Mary Ann “Polly” <I>Walker</I> Nichols


Mary Ann “Polly” Walker Nichols Famous memorial

London, City of London, Greater London, England
Death 31 Aug 1888 (aged 43)
Whitechapel, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Greater London, England
Burial Newham, London Borough of Newham, Greater London, England
Memorial ID 1846 View Source

Victim of Jack the Ripper. At the age of 43, she was the first of five confirmed Ripper victims. Most modern investigators and researchers believe that Jack the Ripper had more victims than the five confirmed ones. At five foot, two inches, plump, with brown eyes and graying dark brown hair, she had been married to a printer's machinist named William Nichols. They had five children, with the oldest 21 years old and the youngest 9 years old at the time of her death. She and William had separated in 1881, due to her alcoholism and for her constant arguing, and for a couple of years; he had supported her with five shillings a week. About 1884, William took her to court and gained custody of the children, when she began to live with a blacksmith named Drew, without the benefit of marriage. After a year, Drew also left her due to her argumentative ways and from her drinking. She and William Nichols last saw each other in June 1886, at the funeral of their son who had died in an accidental fire. For several years, she lived in the East London workhouses, where the poor would work at menial jobs to earn the right to sleep in a large ward filled with fellow unfortunates. In May 1888, she found a respectable job working as a domestic servant in the house of a wealthy family, but within two months she was fired for stealing 3 pounds, 10 shillings, worth of clothing from the family. She then lived with another prostitute, Nelly Holland, in a doss-house (a poor person's rooming house that would rent a small room with a bed for about eight cents a night; payable daily) at 18 Thrawl Street in the Whitechapel area of East London, but on August 29, 1888, she was evicted for lack of money. She spent the next two days living on the streets. She was last seen alive on the morning of August 31, 1888, about 2:30 am, when her friend, Nelly Holland, came across her at the corner of Osborn Street and Whitechapel Road. She was drunk, and admitted that she had earned about 24 cents (from prostituting herself) that evening, but had spent it all on drink. At 3:45 am, she was discovered murdered on Buck's Row, an unlit street that bordered the Whitechapel Jews Cemetery (and about a half mile from where Nelly Holland had last seen her), by Charles Cross, who was walking to work. He and a fellow workman, Robert Paul, immediately notified a patrolling policeman, Constable John Neil. Her throat had been cut deeply to the neck, nearly severing her head from her body. Her abdomen had been slashed open, exposing her intestines. She remained in the Whitechapel mortuary until Thursday, September 6, when she was placed in a wooden coffin and taken to the City of London Cemetery in Ilford, where she was buried on Thursday, September 6, 1888.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 1846
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Mary Ann “Polly” Walker Nichols (26 Aug 1845–31 Aug 1888), Find a Grave Memorial ID 1846, citing City of London Cemetery and Crematorium, Newham, London Borough of Newham, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find a Grave .