Make the most of London

 

James Maybrick: Fact or Fiction?

Posted by Jenny Phillips, Jack the Ripper Tour Guide on Monday, September 14, 2020 Under: Jack the Ripper

James Maybrick: Fact or Fiction?

James Maybrick, a cotton broker from Liverpool, did not become a suspect until 1992 when a diary written on part of a Victorian ledger was rumoured to have been found by Tony Devereux, in the attic of Battlecrease House, Aigburth in Liverpool, the former residence of Maybrick. He supposedly gave it to a friend Michael Barrett in a pub, but the story later changed as his wife Ann said it had been in her family for generations. She had asked Devereux to give it to her husband because he had literary aspirations and she thought he might write a book about it. She had not wanted to tell him her family owned it, (which seems very suspicious) because she thought he would ask her father about it and relations between the two men were strained.

 

It was published as The Diary of Jack the Ripper in 1993 to great controversy. Few experts gave it any credence from the start, most immediately dismissed it as a hoax, though some people were open to the possibility it might be the genuine article.

 

The diary claimed to be written by Maybrick says that he was Jack the Ripper and committed these gruesome murders. However, there is no name in the diary, but just enough clues to point to Maybrick. Tests on the ink were inconclusive, with some pointing to Victorian ink, but others to ink from a much later period. The handwriting style was said to be more 20th century than Victorian by a handwriting expert! Barrett later signed two affidavits saying that the diary had been dictated by him and written by his wife Ann. Adding to this confusion, was Barrett's solicitor's subsequent repudiation of his affidavit, then Barrett's withdrawal of the repudiation.

 

So, can we really believe what he says at all? There is one further item worth looking at, as in June 1993, a gentleman's pocket watch, made by William Verity of Rothwell in 1847-8 and presented to Albert Johnson from Wallasey. The watch has ‘J. Maybrick’ scratched on the inside cover, along with the words ‘I am Jack’, as well as the initials of the five canonical Ripper victims. The watch was examined in 1993 by Dr Stephen Turgoose of the Corrosion and Protection Centre who concluded that it was impossible to accurately date the engraved scratches. They could have been made some time ago but equally there is a possibility that they could have been aged deliberately. This could only be resolved by a scanning electron microscope. When studied by Dr Robert Wild using one, he concluded that the scratches must be tens of years in age and in his opinion that it is unlikely that anyone would have sufficient expertise to implant aged, brass particles into the base of the engravings!

 

Though the mystery rolls on, one thing is certain. James Maybrick was an arsenic addict. He called it ‘my powders’. Many people believe that if you take it you will die at once, but this is not so if you take a minute dose. It does is not expelled  from the body, however, and eventually will reach a poisonous level. He did eventually take enough to reach this and died.

 

 Interestingly, his American wife Fanny was charged with his murder as the servants did not like her and told the police she extracted arsenic from fly papers, a common practice among women at the time, as they used it to whiten their facial skin. Fanny was charged and found guilty. She was sentenced to be hanged but her sentence commuted to life imprisonment by Queen Victoria and she spent 25 years in jail. She then returned to America living as a recluse in the backwoods for the rest of her life.

In : Jack the Ripper 


Tags: liverpool  1888  jack the ripper 
comments powered by Disqus

Tags

"online bookings' cpd #earthrise 17th 1930s 50th a abbey adele afternoon afternoon tea age ages alastair ancient and animals annie anniversary apps architecture arsenal art arts attack awards baker bank bankside barbican bathhouses bazalgette beasts bishopsgate blitz bombers books borough bowie breakfast brewery brick bridge britain british bronze bronze age brunch burger burlesque buses cabaret cake canal canary captain carl carol caroline cathedral cemetery cenotaph century chapman charles charlton cheap cheapside cheese childhood chips chiswick chocolate christmas church city city of london clerkenwell cocktails coffee coffeehouses concert corporate covent covent garden covid-19 crime cross crown cruise david day december deptford dick dickens dinner do dock dockland museum dragons dreamtime earth eat eating eats ecommerce edward edwin egypt end ernst event events exhibition exhibitions facebook fairytale fall family fantastic farringdon february festival film finance fire first fiscus florence folklore food for francis free friars gallery galliard garden george georgian german germany gibb gift grade great greenhithe greenwich group guided guides half hall halsk harle harry potter havering havering hoard hawksmoor hazel heroes hidden highbury hill hilton history holloway homes hot hotel house how i ian ianmcd ice cream icelandic ii iii in inigo islington italian iv jack jack the ripper james jenny jewels johns jones joseph katharines kelly kenneth kew gardens kids kidstours killer kim kings kingston lambeth lane lewis lights limestone literature liverpool locations londinium london london bridge london's londoners lunch lutyens magnus market markets martyr mary maufe mayfair mcdiarmid measure medical medieval memorial middle millennium mock-tudor modern montague monument moorgate mosaic murder murderers museum museum of london docklands music musicals n7 national gallery national history museum ned new newcomen news nhs nichols night nightingale nurse of old street oliver open opera pancakes pandemic panoramic park parties path pauls people photo photograhy photography photos pizza places plays plumstead podcast poetry pokemon polly pop poplar prince priory private tours pub public purbeck qe2 queen queenhithe quirky recording reid religion rembrandt renaissance restoration ripper river road rob roman roundhouse royal saga saxon sculpture scupture seacole second serial sewers siemens sir smartphone smith smithfield smithfields soap soho somme south southbank southwark spitalfields spy squirrels ss st statue stories street stuart studios subscription summer susan sydenham tate tea term thames thamesmeade the theatre thiepval things things to do thrifty thriftytheatre to tour tours tower travel truman tudor tumblety twelfth twist und underground update v&a ve victoria victorian victorian london viking vouchers wales walk walking walks wall war water werner wharf wheeler whitechapel wilde wildlife willelm william wine winter women wood woodland woolwich world wyatt york 1888 2019 2020

LONDON GUIDED WALKS:

LEARN MORE:

CONNECT WITH US:

USEFUL LINKS:

Site by Hazel  |  Photographs by Hazel or Ian