Harriet Hardiman

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Witness at Annie Chapman's inquest.

Also known as Annie Hardyman[1].

Born Harriet Sarah Stockton in Dorset Street, Spitalfields, 1838. She was christened in Christ Church on 29th November 1838. Married Edward Hardiman at St Mary Spital Square on 6th May 1857 and they had seven children; Harriet (b.1862), Edward (b.1864), Samuel (b.1867), John (b.1869), Walter (b.1872), Sarah and James (d.1891)[2].

Had previously lived in Mile End New Town and by 1881 the family were living at 27 Hanbury Street[3], Harriet's occupation being listed as 'slipper and boot binder'. She was also a widow by this time, her husband having died in 1880[4]. By 1888, she had moved to 29 Hanbury Street.

Mrs Hardiman occupied the ground-floor front room of No. 29 from where she ran her cat's meat shop (she is described as a 'purveyer of horse flesh') and she lived there with her sixteen year-old son. On the evening of 7th September 1888 she went to bed at 10.30pm and did not wake until 6.00am the following morning when she heard footsteps in the passage. She told her son to investigate and he returned, stating that a woman had been killed in the yard. She did not go out to look.

Mrs Hardiman heard nothing during the night, but had often heard people going through the passage, although she never went to see who they were. She did not know the deceased and to her knowledge had never seen her before.[5]

She was involved in a curious affair a few weeks later which was reported in The Echo:

Inspector Helson, Inspector Abberline, and Inspector Chandler are now busy making inquiries regarding a letter received this morning by Mrs. Harderman, proprietor of the cat's-meat business carried on at 29, Hanbury-street. The police themselves naturally decline to give any information whatever respecting this document, which is regarded as of some importance, especially as certain men are alluded to, and the writer, who resides in Mile-end, desires his name to be kept a secret. The letter has more special reference to the crime in Buck's-row, for the writer positively asserts: "The poor woman was made tipsy, then murdered, and carried to the spot where she was found." Our reporter called upon Mrs. Harderman, who assured him that she had received the letter in question. The source from which it came she could not at present state.[6]

Mrs Hardiman was still living at No.29 in 1891, but by 1901 she had moved to Cheshire Street, Bethnal Green[7]. She died in 1910 in Hackney.[8]


  1. The Times, 11th September 1888
  2. Ancestry Members Family Tree (now defunct)
  3. Census reports 1881
  4. BMD records, Whitechapel 1880, vol. 1c, p,244
  5. Inquest report, The Times, 11th September 1888
  6. The Echo, 20th September 1888
  7. Census reports 1901
  8. BMD records, Hackney 1910, vol. 1b, p.263