13 October 1888
Those good folks who may be under the impression that too much has been written and said about the condition of the East-end of London recently, might just as well turn their attention to the figures quoted by the Bishop of Bedford in his interview with the Metropolitan Board of Works, yesterday. "The census of 1881," said his lordship, "showed that in the Metropolis there were 50o1 persons to each acre; in Whitechapel 176; in Spitalfields 288; on the Bell-lane site 600; and in the Pearl-street area 500 to an acre." Is it any wonder that, under such conditions, there should be a low state of morals in that district, or that public attention needs to be turned in that direction?
That much of this terrible overcrowding is due to the want of proper oversight on the part of the Metropolitan Board of Works there can be little or no doubt. And even now it is extremely problematical whether we shall ever hear of anything being done by that procrastinating body to remedy an evil which they can no longer conceal. When the Metropolitan Board of Works comes to sit down to write its promised biography, we shall perhaps learn why the East was so shamefully neglected whilst the officials of the Board were playing ducks and drakes with public property in the West.
EAST END MISERY.
To The Editor Of "THE EVENING NEWS."
Sir- The Bishop of Bedford says, in his letter in your impression of yesterday, that another night refuge is not required. His lordship, I fear, is grievously mistaken. "It would," he says, "attract more of these miserable women into the neighbourhood, and increases the difficulties of the situation." That a night refuge would prove an attraction for these poor women is a striking proof of its need. That one refuge would add to the difficulty I fully believe, because there is need in the East-end alone for several such institutions. But people, if called upon to found refuges, would naturally inquire for what purpose poor rates are collected, and the raison d'etre also of casual wards. His lordship is a servant of the State as well as a Christian bishop and cannot well trespass on the domain of the poor law administration. Considering the difficulty of his position, therefore, the Bishop wisely confines himself to the modest proposal of establishing a Home where destitute and well-disposed women may find employment. It is an excellent idea, and if carried out cannot fail to do a large amount of good. There are thousands, however, who earn an honest but precarious living in the streets. They receive but little sympathy and encouragement, though they are as really deserving as cabmen, policemen, &c. These people are not "stay-at-homes," and never wll be. For them a rough and ready shelter in their extreme necessity is almost all that is required- a shelter for which a history of their lives should not be demanded, nor anything be expected but good behaviour. Those who provide them are the true benefactors of the poor. I honour, nevertheless, the Bishop of Bedford for his humane proposal- it amounts to a very mild censure on the poor-law system- but there would be no need of such measures were the poor-rates not devoured by officials, and hocussed by disinterested philanthropists, and the poor themselves too often treated in a harsh and unchristian spirit. - I am, &c., ONLOOKER October 16.
To The Editor Of "THE EVENING NEWS."
Sir- A shelter for outcast females will be opened in a few days at Harlow House, No.34, Mile End-road. Such poor creatures who are without home, food, friends, or money will be given a warm shelter, with a supper of a pint of coffee and bread, but the same applicants will not be admitted more than three nights in any week. Convenience will be provided for washing, &c. Applicants will be received from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. every night, and those who sympathise with them in their sufferings. The only conditions will be abject poverty and decorous conduct while in the shelter. Applicants will be able to obtain an order from the police stations, or any constable in the district. We have secured on easy terms a site in Whitechapel, and if a little assistance is given us we will soon erect a large iron or other building on the site, which is close to the scene of one of the late brutal murders. We are negociating for other sites, and will extend our operations if the necessary help is forthcoming. Members of the Vigilance Committees have offered their help as they have found in the courts, alleys, passages, carts, vans, &c., countless poor creatures crouching away and in abject fear. Any donations, however small, will be thankfully received and duly accounted for. We shall also be glad of the assistance of ladies and gentlemen. With the exception of the attendant at the shelter, there will be no paid officer, all services being rendered gratuitously. We ask for assistance, believing that if the movement is fully carried out, it will not only be a great service to the destitute poor but will also remove a stigma at present cast over a district peopled by honest, industrious artizans and labourers. - We are, &c.
R.H. WINTER} Hon. Secs.
J.L. DALE }
Office: 94, Mile End-road, E.
THE ARREST AT BELFAST.
VERY SUSPICIOUS FACTS.
At the Belfast Police-court, yesterday, John Foster, who was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the Whitechapel murder, was brought up. - Constable Carland deposed : From information I received I proceeded to No. 11, Memel-street. The prisoner was not there when I went first. I went back about half-an-hour afterwards, when I found the prisoner, and rapped at the door. The prisoner said, "Come in." I went in and found the prisoner in bed. I asked him his name, where he had come from, and how he had been in Belfast. He gave the name of William John Foster, and said he had no fixed address. He arrived in town on Sunday, from Greenock, where he had spent two days, but he could not say where he stopped. Previous to that he was in Glasgow for four days, and before that in Edinburgh, but he did not know how long he was there, nor did he know any one living there. I found a clasp knife (produced) in his coat pocket, a purse containing £19 4s. 5½ d., and the chisel and handle (produced), which were lying on the table in the bed-room. These, when separated, fit into the bag (produced). In the bag I found three razors, a table knife, a small knife, and a number of watchmaking appliances. He said that he was a watchmaker, but that he did nothing at the trade as he had income of his own, which he got from his father, who lived in London. He said his father was a brewer, but could not give the address. I found the silver watch and chain and locket (produced) in his pockets. He said the watch was his own. It bears the monogram 'A.M.R." The watch and chain were then handed to the Bench for examination.
Witness, continuing: There was a piece of broken necklet in his coat pocket. I got the keys, (produced). The watch is a lever without the maker's name. I examined the clothes of the prisoner, and found he was wearing boots similar to those worn by military men. The prisoner was remanded for a week.
A correspondent, residing near the scene of the murders, yesterday gave us the following information.
" I have seen in several papers, this day, that the man whose description was given by me and endorsed by other persons as the man who was seen in Aldgate on the morning of the murders of Mitre-square and Berner-street has been seen in the provinces. I may state that the man whose description was published was seen by me last night in St. Mark-street, Whitechapel, and the moment he caught sight of me he ran off down a court leading into Chamber-street, Leman-street. I followed him, but lost sight of him, as there are many courts and railway arches round there. A Mrs. Silkman also saw a man answering the same description a few nights ago in the same street. She states that his description was exactly as published. She looked him straight in the face when he hurried away. I feel sure if he is the murderer he is living in lodgings in the tenter ground, where people let a great many bed-rooms to men who have a key, and can come home or go out whenever they like without the house-holder or anyone knowing of it."
Mary Hawkes, 18, and James Fordham, 21, the later with several aliases, were charged on remand before Mr. Montagu Williams, at Worship-street, yesterday, with having been concerned with others not in custody in assaulting Carl Edwin Newman, and robbing him of a pair of trousers and a sum of £4.
Mr. Phillips appeared to defend Fordham. The facts of the case were reported last Tuesday, and it may be remembered that the prosecutor, a Scandinavian, who described himself as a student, met, whilst intoxicated, a woman, with whom he went to Flower and Dean-street, Spitalfields, and was taken by her into a common lodging-house there, where he paid 8d. for a "double" bed, and was shown to a room, when he found fault with the accommodation, was left by the woman, and almost immediately afterwards was attacked by four or five men who burst into the room and seized him, throwing him on the bed and rifling his pockets of a purse containing £4 in gold, as well as stealing his trousers. It happened, however, that two police-constables had been informed of the fact of the man being taken to the house by women, and the officers remaining near the spot heard the prosecutor's cries and entered the place just as he was thrown down the stairs. The room he had been in was searched, and in the adjoining room the prisoners were found in bed. The trousers and purse were also found there, the purse being minus £2 10s. of its contents. Fordham denied having taken part in the assault on the prosecutor, but the later identified him. The prosecutor also said that he paid the 8d. for the bed to a woman (the deputy), and the police said that when they entered the house the deputy was not to be seen. The magistrate had ordered the police to produce her, and also desired to have some information as to the supervision of the common lodging-houses of the district. Margaret Brown, a young woman, now deposed that she acted as deputy of the house in question, No. 34, Flower and Dean-street, erroneously stated last time by the witness to be 35. The house was owned by a Mr. Coates, who kept a chandler's shop in Dorset-street, and lived in Whitecross-street.
Replying to the magistrate, Witness said there were 19 "double" beds and seven "singles" in the place. She remembered letting in the female prisoner and a man- a foreigner- the latter paying 8d. for a "double" bed. Witness also knew the prisoner Fordham, whom she let in at a quarter to one o'clock, or about ten minutes after the woman and the foreigner. She could not account for Fordham being afterwards found with the female prisoner in a "double" when he paid for a "single" bed. She had known him before, he having slept there about once a week for some time past. She did not know the other four men who attacked the prosecutor. There were no other men that she knew of up there. She had heard the prosecutor calling out, and went up, when the prosecutor said the woman had robbed him. That was after the police were in the house. Witness went up with the police. She had sole charge of the police, and was paid 6s. a week.
Police-constable Dennis 57 H, recalled, said that when he entered the place the deputy was not to be seen. After going in a second time she came from the kitchen. The witness explained that the "single" beds were undivided, and stood in rows in a large room, the "double" beds being in small rooms made of partitioning. The partitions did not touch the floor or the ceiling, a space of about 18in. being left top and bottom. A person might pass from one to the other room by a good squeeze.
Previous convictions were then proved against both prisoners. The man had been several times sentenced for felony, and the woman twice for cutting and wounding, her latest sentence being twelve months.
Police-sergeant 32 H said he went with an inspector to inspect the registered lodging-houses in the district. There were 127 in number- common lodging-houses- accommodating about 6,000 persons. They were all visited once a week on an average. The house, 34, Flower and Dean-street, had hitherto been a well-conducted house. Of course it was frequented by thieves and prostitutes. He (witness) doubted if a single registered lodging-house would be found without thieves and prostitutes amongst its lodgers.
The Magistrate having stated that he should send the case for trial, Mr. Phillips said Fordham would reserve his defence.
The prosecutor was not in attendance, and it was said that he was on the eve of sailing to America. Mr. Williams remarked that he should chance the prosecutor being in attendance at the trial. If he was not the Judge would probably deal with the matter. He directed that the proceedings at the lodging-house in question be reported at Scotland-yard.
The prisoners were then committed to the sessions.
Some sensation was occasioned in Spitalfields, yesterday morning, by a story, which rapidly spread, that a man had been found with his abdomen ripped open. Excitement increased when it was suggested that the man was a victim of the unknown Whitechapel murderer. Upon inquiry, however, it as found that the unfortunate man, who was by trade a butcher, was cutting a quarter of beef into joints, when his knife slipped, inflicting a very serious wound in the abdomen. He was conveyed in great pain to the London Hospital, where he dies shortly afterwards.