An illustration of a man reading a newspaper.


The death of Frederick 111, German Emperor and King of Prussia, from cancer of the larynx on 15th June 1888, had according to the East London Observer on 23rd June 1888:-

... caused, indirectly, as well as directly, a good deal of regret in East End circles, necessitating, as it has done, the members of the Royal Family postponing or breaking off many of their engagements.

Frederick was married to Princess Victoria, Queen Victoria's daughter, hence the cancellation of several Royal engagements in the east End of London. The Duchess of Albany, for example had been scheduled to open what the East London Observer called "The beautiful new Library of the People's Palace "in Mile End-road..." on the day of Frederick's death. Although the opening ceremony went ahead it did so "without the formal ceremony over which the Duchess was to preside, and without Mr. John Morley's expected address on "Books and Reading."


On a more light-hearted note, the people of the East End may have been denied John Morley's address on "Books and Reading", but they were, no doubt, more than compensated by the musings of Mr G. Hodge, the Proprietor of The "Sovereign" on Mile End Road, who took out and advert in the East London Observer to extol the virtues of the "Popular Foreign Wines" that he sold. Quaintly, he chose to do so in verse. So on Saturday 23rd June 1888, readers of the East End Observer were treated to the following:-

The wise men, they say, always came from the East,
They had sterling good sense, which makes life a good feast;
I am one of their school, so I know what is best,
And can put in the shade the wise men of the West.

They had wines that were made - well, I scarcely can say,
Perhaps in the time when Noah's ark had its day;
And they run into money most mighty, I'm told,
Till each drop of rich wine is like drinking pure gold.

I can best them by far, for I've wines full of grape,
From Australia, Algeria, Peru, and the cape;
I've Sherry, and Claret, to pleasure the throttle,
And my price for them all is but Ninepence a bottle.

You can drink them from glasses and watch how they shine,
Their bouquet as sweet and the choicest of wine;
The lustre of gems oriental you see,
While the price for a quuartern is only "Two d."

They cheer and inspire, and make a man glad,
And will not intoxicate, driving him mad;
In truth they are drinks that are really divine,
Baptised in the summers that ripen the vine.

You will find me, my friends, near the old Mile End Gate,
At the sign of "The Sovereign," the head of the state;
Don't forget the, old Hodge, and his favourite sign,
And prove for yourselves how superb is his wine!!

Here's hoping that Mr Hodge at least tripled his profits with his noble attempt to attract custom to his humble hostelry!


Meanwhile, the East London Observer returned to the subject of the recent Coroner's election:-

Dr. Macdonald, the recently elected Coroner for North-East Middlesex, has been described by contemporise as "Mac-of-all-trades", having qualified for the church, the law, and medicine, and being now a Coroner and a Member of Parliament to boot.


The Coroner who would conduct the inquests into the deaths of several of Jack the Ripper's victims had decided to take a break from which he had returned in the week of 23rd June 1888. The East London Observer reported that:-

Mr. Wynne Baxter, the Tower Hamlets Coroner, has just returned from a short holiday spent in Copenhagen.


Another report in the East London Observer informed readers that:

A prominent member of the Mile End Vestry Reform party had the gas supply of his house cut off recently. There are some enemies of his who are prepared to pay handsomely if the same operation could be successfully performed on his language.


The same newspaper also carried a report on a "popular Mile End vestrymen" who:-

...has been very despondent since his picnic with the Churchwardens and Overseers in Epping Forest on Tuesday, having been told by a gipsy fortune-teller that he was to be blessed with two wives and a "baker's dozen" of children.


The East London Advertiser carried a stark warning for the "young roughs" who had been making "...life so unpleasant in Bow-road on Sunday evenings..."

Mr. Hannay, the magistrate, has made a start with them, and when he thoroughly gauges the character of the nuisance he will certainly be more severe than Mr. Saunders.


Just what these young "roughs" were up to is illustrated by a report from Thames Police Court, in the East London Observer:-

THE MONKEY'S PARADE - Arthur Bradshaw, 17, a respectably dressed young man, was charged with disorderly conduct in the Bow-road (Monkey's Parade) on Sunday.

About eight o'clock Sunday evening prisoner was seen walking along the Bow-road squirting water at females, and was taken into custody.

Mr Hannay said this kind of nuisance appeared to be an institution in the Bow-road on Sundays. Defendant would have to find one surety in 40s to keep the peace for a month.

William Mawn, 16, and John Jayler, 19, also respectably dressed, were ordered to find one surety in 40s, to keep the peace for a month, for similar offences. They were seen walking along arm-in-arm, and pushing against every female they came across.


The East London Observer, under the headline A Feather in the Whitechapel Cap reported that:

There is no question that mankind has always much to be thankful for, but the misfortune is that people are so obtuse as to be oblivious of the general truth, and unable to discover to their own satisfaction its particular application to themselves.

It is well, therefore to bring under notice any circumstance calculated to stimulate the grateful faculty, and it happened that Dr. J Loane, the Medical Officer of Health for Whitechapel District, does this in his annual report, recently published, for he gives expression that the great influx of foreigners into the district has ceased.

Another point of a satisfactory nature is that instead of an increase of 168 deaths for the year 1886, as compared with the preceding year, the Medical Officer has to record a decrease of 22 deaths in 1887, and is able to calculate the death-rate for the year at 21.8 per 1,000 - the lowest rate ever recorded in the district.

This result is more than can be expected when regard is had to the hugger-mugger methods of existence common to so large a section of the population; and without any intention to flatter the powers that be, we contend that local control over sanitary matters is not so much a question of fancy as some of our big-brained municipality-mongers describe it to be.


In the Thames Police Court James Clark, aged 22, was, according to the East London Observer:-

...unlawfully cutting and wounding Phoebe Johnson, a machinist of 4, Devonshire Street, St George's.

Prosecutrix deposed that she lived with the prisoner as his wife.

About eleven o'clock on Sunday night she was at home preparing supper. They had a few words and Clark tried to hit her.

She ran into the street, and Clark ran after her and dealt her a blow on the head with something.

Witness then found her head bleeding, and she gave him into custody.

At the station Dr. McCoy said Prosecutrix had an extensive scalp wound at the back of the head. It was a clean cut wound. On the right thumb was an extensive excised wound.

Mr Hannay remanded the accused pro. tem. for committal for trial.


The same newspaper carried the following report from the Thames Police Court:

C. Wood, 40, was charged with assaulting Mr Edward Fox, master of the Mile End Workhouse - Mr G. H Young prosecuted.

Prosecutor said prisoner had been an inmate of the workhouse infirmary. He left the latter place on Sunday.

On Monday afternoon witness came out of the office of the workhouse, when prisoner came up to him, asked him if he called himself a man, and threatened to kill him.

Prisoner then made several blows at witness, and struck him in the face, and he gave him into custody.

Wood was under the influence of drink. He had been a great deal of trouble to the workhouse authorities for many years. Prisoner was sentenced to 21 days hard labour.


There was a report in the East London Observer of an incident at the Commercial tavern on Commercial Street, which still stands. It was directly opposite Commercial Street Police Station, so was probably not the ideal venue for what the East London Observer called "ROUGH CUSTOMERS" John Driscoll, 19, and John Cunningham, 33, who were, according to the subsequent article, "rough looking fellows" to choose to make a nuisance of themselves. They were duly charged with:-

...being drunk and refusing to quit the Commercial Tavern public house when requested to do so. Driscoll was further charged with assaulting Constable 66K.

Seven or eight men on Sunday night entered the above public-house and created a great disturbance.

The prisoners. when requested to leave, refused to do so, and Driscoll struck the officer a blow on the chest. Mr Hannay sentenced Driscoll to pay a fine of 20s or 14 days, and Cunningham to 10s. or 7 days.