The biographies and obituaries of Thomas Bond (1841-1901) 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 an analysis of the crimes of 'Jack The Ripper'.
Serial killers are said to react to 'stressors' in their lives such as unemployment or loss which tip them into criminality. Nothing comes from nothing. A criminal has a past, their ideas come from somewhere. In the absence of evidence we are left with coincidence. What follows is a list of strange coincidences in the life of Thomas Bond.
Biographies/ Plarr's, The Lancet, CMM, BMJ.
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 concerned with the sanitary conditions of the troops. Hostilities between Prussia and Austria 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.
In 1869, in a Prussian army of 237,000 there were 26,722 cases of syphilis. In Vienna 50% of children were illegitimate, in Berlin it was more (William Acton).
Returning to London he commenced practice in Parliament Street and in 1867 was appointed Surgeon to the Lock Hospital in St.Georges Union, Westminster. 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 at Little Chelsea in Fulham Road.
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 and Lock Wards in General Hospitals by Frederick W. Lowndes 1882).
Lock Hospitals were concerned with the control of venereal disease. Under the Contagious Diseases Act (an idea imported from France) any woman who fell under suspicion of being a prostitute by a 'police spy' could be taken in and forcibly examined. Many innocent, respectable women were caught in the net, including the occasional virgin. It was not unheard of for women to be arrested on the basis of malicious accusation. If they had 'the social disease' they were locked up until cured with the hope of reforming them and returning them to a 'moral' way of life. If not they were issued with a certificate of health and registered as a prostitute regardless of any proof, thus stigmatising them. 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. Great numbers of women passed through a phase of prostitution and often ended up marrying clients. Men and women socialised in much the same way as they do today but unwanted pregnancy could easily result in a downward spiral in a woman's future prospects. 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 was unpopular and became a rallying point for the feminist movement and the Contagious Diseases Act was suspended in 1883 and then 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 have regularly performed the painful and humiliating examinations they endured over the course of his eight year tenure, which at one time were often carried out before groups of students and took place in view of other inmates. These examinations came to be known as the 'rape of the speculum'. 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. It's possible that something happened during this period that created a simmering bitterness towards 'fallen women' and that it exploded in 1888. Perhaps he blamed them for stymying his career progression. He resigned in 1875, two years after getting the job of Assistant Surgeon at Westminster.
Serial killers are said to have rich fantasy lives that eventually lead them to act on those fantasies. It would be difficult to imagine a more fertile environment for cultivating the sort of fantasies that 'Jack' must have had than for him to perform internal examinations on people he didn't like for eight years. His motive for taking the job is open to speculation. It may have been the fulfilment of a long held (sadistic?)sexual fantasy. Are the Ripper murders an expression of sexual lust in conflict with an austere and obsessive religious morality? Was he struggling with guilt for succumbing to temptation?
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. He wrote an article published in The Lancet on Gonorrhoeal or Urethral Rheumatism which was published on March 23rd 1872 but which was an abstract of a paper read before The Medical Society on 6th November 1871, so presumably the condition that caused him such suffering and eventually led to his suicide in 1901 was already present 30 years before. The most obvious theory about 'Jack' is that he was taking revenge for damage caused by V.D. If Bond had succumbed to temptation at some point this could have been the situation he found himself in and might account for the apparent absence of sexual interraction between 'Jack' and his victims, in that he'd been taught a salutary lesson. There is a real chance he'd been battling constant pain for over 17 years by 1888 and that he developed an extreme hatred of loose women because of it, (see also Charles Hayes on page 3). He may well have used morphine for the same period, possibly with unintended effects on his mental state.
The Green River Killer, Gary Ridgway has said that venereal disease he caught during his naval career had fuelled his anger towards prostitution, though it should be noted he had sex/murder fantasies about his mother and stabbed a 6 year-old boy in his teens. His murder career started shortly after his wife walked out taking their son with her. He also passed through a phase of religious zeal, preaching from the bible and bothering others with it.
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.
In 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' 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. Bond's father-in-law was Recorder of Leicester, his mother-in-law was born there. Leicester Square is in London, the town of Leicester is in the midlands.
Winslow knew Dr. Savage, who knew Bond (they sat exams together in the 1860s), so it's possible he knew them socially and that Bond authored the story. Winslow attempted to pursue the story
further by asking for information about the man at a French asylum he was said to have attended, but nothing more was forthcoming.
Forbes Winslow was a famous expert on psychology. He opened a hostel for alcoholics in Barnes and owned a private asylum in Hammersmith. He was an early 'ripperologist' who claimed to have spent days and nights in Whitechapel in 1888 befriending the locals and was himself briefly suspected of being the Ripper.
Since 1845 the Oxford v Cambridge boat race has been held on the Thames from Putney heading west. 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 at what is now Stamford Bridge, the home of Chelsea football club. 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 1871 Bond's mother-in-law, Dame Sophia Hayes, was 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 half 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, in 1869.
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 moved to 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, Houses Of Parliament on the right, he is at the northern end of Westminster Bridge, 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 Whitehall victim was found in the cellar on 2nd October 1888.
Bond rode with the Devon and Somerset Staghounds and owned Old Marsh Farm in Dunster, Somerset. He helped with the road between the railway station and Lower Marsh Farm in the 1890s so it's very likely it's thereabouts, c300 yards from the station. 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. During the 'Quantock Week' it appears that he stayed all week in the area but it's possible that he was doing just that in 1888/89. He is said to have slept on in trains at Paddington and gone to work from there, so there's a good chance he was 'off the radar' at that time. It's possible these anecdotes originate from his sons and daughters so they may well be based on what he told them regarding his absences. He also hunted foxes and otters and attended a number of other hunts. Serial killers often have a history of cruelty to animals.
Bond's daughter Margaret joined the Hunt at the age of eleven or twelve in 1884 and was 'in at the death'. His father kept a pack of harriers so it's odds-on that Thomas was hunting at that age, if not younger. He may have developed an unhealthy interest in blood and guts at that time which may have led him to seek a career in medicine through his uncle Edwin.
Bond's parents, maternal uncles and aunt, his brother and sisters and various cousins lived in the villages around Taunton. He lived there until he moved to Southampton to live with Edwin Hearne and is buried in Orchard Portman, Taunton. In 1891 his uncles, George and John and his sister Emma lived 3 miles from Bridgwater train station. John Bond's farm is a few hundred yards away. Dunster is 24 miles to the west.
The Devon and Somerset Staghounds held hunts on 30th August, 7th and 28th September 1888 and 9th September 1889. 'Events' took place in London on 31st August, 8th and 30th September 1888 and 10th September 1889. We can place Bond at hunts on 7/9/88 and 9/9/89 and possibly 30/8/88 (the name 'Bond' appears in a group of 'Messrs', as opposed to the usual Dr. Bond, in a field of 800 on horseback, so it might be him). A Dr. James Bond of Milverton appears more than once in the 1880s, so it might be him or John Bond. If it is Bond it would appear on the face of it to be tricky to get to Whitechapel in time for the Nichols murder but it's far from impossible. He is at the hunt on the following Monday.
One of Bond's hunting pals is a John Bond named as 'Colorado Jack' on 8th September 1888 relating to the hunt on 3/9/88, the Monday after the Nichols murder . There are said to be 'Americanisms' in the 'Dear Boss' letter and it is possible this is why. If it is his brother, his wife is Annie. There is a Whitechapel on Exmoor as well as a Shoreditch. Bond would have known that the newspaper report would appear on the 8th.
Hunts started at 11.am. Annie Chapman was found around 6.am. on the 8th September. Leaving on the 5.50.pm. train from Minehead he would arrive at Paddington (5 miles from Hanbury Street) at 4.00.am. or if he chose to stable his horse at Taunton, a 4.37.pm. train from there would arrive at 8.10.pm. If he chose Bridgwater he could leave at 6.03.pm. on the 5.43.pm. train from Taunton and arrive at 10.20.pm. After his death in 1901 some of Bond's riding gear including a 7 year old mare and a phaeton (carriage) was auctioned in Taunton which may point to him keeping it there as opposed to Dunster. At the time of the murder of Chapman the hunt was operating in the Quantock Hills, and again in 1889 at the time of the Pinchin St. torso. There were people from Bridgwater involved with the hunt. Bridgwater railway station is 5 miles from the lower end of the Quantocks, Taunton station 4 miles. An 1881 hunt mentions Bond in a group with a Mr. Moore (well known in Irish hunting circles) during the chase, which ran for 25 miles, taking 2 hours 20 minutes. Moore is there at the end, Bond is not mentioned.
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 might 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 or perverse logic.
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. If he could travel down overnight and return to London in the evening, 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 often 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 or liver in a process called Hepatoscopy. It has 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 during the 1888 hunting season. Kate Eddowes had stabs to her liver.
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.