Mary Simonds

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Witness at Annie Chapman's inquest.

Born Mary Elizabeth Simonds c.1862 in Boston, Lincolnshire[1]. Nurse attached to the Whitechapel Workhouse Infirmary.

Along with head nurse Frances Wright, she stripped and washed the body of Annie Chapman at the mortuary in Old Montague Street. According to the inquest report:

Mary Elizabeth Simonds said: I am a nurse at the Whitechapel Union Infirmary. On September 8 I was requested to attend the mortuary with the senior nurse, whose name I think is Francis Wright. I first saw the body on the ambulance in the yard. It was afterwards taken to the shed and placed on a table.

Were you directed to undress it?-Yes; by the Inspector, I think. (Inspector Chandler was identified as the officer who gave the instruction.) I took the clothes off. I left the handkerchief round the neck.

Did you wash the body at all?-Yes, we washed the stains of blood from the body. There were stains over the lower part of the body and the legs. There was blood about the chest which seemed to have run down from the throat. I found the pocket tied round the deceased's waist.

Inspector Chandler stated that he did not instruct the witness to wash the body, which was done at the direction of the clerk of the Board of Guardians.[2]

In 1891, Simonds was listed as a parochial nurse based at the Sisters of Mercy-run Sick School in Rose Street, Covent Carden. Never marrying, she later transferred to Newcastle where she was described as 'living on coupons'[3].


  1. Census report 1891
  2. Inquest report, Evening News, 14th September 1888
  3. Census report 1901