New file on Frederick Bailey Deeming found.

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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: 

  • A number of handwritten sheets covering each separate file
  • A cover file that is a Costs of Apprehension Sheet,
  • A handwritten letter from R. Hill Dawe esq, the town clerk for Hull to Laverack and Son, solicitors
  • A handwritten reply from Laverack and Son, solicitors, to R. Hill Dawe esq,
  • A handwritten reply from R. Hill Dawe esq, to Laverack and Son, solicitors,
  • A handwritten letter from Captain Gurney, Chief of Hull Police, to R. Hill Dawe Esq,
  • A handwritten Detective Report featuring statements from Detective Thomas Grassby and Thomas Reynoldson, signed by Captain Gurney and countersigned by Detective Superintendent Clapham,
  • A handwritten report from Captain Gurney and countersigned by Detective Superintendent Clapham,
  • A handwritten letter from the Home Secretary Godfrey Lushington to Laverack and Son, solicitors, asking for the amount owed to be paid to Whitehall,
  • A handwritten note, dated June 4th 1890, allowing two detectives to leave Hull for Monte Video to search for Harry Lawson.


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.  

10 Responses to “New file on Frederick Bailey Deeming found.”

  1. Poppy Britter Says:

    Brilliant! Is there any material linking him with the Ripper crimes? I watched a programme where he was the main suspect of the murders, and they said that if they could uncover more information, they could link him as being the Ripper.

  2. admin Says:

    Hi Poppy: There are numerous pieces of the puzzle that “could” link him to the case. At the time of his trial there was a rumour in the Australian Press, that made it to the British Newspapers, that Deeming had admitted to a number of the murders. His solicitor later denied this statement but as you can imagine the press had a field day with the statement.

    Another event involved a London Dressmaker, who was sadly unnamed, who claimed to have been with Deeming on the morning after the double event. She claimed that he was really excited about the murders, and that he purchased a newspaper to read about the event.

    Another newspaper based story, this time from Canada, came from a man who claimed that he knew Deeming, and that he witnessed a letter in Deeming’s possession which was signed “Kate Eddowes.”

    For years people have claimed that he was in either Africa or Gaol, but my research has uncovered signed eye witness statements proving that he was neither in gaol or Africa in 1888.

  3. Jeff Bloomfield Says:

    Fascinating discovery Mike. Hope that it leads to more.

  4. Don Anderson Says:

    Hello, Mike thought you might be interested in this article.

    Kind regards,

    Don Anderson


    Clutha Leader, Volume XVIII, Issue 924, 1 April 1892, Page 5 - computer generated text (may contain OCR errors)


    Amongst other roles Deeming played, he claimed at Birkenhead to be a doctor practising in Manchester. He gave the man who watched him cementing the grave of his wife and children five sovereigns. The confession of the accused is alleged to have been made to Mr who was defending him. Mr Haynes demanded to know the whole strength of Deeming defence, and the latter replied that he would make a clean breast of it. He said he was guilty of the Ilainhill murders, but on the subject of the Windsor murder a careful reticence was observed on both aides. Mr Haynes then asked on the subject of l.he Whitechapel murders, and desired to know whether his client was or was not ” Jack the Ripper.” Deeming replied that he had committed the last two murders in 1890, but he knew nothing of those previously committed. Mr Haynes now denies that Deeming made any confession to him. The London police wholly disbelieve Deeming’s confession that he perpetrated two of the “Jack the Hipper ” murders. During the journey from Perth large crowds of people, among whom were a number of rioters, met the train conveying Deeming at Beverley York. They smashed the carriage windows called Deeming a murderer, and threatened to lynch him. Deeming was quite unnerved by these demonstrations. During his confinement at Albany gaol Deeming secured a glass bottle, which he smashed, and with one of the pieces chopped off his moustache, altering his appearance in an extraordinary manner. It is understood that Deeming’s main line of defence will be that of insanity. At the inquest on the body of Mrs Deeming and children at Rainhill on Tuesday, a verdict of wilful murder was returned against Deeming, the jury expressing surprise that his movements at Rainhill had not aroused the suspicions of the police. Twenty-two telegraph clerks were specially sent to Rainhill during the inquest, and fresh wires were laid on to the village. The Times says that Deeming is essentially a swindler, but only incidentally a murderer. It is rumoured that the police attribute the “Jack the Ripper” murders to a convict now in Portland gaol for obtaining money from women by threats. Deeming arrived at Adelaide from Albany ye3terday. Detective Oawsey states that Deeming’s confession with reference to two of Jack the Ripper’s murders was made in his presence.

  5. Christina Says:

    Hi Mike,
    I am writing a paper for my history of europe class at The Culinary Institute of America. We were allowed to pick a topic we found interesting and I chose Jack the Ripper, well how the media portrayed Jack the Ripper and how that influenced advancements in public safety in london in 1888-1890. Currently I have the London Times articles about him and the letter he wrote back in addition to “Disenchanted Night” a book about the development of street lighting in the 19th century among other things. I was wondering if you had ever come across an information linking the two or if not maybe this is something new for you to research! being that my paper is due tomorrow i was looking for some addition information when i came across your site. its fabulous! keep up the good work! and if you have anything I would love to hear from you! its really too bad you dont have a live stream of your discussion tomorrow ! i would definitely enjoy hearing about it!

    Thanks for your time

  6. Anne Edwards Says:

    Fred Deeming is my great uncle. I have been doing some family history research and came across your Blogs. They are very interesting as is his supposed connection to The Ripper and Ned Kelly. Keep up the good work. It would be good to hear back from you.

  7. admin Says:

    Hi Don, thanks for the post, I discovered this article a while back, there was an earlier version in the British press, and it is believed, by Ripperologists, that the Portland Prisoner was none other than Charles Le Grand. There was a lot of conflicting reports at the time, and if you were Deeming’s defence solicitor wouldn’t you deny his links to any crime? Thanks again for the post.

  8. admin Says:

    Hi Christina, great topic!!
    I would check out the following books that might help in your studies:
    The Ultimate Jack the Ripper Sourcebook, Stewart P. Evans and Keith Skinner, Robinson, 2001,
    Jack the Ripper and the London Press, L. Perry Curtis, Yale, 2001,
    Public Reactions to Jack the Ripper – Letters to the Editor: August – December 1888, Stephen P. Ryder, Inklings Press, 2006,
    All of which tackle the subject of your topic in one form or another.
    Hope this helps

  9. admin Says:

    Hi Anne,
    I have spoke at length with other Deeming’s around the world, there are quiet a few now living in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. He certainly was an interesting character and despite him being a dark and devious character, his family are all lovely.
    Regards Mike

  10. admin Says:

    Hi Jeff, great to hear from you, hope your well. It has opened a new avenue of investigation that has already turned up some interesting material.

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