Charles Ptolomey

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Born Charles Ardagh Ptolemy in 1851 in Dublin, Ireland. Married to Annie Catherine Jones (b.1865) with three children, Clara (1887), Charles Edgar (1889) and George Philip (1891)[1]. Formerly an attendant at the North Riding of Yorkshire Pauper Lunatic Asylum[2], by 1888 he was Night Attendant at the Poplar Union.

Ptolomey saw Rose Mylett speaking with two sailors in Poplar High Street, near Clarke's Yard at about 7.55pm, 19th December 1888.

It appears that Charles Ptolomey, an attendant at the Poplar Union, was proceeding to the workhouse last Wednesday night week when he saw two sailors having an altercation with the deceased woman, who was heard strenuously to decline their overtures to accompany them. They were then at the corner of England-row, within sight of Clarke's-yard. Ptomoley has given the police authorities a full description of the men's appearance, and says that, though in other respects they were dressed as seamen, one had a fur cap, drawn partly over his face, while the other wore a round black hat.[3]

He was later interviewed by the Evening News about his sighting:

Last night some detectives from Scotland Yard came to see me about this mysterious affair. They asked me if I could identify the sailors? I told them I could pick the men out of a thousand. How I came to notice them was in this way: It was about five minutes to eight o'clock on Wednesday night, when I was going to my work. Upon going up England row (nearly opposite Clarke's yard) I noticed two sailors. The shorter one was speaking to the deceased, and the tall one was walking up and down. So strange did it seem that I stopped and 'took account' of them. Then I heard the woman say several times "No! no! no!" and the short sailor spoke in a low tone. The tall one was about 5ft 11in. He looked like a Yankee. The shorter one was about 5ft 7in. It struck me that they were there for no purpose, and that was the reason I took so much notice of their movements. I shall always remember their faces, and could, as I say, pick them out of a thousand. I have been to the mortuary, and seen the deceased. She is the same woman, and she was sober when I saw her with the sailors.[4]

Statements made by Alice Graves appear to back up Ptolomey's claims.


  1. Census report 1901
  2. Census report 1881
  3. Daily Chronicle, 28th December 1888
  4. Evening News, 29th December 1888