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The Lodger(s) Discussion of the various "Lodgers" mentioned throughout the study of the Whitechapel Murders.

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Old June 28th, 2010, 12:23 PM   #1
Mike Covell
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Default Sickert's Lodger theory

From the Argus, a Melbourne based newspaper, January 8th 1946,

Jack the Ripper Said to Have Been Delicate Veterinary Student
Walter Richard Sickert, British artist, who died in 1942, confided to friends his belief that as a young man he had occupied a room in which Jack the Ripper had lodged. He wrote Ripper's true name on the margin of a book.
Sir Osbert Sitwell describes his search for this book in a forthcoming volume of his autobiography, a long extract from which appears in Orion, a miscellany published by Nicholson and Watson.
Jack the Ripper provided Britain's classic unsolved murder series. From - Christmas, 1837, until July, 1889, he
slew and dismembered eight people in the East End of London. Some of the victims were cut up with a skill that suggested that the murderer knew something of surgery.
Sickert took a room in a London suburb some years after the murders.
Sir Osbert Sitwell's account says an old couple looked after the house, and when Sickert had been there some months the woman asked him one day as she was dusting the room if he was aware who had occupied it before him. When he said "No," she had waited a moment and then replied, "Jack the Ripper."
, Her story was that his predecessor had been a veterinary student. After he had been in London a month, or two this delicate looking young man -he was a consumptive-took occasionally to staying out all night. His landlord and landlady would hear him come in at about 6 in the morning, walk about in his room for an hour or two until the first edition of the morning paper was being sold, when he would creep lightly down- stairs and run to buy one.
Quietly he would return and go to bed, but an hour later when the old man called him he would notice by traces in the fireplace that his lodger had burnt the suit he had been wearing the previous evening.
The old couple did not know what to make of it. Week by week the lodger's health grew worse, and it seemed improbable that this gentle, ailing, silent youth should be responsible for such crimes. They could hardly credit their own senses, and then before they could make up their minds whether to warn the police or not, the lodger's health suddenly failed alarmingly, and his mother-a widow who was devoted to him-had come to take him back to Bournemouth, where she lived. From that moment the murders stopped. He' died three months later.
Sir Osbert Sitwell continues: "Before leaving this subject I may add that in talking of this matter to my brother, he reminded me that Sickert told us that when his landlady confided in him that morning the name of Jack the Ripper he scribbled it down in pencil on the margin of a French edition of Casanova's Memoirs, and that subsequently he gave the volume away-we thought he said to Sir William Rothenstein.
"Sickert added: 'And there it will be now if you want to know the name.'
"Accordingly I wrote to Lady Rothenstein, but neither she nor Sir William remembered the book.
"On my consulting Mrs Sickert, she maintained that her husband had told her he had given the book to Sir William's brother, Mr Albert Rutherston. And this proved to be the case. My friend Mr Rutherston informed me that he had only recently lost the book in the bombing of London, and that there had been several pencil notes in the margin in Sickert's handwriting which were difficult to decipher."
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Old June 28th, 2010, 08:51 PM   #2
Paul Kearney A.K.A. NEMO
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It appears at first glance that Sickert's lodger story is given credence by the later comments of Sitwell

But it still amounts to hearsay really, though the notes in the margin of the book sound interesting

That the notes were read but were indecipherable may indicate that no-one of prominence was named

I've read that Sickert had a photographic memory but it failed him while recalling the name of the vetinary student

Why so many lodger stories with hindsight? Why did these landlords and landladies not voice their suspicions at the time? Sims' informant waited 20 years!

PS That article has 1837 in error I think
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