Sir Robert Anderson


Dr. Robert Anderson, a Dublin born lawyer who had been brought to London in 1876 as part of an intelligence branch to combat the threat of Fenian terrorism.

When the branch was closed Anderson had remained behind as a Home Office “Advisor in matters relating to political crime.” He also controlled the spy Thomas Miller Beech who had successfully infiltrated the Fenian movement. Anderson was relieved of all duties, except controlling Beech, by the then Home Secretary, Hugh Childers, in 1886, and had become Secretary of the Prison Commissioners when he was offered the post of Assistant Commissioner CID in August 1888.

“…sinister rumours were in circulation as to the appointment of his successor. If the announcement had been made that, on his official retirement on the 31st of August, I should succeed to the office, things might have settled down. For all the principal officers knew and trusted me. But for some occult reason the matter was kept secret, and I was enjoined not to make my appointment known. I had been in the habit of frequenting Mr. Monro’s room, as we were working together in political crime matters ; but when I did so now, and Sir Charles Warren took advantage of my visit to come over to see me, it was at once inferred that he was spying on me because I was Mr. Monro’s friend….”

Furthermore, the fact that he had not taken an adequate holiday for several years meant that Anderson came to his post suffering from exhaustion, and his doctor instructed that he take a recuperative break.

This is his take on the victims
“…belonged to a very small class of degraded women who frequent the East End streets after midnight, in hope of inveigling belated drunkards, or men as degraded as themselves…”

He therefore set himself to “…reinvestigating the whole case” and next day he met with the Home Secretary and Sir Charles Warren. In The Lighter Side of My Official Life he recalled their conversation:-

“…We hold you responsible to find the murderer,” was Mr. Matthews’ greeting to me. My answer was to decline the responsibility. “I hold myself responsible,” I said, “to take all legitimate means to find him…”

He also made comment on the local police’s ambivalence towards the local prostitutes that had come about in the……..


Sir Robert Anderson

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