www.thomasbondfrcs.com
www.thomasbondfrcs.com

Introduction

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

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, preventing the spread of disease. 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.    

 

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 any woman who fell under suspicion of being a prostitute by a 'police spy' could be taken in and forcibly examined. Syphilis was not detectable in this way and was more likely to be spread  by the examinations than through sexual contact. 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 false, 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. 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 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 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.

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.

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.

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'( Bond's father-in-law was Recorder 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.    

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.
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. 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 Sophia, 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.

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.

Hunting

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. 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.

Polly Nichols was found 3.40.a.m. Leaving on the 5.50 p.m. train from Minehead, Bond would arrive at Paddington at 10.20.p.m.

One of his hunting pals is a John Bond named as 'Colorado Jack' on 8th September 1888. There are said to be 'Americanisms' in the 'Dear Boss' letter and it is possible this may be why. If it is his brother, his wife is Annie. There is a Whitechapel on Exmoor.

Annie Chapman was found around 6 a.m. Leaving on the 7.10.p.m. train from Minehead he would arrive at Paddington at 4.00.a.m. or he could have used the earlier train.

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 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 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 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 during the 1888 hunting season.

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.