A CAST OF THOUSANDS
BY CHRISTOPHER SCOTT
Born circa 1868.
The available evidence about Ada Wilson tells us a little about her, that she was a young woman in 1888 and was living at the time of the attack at 19 Maidman Street, Mile End.
Firstly, I had a look at the address and its residents from two sources i.e. the census data for 1881 and 1891. In the 1881 census return No 19 Maidman Street is listed as uninhabited. In 1891 there were only two residents listed at this address - a Metropolitan police officer and his wife.
19 Maidman Street, Mile End Old Town, London
George E Schulz aged 29 born Prussia (British Subject) - Metropolitan policeman
Fanny R Schulz aged 27 born Milford, South Wales
Although the surname Wilson is obviously a reasonably common one, I have done extensive searches among the Wilson entries for family who had a family member named Ada who could reasonably be classed as a "young woman" at the time of the attack in 1888 and also had a documented with the Mile End Old Town area. There emerged from this lengthy process only one family, which fulfilled all these criteria.
I cannot categorically and definitively saw that the Ada Wilson outlined below but I am satisfied after the research that I have done that the balance of probability is that this individual is the one who was involved in the attack.
Ada Wilson was born circa 1868. I have as yet been unable to trace her birth record in the BMD registers and the ages given for her in the four census returns in which I traced her are very fluid and one is patently wrong. Her ages and extrapolated years of birth are as follows;
1871 Census - aged 3 i.e. born circa 1868
1881 Census - aged 17 i.e. born circa 1864
1891 Census - aged 22 i.e. born circa 1869
1901 Census - aged 32 i.e. born circa 1869.
So provisionally we can say she was born in 1868/69. The 1881 age is at such variance and I am not currently able to check the original return so I would suspect a transcription error. This date of birth means that at the time of the 1888 attack she would have been 19 or 20.
Ada was the daughter of Robert Wilson (born circa 1836) and Charlotte Wilson (born circa 1838).
In 1871 the family were living in Mile End Old Town. Unfortunately the original data is not currently available to view, but the information I do have at present lists them as follows:
Mile End Old Town, London
(exact address at present unknown)
Robert C Wilson aged 35 born London
Charlotte Wilson aged 33 born London
Charlotte E aged 6
Ada R aged 3
Robert R aged 1
All children born in London
By the time of the 1881 census the family had moved to 56 Gill Street and their details are give as follows:
Robert Wilson aged 45 born Chelsea - Labourer (Docks)
Charlotte Wilson aged 40 born Chelsea
Ada aged 17
Roland aged 9
James aged 7
John aged 5
William aged 3
All children born Limehouse
In the 1891 census the family are listed living in Limehouse at a house in Salter Street. Their listing is as follows:
20 Salter Street, Limehouse, London
Robert Wilson aged 54 born Limehouse - No occupation listed
Charlotte Wilson aged 53 born Limehouse
Robert aged 20 - Carman
John aged 16 - Greengrocer's assistant
William aged 14 - Wire worker
Ada aged 22 - Twine spinner (Rope)
All children born in Limehouse
In 1901 the family were still living in Salter Street, Limehouse but had moved to a different house. Their details are:
6 Salter Street, Limehouse, London
Robert O Wilson aged 64 born London E. - Occupation NIL
Charlotte Wilson aged 62 born Mile End
Ada aged 32 born Bromley - Packer in Jam Factory (Sweets)
Robert R aged 30 born Bromley - Carman
William aged 25 born Poplar - Blacksmith's assistant
Lilly Wilson aged 6 born Poplar
Apart from the age variances for Ada noted above, you will notice other discrepancies in the data principally in the places of birth. In all my census research I have found this to be the least reliable and consistent data field.