Catherine Eddowes

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Catherine Eddowes, contemporary illustration.

Catherine Eddowes a.k.a. Kate Kelly

Catherine Eddowes is born on April 14, 1842 in Graisley Green, Wolverhampton. At the time of her death she is 5 feet tall, has hazel eyes and dark auburn hair. She has a tattoo in blue ink on her left forearm "TC."

At the time of her death, Catherine Eddowes is suffering from Bright's Disease, a form of Uremia. Friends spoke of Catherine as an intelligent, scholarly woman but one who was possessed of a fierce temper.

Wearing at the time of her murder:

  • Black straw bonnet trimmed in green and black velvet with black beads. Black strings, worn tied to the head.
  • Black cloth jacket trimmed around the collar and cuffs with imitation fur and around the pockets in black silk braid and fur. Large metal buttons.
  • Dark green chintz skirt, 3 flounces, brown button on waistband. The skirt is patterned with Michaelmas daisies and golden lilies.
  • Man's white vest, matching buttons down front.
  • Brown linsey bodice, black velvet collar with brown buttons down front
  • Grey stuff petticoat with white waistband
  • Very old green alpaca skirt (worn as undergarment)
  • Very old ragged blue skirt with red flounces, light twill lining (worn as undergarment)
  • White calico chemise
  • No drawers or stays
  • Pair of men's lace up boots, mohair laces. Right boot repaired with red thread
  • 1 piece of red gauze silk worn as a neckerchief
  • 1 large white pocket handkerchief
  • 1 large white cotton handkerchief with red and white bird's eye border
  • 2 unbleached calico pockets, tape strings
  • 1 blue stripe bed ticking pocket
  • Brown ribbed knee stockings, darned at the feet with white cotton

Possessions

  • 2 small blue bags made of bed ticking
  • 2 short black clay pipes
  • 1 tin box containing tea
  • 1 tin box containing sugar
  • 1 tin matchbox, empty
  • 12 pieces white rag, some slightly bloodstained
  • 1 piece coarse linen, white
  • 1 piece of blue and white shirting, 3 cornered
  • 1 piece red flannel with pins and needles
  • 6 pieces soap
  • 1 small tooth comb
  • 1 white handle table knife
  • 1 metal teaspoon
  • 1 red leather cigarette case with white metal fittings
  • 1 ball hemp
  • 1 piece of old white apron with repair
  • Several buttons and a thimble
  • Mustard tin containing two pawn tickets, One in the name of Emily Birrell, 52 White's Row, dated August 31, 9d for a man's flannel shirt. The other is in the name of Jane Kelly of 6 Dorset Street and dated September 28, 2S for a pair of men's boots. Both addresses are false.
  • Printed handbill and according to a press report- a printed card for 'Frank Carter,305,Bethnal Green Road
  • Portion of a pair of spectacles
  • 1 red mitten

History:

Her father was George Eddowes, a tin plate worker working or apprenticed at the Old Hall Works in Wolverhampton. Her mother is Catherine (nee Evans). She has two sisters, Elizabeth Fisher and Eliza Gold (their married names). She also has an uncle named William Eddowes.

One contemporary newspaper report gives her history as follows:

"Her father and his brother William left their jobs as tinplate workers in Wolverhampton during the tinmen's strike, about 1848. They and their families walked to London. In London they eventually found employment. George and his family stayed, while William took his family back to Wolverhampton and resumed work at Old Hall Works. In the early 1860s Catherine returned to Wolverhampton to visit her family. Her relatives recalled the visit and described her "as very good looking and jolly sort of girl."

Catherine is educated at St. John's Charity School, Potter's Field, Tooley Street until her mother dies in 1855, when most of her siblings entered Bermondsey Workhouse and Industrial School.

Her education continues when she returns to the care of her aunt in Bison Street, Wolverhampton. She attends Dowgate Charity School. By 1861-1863 she leaves home with Thomas Conway.

The Wolverhampton paper summarizes her history somewhat differently:

George Eddowes completes his apprenticeship at Old Hall Works and marries Catherine Evans, a cook at the local hostelry. The two go to London in search of their fortunes. While there, George fathers 12 children. His wife, Catherine, dies in 1851 and George a few months later. Catherine is returned to Wolverhampton into the care of an aunt who lived in Bison Street. This may be the aunt who, according to an article in the January 1995 Black Country Bugle, made a gift of a miniature portrait to Catherine which became the basis for the portrait which appears in the Penny Illustrated Paper at the time of her death.

At the age of 21, Catherine is still living with her aunt but becomes involved with Thomas Conway, a pensioner from the 18th Royal Irish (though he was not old). Conway enlisted and drew his pension under the name Thomas Quinn. The couple went to Birmingham and other towns making a living selling cheap books of lives written by the pensioner. Again, according to the article in the January 1995 Black Country Bugle, they also specialized in the production of gallows ballads. On one occasion she hawked such a ballad at the execution of her cousin, Christopher Robinson, hanged at Strafford in January 1866.

In the course of their travels they returned to Wolverhampton where Catherine gave birth to a child. They return to London but Kate tries to return to her aunt's house after "running away from the pensioner." Her aunt refused her admittance and Kate took refuge in a lodging house on Bison Street.

There is no evidence to suggest that she and Conway were ever married. As a couple they had three children. Annie, born 1865 (later Annie Phillips), George, born around 1868 and another son born around 1873.


Conway and Eddowes split in 1881 with Kate taking Annie and Conway the boy.

In 1881 Catherine moved to Cooney's Lodging House, 55 Flower and Dean Street and met John Kelly. Kelly jobbed around the markets but had been more or less regularly employed by a fruit salesman named Lander. Somewhere in this period Catherine's daughter Annie marries Louis Phillips and begins to move around Bermondsey and Southwark to avoid her mother's scrounging.

Frederick Wilkinson, deputy at Cooney's, says Catherine "was not often in drink and was a very jolly woman, often singing." She was generally in the lodging house for the night between 9 and 10 PM. He says she wasn't in the habit of walking the streets and he had never heard of or seen her being intimate with anyone other than Kelly. Kelly himself claimed no knowledge of her ever walking the streets. He says that she sometimes drank to excess but wasn't in the habit. Another sister, Eliza Gold, said that Catherine was of sober habits.

Every year, during the season, Kelly and Eddowes went hop picking. In 1888 they went to Hunton near Maidstone in Kent. "We didn't get along too well and started to hoof it home," Kelly says, "We came along in company with another man and woman who had worked in the same fields, but who parted from us to go to Cheltenham when we turned off towards London. The woman, more than likely Emily Birrell, said to Kate, 'I've got a pawn ticket for a flannel shirt. I wish you'd take it since you're going up to town. It is only for 2d, and it may fit your old man.' Kate took it and we trudged along... We did not have money enough to keep us going till we got to town, but we did get there, and came straight to this house (55 Flower and Dean Street). Luck was dead against us... we were both done up for cash."

They reached London on Friday, September 28. John managed to earn 6d. Kate took 2d and told Kelly to take the 4d and get a bed at Cooney's. She said she would get a bed at the casual ward in Shoe Lane.

The superintendent of the casual ward said that Kate was well known there, but that this was the first time she had been there for a long time. Eddowes explained that she had been hopping in the country but "I have come back to earn the reward offered for the apprehension of the Whitechapel murderer. I think I know him." The superintendent warned her to be careful he didn't murder her. "Oh, no fear of that." she replied. (There is no corroborative evidence for this story and it should be treated with a great deal of scepticism.)

Saturday and Sunday, September 29-30:

At 8:00 AM on September 29 she returns to Cooney's Lodging House and sees Kelly. She has been turned out of the Casual Ward for some unspecified trouble. Kelly decided to pawn a pair of boots he had. He does this with a pawnbroker named Jones in Church Street. It was Kate who took them into the shop and pledged them under the name of Jane Kelly. She receives 2/6 for the boots and she and Kelly take the money and buy some food, tea and sugar. Between 10 and 11 AM they were seen by Frederick Wilkinson eating breakfast in the lodging house kitchen.

By afternoon they were again without money. Eddowes says she is going to see if she can get some money from her daughter in Bermondsey. She parts with Kelly in Houndsditch at 2:00 PM, promising to be back no later than 4:00 PM. "I never knew if she went to her daughter's at all," Kelly says at the inquest. "I only wish she had, for we had lived together for some time and never had a quarrel." Kate could not have seen her daughter who had moved since the last time Kate saw her.

8:00 PM: City PC Louis Robinson comes across Eddowes surrounded by a crowd outside 29 Aldgate High Street. She is very drunk and laying in a heap on the pavement. Robinson asks those in the crowd if anyone knew her, no one replied. He pulled her up to her feet and leaned her against the building's shutters but she slipped sideways. With the aid of City PC 959 George Simmons they brought her to Bishopsgate Police Station.Louis Robinson City Police Constable 931 said at Kate's inquest 'On the 29th at 8.30 I was on duty in Aldgate Hight Street, I saw a crowd of persons outside No. 29 - I saw there a woman whom I have since recognised as the Deceased lying on the footway drunk. I asked if there was one that knew her or knew where she lived but I got no answer.'

8:45 PM: Bishopsgate Police Station Sergeant James Byfield notes Eddowes arrival at the station. Supported by PCs Robinson and Simmons, Eddowes was asked her name and she replied "Nothing." At 8:50 PM PC Robinson looked in on her in her cell. She was asleep and smelled of drink. At 9:45 PM The Gaoler, City PC 968 George Hutt, took charge of the prisoners. He visited the cell every half hour during the night upon the directive of Sergeant Byfield.

9:45 PM: City PCs on night beat leave Bishopsgate Station. They are marched behind their Beat Sergeants from Bishopsgate Station to their respective beats. In amongst these men were City PCs Edward Watkins and James Harvey.

Approx 10:00 PM: City PC 881 Edward Watkins commenced his first full round of his beat. This consisted of Duke Street through Heneage Lane, through a portion of Bury Street, then through Creechurch Lane, into Leadenhall Street, along Leadenhall Street into Mitre Street, then into Mitre Square, around the square, back into Mitre Street, then into King Street, along King Street, into St James Place, around St James Place, thence into Duke Street to continue another patrol.

Approx 10:00 PM: City PC 964 James Harvey commenced his beat. From Bevis Marks he moved to Duke Street, into Little Duke Street, to Houndsditch, from Houndsditch back to Duke Street, along Duke Street to Church Passage, back again into Duke Street, to Aldgate, from there to Mitre Street, back again to Houndsditch, up Houndsditch, to Little Duke Street, again back to Houndsditch, to Goring Street, up Goring Street and back to Bevis Marks.

12:15 AM: Kate is heard singing softly to herself in the cell. 12:30 AM: She calls out to ask when she will be released. "When you are capable of taking care of yourself." Hutt replies. "I can do that now." Kate informs him.

12:55 AM: Sergeant Byfield instructs PC Hutt to see if any prisoners were fit to be released. Kate was found to be sober. She gives her name as Mary Ann Kelly, and her address as 6 Fashion Street. Kate is released.

She leaves the station at 1:00 AM.
"What time is it?" she asks Hutt.
"Too late for you to get anything to drink." he replies.
"I shall get a damn fine hiding when I get home." She tells him.
Hutt replies, " And serve you right, you had no right to get drunk."
Hutt pushes open the swinging door of that station.
"This way missus," he says, "please pull it to."
"All right'" Kate replies, "Goodnight, old cock."

She turned left out the doorway which took her in the opposite direction of what would have been the fastest way back to Flower and Dean Street. She appears to be heading back toward Aldgate High Street where she had become drunk. On going down Houndsditch she would have passed the entrance to Duke Street, at the end of which was Church Passage which led into Mitre Square.

It is estimated that it would have taken less than ten minutes to reach Mitre Square. This leaves a thirty minute gap from the time she leaves the police station to the time she is seen outside of Mitre Square.

1:35 AM: Joseph Lawende, a commercial traveler in the cigarette trade, Joseph Hyam Levy, a butcher and Harry Harris, a furniture dealer leave the Imperial Club at 16-17 Duke Street. At the corner of Duke Street and Church Passage they see Eddowes and a man talking. She is standing facing the man with her hand on his chest, but not in a manner to suggest that she is resisting him. Lawende describes the man as 30 years old, 5 foot 7 inches tall, fair complexion and mustache with a medium build. He is wearing a pepper and salt colored jacket which fits loosely, a grey cloth cap with a peak of the same color. He has a reddish handkerchief knotted around his neck. Over all he gives the appearance of being a sailor. Lawende will later identify Catherine Eddowes clothes as the same as those worn by the woman he saw that night.

Approx 1:45 PM: PC Edward Watkins discovers Eddowes' body in Mitre Square.

Post-mortem

Catherine Eddowes' body in the mortuary.
Catherine Eddowes' body in the mortuary after post-mortem stitching.

Dr. Frederick Gordon Brown, London police surgeon called in at the murder, arrived at Mitre Square around 2:00 AM. His report is as follows.

"The body was on its back, the head turned to left shoulder. The arms by the side of the body as if they had fallen there. Both palms upwards, the fingers slightly bent. The left leg extended in a line with the body. The abdomen was exposed. Right leg bent at the thigh and knee. The throat cut across.

The intestines were drawn out to a large extent and placed over the right shoulder -- they were smeared over with some feculent matter. A piece of about two feet was quite detached from the body and placed between the body and the left arm, apparently by design. The lobe and auricle of the right ear were cut obliquely through.

There was a quantity of clotted blood on the pavement on the left side of the neck round the shoulder and upper part of arm, and fluid blood-coloured serum which had flowed under the neck to the right shoulder, the pavement sloping in that direction.

Body was quite warm. No death stiffening had taken place. She must have been dead most likely within the half hour. We looked for superficial bruises and saw none. No blood on the skin of the abdomen or secretion of any kind on the thighs. No spurting of blood on the bricks or pavement around. No marks of blood below the middle of the body. Several buttons were found in the clotted blood after the body was removed. There was no blood on the front of the clothes. There were no traces of recent connexion.

When the body arrived at Golden Lane, some of the blood was dispersed through the removal of the body to the mortuary. The clothes were taken off carefully from the body. A piece of deceased's ear dropped from the clothing.

I made a post mortem examination at half past two on Sunday afternoon. Rigor mortis was well marked; body not quite cold. Green discoloration over the abdomen.

After washing the left hand carefully, a bruise the size of a sixpence, recent and red, was discovered on the back of the left hand between the thumb and first finger. A few small bruises on right shin of older date. The hands and arms were bronzed. No bruises on the scalp, the back of the body, or the elbows.

The face was very much mutilated. There was a cut about a quarter of an inch through the lower left eyelid, dividing the structures completely through. The upper eyelid on that side, there was a scratch through the skin on the left upper eyelid, near to the angle of the nose. The right eyelid was cut through to about half an inch.

There was a deep cut over the bridge of the nose, extending from the left border of the nasal bone down near the angle of the jaw on the right side of the cheek. This cut went into the bone and divided all the structures of the cheek except the mucous membrane of the mouth.

The tip of the nose was quite detached by an oblique cut from the bottom of the nasal bone to where the wings of the nose join on to the face. A cut from this divided the upper lip and extended through the substance of the gum over the right upper lateral incisor tooth.

About half an inch from the top of the nose was another oblique cut. There was a cut on the right angle of the mouth as if the cut of a point of a knife. The cut extended an inch and a half, parallel with the lower lip.

There was on each side of cheek a cut which peeled up the skin, forming a triangular flap about an inch and a half. On the left cheek there were two abrasions of the epithelium under the left ear.

The throat was cut across to the extent of about six or seven inches. A superficial cut commenced about an inch and a half below the lobe below, and about two and a half inches behind the left ear, and extended across the throat to about three inches below the lobe of the right ear.

The big muscle across the throat was divided through on the left side. The large vessels on the left side of the neck were severed. The larynx was severed below the vocal chord. All the deep structures were severed to the bone, the knife marking intervertebral cartilages. The sheath of the vessels on the right side was just opened.

The carotid artery had a fine hole opening, the internal jugular vein was opened about an inch and a half -- not divided. The blood vessels contained clot. All these injuries were performed by a sharp instrument like a knife, and pointed.

The cause of death was haemorrhage from the left common carotid artery. The death was immediate and the mutilations were inflicted after death.

We examined the abdomen. The front walls were laid open from the breast bones to the pubes. The cut commenced opposite the enciform cartilage. The incision went upwards, not penetrating the skin that was over the sternum. It then divided the enciform cartilage. The knife must have cut obliquely at the expense of that cartilage.

Behind this, the liver was stabbed as if by the point of a sharp instrument. Below this was another incision into the liver of about two and a half inches, and below this the left lobe of the liver was slit through by a vertical cut. Two cuts were shewn by a jagging of the skin on the left side.

The abdominal walls were divided in the middle line to within a quarter of an inch of the navel. The cut then took a horizontal course for two inches and a half towards the right side. It then divided round the navel on the left side, and made a parallel incision to the former horizontal incision, leaving the navel on a tongue of skin. Attached to the navel was two and a half inches of the lower part of the rectus muscle on the left side of the abdomen. The incision then took an oblique direction to the right and was shelving. The incision went down the right side of the vagina and rectum for half an inch behind the rectum.

There was a stab of about an inch on the left groin. This was done by a pointed instrument. Below this was a cut of three inches going through all tissues making a wound of the peritoneum about the same extent.

An inch below the crease of the thigh was a cut extending from the anterior spine of the ilium obliquely down the inner side of the left thigh and separating the left labium, forming a flap of skin up to the groin. The left rectus muscle was not detached.

There was a flap of skin formed by the right thigh, attaching the right labium, and extending up to the spine of the ilium. The muscles on the right side inserted into the frontal ligaments were cut through.

The skin was retracted through the whole of the cut through the abdomen, but the vessels were not clotted. Nor had there been any appreciable bleeding from the vessels. I draw the conclusion that the act was made after death, and there would not have been much blood on the murderer. The cut was made by someone on the right side of the body, kneeling below the middle of the body.

I removed the content of the stomach and placed it in a jar for further examination. There seemed very little in it in the way of food or fluid, but from the cut end partly digested farinaceous food escaped.

The intestines had been detached to a large extent from the mesentery. About two feet of the colon was cut away. The sigmoid flexure was invaginated into the rectum very tightly.

Right kidney was pale, bloodless with slight congestion of the base of the pyramids.

There was a cut from the upper part of the slit on the under surface of the liver to the left side, and another cut at right angles to this, which were about an inch and a half deep and two and a half inches long. Liver itself was healthy.

The gall bladder contained bile. The pancreas was cut, but not through, on the left side of the spinal column. Three and a half inches of the lower border of the spleen by half an inch was attached only to the peritoneum.

The peritoneal lining was cut through on the left side and the left kidney carefully taken out and removed. The left renal artery was cut through. I would say that someone who knew the position of the kidney must have done it.

The lining membrane over the uterus was cut through. The womb was cut through horizontally, leaving a stump of three quarters of an inch. The rest of the womb had been taken away with some of the ligaments. The vagina and cervix of the womb was uninjured.

The bladder was healthy and uninjured, and contained three or four ounces of water. There was a tongue-like cut through the anterior wall of the abdominal aorta. The other organs were healthy. There were no indications of connexion.

I believe the wound in the throat was first inflicted. I believe she must have been lying on the ground.

The wounds on the face and abdomen prove that they were inflicted by a sharp, pointed knife, and that in the abdomen by one six inches or longer.

I believe the perpetrator of the act must have had considerable knowledge of the position of the organs in the abdominal cavity and the way of removing them. It required a great deal of medical knowledge to have removed the kidney and to know where it was placed. The parts removed would be of no use for any professional purpose.

I think the perpetrator of this act had sufficient time, or he would not have nicked the lower eyelids. It would take at least five minutes.

I cannot assign any reason for the parts being taken away. I feel sure that there was no struggle, and believe it was the act of one person.

The throat had been so instantly severed that no noise could have been emitted. I should not expect much blood to have been found on the person who had inflicted these wounds. The wounds could not have been self-inflicted.

My attention was called to the apron, particularly the corner of the apron with a string attached. The blood spots were of recent origin. I have seen the portion of an apron produced by Dr. Phillips and stated to have been found in Goulston Street. It is impossible to say that it is human blood on the apron. I fitted the piece of apron, which had a new piece of material on it (which had evidently been sewn on to the piece I have), the seams of the borders of the two actually corresponding. Some blood and apparently faecal matter was found on the portion that was found in Goulston Street.

Catherine Eddowes' grave.

Funeral

Catherine Eddowes was buried on Monday, 8 October, 1888

Kate was buried in an unmarked grave in an elm coffin in City of London Cemetery, (Little Ilford) at Manor Park Cemetery, Sebert Road, Forest Gate, London, E12, in (public) grave 49336, square 318.

The Times said:

The body of the Mitre-square victim - Catherine Eddowes, alias Conway, alias Kelly - still lies in the City Mortuary, Golden-lane. At half-past one o'clock to-day [8 Oct] it will be removed for burial in the Ilford Cemetery.

The funeral of the victim of the Mitre-square tragedy took place yesterday afternoon. In the vicinity of the City mortuary in Golden-lane quite a multitude of persons assembled to witness the departure of the cort├Ęge for the Ilford cemetery. Not only was the thoroughfare itself thronged with people, but the windows and roofs of adjoining buildings were occupied by groups of spectators. The procession left the mortuary shortly after half-past one o'clock. It consisted of a hearse of improved description, a mourning coach, containing relatives and friends of the deceased, and a brougham conveying representatives of the press. The coffin was of polished elm, with oak mouldings, and bore a plate with the inscription, in gold letters, "Catherine Eddowes, died Sept. 30, 1888, aged 43 years." One of the sisters of the deceased laid a beautiful wreath on the coffin as it was placed in the hearse, and at the graveside a wreath of marguerites was added by a sympathetic kinswoman. The mourners were the four sisters of the murdered woman, Harriet Jones, Emma Eddowes, Eliza Gold, and Elizabeth Fisher, her two nieces Emma and Harriet Jones, and John Kelly, the man with whom she had lived. As the funeral procession passed through Golden-lane and Old-street the thousands of persons who followed it nearly into Whitechapel rendered locomotion extremely difficult. Order was, however, admirably maintained by a body of police under Superintendent Foster and Inspector Woollett of the City force, and beyond the boundaries of the City by a further contingent under Superintendent Hunt and Inspector Burnham of the G Division. The route taken after leaving Old-street was by way of Great Eastern-street, Commercial-street, Whitechapel-road, Mile-end-road, through Stratford to the City cemetery at Ilford. A large crowd had collected opposite the parish church of St. Mary.s, Whitechapel, to see the procession pass, and at the cemetery it was awaited by several hundreds, most of whom had apparently made their way thither from the East-end. Men and women of all ages, many of the latter carrying infants in their arms, gathered round the grave. The remains were interred in the Church of England portion of the cemetery, the service being conducted by the chaplain, the Rev. Mr. Dunscombe. Mr. G. C. Hawkes, a vestryman of St. Luke.s, undertook the responsibility of carrying out the funeral at his own expense, and the City authorities, to whom the burial ground belongs, remitted the usual fees. (The Daily Telegraph, October 8 1888, page 3, October 9 1888, page 3)

Today, square 318 has been re-used for part of the Memorial Gardens for cremated remains. Kate lies beside the Garden Way in front of Memorial Bed 1849. In late 1996, the cemetery authorities decided to mark Kate's grave with a plaque.

Death Certificate

Death Certificate: No. 258, registered 13 October, 1888 (DA 818098). Certificate lists name as "Catherine Eddowes," otherwise "Conway," otherwise "Kelly."

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