Barnado, Thomas John (1845-1905)

Thomas John Barnado

Was the man who rescued 60,000 orphans actually Jack the Ripper?

Accord to EB, Dr. Barnado was “a pioneer in social work who founded more than 90 homes for destitute children. Under his direction, the children were given care and instruction of high quality despite the then unusual policy of unlimited admittance.”

EB doesn’t mention this, but Wikipedia (“Thomas John Barnado”) does:

At the time of the Whitechapel murders, due to the supposed medical expertise of the Ripper, various doctors in the area were suspected. Barnardo was named a possible suspect. Ripperologist Gary Rowlands theorized that due to Barnardo’s lonely childhood he had anger which led him to murder prostitutes. However, there is no solid evidence he committed the murders. Critics have also pointed out that his age and appearance did not match any of the descriptions of the Ripper.

For comparison with the above photo of Barnado, here is a sketch of the Ripper:


I think this sullying of a good man’s name is a good illustration of the dangers of relying heavily on a less scientific discipline like psychology, especially regarding historical events.  (Sidenote: Even Alice in Wonderland‘s author Lewis Carroll was considered a Ripper suspect!)

Photo sources:


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