THE WHITE HART PUB.
A JACK THE RIPPER SUSPECT.
The White Hart Pub is a rare survivor from 1888. Its front faces on to Whitechapel High Street, whilst its side door is tucked away down Gunthorpe Street, which in 1888 was known as George yard.
Turning the corner you pass beneath a sinister little arch and straight away you find yourself transported back in time.
A narrow cobble stone thoroughfare stretches before you and on the left, just after the arch, there is a board on the wall of the pub that poses the question "Who Was Jack the Ripper?"
The board goes on to inform you that one of the major Jack the Ripper suspects worked in the basement of this pub.
His name was Severin Klosowski and in 1890 he worked as a barber in a shop in the basement of this pub.
In 1891 Klosowski emigrated to America with his wife Lucy Baderski. There he established himself as a barber in Jersey City.
But, following a violent argument, a now pregnant Lucy returned to England where, on 15th May 1892, she gave birth to a baby girl. A few weeks later Klosowski also returned to London and the couple were briefly re-united.
But in 1893, he found another woman, coincidentally named Annie Chapman (the name of Jack the Ripper's second victim although the two women were not related), and they lived together until she left him in 1894.
Klosowski, however, acquired a lasting keepsake from the relationship, for he adopted her name, and from then on was known as George Chapman.
In 1903 George Chapman was found guilty of the murder of three of his wives for which crimes he was hanged on 3rd April 1903.
Following his conviction there were suggestions in the press that he might also have been responsible for the Whitechapel Murders.
So a journalist from the Pall Mall Gazette went to interview the by then retired, Inspector Frederick George Abberline, the man who had led the on the ground investigation into the Jack the Ripper crimes in 1888.
Abberline told the journalist that "there are a score of things which make one believe that Chapman is the man…” These included the fact that he studied surgery, and the Whitechapel murders had, according to Abberline, “ been the work of an expert surgeon.”
Abberline was also struck by the facts that Chapman's arrival in England coincided with the beginning of the murders. That on arrival he lodged in George Yard, where the first murder was committed; and that the murders ceased in London when Chapman went to America, “while similar murders began to be perpetrated in America after he landed there."
Unfortunately, Abberline was wrong in a lot of what he said about Chapman. Although Chapman had studied surgery, there is considerable debate over whether or not the Ripper demonstrated surgical knowledge, and the murders cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be described as the work of an “expert surgeon.”
Although Chapman did arrive in London around the time that the murders began, so too did thousands of other immigrants. Chapman didn’t begin working in the White Hart pub in George yard until 1890, around two years after the first murder.
Although the murders did cease once Chapman had left for America, this could easily have been coincidence. However, no similar series of murders coincided with his arrival there.
The major objection against Chapman has to be that a killer who could brutally eviscerate his victims with the frenzied violence shown by Jack the Ripper, is highly unlikely to have turned to wife poisoning as a means of venting his homicidal fury. Despite Abberline’s contention that a “…man who could watch his wives being slowly tortured to death by poison, as he did, was capable of anything…” it seems unlikely that Chapman was Jack the Ripper.