[ Victorian blackmail and 'personation'. ] Six items relating to a letter from Nellie Rowan to Sir Richard Harington. Including s 'Special Report' by Inspector Arthur Hare, note from Assistant Commissioner Sir Robert Anderson, copies by Harington.

Inspector Arthur Hare; Sir Robert Anderson, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police; Sir Richard Harington of Ridlington, 11th Baronet
Publication details: 
[ The Metropolitan Police, Criminal Investigation Department, New Scotland Yard, London. ] All items dating from 1896.
SKU: 19417

Six items, all but the last in good condition, with light signs of age and wear. A highly-entertaining snapshop of the seamier side of Victorian life, with the Metropolitan Police investigating after Sir Richard Harington of Ridlington, 11th Baronet, (1835-1911) alleges a blackmail plot, following his receipt of a letter from Mrs Nellie Rowan (Item Two), in which she addresses him as 'Dick', refers to her 'Rubbing Care' and ends in ' Kisses XXXXXX'. Following an interview with Mrs Rowan, Inspector Arthur Hare provides a 'Special Report' (Item One), concluding with his opinion that she is 'telling the truth as to the way she was induced to write to Sir Richard'. Hare's view would suggest that Mrs Rowan was duped into intimacy by the 'personating' party, with his 'frock coat, high silk hat', whiskers and moustache. ONE: Manuscript copy of report by 'A[rthur]. Hare, Inspr', headed 'Central Officer's Special Report | Subject – Alleged personation of Sir Richd Harington | Reference to papers, No 114008'. Criminal Investigation Department, New Scotland Yard, 7 August 1896. 4pp., 4to. On three leaves of grey paper. The copy indicates that the original document was signed by 'A. Hare, Inspr | Donald S. Swanson, Supt', meaning that Swanson is Hare's superior rather than that the letter was co-authored. (Chief Inspector Donald Sutherland Swanson (1848-1924) was in overall charge of the investigation into the Whitechapel Murders from 1 September to 6 October 1888, and Hare was also involved in the case.) Hare begins by explaining that Harington has asked for 'assistance to discover a person who it is thought has been personating him', following his receipt of 'a letter from a woman named Nellie Rowan, address 28 Tunis Road Shepherds Bush'. On the previous day Hare 'saw Nellie Rowan at the above address and shewed her the letter in question and she at once admitted having written it. In answer to my questions she said that on the 18th May this year she was travelling in a first class carriage on the Underground Railway from Liverpool Street to Chapel Street, Edgware Road, when a gentleman who was in the same compartment entered into conversation with her, and they both got out at Edgware Road Station, and he invited her to lunch with him. They went into a Cafe in Chapel Street and had lunch In the course of conversation she came to the conclusion that this gentleman was a lawyer as he talked a great deal about law. She also noticed that he was lame in the right leg, and as she had been engaged in massage treatment, and he said the lameness was caused by rheumatism, she suggested that he should undergo a course of treatment, and he promised to meet her again for that purpose. She left him at the Railway Station, but before leaving him she asked him his name, he said “Harrington” she said “what Christian name” and he said “Richard but call me Dick as I dont like a fuss”'. Rowan's account continues with his failure to appear at an appointed meeting, her journey to New Court, Temple, to enquire after him: 'when she found that this Richard Harington [ Sir Richard's son and namesake the future 12th Baronet (1861-1931), who at the time was a barrister practising on the Oxford Circuit ] was too young for the man she had met, and she then came to the conclusion it must be his father, so wrote the letter to Sir Richard. Rowan says that the person she met never pretended he was Sir Richard Harington, but plain Richard or Dick Harington – I think she is telling the truth as to the way she was induced to write to Sir Richard. | Mrs Rowan who is staying with friends at 28 Tunis Road is about 50 years old, medium height, stout build, fresh complexion, dark hair turning grey and she describes “Richard Harrington” as age 61, height 6 feet, thin build, stoops a little, hair, side whiskers and moustache fair but now grey; dress frock coat, high silk hat, lame right leg, suffers from rheumatism in both hands. | The letter written by Sir Richard Harington, to be given to Mrs. Rowan, is herewith returned, as, under the circumstances, I did not think it wise to give it to her.' TWO: Autograph Letter Signed from 'Nellie Rowan' to 'Sir Richard Hamilton', from 'Temporary address | 28 Tunis Road | Shepherds Bush. | W.', 30 July 1896. 4pp., 12mo. Bifolium. In envelope with stamp and postmarks, addressed to 'Mr Richard Harington | New Court | Temple' and forwarded in another hand to 'Whitbourne Court | Worcester'. The nature of Mrs Rowan's relationship with 'Dick', and of her 'Rubbing Care', is indicated by the letter's postscript: 'Kisses XXXXXX'. Begins 'Dear Dick | I have looked in vain for your fresh appointment and now feel you have quite forsaken your new Friend which would have been perhaps a Great Comfort to you | I have left Leytonstone in Essex and have seen some new Rooms in Barker Street direction, but was anxious to see or hear from You if You are likely to require the Rubbing Care, for the knee & other Joints'. He knows, she states, 'what else I require', and asks to be sent 'a few lines if only to keep up my forlorn hopes, if I had had a pound in my pocket I could have taken Rooms this day, but alas I have received nothing yet from Scotland and am quite broken until I can something by Rubbing from Dick | on 20th May I received your few lines, saying you were balled out of Town'. She hopes to hear that he is 'back again and quite ready for your Nell and her Care, the perfect Case'. She states that she has 'called at Dining Rooms Chapel St twice'. With autograph copy of the letter and envelope by Harington. THREE: Autograph copy by Harington of a letter from him to Mrs Rowan, 2 August 1896. 1p., 12mo. A stiff missive, in the third person, the climax of which reads: 'If Nellie Rowan's letter is written in good faith she will show that good faith by handing that of the 20th May to the police in order that the writer may be discovered & punished.' FOUR: Autograph transcript by Harington of a note and envelope from 'Dick' to Mrs Rowan (at 28 Grove Road, Leytonstone), '2 o'c on Thursday at London Bridge Station – Brighton line waiting room'. Note by Harington at head: 'Copies documents returned to Asst. Comr of police Augt 6 1896'. FIVE: Autograph draft of letter from Harington to the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Sir Edward Bradford (1836-1911). 4pp., 12mo. With emendations to every page. Dated 'W[hitbourne]. C[ourt]. W[orcester] | 2 Aug. 1896'. An outraged Harington hopes to get to 'the bottom of the matter', and puts forward the 'theory' that the letter is part of a plan with the aim and 'audacity of attempting to blackmail a man of Sir Richard's age & public position'. SIX: Typed Note Signed from Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Sir Robert Anderson (1841-1918). On his New Scotland Yard letterhead, 25 August 1896. 1p., 8vo. Reads: 'Sir, I have to acquaint you that the woman Nellie Rowan now applies through her solicitor for the two documents given to you by Inspector Hare and I ll be glad if you will be so good as to return them to me.' With wear and loss, affecting the signature 'R Anderson'. From the Harington papers, which also include a note on the case signed by Sir Melville Macnaghten.?>