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Pall Mall Gazette
17 October 1888


It transpired yesterday that, from the very morning of the Berner-street and Mitre-square murders, the police have had in their possession a shirt saturated in blood. It is said to have been left in a house in Batty-street after the murders. Having regard to the position of his house, its close proximity to the yard in Berner-street, where the crime was committed, and to the many passages and alleys adjacent, there seems to be at least ground for suspicion in the discovery of the blood-stained shirt. The statement has been made that the landlady of the lodging-house, 22, Batty-street - the house in which the shirt was left - was, at an early hour, disturbed by the movements of her lodger, who changed some of his apparel and went away; first, however, instructing her to wash the cast-off shirt by the time he returned.

A very interesting fact, says Truth, has come to my knowledge respecting the telegram which the Whitechapel murderer, or some one personating him, sent to Sir Charles Warren last week. This telegram was not handed in at a post office in the usual way, but was stamped and deposited in a letter-box, whence it was taken in the ordinary course when the box was cleared to the nearest telegraph office and despatched. Now, it is not every one, even among the educated classes, who is aware that a telegram can be sent in this manner. Among working men, or among the Jewish or foreign population at the East-end, I should not expect to find one man in a thousand who knows it. On the other hand, it does look likely that a mere practical joker would have recourse to such a roundabout procedure.


To the Editor of the Pall Mall gazette


At the present moment, when the heart of London is thrilled with the realization of the ghastly truth that there are large districts in our midst where violence and outrage are so common that murder itself stalk unnoticed and unpunished, it is well to gather a little consolation and hope from the knowledge that in the very streets whose names now make us shudder there are peaceful homes where a dignified old age commands the respect of the roughest, and where virtue, cleanliness, and thrift shed their light around. If your readers doubt that any good thing can come out of Whitechapel, let them accompany a "lady almoner" to No.__ Buck's row, and call upon Mrs. P. They will find a little room, the picture of neatness and cleanliness, inhabited by an old woman of about seventy, in very feeble health, deaf, and almost blind, but always gentle and cheerful. She lives alone, having been a widow many years; her married son and daughter do for her what little they can. Until her sight failed she kept herself by brush work, having worked twenty five years for one employer. Her humble content and patient waiting for death teach the lessons that old age should. In a little court close by lives Mrs. M'C., a perfect picture of a beautiful old woman. She has occupied the same room for fifty two years, and it is a pattern of neatness. Some years a long lost son returned and promised his mother 5s a week. She at once voluntarily gave up the charitable help she had been receiving, and only her son's death and her own increasing infirmities have induced her to apply for it again. Such rare independence deserves to be recorded. In Hanbury street and Berner street similar bright spots may be found. In Fashion street, which has the reputation of being one of the three worst streets in London, two old sisters have lived for forty three years. They tell how "it used to be very respectable," and cannot bear to leave it even in its fall. Their landlady is kind to them, their neighbours respect if they do not imitate their thrift and cleanliness. It is in the belief that such homes are a strong influence for good among the East London poor, and that the old people who have made and love them, poor as they are, deserve a better fate than the workhouse, that the Tower Hamlets Pension Committee undertakes to help all thoroughly deserving cases brought to their notice in those districts (Whitechapel, Stepney, and St. George's in the East) where outdoor parish relief has been abolished. The pensions are raised by voluntary contributions, the whole of which go to the relief of the aged poor, the committee defraying its own expenses of management. The Hon. Treasurer is Mr. A.G. Crowder, 65 Portland place, W.

I am, Sir, yours faithfully,
P.D. Townsend.
28 Commercial street, E. October 15.