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Casebook: Jack the Ripper - Message Boards » Victims » Elizabeth Stride » Stride and the Princess Alice disaster 1878 « Previous Next »

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Chris Scott
Assistant Commissioner
Username: Chris

Post Number: 1311
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 12:36 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Most researchers (myself included!) have concluded that Stride's story that her husband and two of her children were killed in the Princess Alice disaster at Woolwich in 1878 was a fabrication. This conclusion is based on three main counts:
1) No victim of the name of Stride listed as dying in the disaster
2) Stride made no claim on the relief fund set up for the disaster
3) It is known that John Stride was alive after the disaster - in fact he lived until 1884.

I was, therefore, very interested in one section of some Daily News press reports that Stephen sent me for transcription. In a report of 8th October 1888, the Daily News reports that a search was made of Woolwich newspapers for reports into the disaster. The News recounts that details were found which seem to support Stride's story in virtually every detail, even down to the injury to her mouth which, we are told, was inflicted by a retired police inspector!
The report is below - make of it what you will.

Daily News, 8 October 1888

With reference to the identity of Elizabeth Stride, the Woolwich newspapers of the time of the Princess Alice disaster have been referred to, and it is stated that a woman of that name was a witness at the inquest, and identified the body of a man as her husband, and of two children then lying in Woolwich Dockyard. She said she was on board and saw them drowned, her husband picking up one of the children, and being drowned with it in his arms. She was saved by climbing the funnel, where she was accidentally kicked in the mouth by a retired Arsenal police inspector, who was also clinging to the funnel. The husband and two children are buried in Woolwich Cemetery.
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Simon Owen
Sergeant
Username: Simonowen

Post Number: 39
Registered: 8-2004
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 2:24 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Do we know what the surname of this man was ?
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Chris Scott
Assistant Commissioner
Username: Chris

Post Number: 1312
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 2:48 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Simon
I presume you mean the police inspector - sorry, it does not give his name
Chris
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Robert Charles Linford
Assistant Commissioner
Username: Robert

Post Number: 2825
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 3:12 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Chris

Is it possible that Stride had the bare-faced cheek to claim three unidentified bodies as being her family? Paul Begg said that one is almost convinced that Stride had been masquerading as Mrs Malcolm's sister!

Robert
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Simon Owen
Sergeant
Username: Simonowen

Post Number: 41
Registered: 8-2004
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 3:51 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sorry Chris , not the policeman , but the man that Stride claimed was her husband. His name can't have been Stride as there were no people called Stride lost in the disaster.

If Liz had left John Stride during this period , she might have taken up with a man who she may well have called her ' husband ' although there was no legal connection because she was still married : the possibilities of a divorce would have been beyond her.

Maybe this is a true story of which we don't understand all the details fully.
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Chris Scott
Assistant Commissioner
Username: Chris

Post Number: 1313
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 4:54 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Simon
The name, sadly, is not given, only as below
a;lice
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Chris Scott
Assistant Commissioner
Username: Chris

Post Number: 1314
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 5:08 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Simon,
You say there was no one named Stride lost in the disaster. We must not forget that circa 120 people were not identified.

"Many of the bodies were unrecognisable after being in the water. In Victorian times, few people carried any form of identification.
The exact number of deaths is unknown but it is likely that around 640 people lost their lives in the tragedy
Many of the bodies were unrecognisable after being in the water. In Victorian times, few people carried any form of identification.
Some were identified from their clothes. Despite considerable efforts, around 120 bodies were buried as unidentified."

The above comments are from:
http://www.portcities.org.uk/london/server/show/ConNarrative.101/chapterId/2222/The-Princess-Alice-tragedy.html

I am not saying that John Stride did die in the disaster. Indeed, John and Elizabeth are listed in the 1881 census as living together in Usher Road, Bow. But the report does suggest there is something odd going on and that Elizabeth Stride did somehow involve herself in the aftermath of the tragedy. If she did identify three bodies as her kin then she was obviously wrong but what her motives were we cannot say
Chris
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Chris Scott
Assistant Commissioner
Username: Chris

Post Number: 1315
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 5:22 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

In the light of the phrase..."she was accidentally kicked in the mouth by a retired Arsenal police inspector" I had a look at the list of victims identified in the Princess Alice disaster. Only three police officers are listed among the victims. Two were police constables (Cornelius Briscoe and Robert Ginn) and only one other is listed:
W.H. Aslat
Police Superintendent East India Docks.
No age is given for Supt. Aslat - he is simply listed as "adult."
All three died in the tragedy
Chris
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John Savage
Inspector
Username: Johnsavage

Post Number: 224
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 6:35 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Chris,

A very interesting find, thanks for posting.

The simple way to check this out would be to look through the Woolwich local papers, which should be available at Colindale, or perhaps at local libraries in that area.

As I live a couple of hundred miles from London, I am unable to do this, but is there anyone out there who could undertake this task?

Best Regards
John Savage
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Simon Owen
Sergeant
Username: Simonowen

Post Number: 43
Registered: 8-2004
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 7:03 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The report does say that the man and the two children are buried in Woolwich cemetery , I wonder if it would be possible to find out who they might be ?

Sadly I'm living 140 miles away from London as well , but maybe there is somebody who could help ?
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Robert Charles Linford
Assistant Commissioner
Username: Robert

Post Number: 2828
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 4:57 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It looks as though the inquest records - or at least some of them - may have survived. Unfortunately, I can't get up there for a while.

London Metropolitan Archives: Coroners' Records: The Great Thames Disaster, 1878

The contents of this catalogue are the copyright of London Metropolitan Archives.
Rights in the Access to Archives database are the property of the Crown, 2001-2004.

To find out more about the archives described below, contact London Metropolitan Archives

Coroners' Records: The Great Thames Disaster, 1878
Catalogue Ref. COR/PA
[from Scope and Content] Records relating to the inquest on the victims of the wreck of the steamship "Princess Alice" in the Thames off Tripcock Point, Plumstead Marshes on 3 September 1878 after collision with the steamship "Bywell Castle"


FILE - Index of witnesses - staff of Princess Alice - ref. COR/PA/28 - date: [1878]

FILE - List of 130 persons saved from the Princess Alice - ref. COR/PA/30 - date: [1878]

FILE - Board of Trade investigation into the wreck of the Princess Alice - proceedings and report - ref. COR/PA/34 - date: 14 - 31 Oct 1878

FILE - Declaration for the hull and machinery of the Princess Alice - ref. COR/PA/37 - date: 1878

FILE - Passenger certificates (2 copies) for the Princess Alice - ref. COR/PA/38 - date: 1878

FILE - Maps (2) of the Thames around Tipcock Point, and plan of the Princess Alice - ref. COR/PA/40 - date: [1878]

FILE - Miscellaneous items including memorial cards and songs about the Princess Alice - ref. COR/PA/44 - date: [c.1878]

FILE - Memorandum on papers relating to Princess Alice disaster signed by WRH Heddy, formerly HM Coroner, Eastern District, County of London - ref. COR/PA/46 - date: [c.1963]

Robert
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Robert Charles Linford
Assistant Commissioner
Username: Robert

Post Number: 2829
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 5:32 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

There was a Walter Ham Aslot age 43 living Lambeth in 1871 census. Ancestry say "Aslot" but it looks like "Aslat" to me. Occupation is "Commercial Dock East India (illegible)". Chris, do you think you could post the image, please?

Robert
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Chris Scott
Assistant Commissioner
Username: Chris

Post Number: 1316
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 10:18 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Robert
The entry you refer to reads:
Address:
6 Grosvenor Terrace, Dulwich Road, Lambeth
Head:
Walter Ham Aslat aged 43 born Stepney - Commercial Clerk (East India & ?)
He was married to Sarah and they had three children. Certainly right name and initials but I don't know how feasible it would be for a man to go from a commercial clerk to a police superintendent in only 7 years (the Princess Alice went down in 1878)
I am attaching the illegible part regarding his occupation.
Chris

asl
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Robert Charles Linford
Assistant Commissioner
Username: Robert

Post Number: 2830
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 11:06 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks Chris

Yes it does look more like "clerk". That may be "China" written above the rest.

What on earth was Stride up to?

Robert
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Robert Charles Linford
Assistant Commissioner
Username: Robert

Post Number: 2832
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 1:01 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi all

I don't know what's going on, but I found this on Free BMD :

Surname First name(s) Age District Vol Page

Deaths Dec 1878

ASLAT Walter Ha* 50 Woolwich
1d 747



Robert
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Simon Owen
Detective Sergeant
Username: Simonowen

Post Number: 54
Registered: 8-2004
Posted on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 1:32 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It seems to be the same Aslat , hes the right age and everything.

Maybe he had retired from the police before 1871 ?

A very mysterious development , maybe Stride was telling a story that had some truth in it ? Maybe she didn't claim from the relief fund because this man she was with who drowned was her lover and not her husband , she didn't want that to be discovered ?


(Message edited by simonowen on August 14, 2004)
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Chris Scott
Assistant Commissioner
Username: Chris

Post Number: 1317
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 3:11 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I think I might be able to put a name to the "Arsenal police inspector" mentioned in the report, and that name is William Hooper who would have been 44 at the time of the tragedy. In 1871, at the time of the census, the Woolwich Arsenal Police Station was located in William Street, Woolwich and in the census there are listed one Inspector, Hooper, and his family and twelve police constables. The full listing is as follows:
1871 Census (RG/10/784)
Woolwich Arsenal Police Station
William Street, Woolwich Arsenal

William Hooper aged 37 born Hatherleigh, Devonshire - Police Inspector
Wife:
Matilda Hooper aged 37 born St. George's East
Children:
Grace aged 4
Jane aged 2
Frederick aged 10 months
Police Constables:
John Baldry aged 28
George Mortley aged 26
Thomas Short aged 25
Henry Brown aged 22
Robert Catter aged 22
James Flaxman aged 24
Frederick McDonald aged 22
William Allen aged 27
Caleb Cheesman aged 23
Thomas Eckett aged 23
William Woodsford aged 21
James Evans aged 21

I looked at the list of identified survivors and fatalities from the Princess Alice, and the only Hooper listed is Mrs. Eliza Hooper aged 62, who died in the disaster.

I have yet to trace a record of the death of William Hooper but he was certainly dead by 1881 as his son Frederick is listed an orphan inmate of a Metropolitan Police institution, specifically Frederick, is listed in 1881, aged 10 as a scholar at the Metropolitan and City Police Orphanage, Wellesley House, Twickenham.

I will carry on trying to find his other offspring but for the son of 10 to be in an orphanage suggests that both William and his wife were dead by 1881.

Chris


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Chris Scott
Assistant Commissioner
Username: Chris

Post Number: 1318
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 3:23 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Re. the above, Matilda definitely survived her husband as she and three of her shildren are listed in 1891:
13 Elsdon Road, Tottenham
Gead:
Matilda C.A. Hooper, widow, aged 56 born St George in the East
Children:
Jane E aged 22
Frederick W aged 20
Ralph D aged 19
All children born in Woolwich.

The name of the later child, Ralph, enabled me to trace the family in 1881:
49 Payne Street, Deptford St Paul, Kent
Head:
Matilda Hooper, widow, aged 43 born London - Oi, Soap and candle stores
Children:
Grace aged 14
Jane aged 12
Ralph aged 7
All children born in Woolwich

I have still to trace a date for William Hooper's death - may be he was one of the unidentified corpses on the Princess Alice
Chris

Children:
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Jeffrey Bloomfied
Inspector
Username: Mayerling

Post Number: 439
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 5:51 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi all,

The only account of this shipwreck that I know of is Gavin Thurston's THE GREAT THAMES DISASTER, published in the middle 1960s. The book is very obscure (so is the disaster - it is less written up than the Titanic, the Lusitania, the Morro Castle, the Andrea Doria, even the Empress of Ireland, the General Slocum, the Sultana, the Eastland, or the Wilhelm Gustloff). I saw a copy at the Argosy Book Store in 1990, and looked in the index, but there was no reference to Elizabeth Stride.

As I read this thread, a strange idea occured to me. If Long Liz was telling the truth about her survival in that disaster, then she seems to have had to struggle with that retired arsenal police inspector on that funnel. If his family or friends heard her statement, and learned who she was she might have become a marked woman. Given that her murder is part of the double event of the 1888 series, there has always been a question if both she and Eddowes were killed by the Ripper, or by two different killers. Maybe Stride was not really part of the series, but killed that night to be considered part of the series by the actual killer. But it is only just a passing observation.

Jeff
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Neal Stubbings
Inspector
Username: Neal

Post Number: 180
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 6:50 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Back in the early 1990's when I was researching many newspapers of 1888, I came across a short piece concerning someone who knew Stride when she was living in Poplar.
I wrote down the details at the time but have since lost the full account.
I wrote down that it was in the Illustrated Police News for 27th October 1888. And that the piece was about someone called "Mr North, a publican" and that he had come forward at the time of Stride's murder with a PC Daniels because they had both known her when she lived in Poplar High Street.
North revealed that he had seen Stride and her husband daily until 1879, and afterwards less frequently.
Apparently, at the time of the Princess Alice Disaster, Stride had told North that she was trying to get some money from the Mansion House Fund. North did not believe her husband was one of the victims, and indicates that he had seen her husband after the disaster.
I also wrote down that North had said that she was nicknamed "Mother Gum" on account of "a peculiarity of the top lip, which, when she laughed, showed the whole of the upper gum".
I totally believe that North knew Liz Stride. When I searched directories for this man I found a Francis North, of the "Blackney's Head" pub at 143 Poplar High Street, for the time Liz and John lived in that street first at 178 and then 172. Their less frequent visits to his pub after 1879 can be explained by them moving to Usher Road, Bromley, where they appear on the 1881 census.
I think that Liz simply tried to take advantage of the Princess Alice disaster to gain money as she may have done at other times in her life?
And because there was a peculiarity to do with her mouth, she probably attempted to turn this also into a story of an injury gained while bravely fighting for her life in the disaster. Despite the fact that the people who she knew in Poplar used it to ridicule her as "Mother Gum".

Neal

Just to add someting slightly related, I was surprised to see that the Princess Alice name plaque from the side of the boat still exists and is on show at the Docklands Museum in Canary Wharf, London!

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Chris Scott
Assistant Commissioner
Username: Chris

Post Number: 1319
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 8:34 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Neal
The info below might be of interest:
1891
143 High Street Poplar
Blakeney's Head
Head:
Francis North aged 47 - Licensed Victualler
Wife:
Jessie aged 46
Children
John aged 22 - Coppersmith's labourer
Charlotte aged 18 - Household duties
Charles aged 13
William aged 12
All residents born in Poplar

1881
Same address:
Head:
Francis North aged 37 born Poplar - Licensed victualler
Wife:
Jesse Amelia aged 30 born Poplar
Children
Jessie Amelia aged 14
John Angell aged 12
Helena Harriet aged 10
Charlotte aged 8
Charles George aged 3
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Neal Stubbings
Inspector
Username: Neal

Post Number: 181
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 5:24 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks Chris,
It was probably called the Blakeney's Head. I just copied the name of the pub as Blackney's Head because the post office directory called it that, but there are a lot mistakes in directories.
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d g cornelius
Unregistered guest
Posted on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 2:33 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ripperati:

"Retired Arsenal police inspector"? How did she know? If retired, he was not in uniform; presumably they weren't chatting about autobiographical details while struggling for a good grip on the funnel. The only explanation I see plausible would be if they had gotten into conversation before the accident. But this seems to have the slightly too complete details of of a false account.

Does anyone have pictures of the hapless ship, funnels and all?
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Timsta
Unregistered guest
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 5:26 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Chris: very interesting. If you're not already aware of this, "Arsenal" at that time would have referred to the Woolwich Arsenal, not the current home of the eponymous football team.

If my memory serves me correctly, the East India Docks are in that general vicinity.

Regards
Timsta
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hugh turner
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, December 16, 2004 - 7:49 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My name is Hugh Turner and my partners surname is
Stride we are trying to find the names of elizabeth strides children or did they surive thier mothers death at the hands of Jack the ripper

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