London Walks for Londoners

 

Jack The Ripper – The Diary of James Maybrick

Posted by By Jenny Phillips, Jack the Ripper Tour Guide on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 Under: Jack the Ripper

Jack The Ripper – The Diary of James Maybrick

This is a convoluted theory which I first became aware of in t1993 when I went to a book launch at the Alma Pub in Spellman Street,  just off of Hanbury Street where Annie Chapman was murdered.

 

The book told the story of James Maybrick, a cotton broker from Liverpool who lived in Battlecrease House with his American wife Fanny. The couple had met on a voyage from Britain to America. James was wealthy but a lot older than Fanny. They married and eventually settled down to live in Battlecrease House.

 

However, all was not well as James was addicted to arsenic which he called his powders, a man continually in fear for his health. I must state here that everyone believes that arsenic will kill you straight away but if it is taken in small doses it will not, but it will mount up in the body as it cannot be expelled and eventually it will amount to a fatal dose. This is what apparently happen to James Maybrick in 1889.

 

Unfortunately for Fanny, being an American she was not popular with the staff at Battlecrease House and after James died they informed the authorities of their suspicions (most likely unfounded) that Fanny had poisoned James. His body was duly exhumed and a post-mortem carried out and when they found traces of arsenic and other drugs Fanny was charged with his murder. She was the first American woman to be tried and convicted (on the flimsiest of evidence) and sentenced to hang, but her sentence was commuted to life imprisonment 25 years by Queen Victoria. When she was released she returned to live in the backwoods in America, a solitary existence for the remainder of her life.

 

But was James Maybrick, as he claims in the diary Jack the Ripper? Did he take a deliberate overdose as he was in fear of being exposed as the Ripper?

 

When the book first came out like all Ripper theories it caused no end of a stir and many of us really thought that the Ripper had been revealed at last. But doubts crept in as Michael Barret, the man in possession of this diary kept changing his story about how he came to have it. His original story was that a friend had given it to him in a pub after discovering it in the attic of Battlecrease House, when working there as an electrician. Later his wife claimed that it had been in her family for years and then Michael claimed that she had written it in a Victorian scrapbook and ripped out the used pages (there were a number missing) leaving a genuine Victorian empty scrapbook on which to write a diary. At one stage Michael went into his solicitors and refuted his story on oath.

 

 A book about the murder of James Maybrick was available in any library “The Life and Times of Fanny Maybrick”, and the date he died not long after the murders could have inspired a book like the diary to be written.

 

The most interesting thing about this theory happened in 1993 to my mind when Albert Johnson a semi-retired security officer, on reading about the diary and suspicions about James Maybrick being Jack the Ripper, came forward to show a watch that he had bought from a jewellers, in Wallasey Cheshire. The jeweller had apparently had it in his shop for five years before he sold it. Inside the case was scratched the name James Maybrick (similar to his signature on his wedding photo) and the initials of five of the victims of Jack the Ripper: MN (Mary Nichols; Polly), AC (Annie Chapman), ES (Elizabeth Stride), CE (Catherine Eddowes), and MK (Mary Kelly). The problem is that even after examination by experts they cannot say for certain that the scratches date back to the Victorian era or if they have been added at a much later date, so the mystery goes on I am afraid to say.

In : Jack the Ripper 


Tags: whitechapel  1888  murder mystery  serial killer 
comments powered by Disqus
 

Tags

"online bookings' cpd #earthrise 17th 1830s 1930s 20th 50th a abbey adele afternoon afternoon tea age ages alastair ancient and animals annie anniversary apps architecture arsenal art arts attack autumn awards baker bank bankside barbican barrier bathhouses battersea bazalgette bear beasts bells bexley bishopsgate black blackfriars blitz bloomsbury bombers book books borough bowie breakfast brewery brick bridge britain british bronze bronze age brunch buckingham burger burlesque buses cab cabaret cake canal canary captain carl carol caroline carols cathedral cemetery cenotaph century chapman charles charlton cheap cheapside cheese childhood chips chiswick chocolate christmas church city city of london clapham clerkenwell cocktails coffee coffeehouses common company concert corporate covent covent garden covid-19 cream crime cross crown cruise crystal danson david day december deptford dick dickens dinner dinosaurs do dock dockland museum dragons dreamtime earth east eat eating eats ecommerce edward edwardians edwin egypt elizabethan end engineering ernst event events exhibition exhibitions facebook fairytale fall family fantastic farringdon fashion february festival film finance fire first fiscus florence folklore food for francis free friars gallery galliard garden george georgian georgians german germany gibb gift globe grade great greenhithe greenwich group guided guides gun half hall halsk harle harry potter hats havering havering hoard hawksmoor hazel heroes hidden highbury hill hilton history holloway homes hot hotel house housing how i ian ianmcd ice ice cream icelandic ii iii in india inigo islington italian iv jack jack the ripper jack's james jenny jewels johns jones joseph katharines kelly kenneth kew gardens kids kidstours killer kim kings kingston lambeth lane lewis lights limestone literature liverpool locations londinium london london bridge london's londoners lunch lutyens macaulay magnus management maritime market markets martyr mary matilda maufe mayfair mcdiarmid measure medical medieval memorial middle military millennium mock-tudor modern modernist montague month monument moorgate mosaic murder murderers museum museum of london docklands music musicals mystery n7 national gallery national history museum ned new newcomen news nhs nichols night nightingale nurse of old street oliver open opera paddington palace palaces pancakes pandemic panoramic park parties path pauls people philip photo photograhy photography photos pizza places plague plantation plays plumstead podcast poetry pokemon polly pop poplar port prince priory private tours pub public pubs purbeck qe2 queen queenhithe quirky recording regency reid religion rembrandt renaissance restoration ripper river road rob roman romans roundhouse royal saga salute saxon sculpture scupture seacole second serial servants sewers shakespeare shoreditch siemens sir slave slavery small smartphone smith smithfield smithfields soap soho somme south southbank southwark spitalfields spy squirrels ss st statue stories stow street stuart stuarts studios subscription suffragettes sugar summer susan sydenham tate taxi tea ten term terror thames thamesmeade the theatre thiepval things things to do thrifty thriftytheatre to tour tours tower trade travel truman tudor tudors tumblety twelfth twist und underground update v&a ve victims victoria victorian victorian london victorians viking virtual vouchers wales walk walking walks wall war water werner west wharf wheeler whitechapel wilde wildlife willelm william windrush wine winter women wood woodland woolwich world wyatt york zachary 1666 1888 2019 2020

LONDON GUIDED WALKS:

LEARN MORE:

CONNECT WITH US:

USEFUL LINKS:

Site by Hazel  |  Photographs by Hazel or Ian