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JACK THE RIPPER
A CAST OF THOUSANDS
BY CHRISTOPHER SCOTT
(c) 2004

Joseph Lawende

Along with Israel Schwartz (q.v.) Joseph Lawende is among the most discussed of witnesses. On the night of the murder of Catherine Eddowes in Mitre Square, Lawende and two companions, Harry Harris and Joseph Levy, left the Imperial Club in Duke's Place just after 1.30 a.m. At the entrance to Church Passage they saw a man and a woman whom Lawende later identified as Eddowes.
The importance of Lawende is that he had been identified by some researchers as the witness described by Robert Anderson as "the only person who ever had a good view of the murderer." The footnotes by Donald Swanson (the "Swanson marginalia") add that the witness was a Jewish man and would not give evidence against the suspect, namely Kosminski, as he was not willing to be the means of the suspect being hanged. Not surprisingly, neither Anderson nor Swanson name the witness. The usual short list of who Anderson's witness could be is Schwartz, Lawende or Levy.
Lawende appears in the 1881 census living in Tenter Street South which lay two streets to the north of Swallow Gardens where Frances Coles was murdered. Joseph lived in the next house to possibly his brother Leopold. Both men were born in Poland and work in the tobacco trade. There was possibly a third brother named Herman lodging with Leopold and his family. Joseph and his family were living at 2 Tenter Street South:
Joseph LAWENDE Head M Male 32 Warsaw, Poland Cigarette Maker
Anne LAWENDE Wife M Female 26 (City), Middlesex
Eva LAWENDE Daur U Female 7 Whitechapel, Middlesex Scholar
Fanny LAWENDE Daur U Female 6 Whitechapel, Middlesex Scholar
Harry LAWENDE Son U Male 4 Whitechapel, Middlesex Scholar
Rose LAWENDE Daur U Female 2 Whitechapel, Middlesex
Pauline LAWENDE Daur U Female 10 m Whitechapel, Middlesex
Noah METTER Boarder U Male 24 Warsaw, Poland Cigar Maker
Muriel GLITZ Servant U Female 15 Poplar, Middlesex, England Domestic Servant
(In the third column, M=married, U=unmarried)
At 3 Tenter Street South, we find Leopold and his family:
Leopold LAWENDE Head M Male 30 Warsaw, Poland Cigarette Maker
Fanny LAWENDE Wife M Female 28 Whitechapel, Middlesex
Moses LAWENDE Son U Male 7 Whitechapel, Middlesex Scholar
Leah LAWENDE Daur U Female 6 Whitechapel, Middlesex Scholar
Esther LAWENDE Daur U Female 4 Whitechapel, Middlesex Scholar
Julius LAWENDE Son U Male 2 Whitechapel, Middlesex
Harry LAWENDE Son U Male 1 Whitechapel, Middlesex
Herman LAWENDE Boarder M Male 45 Rawotitte, Prussia Dealer In Pictures
Lawende is a rare name. To find two families, with both heads born in Poland living next door to each other and in the same trade cannot be coincidence. Leopold and Joseph, with only 2 years between their ages, were most likely brothers. The status of Herman Lawende, who boarded with Leopold's family, is more problematic. He is 15 years older than Joseph and born in Prussia and in an entirely different trade, a picture dealer. He was almost certainly a relative of Leopold and Joseph but whether an older brother, cousin etc. it is impossible to say. This is the only mention of Herman I can find in the census records so it is possible he left the country some time between 1881 and 1891.
From Joseph's point of view there have been significant changes by the time of the 1891 census. He and his family have moved to Islington and he has anglicised his name to Lavender, a spelling which persists into the 1901 data. Leopold, however, in 1891 is at the same address and still using the original form of his surname.
3 Tenter Street South
Leopold Lawende aged 42 born Poland - Cigarette maker
Fanny aged 38 born London
Children:
Moses aged 17 - watchmaker
Leah aged 16 - Cigarette maker
Esther aged 14
Julius aged 12
Harry aged 11
Daniel aged 9
Rose aged 8
Annie aged 5
Caroline aged 6 months
All children are listed as born in London.
23 Upper Street, Islington
Joseph Lavender aged 43 born Warsaw, Poland (Naturalised British Subject) - Tobacconist and commercial traveller
Annie aged 34 born City of London
Children:
Eva aged 17
Fanny aged 16 - dressmaker
Henry aged 14 - commercial clerk
Rose aged 12
Pauline aged 10
Jack aged 8
Ellis aged 6
May aged 4
Lily aged 3
Mary Isobel aged 1
By 1901 there had been yet more changes. Leopold had died and the widowed Fanny and her family had moved to Great Alie Street. They were now using a hybrid spelling of their name, Lavende. Joseph and his family, still under the name of Lavender, had stayed in Islington but had moved to a new address:
7 Great Alie Street
Fanny Lavende aged 48 born Whitechapel - Cigarette maker - Widow
Children:
Moses aged 26
Lily aged 24
Esther aged 22
Julius aged 21
Harry aged 19
David aged 17
All children are listed as cigarette makers and born in Whitechapel.
140 Mildmay Road, Islington
Joseph Lavender aged 54 born Poland - Commercial traveller
Annie aged 45 born London
Children:
Eva aged 27
Fanny aged 25 - dressmaker
Harry aged 24 - commercial traveller
Pauline aged 21 - cigarette maker
Julius aged 19 - commercial clerk
Eleazar aged 17 - wholesale assistant
Rachael aged 15 - lady clerk
Lilly aged 13
May aged 11
Ruby aged 6
Leonard aged 4
All children are listed as born in London.
Leopold's death aged 51 was registered in Whitechapel in December 1900 (Volume 1c Page 207).


Related pages:
  Joseph Lawende
       Dissertations: Anything But Your Prayers: Victims and Witnesses on the N... 
       Dissertations: The Man Who Saw: The Face of Joseph Lawende Revealed 
       Message Boards: Joseph Lawende 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 9 October 1888