|A Ripperologist Article|
|This article originally appeared in Ripperologist No. 6, June 1996. Ripperologist is the most respected Ripper periodical on the market and has garnered our highest recommendation for serious students of the case. For more information, view our Ripperologist page. Our thanks to the editor of Ripperologist for permission to reprint this article.|
by Dave Froggatt
The "Old Hall" building stood on the site that is now the Central Library in Wolverhampton. It had been rebuilt in brick in the 16th century for the Levesons, Lessee Lords of Wolverhampton. In the 18th century, Joseph Turton junior, an iron factor, purchased the hall. It later became known as "Turton's Hall" and it was here that the Old Hall Tin and Japan works was situated. This handsome building was demolished in 1883.
Catherine was born in Wolver hampton in 1842, the daughter of a tinplate worker, George Eddowes. George had been apprenticed to the stamping trade at the Old Hall works.
His father a tinplate worker also, was the oldest hand in the employ of the firm. George married a young woman who had been engaged as a cook at a well-known hostelry in the town, and the pair went to London to seek their fortunes.
A large family numbering twelve in all was born to them, and a few years after the birth of Kate the mother died, the father dying a few months afterwards. Catherine was brought up by an aunt in Bilston Street, Wolverhampton from the age of six years until she was a grown-up young woman of 21 or 22. During this time she was employed as a colour stover and a grainer at the Old Hall works.
When about eighteen years old, Mi she went to stay with an uncle in Birmingham. His name was Thomas Eddowes, a shoemaker by trade living on what was known as "The Brick Hill", Bagot Street. She obtained work in the town as a tray polisher, with a firm in Legge Street. She only stayed in Birmingham however for about nine months and then went back to Wolverhampton, where she lived for a time with her grandfather also named Thomas Eddowes. She became associated with an old pensioner named Thomas Conway (whose initials "T.C." were found tattoed on her arm at death), and left Wolverhampton with him. She returned to Birmingham but did not live with her uncle on that occasion; he saw her frequently however. He denied that it was in Birmingham that she formed the acquaintance of Thomas Conway. He spoke of Catherine as a "nice looking girl, very warm hearted, and of a lively disposition."
Catherine and Thomas Conway made their living by selling books written by Conway about famous people and hangings. They moved to several Midland towns. In 1880 they separated. In 1881 she joined John Kelly with whom she was living seven years later in his lodgings in Flower and Dean Street, in the East End of London. She met her death at the hands of an unknown assassin in Mitre Square on Sunday 30th September 1888, in the City of London. At the funeral, the mourning cortege had some difficulty in penetrating the large crowd outside, among whom threats against "Jack the Ripper" were loud and frequent.Main Sources:
The Evening Express and Star, Friday 5th October 1888
The Wolverhampton Chronicle, Wednesday 10th October 1888