It's me, David B, the underpaid administrator of this site, with an unauthorized page.
Lord Orsam has taken all the credit for his article, 'The Lost Ripper Files', in Ripperologist 165 but who do you think spent days if not weeks going through the huge Home Office registers to find all the Ripper entries for him? Yes, that's right, muggins here. Totally uncredited and unappreciated as usual. Well, okay, sure, it's true that, due to an administrative cock-up at Orsam Towers, the article was sent to Ripperologist in my name rather than Lord Orsam's but everyone knows he wrote it and that I was just the research gimp. I wouldn't mind but Lord Orsam never even said thank you. Now I know that this is all part of Lord Orsam's aristocratic charm, and I love him for it like everyone does, but sometimes it's nice to receive a little bit of praise for one's hard work.
And believe me it wasn't easy. I had been hoping to find all the entries in the registers for the period 1888 to 1891, after which the excitement about the Ripper murders naturally ceased, but once I realized there were still plenty of correspondence to find it after those years, it became a complete needle in a haystack job. I knew I could be looking for single entries in massive registers (of which there are three for each year) all the way up to the 1930s or beyond. I had no way of knowing when the Ripper entries would cease.
As it happens, they spanned a period of 17 years which meant searching 17 years of huge registers. Finding the final 1905 entry gave me an enormous amount of pleasure, as you might imagine. But there were others that I thought I would never find. Can you imagine what would have happened if I had gone back to Lord Orsam and told him there were gaps in the list? It honestly doesn't bear thinking about! In the end ,it required multiple checks of some of the registers before I discovered where the missing ones were hiding away. So it would have been nice for Lord Orsam to put his arm round my shoulder and say 'Well done".
Anyway, never mind. Here's an example of one of those Home Office registers (this one being from 1888):
They are much bigger and heavier than they look in this image, incidentally. They each weigh a ton.
What I wanted to tell you is that while I was looking through those registers at the National Archives during the summer I needed to keep in mind the file reference number that I was after. This was, of course, A49301. As my eye scanned the long lists of references on page after page, I kept repeating that number in mind so that I wouldn't miss it if it was there. "A49301, A49301, A43901". I kept chanting this until it formed part of a song in my mind. Over time I added words until I had an entire chorus and I kept singing it to myself while I was looking for missing entries. Out of interest, I tried to use different numbers but I found it literally only worked as 'A49301'. No other numbers or combination of numbers (or letters) produced the same satisfactory tonal effect.
After completing the research task - and feeling very pleased with myself for finding all the A49301 entries - I thought it would be fun to see if I could write a whole song based on this new chorus. I didn't think that a song about a Home Office file would be of much interest so I turned A49301 into some kind of fictional highway. I then recorded it: but not in a studio, just with a home recording set up. If you'd be interested in listening to it you can find it on Soundcloud here for a limited amount of time only.
I'm neither a musician, singer or producer so it is, by necessity, of limited quality. If anyone who is a musician would like to record a proper version of this song, please knock yourself out.
I don't think you need to be a registered user of Soundcloud to listen but let me know if you have problems.
One more thing. I haven't told Lord Orsam that I've recorded this song nor that I'm mentioning it on this site, so if you see him please don't tell him.
27 October 2019