The Cleveland Street Scandal the Connected to the Ripper and the Government Cover-Up
The male brothel that the authorities wanted to hide.
If you follow the Jack the Ripper case, a few names may appear familiar in this article. None more so than the grandson of Queen Victoria, Albert Victor. Albert was used to his fair share of scandal, even being accused of being the Ripper at one point. Reports also state that he had an illegitimate son by Margery Haddon called Clarence.
The Post Office Robbery
In July 1889, Police Constable Luke Hanks investigated a theft from the telegraph office. During this, he searched a fifteen-year-old by the name of Charles Thomson. Thomson was found to have a large amount of money on him, over one week’s wages. Hanks brought him into the station for questioning.
He denied the robbery but admitted to being a prostitute and told the police the brothel’s location, 19 Cleveland Street. He also implicated Henry Newlove (18) as the boy that had recruited him. Two other boys would come forward and supported his statement. Following this, Newlove made a full confession. The crime was punishable by two years of hard labour as homosexuality was illegal. Many telegraph boys were connected as being prostitutes.
The officer took this straight to his superior, none other than Fredrick Abberline, a man involved in the hunt for the Ripper. A warrant for the arrest of Newlove and the brothel owner Hammond was issued.
On the 6th July, when the brothel was raided, the house was locked up, Hammond was nowhere to be seen, had Newlove tipped the others off. Newlove was arrested.
Lord Arthur Somerset, an equerry to the Prince of Wales, was a brothel patron, had fleed the country with Hammond to avoid prosecution.
The Cleveland Street Clients
George Veck, who was Hammonds Clark, was also arrested, in his pocket were letters that implicated Somerset as a brothel patron. Somerset, the head of the royal stable, was questioned but released without charge.
On 11th September, Veck and Newlove were tried, Somerset paid for their legal fees. They both pleaded guilty, and on 19th September, they were sentenced to a few months of hard labour, a very lenient sentence.
Hammond escaped to Belgium on the advice of prime minister Lord Salisbury, another prominent figure in the Ripper search. Somerset funded the trip. Despite England’s relationship with Belgium, he was never deported. Instead, the case was quietly dropped.
Henry James Fitzroy, the Earl of Euston, was also implicated as a patron; he sued the accusers and won his case. He also helped many patrons and male prostitutes flee prosecution.
It is known that the Prince of Wales received a letter stating that his son Albert Victor was one of the clients. This is why many thought the media didn’t cover the incident. Albert Victor, in 1889, was sent on a trip to India, which was primarily seen as a ploy to get him out of the scandals way.
The government at the time were accused of covering the plot up to protect the aristocrats and other prominent names. This is primarily supported by the fact that none of the men was ever prosecuted. This lack of prosecution added fuel to the fact that male homosexuality was an aristocratic vice and perverse.
The public’s outcry meant that the courts needed to make an example of someone to clear this view. Unfortunately, Oscar Wilde was the person that was prosecuted a few years later. Wilde also alludes to The Cleveland Street scandal in Dorian Gray.
The Cleveland Street house was demolished in the 1890s.