A definition of witness.


A Resident Of Flower And Dean Street

At around 11.30pm, on the night of Tuesday, 16th July, 1889, Margaret Franklin, who newspapers described as "a costermonger's widow, was sitting on the step of a barber's shop on Brick lane, with two other women, when Alice McKenzie hurried past.

Despite saying that she was in a hurry, Alice had stopped to chat with the women.

Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, published what Margaret had said about the brief encounter in its edition of Sunday, 21st July, 1889:-

...Mackenzie must have frequented the public-houses of the locality, for nothing was seen or heard of her in the streets until half-past 11 o'clock, when she was seen by Margaret Franklin.

This woman, a plainly-clad, strong, pleasant-featured person, stated that she had been acquainted with the deceased for many years. She had always been known to her by the name of Alice Bryant, and she believed that she lived with a man of that name. On that point, however, she was not quite positive.

On Tuesday night she was sitting with two other women named Catherine Hughes and Sarah Mahoney, on some steps in front of a barber's shop at the Brick-lane end of Flower and Dean Street, about half-past 11 o'clock, when the murdered woman passed by walking hurriedly. Witness shouted out "Hulloa Alice", to which the deceased replied, "I can't stop."

She was by herself, and was going in the direction of Whitechapel. She stopped, although she had said she was in a hurry, and exchanged a few words with them, then leaving them and walking on.

The woman seemed to be in her usual cheerful condition, and, to all appearance, she was not the worse for drink.

The deceased, to her knowledge, at one time resided at 11, Kate-street, and, so far as she knew, she was living at the time of her death at Tenpenny's lodging-house, in Gunn-street.

She knew that the deceased had been accustomed to work for foreigners."

Source: Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, Sunday, 21st July, 1889.


The Suffolk And Essex Free Press, published a verbatim account of Margaret Franklin's inquest testimony in its edition of Wednesday, 24th July, 1889.

Margaret Franklin, in answer to the coroner, said:- "I live at 54, Flower and Dean-street.

Coroner: "Are you married?"

Witness: "Yes."

Coroner: "What is your husband?"

Witness: "He is a porter."

Coroner: "What is his name?"

Witness: "George."

Coroner: "Are you living with him now?"

Witness: "Not now; he dropped down dead on the 31st March last. (Laughter.)"

Coroner: "Then you are a widow?"

Witness: "Yes; I believe that's what you call it. (Renewed laughter.) I have known the deceased for the. past 15 years."

Coroner: "Has she been living in this neighbourhood all this time?"

Witness: "Yes. I cannot say that she was a married woman, nor do I know that she had been a mother. I was told that she had had two children, but I have never seen them."

Coroner: "Did you see the deceased on Tuesday night?"

Witness: "Yes, between half-past eleven and twelve."

Coroner: "Where did yen see the deceased?"

Witness: "At the top of Flower and Dean-street. She was going towards Whitechapel. When I saw her, I said to her, "Hallo, Alice, how are you?" She said, "I'm quite well. How are you?" I replied, "Quite well." She then said, "I can't stop; I must go." That's all she said to me."

Coroner: "Was she under the influence of drink, do you think?"

Witness: "No; I don't think that she was."

Coroner: "Did it strike you as being unusual for her to be out as late as that?"

Witness: "Oh, no; I have often seen her out as late, and later than that."

Source: The Suffolk And Essex Free Press, Wednesday, 24th July, 1889.