Sir William Gull (1816 – 1890)

Today sees the first blog by star guide and leading Jack the Ripper researcher Lindsay Siviter.  Lindsay will be reporting weekly about many aspects of the case and also about her work at the Crime Museum at New Scotland Yard. That’s right, we actually have a guide who’s on the inside so to speak, and who really is internationally recognised as one of the World’s leading experts on the Jack the Ripper case.

Lindsay is also the official biographer of leading Jack the Ripper suspect Sir William Gull, so much so that she has even spent time with his descendants, has had access to his papers and, not to put to fine a point on it, is the leading authority on the man who, in many peoples eyes, was responsible for at least some of the Whitechapel Murders.

So, without further ado, I’ll hand you over to the one and only Lindsay Siviter or, as she is for the purposes of her weekly blog “Siv of the Yard.”


By tour guide Lindsay Siviter, Official Biographer of Sir William Gull

Lindsay Siviter and Nicola, who is a descendent of Sir William Gull.
Lindsay Sviter and Nicola, a descendent of Sir William Gull.

On 29th January 1890, the eminent royal physician and famous Jack the Ripper suspect Sir William Withey Gull died at his London residence at 74 Brook Street. He was 73 years old and died from an attack of paralysis caused by a cerebral haemorrhage.

His death certificate informs us this was not his first attack as he had had a stroke in October 1887 while at his house in Scotland in Killiecrankie.

 Though he seemed to get better he soon retired from practice and by April 1888 he was poorly again, being so ill he could not even attend his daughters wedding.

The attack with proved fatal came on the previous Monday morning while Sir William was eating breakfast. He went into an adjoining room and returned pointing to his mouth. His valet helped him to a sitting room where Sir William wrote on a piece of paper “I have no speech” (this piece of paper still exists today in a London medical archive).

The family were at once summoned and the patient received every medical attention but he soon lost consciousness and lingered thus until the following Wednesday (today in 1890) when he quietly passed away in the presence of his friends and family at lunchtime at12.30pm.

There were hundreds of obituaries written for him but a quote from the famous medical journal The Lancet says it all: “A strong man is removed from among us. He rests from his labours”.

Sir William was subsequently buried a week later in his home parish of Thorpe-le-Soken in Essex.

He became famous as ripper suspect in 1976 when author Stephen Knight claimed his involvement in his book The Final Solution. Subsequent films including “From Hell” have also accused this eminent doctor.

If you would like to hear the latest on Sir William Gull then you can join Lindsay for her walking tour around Jack the Ripper’s London.