To bolster his Masonic conspiracy theory, Stephen
Knight plays on the importance of Mitre Square, the site of the Eddowes' murder, which he calls 'The hallowed core of Freemasonic
tradition'. He mentions five Lodges in his 'tradition'. First, Hirams Lodge, which met at the Crown for one
meeting in 1797 and was erased in 1831. Second, he
states the Lodge of
Joppa met in the Mitre
Square, but it actually met in Mitre Street in 1817 for one year. He also forgot to mention that the Lodge also
met at the Ten Bells in 1803.
It was the local watering hole
of the prostitutes, and the
Lodge met at Great Queen Street in 1888.
Then he mentions Union
Lodge, which drifted around
Spitalfields from 1763 to 1802, but never met in Mitre Square, and Humber Lodge, which met in Hull - not exactly close.
Finally, the last Lodge which he makes his trump card, Royal Alpha Lodge, of which he states Sir William Gull was a member did meet
in Mitre Square in 1743 when it was called the Ionic Lodge of Prudence. It then removed in
1748 to Sun Milk Street, Honey Lane Market, then amalgamated with Alpha Lodge in 1822. Knight then informs us that the Lodge was close to Gull's house at 74 Brook Street, and that was way back in 1781. Gull was not born until 1812.
Lastly, just to add to this collection of dismal research, Sir William Gull was not a
Freemason. John Hamill, the then UGLE Librarian (and now Director of
Communications), when replying to a paper on The Life
and Times of Sir Charles Warren, states:
"The Stephen Knight thesis is based upon the claim that the main protagonists, the Prime Minister Lord
Salisbury, Sir James Anderson and Sir William Gull were all
"Knight knew his claim to be false for, in 1973, I received a phone call from him in the Library, in which he asked for confirmation of their
membership. After a lengthy search I informed him that only Sir Charles Warren had been a Freemason.
Regrettably, he chose to ignore this answer as it ruined his story. Sir Charles may not have been a good Commissioner of the
Metropolitan Police, but his conduct in no way merited the vilification he received at
the hands of Mr Knight."
There is, however, a Lodge
that figures - if somewhat tentatively with respect to the Whitechapel murders Doric Lodge. In 1991, Ron Evans, a Freemason,
produced a small booklet. The booklet gives an outline of what is known as the East London or Calver ritual.
According to Evans, after the union of the two Grand Lodges (the Antients and the Moderns) in 1813, the Lodge of Reconciliation was formed
to bring about a uniformity of practice in the Craft ceremonies. It would appear at this time no printed form of ritual would be allowed by the UGLE. Evans
informs us that, by 1874, Clubs of Instruction had been formed with preceptors to teach the ritual, and that the UGLE was unaware that
private payments were being paid to preceptors. He then suggests that a good preceptor could earn as much as 6d per head and, with a turnout of between 30 to 40
members, could earn as much as 10 to 15 shillings on a good night.
One of these preceptors was Arthur Calver of the
Doric Lodge, who appears to have been a pupil of Thomas
John Barnes, a photographer based at 6 Bedford Place, Commercial Road in 1865. It is at this time that I found
myself looking at the membership of Doric Lodge.
I was able to borrow the Lodge minute books to look at the details of Thomas
Barnes, when I came across a name that I recognised - George Lusk.
George Lusk's part in the Whitechapel murders has been somewhat blown out of proportion by filmmakers, being depicted as a baton-wielding thug of a vigilante group. Nothing could be further from the truth. Lusk
was initiated into Doric Lodge on 14 April 1882. He is recorded as a builder, and specialised in the restoration of music halls, and was the local churchwarden, and lived at 1 Alderney Road, Mile End.
Web site created by Mark Griffin