1.45 am, September 8, 1888: Annie Chapman turned away from lodging with no money
- Credit: Andre Deutsch
Annie Chapman has no money for lodging the night she dies, on September 8, 1888.
She turns up at 1.45am in the morning, but is barred from entering as she doesn’t have the night’s rent for a bed and goes on the street to earn a few pennies, according to lodging house deputy Tim Donovan and watchman John Evans.
She is seen talking to a man at about 5.30am in the back yard of 29 Hanbury-street, just off Commercial-street. Moments later she is dead.
Annie was born Eliza Ann Smith, the daughter of George Smith of the Life Guards 2nd Regiment and Ruth Chapman on February 22, 1842, in Paddington. Her parents marry six months after her birth.
She later becomes a domestic servant, then marries a coachman, John, on May 1, 1869, at All Saints Church in Knightsbridge. They have three children, two girls and a boy, between 1870 and 1880. The boy is born disabled.
The family moves to Windsor in 1881 where John gets a job as coachman to a farm bailiff. Their firstborn, Emily Ruth, dies of meningitis in 1882 at the age of 12.
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The couple take to heavy drinking and eventually separate in 1884. Their disabled son John is taken in to care by a charity school, while their second daughter Annie Georgina travels with a circus in France.
Chapman’s financial circumstances get worse and she ends up in Whitechapel where, in 1886, she is living with a metal sieve maker. She had been getting a weekly allowance of 10 shillings (50p) from her ex-husband, but that stops abruptly at the end of 1886 when he dies of alcoholism. The man she’s living with quits, probably because her income has stopped.
Annie becomes further depressed. By 1888 she is boarding in Crossingham’s lodging house in Spitalfields at 35 Dorset-street, opposite the Ten Bells pub in Commercial-street that she frequents, occasionally in the company of bricklayer’s labourer Edward Stanley. She earns money from crochet work, making antimacassars and selling flowers, supplemented by casual prostitution.
Annie was known to be “civil and industrious when sober,” but often the worse for drink.
She is in a fight with another woman in the same lodging house, Eliza Cooper, the week before her murder, both thought to be rivals for the affections of a hawker called Harry.
Chapman was played by Barbara Windsor in ‘A Study in Terror’ and by Katrin Cartlidge in ‘From Hell’. She also appeared in the murder mystery game ‘Sherlock Holmes v Jack the Ripper’.