Joseph Aarons

Treasurer of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee

Aarons was the landlord of The Crown, a pub that used to stand at the junction of Jubilee Street and Mile End Road.

It was in the upstairs room of his pub that the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee met, following its formation on 11th September, 1888.

Along with George Lusk, Aarons petitioned the Home Office to offer a reward for information that might lead to the capture of the Whitechapel murderer, and, when their entreaties fell on deaf ears, on 29th September, 1888, Aarons and Lusk wrote to The Morning Post to publicly press their case for an official reward to be offered.

The newspaper published their letter on Monday, 1st October, 1888:-


As members of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, who communicated without result with the Home Secretary with the view of obtaining on behalf of the public at large the offer of a Government reward for the apprehension and conviction of the assassin or assassins in the recent East-end atrocities, we shall be glad if you will allow us to state that the committee do not for one moment doubt the sincerity of the Home Secretary in refusing the said offer, as he apparently believes that it would not meet with a successful result.

If he would, however, consider that in the case of the Phoenix-park murders and the man Carey, who was surrounded by, we may say, a whole society, steeped in crime, the money tempted him to betray his associates.

In our opinion, if Mr. Matthews could see his way clear to coincide with our views the Government offer would be successful.

The reward should be ample for securing an informer from revenge, which would be a very great inducement in the matter, in addition to which such an offer would convince the poor and humble residents of our East-end that the Government authorities are as much anxious to avenge the blood of these unfortunate victims as they were the assassination of Lord F. Cavendish and Mr. Burke.

Yours, &.,

1, 2, and 3, Alderney-road, Mile-end, Sept 29."

Source: The Morning Post. Monday, 1st October, 1888.


Aarons was the member of the Committee to whom Miss Marsh directed the mysterious stranger, dressed in clerical attire, who entered her father's shop on Jubilee Street whilst she was alone behind the counter.

The People published details of the visit in its edition of Sunday, 21st October, 1888:-

A statement which may possibly give a clue to the sender of the strange package received by Mr. Lusk was made on Friday night by Miss Emily Marsh, whose father carries on business in the leather trade at 216, Jubilee-street, Mile End Road.

In Mr. Marsh's absence Miss Marsh was in the front shop, shortly after one o'clock on Monday last, when a stranger, dressed in clerical costume, entered, and, referring to the reward bill in the window, asked for the address of Mr. Lusk, described therein as the president of the Vigilance Committee.

Miss Marsh at once referred the man to Mr. J. Aarons, the treasurer of the committee, who resides at the corner of Jubilee-street and Mile End Road, a distance of about thirty yards.

The man, however, said he did not wish to go there, and Miss Marsh thereupon produced a newspaper in which Mr. Lusk's address was given as Alderney-road, Globe-road, no number being mentioned.

She requested the stranger to read the address, but he declined, saying "Read it out," and proceeded to write something in his pocket book, keeping his head down meanwhile...

...It appears that, on leaving the shop, the man went right by Mr. Aaron's house, but did not call."

Source: The People. Monday, 1st October, 1888.


Aaron's was one of the men who George Lusk approached for an opinion when he [Lusk] received the "From Hell" Letter that contained the portion of human kidney.

Aarons was part of the group that accompanied Lusk to the offices of The Evening News, in which a report of their visit appeared on Friday, 19th October, 1888:-

They brought with them a small cardboard box containing half a human kidney, which had been delivered by Parcels Post at Mr. George Lusk's residence on Tuesday evening.

Mr. Lusk stated that the box was delivered at his house by the postman about eight o'clock in the evening.

Upon opening it he discovered a meaty substance, which smelt very strongly, and which he judged to be half a kidney belonging to some animal.

Enclosed in the box was a letter.

At first he regarded the affair as a practical joke, in the nature of a hoax, but afterwards he decided to bring the matter before the committee and a meeting was accordingly held on Wednesday evening.

Mr. Harris stated that the meeting was hastily held at the Crown, there being a quorum of the Vigilance Committee present, consisting of Messrs. Lusk, Harris, Aarons, S. Lawton, and Reeves. Mr. Lusk communicated to the committee that he had received a strange parcel, and they went to his house and viewed it.

The article inside the box smelt very strongly of spirits, as though it had been immersed therein, and it looked like part of a kidney, but the committee could not determine what it was.

They, therefore, called upon Mr. F. S. Reed, assistant to Dr. F. W. Wiles, of 56, Mile End-road, to help them to form a conclusion.

Mr. F. S. Reed stated that he examined the contents of the box.

It appeared to him that the article was half of a human kidney, which had been divided longitudinally; but in order to make sure he at once conveyed it to Dr Openshaw, pathological curator at the London Hospital Museum.

Dr. Openshaw examined it, and pronounced it to be the half of the left kidney of a full-grown human being.

Remembering the fact that it was the left kidney which was missing from the body of the woman Eddowes, who was murdered and mutilated in Mitre-square, Mr. Reed thinks it probable that the ghastly relic is genuine.

We need only add that the contents of the box and the letters were shown to us by Mr. Lusk, who allowed one of our staff to copy the letters.

Mr. Lusk and his friends then left our office, en route for Scotland-yard."

Source: The Evening News Friday, 19th October, 1888.