George Chapman Video

Severin Klosowski, also known as George Chapman, was born in Poland on the 14th of December 1865.

As a teenager he was an apprentice to a surgeon by the name of Rappaport, before, in 1886, applying to the Dean of the Medical Faculty of the Imperial University of Warsaw requesting permission to undergo the examination for the purpose of receiving the degree of Junior Surgeon.

The Secretary responded that the Faculty could not see any reason to oppose his receiving the degree.

However, he never completed his studies, but, rather, left Poland for England, where he arrived in London in either late 1887 or early 1888.


He arrived in London just as the Whitechapel murders were getting underway, and the fact that he settled in the East End is one of the reasons that his name found its way onto the ever expanding list of Jack the Ripper suspects.


However, its should be pointed out that there is, in fact, no direct evidence that links George Chapman with history’s most infamous murder spree.


In 1889, despite the fact that he already had a wife in Poland, he married a Polish woman, resident in London, by the name of Lucy Barderski, and the couple had a son together

By 1890 he was working in a barbers shop in the cellar of the White Hart pub on Whitechapel High Street, a pub which still exists, and where a board on the outside of the hostelry remembers its most infamous resident.


On the 3rd of March, 1891, their son died of pneumonia, and the couple decided to start a new life, and around April of that year they set sail for America, settling in Jersey City, where Klosowski went into business as a barber.

Here, Lucy became pregnant again.

The couple argued frequently, apparently on account of Klosowski’s frequent womanizing.

According to an article that appeared in The St James Gazette on the 23rd of March 1903, on one occasion when the couple quarrelled:-

“She states that on one occasion, when she had had a quarrel with her husband,he held her down on the bed, and pressed his face against her mouth to keep her from screaming.

At that moment a customer entered the shop immediately in front of the room, and Klosowski got up to attend him.

The woman chanced to see a handle protruding from underneath the pillow. She found, to her horror, that it was a sharp and formidable knife, which she promptly hid. Later, Klosowski deliberately told her that he meant to have cut her head off, and pointed to a place in the room where he meant to have buried her. She said, “But the neighbours would have asked where I had gone to.” “Oh”, retorted Klosowski, calmly, “I should simply have told them that you had gone back to New York.”


It was shortly after this incident that Lucy returned to London, where she took up residence with her sister, and she gave birth to a daughter.

A few weeks after the birth, Klosowski returned to London, and there was a brief reconciliation.


However, in 1894, whilst working at a barber’s shop in Tottenham, he met a lady by the name of Annie Chapman, and the two were soon living together as Mr and Mrs Klosowski.

One day, Klosowski brought his estranged wife, Lucy, home to live with them, and Annie, finding the arrangement to be not her liking, ended the relationship and walked out on him.

Klosowski, though, acquired a lasting legacy from their time together, for he appropriated her surname and became George Chapman, he never used or acknowledged the name Severin Klosowski ever again.

In early 1895, Annie Chapman visited him to tell him that she was pregnant with his child and she sought assistance from him. True to form, George Chapman refused to offer any support.


Later in 1895, “George Chapman” moved to Leytonstone, where he was employed at William Wenzel’s barber shop, which was located at 7 Church Lane, Leytonstone.

One of his regular customers was Mr. John Ward, whom Chapman asked to let him a furnished room, a request to which Mr. Ward agreed.


Also lodging with the Ward’s was Mrs Mary Isabella Spink, the estranged wife of Shadrach Spink, a railway porter at Leytonstone Station.

Mr Spink had walked out on his wife on account of her heavy drinking, and had taken their son, also called Shadrach, with him.

It wasn’t long before Chapman and Mary Spink had become romantically involved.

One Sunday morning, they came back to the lodging house, and Chapman told Mr. Ward and his wife that they had got married.


Mary had been left a substantial sum of money by her grandfather, and the two of them used some of the money to move to Hastings, where Chapman set himself up as a barber.

Business wasn’t particularly good, until, one day, Chapman hit upon a novel idea.

Mary could play the piano, and so Chapman leased one, set it up in the shop, and, whilst Chapman shaved and cut the hair of their customers, Mary would play the piano for them.

These “musical shaves” moved massively popular, and soon business was booming, and the Chapman’s were doing so well that George was able to buy himself a sailing vessel, in which they used to sail up and down the coast of Hastings.


One of his customers at the shop was the local chemist, Mr William Henry Davidson, whose shop was located at 66, High Street.

He and Chapman used to discuss medicine together at great length, and Chapman made several purchases from him.

Then, on the 3rd of April, 1897, Chapman called at Davidson’s premises and asked him to supply him with one ounce of tartar-emetic, a toxic poison which, in small doses, was used as a medicine, particularly in the treatment of alcoholism.

Davidson complied with the request, but made sure that his customer signed for it in the poisons book, as required by law. The register was duly signed by G. Chapman.

A reason also had to be given for the purchase, and Chapman scrawled something that was difficult to read but which looked like “take.” Davidson provided the poison in white powder form and he dispensed it in a wide mouthed bottle to which he affixed a small red label which read “Poison. Tartar emetic. Dose – one sixth of a grain to a quarter. To be taken with caution.”

Unbeknownst to Davidson he had supplied a dangerous criminal with the means by which he would claim the lives of three victims.