b. 1869 – d.1918 – Son of The Ripper’s Nemesis –
George Alfred Lusk was born in the March quarter of 1869 and his birth was registered in Mile End Old Town registration district. He was born in the East End of London to an East End family. He replaced a brother with the same name who had died less than a year earlier.
His parents, George and Susannah (nee Price), who had married in the March Quarter of 1863 and had their marriage registered in Stepney registration district, had a child in September quarter of 1867 and named him George Alfred and registered his birth in Bethnal Green registration district. The child died and his death was registered in the June quarter of 1868 in the registration district of Mile End Old Town.
The 1871 Census shows George age 2 living with his parents, George age 33, a painter born in Stepney and Susannah age 30, born in Mile End Old Town, at 5 Percival Buildings, Whitechapel. (This area of land was sold between 1866 and 1875 by the London Hospital for the development of the East London Railway. Perhaps this forced the family’s move to Tollet Street about 2.5 Kilometres north and east.) George has 2 older brothers, Albert Arthur 8, who had been born in Old Ford slightly further north than Stepney and once a ford on the River Lea, and Walter Leopold 6, who had been born In Middlesex (of which Mile End Old Town was a part in 1871). It looks as if the family may have moved around in London’s East End quite a bit.
In the 1881 Census the family are living at 1 Tollet Street, Stepney. George Lusk age 40 (in fact he was about 43), his occupation is given as master builder employing 20 men so things are really looking up and George’s hard work has been paying off. Susannah his wife is 38 (in fact she was about 40) and the family has grown now with 6 children, Albert 17 a plumber, Walter 16 a carpenter, both boys probably working with their father, George 11, Edith 9, Maud 5, and Grace 4. George and his younger siblings were all at school.
On 5 February 1888 Susannah died aged only 47, what a tragedy for her family. Her estate of £170 was left to her husband George. They were living at 1 Alderney Road, Stepney.
Connection to The Ripper
George Lusk senior was a prominent figure in the area. He was the Chairman of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee during the Jack the Ripper murders between August and November 1888. The committee was formed to assist the authorities to catch the killer. On 16th October 1888 George received a letter and half a human kidney purported to have been sent by Jack the Ripper. (The letter is known by Ripperologists as the “From Hell” Letter). George senior was convinced it was a hoax and placed the half kidney and the letter in a box. He took it to a meeting of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee the next day but some of his colleagues there thought that it might be genuine and took it to a doctor, very soon it was taken via the nearby London Hospital to the Police.
In the 1891 Census, which was taken on 5th April 1891, the family are still at 1 Tollet Street. The occupants are George Lusk, 47 now a widower, and described as a builder and contractor, Albert 29, a Plumber, Walter 26, a Carpenter, George Albert 22, our subject, now a builder’s Clerk and presumably working for his father like his older brothers, Edith 19, Maud 16, Grace 14, and a new addition to the family since the last Census, Lilian 9. All the girls are described as scholars.
But soon after the Census in 1891 George Lusk senior was declared bankrupt. The date of Filing the Petition was 25 April 1891. George’s address was given as 1, 2 and 3 Alderney Road!
He applied for a Discharge from Bankruptcy on 8 March 1895. Discharge was suspended until 8 March 1897. The suspension was due to a lack of funds, and a failure to keep “usual and proper books”. What was the effect on his family and business?
So in 1891, only days apart, George senior’s address in the Census is given as 1 Tollett Street and in the Bankruptcy proceedings as 1,2 and 3 Alderney Road. Did the family now own two houses? Looking at a map Tollet Street and Alderney Road are at right angles to each other. Is this in fact the same house at the junction of the two roads, perhaps knocked into a single dwelling? George Lusk is after all a builder. Today the two addresses have the same post code.
The 1901 Census was taken on 31 March. The family were still at 1 Tollet Street. George Lusk head, a widower and builder gave his age as 55. Six of his children were at home, Albert A. 35, George A. 32, builder’s clerk, Edith R. 29, Maud F.B. 25, Grace S. 23, and Lilian V. 19. All born in Mile End.
On 27 April 1901 George Alfred Lusk was discharged from the Mile End Workhouse “deemed insane”. He had been admitted from the infirmary.
He was again admitted to the Workhouse on 20 June described as “destitute”. On 12 July he was discharged to his father, George senior.
On 10 September George Alfred was in the Workhouse again and was deemed insane. On 18 September he was discharged to Hoxton House Asylum, Hoxton Street.
The Lunacy Patients Admission Register shows that on 18 September he was admitted to Hoxton House and discharged on 9 September 1904. On the same day he was admitted to the “Fisher” Asylum and discharged on 12 July 1907 to Long Grove Hospital in Epsom.
The 1911 Census has the family at 10 Caxton Street Bow. George Lusk (senior) 68, widowed, a builder is the head of the household. Three of his children were at home, Albert 47 a plumber, Maud 27 no occupation and Violet 24 no occupation. All were born in Mile End.
Violet must be Lilian Violet Lusk born in the December quarter 1881, Mile End Old Town 1c. 583
Our George’s father, George senior died in the December quarter of 1918, and was buried in the City of London and Tower Hamlets Cemetery on 25 October 1918.
On 7 December 1918 George Alfred Lusk died in Long Grove hospital and was buried in Horton Cemetery grave 342B on 13th December.