Dr. A.P.Moore-Anderson – the Jack the Ripper link!

4 07 2008

What my father fails to mention in Chapter 5 is that the Dr Moore-Anderson (APMA) to whom he refers was the son of Sir Robert Anderson who gained fame (or was it notoriety) as the man in charge of Scotland Yard CID at the time of the “Jack-the-Ripper” murders towards the end of the 19th Century.

I have in my possession a copy of APMA’s biography of his father, The Life of Sir Robert Anderson (London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1947), in which the Ripper murders play a relatively small part:

“The “Jack the Ripper” scare, resulting from the Whitechapel murders of the year 1888, synchronised with my father’s appointment as Assistant Commissioner of Metropolitan Police and Chief of the C.I.D. For reasons of health he was ordered two months’ complete rest before entering upon his duties, and after a week at the Yard he left for the Continent. The second of the murders was committed the night before he took office and the third occurred during the night of the day on which he left London. The newspapers soon began to comment on his absence, and when two more victims had fallen to the knife of the murderer-fiend, an urgent appeal from the Home Secretary brought the new Chief back to duty. ” We hold you responsible to find the murderer were the words which greeted him.

“Going back to the time when my father entered upon his new duties, he found that the officers of the C.I.D. had become demoralised by the treatment accorded to Mr. Monro-a strong esprit de corps always existing in the department. They believed too that they were regarded with jealousy in the Force. The feeling of discouragement had affected their work, the Commissioner’s report for 1888 recording that crime had shown a decided tendency to increase. So strong was the feeling about Mr. Monro that the new Chief had some difficulty in persuading Chief Superintendent Williamson not to resign. My father only learned afterwards that he himself had been protected by Sir Charles Warren when the Home Office wanted to call him to account because there was not an immediate change for the better.

“Warren had not only to suffer the nagging ways of the Home Office, but to face considerable public criticism on account of failure to find ” Jack the Ripper.” A cartoon of the period in the Pall Mall Budget shows an East End deputation in the Commissioner’s office. Upon walls and desk and lying on then- floor are regulations and instructions about drill. A police officer stands stiffly at attention. The deputation protests : ” Another murder, Sir Charles, the fourth in . . .” The Commissioner in uniform with sword and medals replies : ” Why bother me over such a trifle ? Still, if something must be done, what do you say, Inspector, to another hour’s battalion drill ? ” The Home Secretary, Mr. Matthews, was also attacked in the Press. Innumerable letters with theories and suggestions were sent to the police and the papers. One theory propounded was that the murderer was a Malay serving in a ship, who committed the crimes during brief shore leave.

“The facts were that the locality in which the crimes occurred was full of narrow streets with small shops over almost every one of which was a foreign name. The victims belonged to a small class of degraded women frequenting the East End at night. However the fact be accounted for, no further murder in the series took place after a warning had been given that the police would not protect them if found on the prowl after midnight. The criminal was a sexual maniac of a virulent kind living in the immediate vicinity. The police reached the conclusion that he and his people were aliens of a certain low type, that the latter knew of the crimes but would not give him up. Two clues which might have led to an arrest were destroyed before the C.I.D. had a chance of seeing them, one a clay pipe, the other some writing with chalk on a wall. Scotland Yard, however, had no doubt that the criminal was eventually found. The only person who ever had a good view of the murderer identified the suspect without hesitation the instant he was confronted with him ; but he refused to give evidence. Sir Robert states as a fact that the man was an alien from Eastern Europe, and believed that he died in an asylum.” (pp 49 & 50)

Considering the enduring fascination these murders have had on people for more than a century I find this most strange.

I vaguely remember being taken to visit Dr Moore-Anderson when I was almost five years old. The copy of the book that I have has an inscription in it:

“Murray & Marjorie McGregor,

with happy memories,

A.P. Moore-Anderson

M.C.C. Moore-Anderson

November 1948”

I imagine that he gave the copy to my parents during the visit I remember so vaguely.