The Informal Postal Service at number 21, Cleveland Street,1888.
In late nineteenth century London, lovers and back street rebels, and Irish Fenian confederates alike avoided sending love letters or other types of secret or unlawful correspondence via the Official Post Office, which was constantly subject to surveillance by Special Branch detectives and officials. Instead of entrusting a letter to an official Post Office worker or telegraph boy, they preferred to arrange for it to be handled by a private courier who worked for an 'unofficial post office’. These unofficial post offices were arranged discreetly inside a privately owned commerce such as a tobacconists, or curiosity shop. (usually a tobacconists.)
There'd be a little letter cabinet just in front of the shop counter; sometimes hidden discreetly behind. Victorian gentlefolk would entrust a letter destined for a lover to a courier, who'd leave it at the shop counter. A trusted shop assistant would file it carefully away under its intended recipient’s name where it would remain until he or she walked in under the pretext of purchasing e.g. some tobacco, and discreetly collect it.
These arrangements could be flexible. Precise arrangements tended to depend upon exactly how secret the correspondence arrangement had to be. People went to great lengths to avoid being discovered. Sometimes middlemen 'couriers' were used between a courier and an informal little post office; at times, couriers would collect letters as well as deliver them.
In the 1880's, gentlemen frequenting Fitzrovia, in the West End of London, relied on an informal 'Post Office' arrangement inside a little tobacconist's at no. 21 Cleveland Street to handle their communications. This is the Special Branch secret relating to Cleveland Street at the heart of the Jack the Ripper murder story.
A reliable shop girl, Annie Crook, who worked behind the counter, took letters from local couriers and filed them in a little cabinet, where they remained until their intended recipients ( or their recipient's couriers) came in to collect them. Prince Albert (Victor Christian) Edward, known locally as Eddy, used the service to send letters to 'Mary Kelly', his lover and friend of several years.
The 'unofficial post office' inside the little tobacconist’s at number 21, Cleveland Street, West London, was one of the most popular. Its regulars, among them Prince Eddy and the B troop tenth Hussars, called it 'Kelly's Library'. These men would frequent the notorious brothel at no. 19 Cleveland Street. As did 'Eddie', Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward.
Using the Personal Columns in the 'Standard' Newspaper.
Corresponding lovers using informal and secret Post Office arrangements almost always had a familiar, code name for the one they used. The one at the little tobacconists at Cleveland Street was called 'Kelly's Library'. There were familiar names for secret post offices all over the city.
Regulars used newspaper personals at the back of the daily papers, the Standard in particular, to alert one another to letters waiting for them at e.g. 'Kelly's Library' , (their codename for the 'Informal Post Office.') After entrusting a letter to their courier, they'd head down to the offices of a local newspaper such as the 'Standard', have a quiet word with a reliable newspaper office assistant and ask him/her to put a discreet notice in the newspaper's back-page personal columns, such as ' A letter awaits you, Kelly's Library.' To identify themselves to their lover, they'd make sure the message destined for the personal columns referred to an aspect of their 'affair'.
Those taking great care to be as discreet as possible, e.g the Cleveland Street aristocrats, would often oblige their couriers/messengers to get down to the newspaper offices and place a message in the personal columns on their behalf, stating that 'a letter was waiting their lover' at 'whichever informal post office'. The courier/messenger delivering letters was usually known to the couple personally, and would often sign his or her own name on the message destined to appear in the paper eg. 'There's a letter for you at Kelly's Library. Polly' etc. This type of arrangement was more discreet, most of the time, but a strong relationship of trust with the courier was needed.
Prince Eddy, who frequently signed 'ALBERT EDWARD', as the world knows, is considered to have been absent from London on the dates of the Whitechapel murders, known colloquially as the 'Jack the Ripper' murders. Contemporary Court Circulars and numerous witnesses evidence his activity elsewhere well enough. During the days prior to the 29th September 1888, the night of the double murders of Mary Kelly and Elizabeth Stride, ( Killed in the early hours of the 30th September) he managed to get a letter destined for his lover Mary Kelly to his friend Walter Sickert. On Thursday the 27th, 1888, Walter gave it to his friend 'Kittie', (Catharine Eddowes/Kelly), Prince Eddy and Mary's courier. She in turn was to deliver it to ' a middleman' who was supposed to leave it at the Counter at no. 21 Cleveland Street, 'Kelly's Library’.
This middleman turned out to be Chief John Littlechild, Special Branch police, who assassinated her. He'd intercepted Catharine ('Kitty's) movements.There were a number of assassins in the group. Littlechild, as we've seen, had trained Catharine 'Kitty' personally.
Before delivering the letter destined for Mary, Catharine 'Kitty' Eddowes was to leave a message with the 'Standard' Newspaper on the Prince's behalf, which would inform Mary Kelly that a letter was waiting for her at 'Kelly's Library'. She'd sign the message 'Kitty', as usual. She'd give the name Kitty to the reception at the Standard.
The photograph I enclose here shows a little clipping from the Personals in the Standard newspaper dated 5th October 1888, which the Newspapers printed seven days after the world famous 'double event': the night Catharine 'Kitty' Eddowes and Elizabeth Stride were killed in the early hours in the Whitechapel back streets by "Jack the Ripper". It was long contained in the archives relating to Cheif John Littlechild, head of Special Branch covert operations. The little cutting contains a series of personal notices . It's from the 'Jack the Ripper' case files, and was once the property of Special Branch, Scotland Yard; in particular, of one Chief John Littlechild, head of Covert Operations at Scotland Yard, 1888.
One message on the tiny little cutting shown enlarged above refers to 'Kelly's Library', the tobacconist's at no. 21, Cleveland Street.
'A letter awaits you, Kelly's Library. KITTIE.'
This message was trusted to the 'Standard' newspaper on the 28th September, (the Friday before Friday 5th October) by Jack the Ripper victim courier Catharine Eddowes, who signed her name 'Kitty'.
'Kitty' Eddowes had intended Mary Kelly, intended recipient of the said letter from 'ALBERT EDWARD', to see the little personal notice later on that week, prior to the day on which it was eventually printed, Friday 5th October. Catharine 'Kitty' missed the 29th September 1888 Saturday print. She left a message at the Standard Newspaper on the afternoon of the 28th, before going to meet a 'middleman' on the night of the 29th/30th, to deliver Prince Eddy's letter.
Prince Eddy also went to the Standard during the week prior to the 29th September, the night of the historically infamous double murders. History may have been very different, had he not . As you see. The little clipping from the personals column also contains a message from a gentleman who signs himself in capital letters 'ALBERT EDWARD’. This is the signature used by both the Prince of Wales and the Wales' son, Prince 'Albert Victor Christian Edward'. His message reads:
'Time flies. We are drawing nearer together every day. How I long for the time. ALBERT EDWARD.'
'Kittie' (Catharine Eddowes') message, along with Albert Edward's, appeared in the Standard on the 5th October, six days after the Prince's courier, Catharine 'Kitty' Eddowes , was intercepted and killed by Section d Special Branch agents while attempting to deliver a letter to a middleman she'd supposed would be an acquaintance.
On the little extract from the Standard personals column 5th October 1888, there appears a message from Mary Kelly, who went along to The Standard during the week after Catharine 'Kitty' Eddowes' death- . She probably went down on the 2nd October- to the Standard, to leave a message. 'Last saw you in a window in May', she writes -for 'Albert Edward', identifying herself without betraying her name. She apparently refers to the Cleveland Street raid, when Annie Crook, kidnapped from Cleveland Street by Special Branch, who we now see oversaw the letter arrangement at Cleveland Street, was forcibly removed by Special Branch officials. She was consequently tortured by Sir William Gull, working privately for SB, for information on 'Kelly's Library.' (The secret letter arrangement).
Clearly, after the night of the double murders, Mary's perceived that her lover's plans have been interfered with by people who've tracked down the lovers' 'informal letter arrangement' and killed their main courier, Catharine 'Kittie' Eddowes; ( actually known as 'Kitty') her friend, as well as her close friend and neighbor, Elisabeth Stride, who was killed very soon after collecting a parcel from a gentleman.: The documents that actually have been released into the public domain - a select few as usual-evidence the fact that Elizabeth Stride was seen on the night she died beside a gentleman carrying a parcel- that is a famous matter.
'Beware of false ones', Mary writes, in the personal columns; - 'but never doubt my love.' ... ' I have received neither letter or parcel.'... ' If only we could have spoken. '
It seems Mary at this stage suspected that her lover 'Albert Edward' had been betrayed. A traitor had arranged to meet, but then killed, Kitty/Catharine Eddowes. Perhaps she merely suspected that her lover's betrayer was someone who'd simply followed Eddowes' footsteps, and informed her killers about the meeting, so putting the murderers one step ahead of her dead friend. It's not clear by the message that Mary yet suspected senior Special Branch Police.
This cutting was/is contained in Chief John Littlechild's, Special Branch's, files.
Special Branch agents were following the young people's activity closely. It's clear from the fact that Special Branch retained the personal advertisements the young people left with the Standard that Mary and Eddy were intercepted by Chief Inspector John Littlechild and the Specialist Operations unit at Scotland Yard , who killed Catharine Eddowes on the early hours of the morning of the 29th September. SB arranged for Albert Edward's courier, 'Kitty' to die on the 30th September, 1888.
The Standard Newspaper offices, c 1888-90, where lovers, Irish Fenian confederates and rebels alike left messages for one another, and where couriers left messages alerting the gentry to letters awaiting them at 'Kelly's Library'.
But I'm onto it, and I have been for some time ;-)
'Kelly's Library' is the name of my forthcoming book, all rights reserved.
The National Archives are complicit in the concealment with Special Branch.
I believe their pretense at the public interest( SB and the National Archives) is false. For a start, there is no legal reason to conceal the documents. They are quite obviously, legally, public property. They do not have the right to try to interfere with my photos and work on my hard drive. I believe their pretense at their respect for the Royal family is false. Surely the current royal family will be keen to find the identity of the lost heir, a member of the lost royal family; who it appears had no children; surely they would be keen to find out what happened to the favorite son of the Queen Alexandra, and his pretty Irish lover, Mary Kelly, ultimate Jack the Ripper victim. S B killed the lover's messengers, then Mary Kelly. There were a number of people involved.
Mary Kelly had strong Fenian connections; she was a Stuart. This was the Security Services' excuse. And a disgusting excuse it was.
It always is. Especially where Ireland is concerned.
A disgusting excuse.
The entire analysis of this matter, is copyright Felicity Jane Lowde. Thankyou.