The Ten Bells Pub
Date: Tue, 3 Feb 1998 21:46:27 -0800
From: Matthew Fletcher
I enjoyed Mr. Smithkey's article on The Ten Bells but I would strongly urge him (and other readers) to buy Sugden's The Complete History. It includes a superb reassessment of the Martha Tabram killing and makes a strong (in my opinion overwhelming) case for her inclusion. Therefore I think the board listing the victims is correct.
I drop into the Ten Bells fairly frequently and I should point out that on Wed-Fri evenings it has a stripper or two on until about 8pm. This is a very basic affair - the girls go round with a collecting jug then strip on a little stage in the centre. Once this finishes the staff perform a rapid transformation: the sign outside advertising "exotic dancing" is removed, the little stage is hidden away, the board advertising strip times is turned over. It's very amusing - like one of those films where a casino or speak-easy is miraculously transformed into a tea-room as the police arrive. Around 8ish the Ripper walking tours start to arrive and swamp the bar so it's time for me to depart.There are often a few bemused Ripper tourists who arrive too early but most seem to take the girls' appearance in good humour (especially the male ones...!)
Once outside you can walk directly down Dorset Street past Mary Kelly's abode. This is no longer a road but a gap between a multi-storey car park and an office building. There's a gate at each end and technically it's not a public right of way but there's no problem in just wandering through. If you walk northwards up Commercial Street around 9 or 10 at night you will almost certainly see some prostitutes hanging around. They are the definitely the low end of the market so nothing much has changed in a century.
Date: Sun, 1 Mar 1998 11:52:01-0500
From: John Smithkey III
I read Mr. Matthew Fletcher's editorial on my article about the Ten Bells Pub, and his thoughts regarding the addition of Martha Tabrum as a Ripper victim. Although he "strongly urged" me to purchase a copy of Sugden's "The Complete History of Jack The Ripper", I already own a copy! I also own a copy of Begg's "Jack The Ripper:The Uncensored Facts" and Rumbelow's "The Complete Jack The Ripper", as well as about two dozen titles.
I reread Sugden's account of the Tabrum murder twice. First, all of the victims of Jack the Ripper had their throats slashed. Sugden (1995) points out that "there is no evidence that carotid arteries had been slashed, the throat cut or the abdomen extensively mutilated" (p.29). Secondly, the Tabrum murderer used two weapons. The surgeon's report stated "twenty wounds to the breast,stomach and abdomen apparently inflicted with a penknife---The wound on the breastbone had been inflicted with a strong long-bladed weapon, possibly a dagger or bayonet"(p.29).
Although Martha Tabrum is credited with being the first victim of the Autumn of Terror, I am still unmoved in my belief that she was NOT a Ripper Victim. This view was also expressed by Rumbelow, Begg, Skinner, and Evans who I spoke with while in London researching my book "Jack the Ripper: The Inquest of the Final Victim Mary Kelly".
The theory I presented in my article was based on a lecture that Rumbelow presents during his walking tours of the Ripper murder sites. Rumbelow cites Leonard Gribble's theory in his book (p.170-71). Gribble's theory was first published in 1973. The article is entitled "Was Jack the Ripper A Black Magician?" This article was again published in the British "True Detective", in January 1988 issue. A friend in London provided me with a copy of this edition. I would be happy to send any Casebook reader a copy of the article who requests it!
This is the fun part of Ripperology. Comparing theories and viewpoints, collecting and discussing the many different articles and books that have been written, and exchanging the many ideas among the members of the Casebook.
While at the Ten Bells Pub, I interviewed one of the owners regarding the structure of the pub. He assured me that the bar was original and intact. Apparently he was in error. I do apologize to the readers for this error in the photo caption. The caption has since been changed. Stephen Ryder pointed out that this owner may have made the statement to promote tourism in place of historic fact.
I also saw the strippers during my interview and visits to the Ten Bells. I did speak with them regarding the history of the pub and the area. They knew little or nothing. It was a tough job interviewing beautiful young exotic strippers for my book-but somebody had to do it!!
Rumbelow, Donald (1988). The Complete Jack the Ripper. London: Penguin.
Sugden, Philip (1995). The Complete History of Jack the Ripper. New York: Carroll & Graf.
SPECIAL NOTE: those who would like a free copy of the article "WAS JACK THE RIPPER A BLACK MAGICIAN?" write to:
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