Identifying Mary Ann (“Polly”) Nichols as the Woman Murdered on Buck’s Row

Shortly after the discovery of the body on Buck’s Row Dr. Llewellyn, who attended the scene between ten to and four o’clock in the morning, ordered the remains removed to the parish mortuary at Old Montague Street. Stencilled on the skirt of one of her petticoats was the stamp of the Lambeth Workhouse, and in her pockets were found a comb and a piece of mirror. The matron of the workhouse failed to identify the dead woman, adding that the clothes may have been issued anywhere up to three years ago. The artefacts in the pockets led the police to suspect that she was perhaps living in one of the many local common lodging-houses. Officers were sent to make enquiries.

On hearing the news of the murder a couple of women came forward and it was discovered that someone answering to the dead woman’s description, known only as “Polly,” had been staying at a common lodging-house at 18 Thrawl Street in Spitalfields. Women from the house were brought to the morgue whereupon they identified her as the “Polly” with whom they shared a 4d room, each having their own bed. “Polly” had been turned away from the lodging-house on the Thursday night because she did not have the 4d nighty price on her. “I’ll soon get my ‘doss’ money,” she was heard to have said, “See what a jolly bonnet I’ve got now.” She was wearing a new bonnet. “Polly” was last seen at half past two on Friday morning on the Whitechapel Road, opposite the church at the corner of Osborn Street. An inmate of the Lambeth Workhouse, Mary Ann Monk, was brought to the mortuary, and after twice viewing the body was convinced that it was that of Mary Ann Nichols, also known to her as “Polly” Nichols.

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