A CAST OF THOUSANDS
BY CHRISTOPHER SCOTT
At the Mary Kelly inquest, Julia Venturney, who was living at 1 Miller's Court, gave testimony that Barnett and Kelly lived happily together at No 13 apart from the occasional incident, such as the breaking of the pane in the window by Kelly when she was drunk. She also testified that there was another man called Joe, apart from Barnett, who was keen on Kelly and abused her because she was living with Barnett. If this is true, the most likely candidate is Joseph Flemming (q.v.), even though Venturney described his as a costermonger. Other sources claimed that Flemming carried on visiting Kelly after she was living with Barnett, and Mrs. Carthy claimed that when Flemming and Kelly were cohabiting she (Mrs. Carthy) thought that Flemming thought enough of Kelly to want to marry her.
It was claimed in the press that Julia Venturney was this, coupled with her forename, has led to suggestions that she may indeed be the Julia mentioned by Barnett, the prostitute who actually moved in with Kelly and precipitated Barnett's leaving 13 Miller's Court.
The bare facts about Julia Venturney are as follows. She was born Julia Cook in Kensington in 1841, so at the time of the murders she would have been 47 years old. She was the daughter of a carpenter called Richard Cook, born 1804. The date of her marriage, if indeed she did marry, and any details about her husband, remain unknown. By 1871 she was living in Fulham with her widowed father. She had borne by that date two daughters, Rosina, born 1864 and Charlotte, born 1868.
The 1871 listing for Julia and her family is as follows:
2 Little John's Place, Fulham London
Richard Cook aged 67 born Kensington - Carpenter
Julia Venturney aged 30 born Kensington - Professional
Rosina aged 7 born Fulham
Charlotte A aged 3 born Fulham
Harriett Thorpe aged 18 born Kensington - Servant
I have been able trace the birth records for both of her daughters. The birth of Rosina Antonet Julia Venteney (sic) was registered at Kensington in March 1863 (Volume 1a Page 163). Her younger daughter was registered as Charlotta (sic) Ann Venturney at Kensington in March 1868 (Volume 1a Page 207). This discrepancy highlights one of the main problems with trying to trace Venturney. In the reports of the Whitechapel murders, her name is given as Venturney, Vanturney, Van Teurney and Van Turney. In the registration of her older daughter, we find yet another variant, Venteney. This probably gave rise to the incorrect press assertion that she was German although, as far as I can trace, her name (or rather that of her supposed husband) was more likely Dutch in origin than German.
The birth certificate of her daughter, Rosina, gives the name and profession of Julia's mysterious husband. Rosina Venteney was born at 2 John's Place, North End, Fulham, on the 12 February 1864. On her birth cerificate the name of her father is given as Antony Venteney and his profession as a photographic artist. The mother's name is given as "Julia Venteney, formerly Cook."
The only other record I have been able to find is a listing in the 1881 census for her father, Richard Cook. His details for that year are given as follows:
Richard Cook aged 78 born London - Carpenter
A lodger at 3 Bayham Street, London.
Listed as unmarried.
Head of household is Eliza Beales aged 66 born Sudbury, Suffolk - Dressmaker.
In her testimony at Kelly, Julia Venturney gave two other items of information. She described herself as a widow and said that at the time of Kelly's murder she was living at 1 Miller's Court with a man named Harry Owen. Currently neither of these leads has produced any definite information.
After the 1871 census I have as yet been unable to find any trace of Julia or either of her two daughters.