'they say I'm a doctor now ha ha' - 'Dear Boss' letter signed Jack the Ripper
'Mr Thomas Bond whose sad death was reported yesterday would never consent to be called by the title of 'doctor'. In the Lefroy and other cases when he was called as a witness, he resented being addressed as 'Dr' Bond and described himself as a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and a Bachelor of Medicine'. Yorkshire Telegraph and Star, 7th June 1901.
The biographies and obituaries of Thomas Bond tell us a part of the story of his life, but they are, naturally, glowing testomonials and present the 'public persona'. Everybody has a private life, if only inwardly. Rather than just accept the 'public face', I decided to delve a little deeper into the history of a man who was involved professionally in many notorious criminal cases in the late 1800s, and as a police surgeon produced one of the first criminal 'profiles'.
Biographies: Plarrs Lives of the Fellows Online, The British Medical Journal, Contemporary Medical Men, The Lancet.
Bond's introduction to medicine came when he attended a derailment at Bishopstoke Station with his uncle Edwin Hearne. All of the biographies have the date as 1856 but it was actually on 20th June 1858 with a 40 year old man dying instantly and his 22 year old niece succumbing to her injuries days later. Another man had serious injuries to an arm and amputation was being discussed days afterwards. Other passengers were walking wounded and went on to London in another train. Bond supposedly held limbs steady for amputation and this incident is said to have started him on his medical career. It's odd that it's 2 years adrift, it throws the timeline in Contemporary Medical Men (CMM) awry.
On 21st July 1866 Bond took a job with the Prussian military, 'to effect important changes in the conduct of the field appliances for the care of the Prussian wounded'. Hostilities between Prussia and Austria abruptly ended the following day, though there was a battle with troops from the German Confederation on the 24th. There is a story of Bond risking his life delivering a letter to the Italians, which seems very unlikely, but there may be an element of truth somewhere. He worked at military surgery in Dresden and Berlin and then worked at hospitals in Vienna, Pesth, Bucharest and Constantinople during a cholera epidemic.
The Nottinghamshire Guardian carried this story on 5th January 1889. Dr Forbes Winslow said he received 'intimation' that a man had entered a London hospital and told them he had come from Vienna, that he'd been robbed of £250 by 'the women of Leicester Square' (Bond's in-laws were married in the town of Leicester) and that they should be killed. He asked to see the operations, remained for a short time, then said he was going to the Lock Hospital and the hospital for women in Soho Square to see the operations there.
The biographies tell us about some of Bond's qualifications, but not all. They were in the newspapers as: 1st MB exam-2nd division. 2nd MB-1st division. Midwifery-1st Division. Forensic Medicine-3rd Division (obtained sufficient marks to qualify for the scholarship). So MB with Honours, admitted fellow of the Royal College Of Surgeons, BS with Honours and medal in surgery. Bond became a Lecturer on Forensic Medicine at Westminster Hospital so the mediocre mark didn't hold him back.
Bond rode with the Devon and Somerset Staghounds and is said to have owned Old Marsh Farm in Dunster, Somerset, but it doesn't seem to be in any of the censuses. He appears at hunts named as Dr. Bond regularly in the papers over a number of years, sometimes with a Miss Bond (presumably his daughter, Lucy) or his family. It is likely that on these days he would have followed the hunt by carriage. Some of the dates in 1888 and 1889 certainly pose questions as to whether he could have taken part in any wrongdoing, but as far as I can ascertain they don't rule him out. He is said to have loved hunting so much that he thought nothing of travelling down on the night express for a days hunting and returning home in the evening. It appears that he spent perhaps a week at a time in the area but it's possible he returned to London between hunts for legitimate reasons (or otherwise). He is said to have slept on in trains at Paddington and gone to work from there, so it's a bit of a grey area. He also hunted fox at Badminton and was a judge at a horse show at Westbury, Wiltshire about 28 miles from there on 12th June 1889.
Returning to London he commenced practice in Parliament Street and in 1867 was appointed Surgeon to the Lock Hospital in St.Georges Union, Westminster(CMM). Historically there was a Lock Hospital in Pimlico Road, half a mile north of the Victoria Bridge, but I can't confirm that is the location.The most likely spot is in Fulham Road.
In 1870 Bond was reappointed as Medical Officer at the workhouse in Petty France, Westminster, to the rear of Wellington Barracks in Bird Cage Walk. He was often at loggerheads with the management over money and in February 1871 Mr. Z.D.Berry moved that his salary should be increased from £115 to £150 per annum, adding that Bond was the hardest worked medical officer and that he had 'the most repulsive duties'.
The Lock Hospital was a 'special lock hospital in the midst of low brothels and common lodging houses, the inhabitants of which were described by Mr Bond, the surgeon to the hospital as 'soldiers women, a low, dirty and wretched class, the shame of humanity'.
Lock Hospitals were concerned with the control of venereal disease. Under the Contagious Diseases Act any woman suspected of being a prostitute could be taken in and forcibly examined. If they had 'the social disease' they were locked up with the hope of reforming them and returning them to a 'moral' way of life. If they resisted they could be sent to prison. Absconding was a jailable offence. Many doubtless benefitted from the system, which tried to teach skills and provided shelter and food, but some were there against their will and escaped. There are many reports of broken windows and at least one tale of inmates communicating with male passers-by in the 'foulest' language. The younger, more hopeful women were held with women of the 'vilest' type and there were also some married women amongst them who had been infected by their husbands. It was a system in which the middle-class tried to improve the working-class, who were regarded as their moral inferiors, by indoctrinating them into a penitent mindset and preparing them for lives of servitude. Men, when cured could return to their jobs, family and friends, whereas women's earning capacity was less and prostitution provided quick, easy money for little effort. They often had nowhere else to go and were either forced or chose to go back to their previous situation, and were therefore blamed for the spread of disease and leading men astray. In 1880 the London Lock (outpatients at Dean St. Soho, female inpatients at Harrow Rd. Westbourne Grove) treated 15,218 men and women. Women that showed repentance and a genuine desire to change their 'evil courses' could be sent to the Lock Rescue Home for 2 years, where they were isolated from friends and family and prepared for a service occupation, if they could stand a strict regime of work and religious bullying. The system worked to some extent but became a rallying point for the feminist movement and the Contagious Diseases Act was repealed in 1886.
Bond wrote on The Diagnosis and Treatment of Primary Syphilis, Gonorrhoeal Rheumatism and The Contagious Diseases Act and like many medical men was an advocate of the Lock Hospital system, which he wanted extended to non-garrison towns. I think it's clear that he was not at all sympathetic to women who sold themselves, and was, in fact, openly contemptuous of prostitutes at the lower end of the social scale. He would almost certainly have regularly performed the painful and humiliating examinations they endured over the course of his eight year tenure, which at one time were performed before groups of students and took place in view of other inmates. There could have been a stigma attached to his job which may have been a reason for his difficulty in obtaining a position at Westminster Hospital, and being overlooked for the Surgeon's post. He resigned in 1875, two years after getting the job of Assistant Surgeon at Westminster.
There are a couple of stories in Plarrs that Bond used to tell about his experiences with Sir William Fergusson, a famous surgeon at Kings College Hospital. In one Fergusson nicks the carotid artery and tells Bond to put his finger on it to stop the spurting blood and in another he accidently cuts an artery and ends up amputating a leg. Fergusson was known for operating at 'remarkable speed' and in silence and his punctuality was 'very marked'. He died of Bright's Disease in 1877.
Bond was appointed Assistant Surgeon to the Westminster Hospital in 1873 and according to Plarrs when he became Surgeon in 1893 he had neither time nor health to 'take up such duty' and passed it on to his Assistant Surgeon. Presumably the problem that eventually led to his suicide in 1901 was already present at this time but I also sense a bitterness towards the Board that had originally overlooked him for the job in the 1870s.
Bond was born in 1841 and so isn't in the census for that year. I can't find him in the 1851 census either, but his brother, John, is at his grandmother's(Mary Hearne) house in Halse. Bond is buried in Orchard Portman, Taunton, with his uncle Abraham, his brother and cousins, his parents are buried a few miles away. In 1861 he is at Edwin Hearne's place in Southampton. His father's financial difficulties are said to have deterred him from following him into farming, but since he appears to be closer to his uncle Abraham's side of the family there could be other reasons.
Since 1845 the Oxford v Cambridge boat race has been held on the Thames from Putney heading west to Mortlake. Most of the boathouses now are to the west of Putney bridge and looking at the 1892-1905 map it was pretty similar in those days, with a couple of exceptions. The West London Rowing Club was based at Wandsworth bridge, 1 mile east of Putney, and along with rowing they used to hold athletics meetings. In 1864 there is a Thomas Bond who won 'a handsome clock' for the 100 yards sprint. Was it him ? After his death Bond was described as a 'fine athlete'. In the BMJ obituary he is described as 'exceedingly punctual' so perhaps the desire for the clock inspired an extra effort.
Above - West from Putney bridge. Boathouses on the left. In the film '10 Rillington Place', John Christie, played by Richard Attenborough was arrested near the pier in the foreground.
In 1795 Mary Wollstonecraft was rescued after she jumped off the original bridge when her relationship broke up. Her daughter, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin later became Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein.
Two miles to the east of Wandsworth Bridge is Battersea Bridge. In the 1871 census Bond's mother-in-law Sophia, is living with four of her grown up children, Charles, Alice, Frances and Francis at Milborne Grove, roughly half a mile inland from the northern end. The Fulham Road Workhouse is 300 yards to the west, the Chelsea Workhouse a mile or so to the east, at what is now Dovehouse Street, a half mile to the north of the Albert Bridge. As one of the medical officers of the borough Bond may have been a regular visitor to both. Bond met his wife Rosa after attending her dying father, Sir George Hayes, who had a stroke in Westminster on 19th November 1869, dying 5 days later. They married at Christ Church, Lancaster Gate on 28th June 1870.
Between 1868 and 1875 Bond lived at 50 Parliament Street, Westminster. The most direct route to Milborne Grove would be to take the tube from Westminster to Brompton (now Gloucester Road). Alternatively, he could take the scenic route by brougham or on foot heading west along the river, a journey of about 4 miles. We can almost certainly place him at that time travelling along Abingdon Street, Millbank, Grosvenor Road and Chelsea Embankment. Battersea Park is on the south side, opposite Chelsea Embankment, bracketed by the Albert and Victoria Bridges. After living at Delahay Street for a few years he appears in the 1881 census with Rosa and 5 of his 6 children at 7, The Sanctuary, Westminster.
The Sanctuary is a row of houses attached to Westminster Abbey. If Bond exits his front door, turns right and walks 400 yards, across Parliament Square, passing Parliament Street on his left, he is at the western end of the Victoria Embankment which runs for about a mile and a half along the river and runs onto New Bridge Street at Blackfriars Bridge. Norman Shaw North, the New Scotland Yard building which was under construction in 1888, is about 100 yards along. Parliament Street runs parallel to the embankment. Nowadays Number 50 is directly behind Norman Shaw North. It was rebuilt around 1890 but assuming it is in roughly the same spot, it would have allowed Bond to observe the construction of the opera house that was originally on the site from his rear window, 50 yards away. The opera house was a failed project that was never used because of a financial problem. It was eventually demolished to ground level and the 40ft deep concrete foundations were used as the base for Norman Shaw North.
The West Somerset Free Press reports that Bond took part in the staghunt on Thursday 30th August 1888. Polly Nichols was found the following morning around 3.40.a.m. Leaving on the 5.50 p.m. train from Minehead, Bond would arrive at Paddington at 10.20.p.m.
He is on Exmoor on the 3rd, 5th,7th,10th and 21st September 1888. One of his hunting pals is a John Bond (probably his brother). A Mr. Bond, the report of the 3rd says, is known by the soubriquet of 'Colorado Jack'.(This is reported on 8th September, the day of the Chapman murder, 3 weeks or so before the killer became known as Jack The Ripper. If it is his brother, his wife is Annie. There is a Whitechapel on Exmoor). He attends on Friday 7th September, Annie Chapman was found the following morning around 6 a.m. Leaving on the 7.10.p.m. train from Minehead he would arrive at Paddington at 4.00.a.m. On Monday 10th September he attends with 'Miss Bond',and again on the 24th.
Again he is there on 9th September 1889 with his family which might present difficulties with regard to the Pinchin Street Torso. He was reported to be absent from London on the 10th, but considering the stories regarding his overnight travel and sleeping on trains, he can't be discounted. The hunt had a thousand attendees and started in the morning. It's possible he turned up for a couple of hours in a carriage just to tick the register and left.
Some people will find the proposal of a successful man from 'good stock' as a serial killer to be outside of the parameters of their personal concept of 'Jack'. The idea that he killed his victims with military precision, timing his escape and creating an alibi in the process will be a stretch too far for many.
In Bond's case it would involve making excuses to absent himself from a family holiday to make a long journey to London and back again. Difficult but not impossible for a man with a motivation born of psychological abnormality.
The staghunting season runs from the second week of August to the third week of October, when hindhunting begins. Bond kept Old Marsh Farm in Dunster, Somerset as his hunting headquarters each autumn, for 23 years. He was in the habit of travelling down overnight, hunting for a day and returning to London in the evening. If that is so, the reverse must also be a possibility, that he left Dunster to go to meetings.
The murders of Tabram, Nicholls, Chapman, Stride, Eddowes and the Whitehall Torso all took place during the 1888 staghunting season.
Once the stag is killed, it undergoes a process known as 'gralloching'.
This involves inserting a knife into the chest and severing the vessels of the heart, passing the (still warm) liver around to those in attendance, giving the guts to the hounds and the head as a trophy. They would 'read' the future in the entrails in a process called Hepatoscopy. It has often been speculated that the Whitechapel Murders involved occult or Masonic rituals and what do we find ? Bond, a Mason, regularly attending, and therefore, participating in, the occult ritual of Hepatoscopy.
Bond was involved in hunting his whole life, so where is the investigation of the hunting set ? If he had seriously wanted to help catch 'Jack' he would have pointed the police in that direction.