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November 16, 2021 42 mins

Kate Eddowes rejected the drudgery of conventional working class life and left the factory and hearth to roam the open road. She travelled the country, performing and selling songs she had written with her partner. But her existence was far from carefree and her lover turned violent. Eventually, Kate ended up penniless in Whitechapel - and an easy target for the Ripper.

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Speaker 1 (00:15):
Pushkin, bundled up in scarves and shawls against the bitter
January morning, Spectators by the thousand gather in the jail
yard beneath the gallows. Charles Christopher Robinson is about to

(00:37):
hang for murder, and the excited crowd has risen early
to watch him wriggle and writhe at the end of
a rope. Kate Edos is likely among those jostling and
elbowing for a view of the drop. She earns her
living writing songs and singing them on the streets, and

(00:58):
she's seen many a new snap tight around a villain's neck.
Because nothing sells quite as well as ballads about murderers
and Hali. Kate's wandering itinerant ways will eventually take her
to a neighborhood gripped by fear of a shadowy serial killer,
but she will not turn his deeds into a profitable song. Instead,

(01:24):
her voice will be among those silenced forever. I'm Hallie Rubbin.
Hold you're listening to Bad Women. The Ripper retold, a
series about the real lives of the women killed by
Jack the Ripper and how we got their stories so wrong.

(01:49):
One side, Money Plenty and friends too by the sky.
Then fortune smilder. Upon me I naw One passmder Sees

(02:21):
to lime con Rock, the Eddows family crowded onto an
open topped canal boat, burdened with baskets and bundles and

(02:43):
whimpering little ones. They were heading a hundred miles south
from Wolverhampton to London, and though a journey by train
would have been far quicker and more comfortable, such a
convenience was beyond their means, so instead they piled into
the narrow vessel among other passengers and an awkward cargo

(03:03):
of barrels and boxes. Slowly, the familiar industrial landscape of
their hometown, the smoking furnace, chimneys and heaps of mining waste,
would have transformed into the strange new scenery of rural England,
green and yellow fields, bright with wild flowers, ancient churches

(03:26):
and country estates. These novel sights would have kept the
five eldest Eddo's children occupied, but the youngest child, Kate,
was scarcely nine months old, far too young to comprehend
the change of scenery or the circumstances that had forced
the family to leave their hometown in the first place.

(03:49):
Kate's father, George had run into some trouble. A skilled
tin plate worker, George had been active in his local union.
After he led a strike, his employer had him prosecuted
for agitating among his fellow workers. For his offenses, George
did two months hard labor, and upon his release he

(04:09):
would have realized that he was blacklisted from working in
his hometown, so he sought employment in London. George settled
his wife, Katherine and their six children not far from
the Stinking Thames waterfront, were the canal both docked. If
George had been the father of a more modest collection
of children, this move to London might have brought the

(04:30):
family a degree of comfort and the opportunity for his
sons and daughters to rise in society. As a skilled
tinplate worker, George could earn well in the capital city,
and he was entitled to a better rate of pay
than many of the general laborers who populated his neighborhood.
But for working class families like his household, income ebbed

(04:52):
and flowed according to the number of earners under a roof,
and the burden of six children soon blocked any route
to improvement for the working class woman, in particular, earning
potential would be crippled by the onset of childbearing and
domestic obligation, and women from large families were often trapped

(05:14):
in inescapable cycles of poverty. Women and girls were significantly
less likely to be able to obtain the level of
skill at which working class wages start to be good.
A working class girl would be pulled out of school
as soon as she was old enough to look after
her younger siblings, says social historian Sarah Wise, passing these

(05:37):
duties on to the next child in line. She might
then have taken up a job at the very bottom
of the pile. She may be able to do things
like work in a factory, or perhaps be a domestic servant.
Upon marriage, she will almost immediately become a mother, and
then she will be reliant on a male wage. But
until the eldest child is in its turn old enough

(05:59):
to start going out to work to contribute to the
family budget, that's the point at which a family is
really struggling. Sometimes women combined work with the noise and
chaos of childcare. Mothers might perform low skilled assembly work
at home, making matchboxes or sewing together clothing, for example,
but their earnings would be small. This was the bleak

(06:21):
future that lay before Kate and her sisters, just as
it described the life of their mother. Access to contraception
might have transformed the lives of these women, who were
starved of any opportunities beyond mind numbing chores and nursing
their wailing offspring. By the nineteenth century, social reformers had

(06:41):
published works on methods for restricting family size. These varied
from reusable condoms known as French letters constructed from sheep's gut,
to contraceptive wards pieces of wool or sponge, perhaps soaked
in vinegar, that were inserted before sex. While basic contraceptive
information was discreetly conveyed to the literate middle classes, the

(07:04):
working classes were left in the dark, perpetual childbearing, plead,
the lot of being a working class wife. All this
took its toll on the well being of women like
Kate's mother. The ranks of the Eddo's family continued to
swell even after the move to London. By eighteen fifty four,

(07:25):
Kate's mother had given birth an exhausting twelve times. Every
new arrival meant less food on the table for everyone,
thinner soup, smaller chunks of bread and evermore water down milk.
Surely our heartbreaking process of rationing for a mother, As
one maternal rights campaigner of the era noted, if there

(07:47):
is saving to be done, it is not the husband
and children, but the mother who makes her meal off
the scraps which remain or plays with the meatless bones.
Kate's mother would have been expected to be the first
to go hungry, even if she was pregnant or breastfeeding.
She would also have been engaged in domestic labor into
the moment of each child's birth, and was probably back

(08:10):
at the scrubbing, cooking, and heavy lifting within days of
her delivery. This could have serious health repercussions, including hemorrhages,
severe vericos veins, and crippling back problems. Managing an army
of offspring presented practical hardships, but it also seems that
Kate's parents wanted better for their children, and they chose Kate,

(08:33):
possibly aged as young as six, to attend the esteemed
Dowgate School. This institution was run by a charity, and
it offered a rigorous and focused education to the area's
poor children. Kate would also have learned music and singing here.
It would have been an honor to have a child
at this school, though why precisely her parents selected Kate

(08:55):
for this privilege is unknown. Perhaps she demonstrated a particular
spark and intelligence which set her apart from her brothers
and sisters. The intention of the Dowgate School was to
create a better sort of working class person, one who
would go forth into the labor force, dignified, clean, thoughtful,
and obedient or the same. It did not offer its

(09:17):
girls the same kind of opportunities as its boys. Boys
were groomed for placements in engineering, architecture and in banks. Girls, meanwhile,
were prepared for roles in, of course, domestic service. The
boys are being taught to be future breadwinners, on the
understanding that they will have families and they will be

(09:39):
looking after their wives and their children. Even the Delgate
School's pathway to betterment was part of a structure that
intended women to be dependent upon a male wage earner
and to endure all the accompanying insecurity. The problem with
the ideal is that so often it didn't work out.
Marriages fail, breadwinners die, breadwinners scarpa, breadwinners get put into prison,

(10:03):
leaving single women either on their own or with children.
Childhood for the sons and daughters of the Victorian laboring
classes was fleeting, often curtailed abruptly by family circumstances. When
Kate entered her early teens, she lost her mother to tuberculosis.

(10:24):
Death at just forty two was hardly unusual for a
woman of her class. Less than two years later, George
followed his wife to the grave. The ten Eddo's children
were now without parents. While Kate's elder sisters were able
to either marry or find employment, the youngest children had

(10:46):
to be dispatched to the dreaded Workhouse as orphans. But
what to do with fifteen year old Kate. This was
a source of anxiety for her eldest siblings. Her sister
Emma recalled, we wished especially to get her away. Kate's
aunt and uncle, who lived back in Wolverhampton, agreed to

(11:06):
take her in, and she soon found herself on a train,
leaving behind all she had ever known for a place
she did not remember, to live among strangers with whom
she shared nothing but a surname. Whether Kate had any
say in this move was doubtful, but it would ultimately
determine the course of the rest of her life. The

(11:33):
rippery told will be back in a moment. Kate's train
sped away from London and into the deadened, scorched landscape
of a region that had recently come to be called

(11:56):
the Black Country. An industry of chain making, brick baking,
and steel forging had risen from this land, fed by
a thirty foot thick vein of coal which ran through
the country side. Those who did not graft in the
factories or before the furnaces dug at the seam itself,
drawing forth the lifeblood that sustained the engines. By day,

(12:21):
the chimneys blotted out the sun with a rain of soot.
By night, the forges glowed demonoically through the darkness. Even
for those accustomed to horrific scenes of misery, the Black
Country was a hellish vision. On every side, as far
as the eye could see, tall chimneys crowding on each other,

(12:42):
wrote Charles Dickens. The horror of oppressive dreams poured out
their plague of smoke, obscured the light, and made foul
the melancholy air. Although Kate had grown up in the
shadow of London's leather tanneries and workshops. This new environment,
shaped by heavy industry, would have seemed as foreign and
strange to her, as did her new family. Kate settled

(13:05):
with her uncle William and her aunt Elizabeth. Although sad,
the loss of parents was too commonplace to be an
excuse for not pulling one's weight, and at fifteen, Kate
was able to earn her own keep, so she would
have been put out to work without delay. Her aunt
and uncle found her a job as a scourer at

(13:26):
a local factory, a good position, they would have lectured her.
Kate worked alongside other women amid furnaces and machinery. She
would have used long handled tongs or pickling forks. Did
it recently forge tinware into a vat of acid, preparing
it to be she lacked, then she would have dried

(13:47):
the piece of tinware and sawdust, repeating this entire process
again and again from dawn until dusk, six days a week.
There were benefits to this work. The advantages are that
it's a wage of any kind, it can be very convivial,
and you're independent, unlike her domestic servant, are your own

(14:09):
free agent. It's not quite the same as doing the
dirty work for another couple in a social class above you.
At the same time, the pay was poor, the hours
were long, and the work was often dangerous. Burning eyes,
raw throats, and the occasional industrial accident were all par
for the course. So horrible jobs for horrible wages, things

(14:33):
involving awful chemicals or dangerous bits of machinery, lots of
really deadly trades that wouldn't be allowed these days. I
think factory life kind of ground down both men and women.
This was not the kind of work that the Dowgate
School or Kate's elder sisters had intended for her, but
it was a wage or the same. After working long hours,

(14:56):
Kate would have assisted with domestic duties at home two,
cooking and cleaning, and looking after her young cousin. It
was probably also around this time that she acquired a
jolly disposition and a fondness for drink. The local pub
just a few doors down the road from Kate's new
home would have offered her an escape. Eventually, Kate grew

(15:17):
both restless and reckless. According to members of her family,
she was caught stealing from work. She was scolded and
dismissed from her position. No criminal charges were brought, but
the words and recriminations of her aunt and uncle at
home would have been fundrous. They were said to neither

(15:37):
forgive nor forget this infraction, and it came to define
nineteen year old Kate's future. She packed her belongings, planning
once more to start her life afresh. This time she
set out on foot, walking fourteen miles to this city
of Birmingham, where she hoped to find refuge with another
family member. Kate's uncle, Tom was a shoemaker, but he

(16:04):
supplemented his income with brute strength as a bare knuckle boxer.
British men of all classes were hooked on the sport,
but fighters generally came from working class backgrounds. While respectable
ladies were not supposed to be present at such matches,
it was just about permissible for working class women to attend.

(16:25):
It is likely that Kate watched her uncle from amid
the crowds, slightly star struck, and came to believe that
he could offer the sort of sympathetic home she had
not found in Wolverhampton. But if Kate had hoped to
avoid a life of factory drudgery, she was sorely disappointed.
She knew tin work, and there were plenty of jobs

(16:46):
to be had here for young women. No longer a scourer,
Kate now sat at a long table with polishing cloths,
working the surfaces of decorative trays into a high sheen,
so that somewhere in a house what a parlor, a
serving maid could deliver tea to her mistress on an
object pretty enough to make her visitors envious. Kate fell

(17:10):
back into the old routine, rising at dawn or in darkness,
home for supper, and climbing into a bed shared with
her cousin. It did not matter where she fled, to
the house of a bare knuckle boxer or a tinplate worker.
The rhythm of her life would be this until she married.
Then it would be her mother's life, the pain of

(17:31):
child bearing, the weariness of childrearing, worry, hunger and exhaustion,
and eventually sickness and death. The stories as to how
Kate Edoes met Thomas Conway differ. By one account, the
twenty year old Kate was nice looking and warm hearted,

(17:52):
and Conway was a gray eyed irishman with light brown
hair and a talent for telling tales. A former soldier
who had journeyed to India with his regiment. Conway had
been discharged from the army because of physical disability and
continual infirm principally rheumatism and chronic bronchitis. He had become

(18:13):
a chat bookseller, moving from village to village, peddling short
pamphlets decorated with woodcut engravings. These chat books recounted everything
from fairy tales to biographies, poems and short stories. At
taverns and pubs, he might also pull out a collection
of broadside ballads, songs printed on a single large sheet,

(18:36):
which told of the loss of love or set forth
the story of a bloody crime. The lyrics were usually
set to a well known tune, so that purchasers could
throw down their penny, grab a sheet, and launch into
a new song over a pint of ale. Thomas Conway
would certainly have cut a romantic figure with his tales

(18:56):
of tigers and fragrant jungles. He was footloose and had
slipped the ties that held conventional nineteenth century existence together.
It was understandable then that Kate Jolly going in open
would find him, in his lifestyle, an attractive alternative to
the drudgery of her own. Kate's family, on the other hand,

(19:18):
took an instant dislike to Conway, with no real occupation,
as well as no home, no family, and no reliable
income beyond his poultry army pension. This Irish drifter was
like a figure in a Victorian cautionary tale. Any layers
on with his kind was seen as a one way
ticket to poverty, starvation, and the workhouse. But Kate was

(19:41):
said to be infatuated with Conway, and she would not
be discouraged when her aunt issued her with an ultimatum.
She chose the penny ballad salesman and left their house.
By July of that year, Kate was pregnant. While Kate's
behavior would have brought shame on the Eddo's family, unmarried

(20:02):
pregnancy was not so unusual. Among the privileged classes, female
chastity was taken as a measure of a young woman's character.
By contrast, for the working classes, virginity did not hold
the same significance. Working class lives were governed by practicalities.
Commentators express concern that, on account of cramped living conditions,

(20:25):
the sexualization of the laboring classes occurred at a very
young age. With space and short supply, and many family
members often sharing a single room. The notion of bodily
privacy and modesty were luxuries that the working classes simply
could not afford. When social reformer Henry Mayhew interviewed girls

(20:45):
involved in slop work, the manufacture of cheap clothing, one
told him, I am satisfied that there is not one
young girl that works at slop work that is virtuous.
There are some thousands in the trade among the laboring classes.
Many also chose to cohabit rather than mary. Working class

(21:05):
communities lived by a simple rule. If a couple said
they were married and behaved accordingly, then they were. At
the same time, attitudes towards cohabiting couples were full of
contradiction and nuance. Landlords and employers could be quick to
turf out those whom they discovered were not legally wed,
and women naturally bore the brunt of any persecution, especially

(21:30):
if illegitimate children were involved. When Kate threw in her
lot with Thomas Conway, she would been fully aware of
the risks she was taking, yet they seemed preferable to
the life she already knew. Joining forces with Kate would
have had its advantages for Conway too. She proved herself
to be a useful, even masterful, business partner. She could

(21:52):
assist Conway by singing the ballads that he flogged her
passers by. Together, the couple might also perform duets or
engage in a theatrical repartee. As an extrovert who had
been taught music at school and who loved singing, street
performance would have suited Kate's inclinations far better than laboring
in a factory. Conway himself was illiterate, so Kate could

(22:15):
have transcribed his stories, those about his adventures with the
army in India, for example, to be sold on as ballads.
Perhaps the couple hunched over pub tables together, Kate with
inky fingers, acting the scribe to Conway's poet, curiously scratching outlines, arguing, recomposing,
and singing. Kate had made her escape from conventional existence,

(22:39):
but the one she had chosen was not as happy
or carefree as she might have imagined. The miseries of
itinerant life, of sodden, frozen, filthy clothing and a rumbling
belly with no shelter in sight could not be underestimated.
Kate would have had limited opportunities to enjoy a bath

(23:01):
or londer. Her clothes, and what little the couple possessed
they carried with them, which made them prey to robbers
and tricks. It's hardly a wonder, then, that in her
ninth month of pregnancy, Kate found herself knocking on the
door of a workhouse infirmary. The workhouse accommodated expectant and

(23:22):
destitute mothers, but in many cases the guardian sought to
distinguish between deserving married women and the fallen who had
arrived to bear children out of wedlock. So when Kate
appeared at the workhouse, she gave her name as Catherine
Conway and claimed that she was married to a laborer.

(23:46):
Kate now had a roof over her head, but this
was by no means a safe haven for childbirth. In
the eighteen sixties, pregnant women might lie next to patients
suffering from tuberculosis, smallpox and syphilis, and infants were delivered
without the use of soap and water. After their baby
was born, Kate and Conway returned to tramping up and

(24:08):
down the country. In the course of their wandering, Kate
would have laid the infant down to sleep in stable stores, churchyards,
against walls, or under trees, all as the rain lashed down.
This mode of life could never have felt entirely satisfying,

(24:29):
though Kate must have found something that sustained her the
joy of performance. Perhaps the singing and storytelling and composing
of tales, and just as it had for Polly Annie
and Elizabeth drink two, would have helped dull the discomfort
and sorrow. Always on the lookout for a payday, it

(24:52):
seems unlikely that Kate and Conway would have missed the
hanging of murderer Charles Christopher Robinson. Hanging days were big
business for ballad and chat booksellers who belted out rhyming
lamentations on the murderer. Executions would have been Kate Conway's
bread and butter, and the Robinson case was a salacious one.

(25:15):
The atmosphere at the jail that January day would have
been comparable with the kind of excitement of a county fair.
Vendors of tea, coffee, and hot milk set up stalls,
and the crowds filled their stomachs with currant buns, boiled eggs,
sheep's trotters, and cakes. Being Christians give beer unto my tail.

(25:39):
It's horror room. I was at staffer, Jeff. The horrid
crime I had done, Shine, I murdered love Barrant Figer.

(26:01):
Dear Robinson had cut his young fiance's throat during an argument,
and then attempted and failed to shoot himself. The killer
was a distant cousin of Kate's, leading some to argue
that it was she who penned this musical account of
the killing. I well deserve my wretched fate. No one

(26:25):
can pity me to think that I, in my code blood,
could take her life away. She no harm to me
have done. How could I serve her so? No one
my feelings now can tell. My heart was full of

(26:51):
wa Not long after Robinson's execution, Kate and Conway decided
to settle in London. This the home of Kate's youth
and of her sisters. After years of roving, it was

(27:15):
now time for the prodigal child to make her return.
The Rippery told, will be back in a moment. Back
in London, Kate was careful about revealing too many details

(27:38):
of her life to her sisters, though her lack of
a wedding ring was likely to have raised questions, as
would the tattoo of Thomas Conway's initials inked crudely onto
her forearm. It's likely that Conway had Kate's initials marked
on his arm too. It was by the exchange of
such gestures, rather than with wedding bands and a church service,

(28:00):
that many working class couples solemnized their commitment to each other.
Their bond was sealed on their own terms. But, like
many of the decisions Kate had made, acquiring a tattoo
was deeply subversive. On a man's body, a tattoo was
a mark of his manliness and spirit of adventure. On
a woman's body, however, a tattoo flouted the conventions of

(28:24):
feminine purity and beauty. But what if a Kate's sisters
whispered amongst themselves. Her appearance in London seems to have
signified a desire to make changes to her life. Kate
and Conway were soon settled in a clean and comfortable house,
and they had two more children. Conway, however, struggled to

(28:45):
establish himself in London as a seller of books and ballads.
The competition was intense, and so with young children to feed,
he went to work as a laborer. The couple found
themselves struggling to make ends meet, and sustenance ran thin.
Kate was soon reporting her youngest infant's death from malnutrition,

(29:07):
the final convulsions of which she would have felt in
her arms. Perhaps it was this incident that prompted Conway
to head north in search of work. Kate now found
herself caught in a vicious circle. Conway had to leave
London to find work, but in doing so, he abandoned

(29:28):
his partner and their children without any support, and no
amount of women's labor could ever bring in the sum
adequate to cover the family's needs. Single unwed mothers were
not entitled to receive parish handouts either. The authorities were
concerned that providing financial support to women with illegitimate children

(29:48):
would be tantamount to a state subsidy of prostitution, and
so to receive help, Kate had to surrender herself to
the cruel regime of the workhouse. Over the years, she
would be in and out of this institution, often accompanied
by one or more of her children as she passed
through the so called archway of tears. Once Kate was

(30:13):
inside the workhouse, doors. The board of guardians was at
liberty to label her either decent or damned. At many workhouses,
mothers who had given birth the illegitimates were fed a
punishment diet of water down skilly, a type of broth
made from oats and water and little else. Worse still,

(30:36):
when Conway did return, he was often violent. He began
to beat Kate, whose sisters were shocked by her disfigured appearance.
Both her eyes had been blackened. But as was in
keeping with Victorian attitudes, they held Kate responsible for her
partner's violence. They believed that she provoked Conway with her

(30:58):
excessive drinking. People believed men had the right to correct
their wives. Ginger Frost is an expert on Victorian domestic violence.
There's basic belief is undergirding almost all of this acceptance
of domestic violence, of his right to control her, to
tell her where she can go and what she can do.
A degree of violence within the home was thought to

(31:19):
serve a disciplinary function. Husbands felt no remorse for administering
a chastising slab, while wives were often made to feel
but they had asked for it. We still do that.
We don't put the focus on the violent mail. We
put the focus on the woman. What did you do
to provoke this? Why didn't you leave when you could,

(31:40):
Why did you say what you did, Why did you
wear what you did. It's endlessly about the woman who's
getting hid, and not the man who's doing the hitting.
In Kate's time, a beating at the hands of one's
husband might be prompted by any number of supposed infractions,
the use of foul language, the rejection of his sexual advances, drinking, disobedience, impertinence,
or simply offering a challenge to his superior role within

(32:03):
the family. There were other reasons. The Edo's Klan did
little to intervene in Conway's violence, too. There's not a
lot of family can do unless she leaves him. There
was little legal support available for victims of domestic violence.
In fact, a legal textbook from the time, Principles of Punishment,
described wife beating as a crime that varies infinitely in

(32:26):
degree of criminality. A wife's perpetual drunkenness was often used
as a successful defense by spouses in assault trials, and
where conviction did occur, punishment would be minimal. If you
bring a case against him, say an assault case, he
may get three months, and most women who are dependent
financially on men do not want the police involved because

(32:48):
if he goes away for three to six months, she
has no income. For this reason, many wives would not
testify against their husbands before a magistrate. Conway and Kate, however,
faced a different set of circumstances. The real question for
me with couples like this, if they're not married and
they're not happy, why don't they leave? That's the question,

(33:11):
not just her, but him too. You're not legally married.
You could walk away from each other, no harm, no foul.
Were they to separate, Conway would not be required to
be Kate any alimony. Still, in spite of their apparent
misery together, they're destructive and abusive relationship limped on for
a number of years. Gina recognizes this pattern in her

(33:31):
own research. I think the reason is that they do
think they're married in every important way, and it's a
committed relationship. On the men's part, I think it's possessiveness.
I think it's not just I love her, it's nobody
else can have her. A kind of attitude that you
see in a lot of violent men, that they're trying
to control the woman in every way they can. It's
also very dangerous for women to leave. I can't tell
you how many violence cases I have in the nineteenth

(33:52):
century where she gets killed as soon as she tells
him I'm leaving, or she's left, and a month later
he catches up with her and cuts her throat. So
it is dangerous to stay, but it is also dangerous
to leave. And once a woman has lived with a man,
her reputation is very low. She's unlikely to find a
good provider or someone to marry her. After that, Conway

(34:14):
exhibited no shame at all for his actions and was
said to warn openly Kate, I shall be hung for
you one of these days. Clearly the execution of Charles
Christopher Robinson had not left a lasting impression. Kate became
ever more distant from her siblings, and more worryingly, began

(34:36):
to abandon her children for weeks on end. To where
she disappeared on these occasions is anyone's guess, but her
behavior begs many questions about her state of mind and
her use of alcohol. Earlier that year, another one of
her children had died, a circumstance that may have exacerbated
her existing problems. Eventually, in eighteen eighty one, Kate and

(35:00):
Conway separated for good. He painted himself as the victim,
stating that he had found it necessary to leave Kate
on account for drinking. But Kate's sisters disputed this narrative,
stating that Kate had left Conway because he treated her badly.
Kate's behavior began to spiral further. She was charged with

(35:22):
drunken disorderliness and dragged off the streets as she spewed
obscenities at passers by. On two occasions, she spent a
short spell in prison for her behavior. By this point,
all but one of Kate's siblings had distanced themselves from her,
but she still maintained a good bond with her sister Eliza,

(35:43):
whom she followed to the district of Whitechapel whenever she could.
Kate rented a bed at a lodging house around the
corner from the little garret where Eliza lived. It was
here that she met John Kelly, the man who would
fill Conway's empty boots. But if the Edo's women had
taken a disliking to Thomas Conway, their disdain for John

(36:06):
Kelly seems to have been even greater. Although Kelly was
described as quiet and inoffensive, which was more than could
be said for Conway. In the eyes of Kate's family,
he possessed one major failing that Conway did not. He
drank and heavily. Kate's eldest child, Annie, was unequivocal about

(36:27):
her feelings on him. I've never spoken to him, and
I don't like him. Ginger Frost thinks that Kelly wasn't
a good provider and that the edo's sister's marginal preference
for Conway tells us something about what was expected of
a partner in the nineteenth century, which as you provide,
that's the number one thing, and if you provide, then
the woman has to put up with the rest of

(36:49):
your crap. Irrespective of her family's sentiments with Kelly, Kate
seemed to settle into a happier, though no less erratic pattern.
The pair shared a love of the bottle, and the
conviviality made them popular with their fellow lodgers. Kate was
said to always be ready with the song and didn't hesitate,
and her last fourpence for someone who hadn't made their

(37:11):
doss money For a time, both she and John worked.
Kate became a cleaning lady for Jewish families in the area,
while Kelly labored at the market. Though this income was
always disappointing and never reliable. Their handmouth existence didn't permit
them to linger for too long in any one place,

(37:32):
and they roam between London and the neighboring county of
Kent in search of work. After twenty or more years
of wandering, this existence may have seemed to Kate more
comfortable than a settled life. Ever could a peddler was
beholden to no one, not even family. Perhaps what most

(37:57):
suited Kate about her association with John Kelly was that
he appeared to make very few demands of her. Their
connections seems to have been based on practicality rather than
an emotional messy. First and foremost, Kate and Kelly appeared
to have been committed to each other's daily survival. By

(38:18):
the time they found each other, Kate had lost the
goodwill of most of her family, She had suffered domestic
violence and bereavement, and she had experienced the degradation of
the workhouse as well as nearest ovation. Under such circumstances,
What mattered most was the here and now, acquiring the
drink that dulled the pain and the food that stopped

(38:40):
the hunger. Kelly's company, his protection on the street, and
his occasional income made survival simpler. In September eighteen eighty eight,
Kate and Kelly left London to go hot picking. They
were among the thousands of city dwellers who poured into
the rural county of Kent to help bring in the

(39:02):
hot harvest, a vital ingredient and beer. But that year
the crop was especially poor, and many laborers were forced
to walk back to London having earned nothing. Kate and
Kelly were among them. When they arrived back in town,
they raised a little money by pawning Kelly's boots. By

(39:24):
the end of the evening they had only fourpence left.
It was decided that Kelly should have this money for
a bed at a lodging house. Kate likely slept rough
that night. The next morning, the pair were back at
their usual doss house, making themselves comfortable in the communal

(39:44):
kitchen and turning their minds once again to how they
would find that night's money for lodgings. As they parted
ways on the street outside. Kate assured Kelly that she
would return to him by four o'clock that afternoon. She
was hoping to get a few coins from a family
member she intended to visit. He watched the woman in

(40:06):
the black velvet and straw bonnet, his drinking hanyon, his
partner bob down the crowded street, slowly disappearing from his view, and,
although he did not know it yet, from his life.
The next time John Kelly was to encounter Kate Edo's,

(40:27):
it would be under the most terrible circumstances imaginable bad women.

(40:51):
The Ripper Were Told. Is brought to you by Pushkin
Industries and me Hallie rubbin Hold, and is based on
my book The Five. It was produced and co written
by Ryan Dilley and Alice Fines, with help from Pete Norton.
Pascal Wise Sound designed and mixed the show and composed
all the original music. You also the voice talents of
Soul Boyer, Melanie Gutridge, Gemma Saunders and rufus Wright. The

(41:15):
show also wouldn't have been possible without the work of
mil LaBelle, Jacob Weisberg, Jen Guerra, Heather Fane, Carlie Migliori,
Maggie Taylor, Nicole Morano, and Daniella Lacarne were special thanks
to my agents Sarah Ballard and Ellie Kron
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