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October 11, 2022 40 mins

Evelyn Hamilton has annoyed her bosses in the male-dominated world of pharmacy - they find her quiet and independent nature mystifying and odd. After an unhappy stint at a druggist shop outside London, she's landed a new job and a fresh start in a faraway town. 

In February 1942, Evelyn sets out on her long journey – just as the Blackout Ripper is hunting for his first victim… 

Join hosts Hallie Rubenhold and Alice Fiennes as they traces Evelyn's life and struggles; and with the help of Lauren Ober (host of The Loudest Girl in the World podcast) examine why the quiet pharmacist's demeanour provoked such hostility.  

Sources:

Andrews, Maggie and Lomas, Janis. The Home Front in Britain: Images, Myths and Forgotten Experiences since 1914 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

Diniejko, Dr. Andrzej. ‘A Chronology of Social Change and Social Reform in Great Britain in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries’, The Victorian Web, 2014

Neale, Alexa. ‘Case Files For Murder Trials: The Case of Cyril Johnson’, “Domestic Murder” She Wrote, September 2016

Webb, Laura and Webb, Kevin. ‘Selina Cooper: The Story of a Working Class Suffragist’, March 2019, UK Vote 100

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Transcript

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:15):
Pushkin. Evelyn Hamilton is dining at Maisonne Lines electric lights
bathe the vast modern restaurant in a gentle glow. She
is unaccompanied and it's late. Reserved and introverted, even spends

(00:40):
most of her nights alone. She prefers it this way,
for others can interpret her quiet nature as surly and rude.
This has caused her no end of problems, particularly when
her male employers have taken against her manner. After a
busy evening which included a tetchy exchange with a hotel

(01:03):
worker over a room, Evelyn is perhaps just now especially
appreciate of this window of solitude. Her gold wristwatch shows
that it's almost midnight, so she readies herself to leave.
She has a train to catch first thing in the
morning to start a new job in the distant city
of Grimsby, but she will never make that train. For

(01:28):
donning her coat and setting out into the black February night,
Evelyn Hamilton will not even make it back safe to
her night's lodgings. This is the seldom told story of
women in World War Two who were killed not by

(01:48):
the enemy, but by husbands, lovers, and strangers wearing the
uniform of their own side. It's also the tale of
a particular string of murder victims that history has swept
from view. I'm Hallie Rubinhold, and I'm Alice Fines, and
you're listening to bad women the black out Ripper. It's

(02:47):
nineteen oh one and Britain is bearing its queen. Victoria
has sat on the throne for sixty three years, reigning
over four hundred million subjects and an empire that covered
a quarter of the globe. As an empress at the
head of a vast, conquering army, she is instructed that
her funeral be a full military affair, and so her

(03:11):
coffin is conveyed by gun carriage, accompanied by her admirals
and generals in their great plumed hats. Thousands of ordinary
people line the processional route, hoping to catch a final
glimpse of the only sovereign most of them have ever known. Victoria,
whose reign exalted the moral perfection of the traditional family,

(03:34):
isn't heard next to her beloved and long dead husband,
Prince Albert. She wore the austere black of widow's weeds
for forty long years, but she is buried and a
white gown and her wedding veil. The Victorian era is over,
and an empire on which the sun never set is

(03:57):
about to begin its slow decline. That spring against a
backdrop of national mourning. Evelyn mark at Hamilton was born
in England's northern coal mining country. A wave of social
reform has been sweeping Britain. Recent improvements had been made

(04:19):
in the areas of social housing, education provision, and welfare
for workers, but there was still much to be done,
particularly to help women. Not far from Evelyn's birthplace, a
branch of the Women's Liberal Association invited their local political representative,
their member of Parliament to speak. He first lamented the

(04:41):
Queen's death, and then thanked the women in attendance for
instilling liberal principles and to their families at home. He
also commended the Association for its work inviting women to
such meetings so that they might take an active part
in what is going on in the politics of the country.
Of course, that active part was somewhat limited. In nineteen

(05:05):
oh one, none of the women in attendance could actually vote,
let alone be elected themselves, but movements to gain suffrage
were well underway. Selina Cooper, a textiles worker from the North,
had just presented a petition to Parliament signed by thirty
thousand women, demanding the vote. Evelyn Hamilton was born into

(05:27):
a rapidly changing world, and her story epitomizes the struggle
many women face to fight for reforms that would improve
their lives and allow them to tread a path beyond
the realm of placid domesticity. When Evelyn was born, her parents,
Robert and Mary Hamilton, were renting a room at the
house of a Mexican born tailor and his British wife

(05:48):
in Newcastle, a city burgeoning with heavy industry. In the
eighteen seventies. The British government had imposed a legal duty
on parents to ensure that their children were educated, so,
unlike many of their forebears, working class Robert and Mary
would have been able to read and write. Robert in particular,

(06:09):
would have had some numerousy skills and drawn on these
in his work as a collector for the Anglo American
Zither Company. In the late nineteenth century, the zithera had
become popular with the middle classes as a novelty parlor instrument.
Vendors would even throw in lessons when they sold the
harplike device learnt in few minutes. Promised the adverts, customers

(06:32):
of the Anglo American Zither Company might buy their instruments
on an installment plan, and collectors like Robert would have
visited them to take their payments until the debt was cleared.
And there was good money to be made in this
zithi craze on the streets of one genteel town. Rival
zither vendors even came to blows in a literal fist
fight over this lucrative trade. The police had to intervene.

(06:56):
They grappled together and both fell to the ground. They
were both bleeding from the nose and mouth. But eventually
public interest in the zither waned, perhaps prompting Robert to
leave newcast By the time a second daughter, Edith, was born,
they had moved to the nearby village of Wryton, where
willow trees bend to brush the waters of the River Tyne.

(07:19):
Wryton relied on agriculture and coal miner and here the
seller of zithers became a more prosaic colliery laborer, doing
unskilled work at one of the local mines. He eventually
became a banks in charge of loading and unloading coal
and workers from the mine shaft elevator. More Hamilton children arrived,

(07:45):
and their mother, Mary, for whom no occupation is recorded
on the census, likely stayed at home to raise them.
Evelyn was the oldest of three brothers and four sisters,
and the family lived in a small, two roomed cottage.
One room would probably have been a kitchen and living space,
and the other a shared bedroom. The Hamilton's were a

(08:06):
typical working class family. They were far from a fluent
and they lived in cramped quarters, but they wouldn't have
been pitied or considered to be extremely poor, and the
tragedies that befell the family wouldn't have seemed unusual to
their peers either. When Evelyn was seven, her little brother
caught scarlet fever, a bacterial illness that produces a distinctive

(08:29):
pink red rash. Although there was some understanding about how
the disease spread and about just how susceptible infants and
small children were to it in the days before antibiotics,
it could still be a death sentence. The boy passed
away with his father at his side. Scarlet fever outbreaks
returned without respite and The illness then claimed the life

(08:52):
of five year old Edith. In nineteen eleven, Robert Hamilton
was asked to fill out the census form and name
all his children. Heartbreakingly, he wrote first the name of
his dead daughter Edith. Then he realized his mistake and
crossed it out. The death of children, though tragic, was

(09:13):
an ordinary part of working class life. Even so, sorrow
must have pierced Robert's heart as his pen struck out
young Edith's name. Another son would later die of diphtheria
and heart failure in the same infectious diseases hospital where
Edith had perished, And cruel fate had not yet finished

(09:34):
with the Hamilton family. Playing with other children. On the
banks of the River Tyne, Evelyn's four year old brother
John slipped into the water. A passer by attempted to
resuscitate the child, but to no avail, and so in
just a few short years, Evelyn lost four younger siblings.

(09:56):
The family home would surely have been an emptier, quieter,
and sadder place, haunted by these deaths. Tiny writing cricket
team as thrashing the county professionals against the odds in

(10:17):
the high summer sun, the men of Evelyn Hamilton's village
are humbling the visiting side. This sensational performance would have
been a source of huge excitement, and thirteen year old
Evelyn may well have been on hand to cheer the
victors on. It is July nineteen fourteen, and this peaceful village,

(10:43):
i'll is about to be shattered. Soon. These players may
well be swapping their cricket writes for Army Khaki, some
never to return to the pitch. In one short week,
the threatening war clouds have settled down over Europe and
the long ridicule German menace has become a reality. The

(11:04):
Kaiser's troops are at war with England, Russia and France.
At forty Robert Hamilton was at the upper age limit
to fight, but he appears not to have volunteered for combat. Instead,
he became a munitions worker, helping to produce the guns,
bullets and bombs kneaded at the front. Still, teenage Evelyn

(11:27):
would have watched as the young men of the village
and those who had worked in the pits with her father,
register their names and droves for the local battalions. They
were dispatched to the trenches France and Flanders to the
horrors of war and to death. The dangers and hardships
of war were entirely absent from the home front. German airships,

(11:51):
the dreaded Zeppelins were sent on bombing raids against civilian targets.
One cruised over Evelyn's community in nineteen fifteen. Those on
the ground switched off all the lights, halted all the
trams and trains, and held their breath into the raider
floated away again. The war altered the worlds of the

(12:15):
women left behind in other profound ways too. Their working
lives changed as they took on new roles on farms
and in factories. At home, food shortages placed additional strain
on families whose main earners had gone away to war.
Survival became a struggle for many. State pensions for women

(12:35):
widowed by the war were pitiful, at just five shillings
per week in nineteen fourteen. This was far less than
the amount needed to provide proper nutrition to families with children.
Sylvia Pankhurst, a suffragette and socialist, observed scorchingly that in Newcastle,
close to the Hamilton's home soldiers, wives were given food

(12:56):
tickets instead of the money due to them, and were
permitted to obtain household commodities only from a prescribed list
which comprised the cheap inferior qualities of food. Evelyn would
no doubt have witnessed such struggles in her community. She
would also have followed the growing women's suffrage movement, itself
fueled by aspirations to bring about the kind of social

(13:19):
changes that a male dominated parliament was ignoring and alleviate
women's hardship and suffering. As the guns fell silent, women
were finally granted the vote, but seventeen year old Evelyn
wouldn't yet benefit. The reform came with an age restriction,

(13:40):
women had to be thirty or over and a property qualification.
Women voters had to be registered to a home of
certain value. Full suffrage was still some years away. Clever
and hard working Evelyn was studying chemistry at Scarry's College
in Newcastle, a technical training school. According to Pat Thane,

(14:02):
visiting professor of History at Birkbeck University of London, Robert
and Mary would likely have supported their daughters ucational aspirations
for the tendency for young men to emigrate to places
like Australia, Canada or New Zealand had skewed the marriage market.
Families were quite often quite keen to encourage education for
their daughters because it wasn't obvious they'd be able to

(14:24):
get married. Because women were a majority of the population
and quite often couldn't marry, and unless they came quite
a well off family that could be sure it could
support them, than they needed to be socially educated to
get a job that would enable them to support themselves.
Aside from voting reform, new legislation had just given women
access to a greater number of professional jobs. They were

(14:48):
still paid less than men, and they had fewer opportunities
for promotion, but they could now become lawyers or go
into architecture or accountancy. Evelyn was the child of a
coal mine worker, but education and hard work appeared to
have enabled her to leap frog into a higher social class,
and she now embarked on her chosen career pharmacy. This

(15:12):
was a respected and fulfilling profession, but it would also
prove to be a tricky and sometimes solitary path for Evelyn.
As a woman entering a man's profession, Evelyn would have
been expected to prioritize the comfort of her male colleagues
and managers to flatter their feelings and egos, to mold

(15:33):
herself to their whims and ways. But Evelyn was cut
from very different cloth, and instead she clashed with her employers.
Their gripes and groans about the independent and implacable woman
in their midst would dog her career, jeopardizing everything that
she had worked for, and pushing her to the edge
of breakdown. Bad women, the Blackoutripper will be back in

(15:58):
just a moment. Pharmacy had come a long way since

(16:24):
the heyday of quackery and snake oil remedies. In eighteen
forty one, the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain was established.
Mission to this body was by examination. The exams were
taken fairy seriously and the threshold for passing them was high.
Pharmacists created medicines from scratch, and they had access to

(16:47):
deadly poisons too, placing them in a position of privilege
within many communities. Their work required highly specialized knowledge and
it was not to be entered into lightly. In Evelyn's day,
the landscape of pharmacy was full of possibilities. One could
work in a hospital, while the more entrepreneurial could open

(17:09):
a Druggers store. Crucially, it was also a respectable profession.
It involved brainwork, but it was genteel enough to be
suitable for a woman. In fact, as Evelyn was growing up,
dispensing drugs was heavily marketed to parents and guardians. One
newspaper advert called it the right career for women. Training,

(17:32):
short cost, moderate work, pleasant future assured. Throughout the nineteen twenties,
Evelyn worked part time as a chemist's assistant at a
shop in Newcastle called Milburn's, presumably to help fund her
studies at a nearby college. The teaching staff said Evelyn
was older than many of the other students and described

(17:53):
her manner as distinctive. While Evelyn's sister Kathleen had entered nursing,
a traditionally feminine profession, pharmacy remained a male dominated world.
Perhaps the challenge inherent in this exclusion was part of
the appeal for someone as distinctive and single minded as Evelyn.

(18:14):
There may have been another reason that Evelyn chose pharmacy
over nursing, too, As caregivers, nurses would constantly interact with
their patients, whereas pharmacists might spend all day in their laboratories,
or safely behind a large wooden counter. If they had
a shop assistant, they might speak with customers only rarely. Evelyn,

(18:37):
said to be reserved and pensive, may well have found
such distance appealing. After passing her Chemists and Druggists qualifying exam,
Evelyn began practicing as a pharmacist in nineteen twenty eight,
the same year that equal voting rights were finally granted
to all men and women in Britain. For the next

(18:58):
twelve years, Evelyn managed a drugger's shop, Messrs. A. Wilson,
in the village of Ryton, where she'd grown up. Wilson's
promised the finest quality medicines at the lowest prices, and
peppered local newspapers with adverts for herbal cough candy, vitamin
cream and cod liver oil emulsion. Evelyn lived in a

(19:22):
flat above the shop. She appears to have remained single,
living a quiet, even reclusive existence. I do not know
any of her friends, said her sister Kathleen. I've never
known her to court anyone, and as far as I know,
she's never had a man friend. Most other acquaintances painted

(19:42):
a similar portrait of Evelyn. Local woman Florence Shiver's described
her as a lonely girl of studious nature who was
rather conversed in sex matters and did not associate with men.
The landlady of one of Evelyn's lodgings did, however, remember
having occasional male visitors, and Evelyn confided to one female

(20:04):
acquaintance that she gone to dinner with a male colleague
and even had an a there with a man in
her youth. But to most observers, the pharmacists seemed contentedly
free of romantic entanglements. According to historian Pat Thane, it
wasn't uncommon for women at this time to embrace single life,
and this wasn't just about the dearth of available men,

(20:29):
but also quite a lot of women chose not to
marry that they didn't happen to find a man they
really wanted to marry, and they were an occupation that
they liked. Women were generally forced to leave their professions
when they wed, irrespective of how much time they'd invested
in their training. Then as now, domesticity didn't appeal to everyone,

(20:50):
so women who enjoyed their careers may simply have led
more fulfilling lives by staying single. For her part, Evelyn
appears to have been independent and conscientious. Her one hobby
in life was to improve her knowledge and mind on
all subjects. According to Kathleen, she was also a keen

(21:11):
socialist and studied very deeply the problems connected to the subject.
This is too broad a statement to shed real light
on Evelyn's actual political views as a socialist. Evelyn may
simply have been in favor of social reform in general.
She might have actively supported her local left wing Labor Party,

(21:31):
or she may have even drawn inspiration from the Russian
Revolution of nineteen seventeen and held genuine communist sympathies. Evelyn appears,
at the very least to have been committed to helping
democratize education. Her sister stated that she was a member
of the Workers Educational Association, an organization that had been

(21:52):
set up in nineteen oh three. It provided evening classes
enabling working class people to further their studies. Evelyn's brand
of socialism may equally have been directly connected to the
awful diseases that had carried away her siblings, as well
as to her daily work as a pharmacist in the
depressed Northeast, where unemployment rates were high, public health was poor,

(22:17):
and doctors were expensive. She may have encounter a lot
of working class people who couldn't afford decent healthcare because
there was no decent free healthcare before the National Health
Service in nineteen forty eight, and left wingers were in
favor of having a free health service. If evelynce politics
indeed included a vision of universal healthcare, they may also

(22:40):
have been shaped by a further tragedy in the family.
In nineteen thirty one, her twenty four year old sister
Mary died with epilepsy at the County Mental Hospital. If
Mary had spent any length of time in that institution,
the medical bills may well have represented a financial strain
for the family as well as an emotional burden. In

(23:03):
nineteen thirty eight, on the eve of yet another World War,
Robert Hamilton, a man who had seen so many of
his offspring die, himself, succumbed to heart failure. Evelyn was
now approaching forty and still working at the pharmacy in
her home village, but then something snapped and she quit.

(23:24):
According to Kathleen, she had mentioned for a considerable time
previously that she would like a change, and was in
fact seeking one. Evelyn's manager told a different story, describing
how her sour attitude had made her continued employment untenable. Resourceful,
Evelyn soon found another job as a traveling representative for

(23:46):
a company making a tonic wine that claimed to ward
off anemia, influenza, and menopausal symptoms. But perhaps the social
activity of meeting and greeting druggists and shop owners bore
her down, because by late summer she was experiencing symptoms
of depression and insomnia. Just a few weeks into her

(24:08):
new role, her manager, mister Blackwell, who described Evelyn as
abrupt in speech, formed the opinion that she was mentally disarranged,
and also that she was fully aware of this. Blackwell
quickly terminated Evelyn's contract, paying her a month's wages in
lieu of notice. Kathleen again offered a slightly different account

(24:31):
of events. It was Evelyn who had chosen to resign
and return home to Newcastle. Evelyn sought professional help from
Professor Frederick Natras of the Newcastle Infirmary, a respected expert
in nervous diseases, and after two months recuperating in the
home of her recently widowed mother. Her health was said

(24:51):
to greatly improve enough that she was soon packing her
bags once more. This time Evelyn was heading south, a
decision possibly implemenced by her father's death and its impact
on the family's finances. People in the South were richer
than their northern counterparts, meaning greater demand for pharmacy services

(25:11):
and probably higher wages too. This would have enabled Evelyn
to better support her widowed mother. She took a post
at a psychiatric hospital south of London, but here she
found herself understimulated and without enough work, and so in
late nineteen forty one she took up the post of
manageress at Yardley's Pharmacy on the eastern edge of London.

(25:35):
Evelyn appears to have seen Yardley's a little more than
a temporary job, perhaps a stock gap before returning to
the North, but any plans would soon be brought to
an abrupt and violent end. Bad Women, the blackout Ripper
will return shortly. Evelyn Hamilton was quiet, dignified and studious.

(26:36):
She maintained close links to her family, but to most
other people she seemed self sufficient. Marching to the beat
of her own drum, she apparently issued typical leisure activities
like dance halls, preferring instead to take long nighttime walks
in the countryside. It was this self contained figure who

(26:56):
arrived in the unfamiliar suburb of Hornchurch, where people's accents
and outlooks were different to those back home. At Yardley's,
Evelyn earned around three pounds per week, roughly equivalent to
a weekly wage of over a thousand dollars today, and
she would send money to her mother. She appears to
have been guarded from the word go solitary taciturn. Even

(27:21):
aloof missus Eva Lever, who rented a room to Evelyn,
found her to be withdrawn. Miss Hamilton never took me
into her confidence while staying with me, and no person
visited her at my house. She did not discuss matters
with me. Evelyn's new colleagues also found her somewhat curious.

(27:41):
Her manager suggested she was a rather eccentric type of person,
always looks sort of frightened, and I should think she
suffered with her nerves. He felt she seemed bored there,
and suggested that apart from occasional cinema visits, she found
little with which to occupy herself at Hornchurch, but Tina Gray,

(28:02):
the fourteen year old shop assistant, agreed that Evelyn was eccentric.
I was not very happy with miss Hamilton, as she
was unsociable and grumbling and did not speak to me
except to give orders. Frequently, after approaching customers, she would
walk away without serving them. Bettina observed other oddities and
Evelyn's behavior too. I know from what she told me

(28:25):
that she went back to the shop most nights, and
on one occasion she said, I suppose you wonder why
I came back, but I cannot be bothered to explain.
Now about four times during the cold weather, she filled
a hot water bottle just before I left the shop
and put it on the bench, and I could not
say why she did. Was Evelyn sleeping in the shop?
Bettina did not believe so, and missus Leaver confirmed that

(28:48):
the pharmacist returned to her lodgings each night. So was
Evelyn restless and agitated? Had a depression in insomnia perhaps returned?
Did she go back to the empty shop rather than
toss and turn in her bed? Today we might view
Evelyn's behavioral traits and mental health troubles with a little

(29:08):
more simpathy. But in nineteen forty two. Disdain, exasperation, and
the shop unkindness of fourteen year old Bettina Gray would
not have been uncommon responses. It's so oppressive being not typical,
and so many of us don't feel typical. Who's applying

(29:29):
all this pressure to be exactly like everybody else because
everyone has a sack of rocks and everyone is a
total weirdo, And yet we're like, you have to be
like this, you have to be like this. Lauren Ober
is a journalist. She was recently diagnosed with autism, and
her podcast, The Loudest Girl in the World tells the
story of her journey to understand what it means to

(29:50):
be autistic. We shared Evelyn Hamilton's story with Lauren. A
colleague characterized her as unsociable and grumbling and did not
speak to me except orders, and I thought that is relatable.
People have said that I come at them if I
need something, like my hair is on fire, and I

(30:10):
forget to say hi, how are you are you? Having
a good day? Great? Me too? Anyway, I need this thing.
You know, there's great pain in not getting the socializing
or the sort of human interaction right in the way
that everybody expects you too. There's a particular way that
you should interact and if you're not doing just that thing,

(30:32):
And particularly in the forties, I imagine it was a
million times worse there because we didn't have names for things.
We had a much narrower view of how people should act,
So people describing your presence as grumbling. I felt for Evelyn,
I felt like boy, it was probably a really hard
road for her. Lauren says that for women, the pressure

(30:54):
to get social interaction right can be particularly onerous. Women
bear the vast majority of the weight in social situations. Yes,
the pressures put on women and girls and people who
are not men to sort of smoothly and gracefully and

(31:15):
elegantly navigate social situations, it's just oppressive. It's so oppressive. Well,
her employers, colleagues, and even the stranger she encountered each
and every day might have found Evelyn exasperating an odd
From a distance of eighty years, Lauren has huge admiration
for her. This woman's life was so hard, and it's

(31:36):
amazing that she got as far as she did. It's
amazing that she was able to carve out a career
for herself being sort of reserved or pensive or solitary.
Those are not the qualifiers that make for a successful,
like social person in the world. Though Evelyn was by
nature detached, she could also crave interaction. At times, she

(32:00):
would speak freely with total strangers. Maud Yoxel remembered meeting
the pharmacist at Yardley's for the first time. They chatting
and she informed me that she had no friends in
Hornchurch and stated she was mensely starved. I invited her
to my house as she appeared lonely. Maud said that
they met again on several occasions, but on the whole

(32:23):
Evelyn never described having any sort of social life. By
nineteen forty two, Yardley's appears to have run into financial difficulties.
Other druggers' shops complained of the toll that limited supplies,
uncertain deliveries, and high wartime taxes was placing on profits.
It's possible that Yardley's faced similar struggles, and in mid

(32:45):
January it was decided that the Hornchurch outlet, among others,
should close. Evelyn was fired, but quickly found another position
in the northern port of Grimsby. She told her family
of the move. This was the last they ever heard
from her. February eighth, nineteen forty two, was Evelyn's final

(33:07):
day in Hornchurch. She might have lain in bed until
late that morning, as was her custom on Sundays. Reading
the paper, she might have noted an impassioned opinion piece
predicting social catastrophe unless women left the workplace after the
war was over. And as for the ultra emancipated young woman,

(33:27):
the writer of this column is yet to meet one
who is happy or who is capable of making any
other person happy. Elsewhere, it was reported that soldier Cyril
Johnson had just been charged with the murder of a
young bank clerk, Maggie Smail, in her home near London.
Johnson reportedly killed Maggie because he hated women. That evening,

(33:49):
after packing, Evelyn braced herself against the bitter February weather
by donning a green woolen jumper, full length camel coat,
and small turban hat. The time on her gold wristwatch
read six pm. As she departed missus Leaver's house in
the evening gloom. Maud Yoxall observed Evelyn heading south towards

(34:10):
the train station and pausing to linger a moment in
the doorway of yard Lease. She carried a suitcase and
a polished, dark brown handbag. At seven twenty pm, Evelyn
met with a clerk at the station and arranged to
have the bulk of her luggage collected from missus Levi's
house and sent on to Grimsby. She then hopped on
a train to spend the night in London. A taxi driver,

(34:33):
Abraham Ash, collected Evelyn at the train station at around
ten pm and dropped her at a hotel, where an
altercation ensued. A maid answered the door and there was
a slight argument, the maid saying she had no beds.
The woman, who was well spoken, although she spoke slowly,
then returned at the cab slightly perturbed, and said they

(34:55):
must put me up somewhere. I have got the money
to pay for a room. Evelyn's train the next morning
would be from King's Cross, but she told Ash that
she did not wish to stay in this area, after all,
it had an insalubrious rough reputation. At her request, they
drove on to the Three Arts Club, a west End
establishment where she had stayed at least once before, Housed

(35:18):
in a tall brick and stucco fronted Georgian terrace, typical
of the area. The club provided both short and long
term accommodation to women only. Guests were subject to a
long list of rules. For example, they couldn't introduce literature
of a controversial character into the communal spaces, nor could

(35:39):
they bring with them wines, spirits, or provisions of any kind.
Above all, this accommodation was intended to be a safe
space for women. It was here that Evelyn chose to
spend the night. The manageress who showed at her room
and gave her key, thought Evelyn seems agitated, though she
could not say why. At some point between ten thirty

(36:02):
and eleven PM, Evelyn went out into the darkened streets
to find some supper. She walked for fifteen minutes or
so to Maison Lyons at Marble Arch on the edge
of Hyde Park, a twenty four hour restaurant that she
could rely on to still be serving meals. Maison Lyons
was consciously designed to appeal to will the evening madame table.

(36:26):
Inside it was sleek, clean and glass walled. It even
boasted a lady's boudoir and hairdressing salon, and had been
fitted with so called sunshine lighting to create the effect
of continuous indoor daylight. Maison Lyons sought to provide food
fit for gourmets at popular prices. Evelyn sat alone at

(36:48):
a table covered in starched linen. She ate some beetroot,
and she may have ordered a drink for herself too.
Perhaps it was here that an raf cadet noticed her,
marking her out as a solitary soul who would not
be immediately missed. Perhaps you approach her and struck up

(37:10):
an exchange. Perhaps he offered to see her safely through
the dark night back to her accommodation. Or maybe Evelyn
walked home alone and heard a man's footsteps trailing her.
Her route back to her lodgings would have passed the
grand houses of Montague Square, their windows blacked out, their

(37:31):
white stucco reflecting the beam of her flashlight. At the
end of the square was a squat air raged shelter,
a dank structure of brick and concrete, damp, musty cold.
It's inconceivable that Evelyn would have entered such a dark
and squalid place willingly when she was just minutes from

(37:54):
the safety of the Three Arts Club. But whether by
force or by deception enter that freezing shelter she did

(38:45):
Bad Women. The Black Out Ripper is hosted by me
Hallie rubin Hold and me Alice Fines. It was written
and produced by Alice Fines and Ryan Dilley, with additional
support from Courtney Guerino and Atha Gomperts. Kate Heay of
Oakwood Family Trees aided us with genealogical research. Pascal Wise
Sound designed and mixed the show and composed all the

(39:06):
original music. The show was recorded at Wardoors Todos by
David Smith and Tom Berry. You also heard the voice
talents of Ben Crow, David Glover, Melanie Gutridge, Stella Harford,
Jemma Saunders and Rufus Wright. Much of the music you
had was performed by Edgarchan, Ross Hughes, Christian Miller and
Marcus Penrose. They were recorded by Nick Taylor at Porcupine Studios.

(39:29):
Pushkin's Ben Tolliday mixed the tracks and you heard additional
piano playing by the great Berry Wise Hi Berry. The
show also wouldn't have been possible without the work of
Jacob Weisberg, Heather Faine, Carlie Migliori, Maggie Taylor, Nicole Morano,
Eric Sandler, and Daniella Lukhan. We'd also like to thank

(39:50):
Michael Buchanan Dunn of the Murder Mile podcast, Lizzie McCarroll,
Katherine Walker at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Earbe
Historical Society. Bad Women is a production of Pushkin Industries.
Please rate and review the show and spread the word
about what we do and thanks for listening.
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