and when I was done I was shown the locker area, with state of the art lockers, and toilets. These were fantastic compared to the lockers and toilets in the old Hull City Archives, and a vast improvement.

I then entered the search area, and looked briefly at the trade directories, and through the enormous name index, noting several sources for the future.

I had a brief walk around, and looked out over the vast array of computers, which, compared to the single computer at Hull’s Local Studies Library is a vast improvement. I also noticed that the number of reader printers had increased, this was another great feature as in the past you had to pre-book to obtain one, and sessions lasted just an hour.

All in all it’s a great place, with loads to keep even the most intrepid of researchers busy. The staff are all knowledgeable, smart, and friendly, and on hand to help. The facilities on offer are a vast improvement on the previous facilities offered in the old archival and historical institutions, and the building is warm, well lit, and in a fantastic location.


The Hull History Centre is finally open!!!

Archives, Books, Libraries, Press Reports, Research 1 Comment »

The multi-million pound Hull History Centre is finally open and see’s the collections of Hull’s Local Studies Library, Hull City Archives, and Hull University Archives all under one roof! 


Address: Hull History Centre, Worship Street, Hull HU2 8BG

Monday 9.30am - 7.45pm
Tuesday 9.30am - 5.30pm
Wednesday 9.30am - 7.45pm
Thursday 9.30am - 5.30pm
Friday 9.30am - 5.30pm
Saturday 9.00am - 4.30pm

Tel: 01482 317500

All being well I will be there on Wednesday for a full day of research.

Robert D’Onston Stephenson’s doctors.

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We all know the myth that Stephenson had gained medical qualifications, although all those that were supporters of the theory, have yet to provide evidence of the fact.

Stephenson, however, did have links to the medical profession, and over the years had numerous doctors, surgeons and medical specialists looking after him.

Among those are;

  • Doctor Francis Brett of Bridlington
  • Doctor McKay of Bridlington
  • Doctor Murdock Kelburne King
  • Doctor Morgan Evans
  • Doctor Morgan Davies
  • Doctor Henry Sutton

Over the years I have been researching these men, as much as Stephenson, and have uncovered a host of information on them from birth, marriage and death certificates, census entries, hospital records, medical school records, and newspaper articles.

I have also uncovered some fantastic obituaries, and articles from sources such as the British Medical Journal.

More recently I have been in contact with a descendant of Dr. King’s who provided me with primary sources from a wide range of articles, papers, and documents pertaining to the man that treated Stephenson on numerous occasions.

One of the most interesting snippets came from the London Graphic, which featured a short obituary on Dr. Henry Sutton, the man who treated Stephenson in both 1888 and 1889. According to the article, Sutton’s dearest friend was none other than Sir William Gull, a man who himself has been suspected of the Ripper crimes!

Dead or Alive?

Books, Hull Press, Research, Stephenson Family No Comments »

It has been a busy couple of days but it is completed!  The massive chapter on Stephenson’s Victorian Ghost Story is finished, with

  • Several new sources added, including some previously unseen!
  • New information regarding the weather on the night that Stephenson had is alleged encounter.
  • New information regarding the location at which his sighting is alleged to have occured.
  • Maps, charts and diagrams showing the location, weather patterns etc.
  • Primary sources to show whether Stephenson was truthful in his account.
  • Sources that Predate Stephenson’s encounter but are the same!
  • and much much more!!

2009 Year in Review

Books, Events, Jack the Ripper Doc's, Podcast, Research No Comments »


MJ Trow’s tie in book, Quest for a Killer

Andrew Cooks tie in book, initially subtitled “Case Closed

Philip Hutchinson and Robert Clacks The London of JTR then and now 2nd edition

Philip Hutchinson’s The Jack the Ripper Location Photographs.

Nicholas Connell and Stewart P. Evans The Man Who Hunted Jack the Ripper new edition. 

Paul Woods and Gavin Baddeley’s Saucy Jack-The Elusive Ripper

John Bennett’s E1 a Journey through Whitechapel and Spitalfields

Robin Odell’s Written and Red

Tim Riordan’s Prince of Quacks

William Beadles Jack the Ripper Unmasked

Andrew Firth’s Past Traces

A History of British Serial Killers by David Wilson, uses Jack the Ripper as a starting point.


Brian L Porter’s sequel to a Study in Red, Legacy of the Ripper

John Gaspard’s Ripperologists

Rob Thompson’s From Hell- The Final Days of Jack the Ripper

Marcello Antelo’s Whitechapel 1888 is released in Italian, Marcello hope’s an English translation is available soon!!


Ripperologist’s run of articles by Robert Clack and Neil Bell

Paul Begg’s Leather Apron Article

Paul Begg and Chris George’s Harry Dam series

Andrew Spallek looks at the Druitt archives.

Simon Wood’s look at Tumblety and whether or not Inspector Andrews followed him to New York.

Jon Rees looked into the Ripper as a serial sexual murderer.

John Bennett and the lodging houses of Flower and Dean-street.

Jonathan Hainsworth and the legend of the drowned doctor.

John Savage’s excellent work on The Early Life of Roslyn D’Onston.

Jon Rees looked at textbook psychopaths.

Chris Scott’s continuing efforts to provide new, fresh, press reports.

Suzi Hanney on the life of a working Victorian donkey.

Suzi Hanney on the life of a working Victorian Horse.

The 100th Issue of Ripperologist with Don Rumbelow, Stewart Evans, Martin Fido, Paul Begg, Robin Odell… Stephen Ryder, How Brown, Jonathan Menges… Gareth Williams, John Bennett, Lauren Davis, Laura Prieto… the Peabody Trust, Bishopsgate Library, and the return of Christopher-Michael DiGrazia!!



MJ Trow’s Documentary on Robert Mann, aired on Discovery

Andrew Cook’s Documentary on the name “Jack the Ripper” Jack the Ripper- Tabloid Killer Revealed

ITV’s Whitechapel starring Rupert Penry Jones, Phil Davis and Steve Pemberton.

Rippercast, going from strength to strength and especially the one on one shows with Martin Fido and Stewart P. Evans.

JTR Forums Ripper Radio launched on you tube.


Ripper Conference in London


Jean Overton Fuller, author of Sickert and the Ripper Crimes, which pre-dates the Patricia Cornwell effort.  Fuller also wrote the Magical Dillema of Victor Neuburg, which features a chapter on Robert D’Onston Stephenson, Cremers, Collins, and Bernard O’Donnell.


It’s been quite a year with appearances in Hull Daily Mail, Hull Advertiser, on Radio Humberside and of course on BBC’s Look North. Then the Jack the Ripper- The Hull Connection Lecture at Carnegie Heritage Centre.

I am very pleased to announce that during the writing of this year in review, Adrian Morris, of the Whitechapel Society has kindly accepted an offer to write an overview of the Whitechapel Society and the Whitechapel Society Journal.


Four major events affected the Whitechapel Society this year:

The Whitechapel Society Short Story Competition

The Jeremy Beadle Lecture in aid of Children With Leukaemia

The invitation for the Whitechapel Society to be on the Bancroft Road Library & Archive Steering Group

The Victims’ Series in the Whitechapel Society Journal


This was launched earlier in 2009 and was eventually backed by the Book Trusts of both England and Scotland. The BBC Short Story Campaign also added their support.

The main coup, however, was the appointment of the renowned writer, Brian L. Porter to judge the entries. The entries duly flooded in.

Brian was so impressed by the entries that he decided that the top ten entries be put forward to be published in a separate portfolio by the publishers, Mythica.

It is the Whitechapel Society’s firm intention to repeat this competition again this year.

The most surprising aspect was that most entries came from people who do not have any connection with Ripper-based resources. Only one came via the Casebook!!


Was this the most successful event held this year by an organisation with a connection to the Ripper world? Maybe!

Held in October, (it is the intention to hold this event every year from now on), the JBL was based around a lecture by the great crime/Ripper author and Whitechapel Society contributor, Robin Odell. Robin spoke about the crisis caused by the Whitechapel murders as raising the social conscience of the nation at the time. Robin was also on hand to sign editions of his new book, Written & Red - the collected Ripper lectures he has produced over the years.

Later a very successful auction was held, organised by Liza Hopkinson and Philip Hutchinson. In conjunction with a later raffle and satellite events, the JBL helped raise the staggering sum of £1,700 all in aid of Jeremy Beadle’s favourite charity, Children with Leukaemia.


2008 saw a vociferous campaign by many local groups - including the Whitechapel Society - to save the Bancroft Library & Archive based in the Mile End. This vital archive holds a tremendous amount of historical data concerned with the history of the East End and the Whitechapel murders.

The campaign was ultimately successful and the local Council, Tower Hamlets, decided to therefore consult with these local groups who had been part of the campaign. One of these groups was the Whitechapel Society. This was to be realised in the form of a steering group to help decide on the refurbishment of the vital resource.


The remit of the Whitechapel Society Journal is to cover events within the Society, East End history and associated topics, but also the Whitechapel murders. In this I can only draw readers attention to the magnificent work Frogg Moody does on the production side of the Journal and the procurement of articles and contributors.

2009 saw the decision to embark on a series of Journals throughout the year centred on each of the famous victims of Jack the Ripper (whether they were, or not). So we started off with Martha Tabram in February, finishing with Mary Kelly in December.

February: Martha Tabram We had a revamped cover design which featured the murder of Tabram at George Yard. The main article was in fact a rare Star Interview with Jon Ogan entitled, The Forgotten Victim. The gist of the article was that Tabram WAS a Ripper victim.

Whitechapel Society Chairman and Ripper author, Bill Beadle produces a chairman’s message arguing the same.

Author and researcher, John Bennett begins and then continues his highly popular series, MAP OF THE DAY by looking at the area surrounding George Yard and how it has changed over the years. Bennett will produce more in this series for each murder site throughout the year.

Historian, George Fleming, who has had extensive military experience, looks at the Victorian soldiers’ bayonet, a weapon thought to have been used in Tabram’s murder.

Elsewhere, the editor does a review of the recent Jack the Ripper exhibition at the Dockland’s Museum provocatively entitled; Ripperologists need not apply!

Liverpool author, Chris Jones contributes a fascinating article on research he has done on Florence Maybrick in the U.S. I review his book on the Maybrick ‘diary’ elsewhere in this edition, giving it the thumbs up.

April: Mary Ann Nichols The front cover features an old photograph of members of the Nichols family. This has been restored by the Whitechapel Society and was sent in by the writers and researchers, Sue and Andy Parlour to accompany their article on the Nichols clan, centred mainly on William Nichols, a relative of theirs.

John Bennett produces a very well received article concerning the history of the board school in Durward Street (Bucks Row).

Whilst Robin Odell reviews the recent Ripper-based drama that had been on British television, Whitechapel and concludes that it is where “‘Spooks’ meets ‘The Sweeney’”.

June: Annie Chapman This edition includes a world exclusive article on Annie Chapman by Neal Shelden and some family history that had been uncovered about her. Classic stuff.

John Bennett looks at the changing face of Hanbury Street in his Map of the Day section.

Whitechapel Society Development Officer, Frogg Moody conducts a Star Interview with the author of the Sherlock Holmes meets Jack the Ripper novel, Lyndsay Faye.

I review a recent book by D. J. Leighton ‘Privileges & Pitfalls’. It is a superb biography of Ripper suspect, J.K. Stephen.

We also have time to include an article by Trevor Spinage concerning a previous ‘Open House’ day in the East End where various site, usually off-limits to the general public, are opened up to one and all.

August: Elizabeth Stride For some reason the Stride murder seems to instil intense debate within the Ripper world and this edition witnesses a Star Interview with the researcher and Stride authority, David Yost. Vital reading for anyone interested in the Ripper world, especially those interested in the vast debates around the Stride killing.

David Yost also includes an article on Elizabeth Stride entitled; Long Live Liz.

Intense research on the Stride family is updated by Dave Cuthbertson in an article entitled curiously, A Tangled Skein? 1888.

Elsewhere, there is a review of Whitechapel Society chairman, Bill Beadle’s recent book on William Bury by John Plant.

Also, we are able to report on a well attended book launch by John Bennett to promote the recent publication of his new book; E1 - A Journey Through Whitechapel & Spitalfields.

Trevor J. Wicks reports on the colourful history of a public house in his home city of Norwich that is known locally as The Murderers.

John Bennett could not produce a Map of the Day for this edition as, according to the Whitechapel Society Journal, he was “unwell” and was “recuperating in the sunny environs of Bournemouth conducting researches on old Victorian railway timetables covering the Dorset area with special interest being made of the Poole branch.”

October: Catherine Eddowes An astonishing article, and brilliantly footnoted one at that, by Cheyenne Kiernan. It is a comparative look at the murders of both Catherine Eddowes and Elizabeth Short otherwise known as the ‘Black Dahlia’. In both cases correspondences are supposedly to have come from their respective killers.

John Bennett ,fully fit and returned from his study of Victorian timetables in Dorset, takes us down memory lane and into Mitre Square with his regular feature, Map of the Day.

The editor of the Whitechapel Society Journal looks at the curious research Sue & Andy Parlours conducted on the purported shawl of Catherine Eddowes.

Frogg Moody takes time to look at the history of Kearley and Tonge, once of Mitre Square.

The editor is able to publish a review of John Bennett’s recent book, E1 and pronounce it a classic.

There is also a book review of Lyndsay Faye’s recent book, Dust & Shadow by Tim Rutten. Faye had been the subject of a Star Interview in the June edition of Whitechapel Society Jounal.

December: Mary Kelly The big talking point would undoubtedly be the previous event that had been held at the October meeting of the Whitechapel Society with the Jeremy Beadle Lecture which played host to Robin Odell and the associated auction and raffle helped raise £1,400 on the night! A full review of that night’s events was contained within this edition.

Also contained within this edition was a review of the recent Jack the Ripper Conference by Jackie Murphy. The event itself had been a great success and was capped by Robert Clack’s Life Time Achievement Award. However, is he a ‘nice man’ or ‘nicer man’? We can only but wonder!

The Kelly theme is explored within John Bennett’s regular Map of the Day. He indulges us with two features here. One for Miller’s Court and the other for Dorset Street.

Former Ripperologist editor, Paul Daniel produces an article along the Kelly theme looking at the later murder of Kitty Ronan in Miller’s Court. Full research is done, explored and presented here.

We publish the winning entry of the Whitechapel Society Short Story which is an excellent entry by Thana Niveau called From Hell to Eternity.

We also have opening comments from the judge, the world famous author, Brian L. Porter. There were also revelations by Brian that the top ten entries to this competition will be published in a portfolio by the publishers Mythica.

There is a review of Robin Odell’s recently published book, Written & Red.


Of course, there are other regular features contained within every edition of the Whitechapel Society Journal.

We have the editor and chairman’s comment. We have had the writer, Mickey Mayhew’s take on the Victim’s series that has won him quite a following.

We have the Off The Wall column by Robin Odell with his worthy takes on anything that is of interest to those interested.

We have all the news and views in the regular Central News Agency section that contains news of books, films and other releases and vital updates on East End history and events, especially concerning the status of Bancroft Library & Archive.

We have even seen members of the of the Whitechapel Society and its committee appear on television and radio. For instance, John Bennett was featured on the a Ripper documentary on television whilst both Mark Galloway (WS1888 founder and President) and Bill Beadle were interviewed for a BBC Radio Scotland documentary on the suspect William Bury. The editor was also on Nick Quinten Woolf’s Art Show on Xstream East Radio.


February: Maggie Bird - Jill the Ripper.

April: Bill Beadle - William Bury.

June: Philip Hutchinson - The Whitby Collection.

August: Yasha Beresiner - The Freemasons & Jack the Ripper.

December: The WS1888 Christmas Bash.

 Adrian Morris.

The final word

It has been an amazing year, and I thank you all for reading and following, there are some great things planned for 2010 and I am sure the finds will keep coming! 

Here is to another year, and another decade of research, books, magazines, shows, and happenings!

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