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Old 01-12-2015, 05:50 PM   #161
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Default Re: Reggie Woodsworth Occult Workshop, Secret Hideaway

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post

What about somewhere close by? How about the area south of the Fenchurch Street station and north of the Tower?

What kind of houses were around Trinity Square in 1888? What kind of business or activity went on around there?
I can locate a music hall/theatre, Trinity House, home of the chartered corporation responsible for lighthouses, bouys, pilots and assorted navigational aids in England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar, the trinity square Gardens in some form
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Old 01-13-2015, 03:36 AM   #162
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Default Re: Reggie Woodsworth Occult Workshop, Secret Hideaway

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Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
I can locate a music hall/theatre, Trinity House, home of the chartered corporation responsible for lighthouses, bouys, pilots and assorted navigational aids in England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar, the trinity square Gardens in some form
If there's a music hall, there might be a nice house for a bachelor pad.

I had a new idea, though. Maybe occult significance is more important to Reggie than the house looking at least moderately nice.

When Sir Francis Dashwood's Order of the Knights of St Francis / Monks of Medmenham / Hellfire Club met at Medmenham Abbey, the brothers were reputed to boat in, eh, 'ladies of the evening' from London.

Unless someone can find sites along the Thames in London with stronger associations with boating excursions to Medmenham for immoral purposes, I thought I might as well postulate that a given public house along the old Ratcliffe Highway, in Reggie's time as well as ours, that stretch of it named St. George's Street East, had been used to inspect and negotiate terms with these ladybirds. Since then, the houes had several times gone to ruins and wrack, repair and back, having housed a variety of businesses and public houses, of course.

An area of sidestreets and alleys around the old Ratcliffe Highway near the docks was known as Tiger Bay, for the supposedly voracious man-eating appetites of the ladies of negotiable affection who plied their trade there. I thought it would be considered an apropos location for a group of rakes who deliberately set out to shock, titillate and outrage societal norms.*

I imagined that Reggie Woodsworth could buy the building and a warehouse behind it. The warehouse he could have an agent rent out as normal, except for a small part of it, accessible only from the warehouse office, where he would install a secret passage behind some boxes that are never moved.

In the old Ratcliffe Highway building, he would have a live-in manager, an aging Judy, running a house of ill-repute, lushery and a gambling establishment in the cellar. The house would be called 'The Lady and the Clover' and on the top floor, Reggie would have furnished a decadent love-nest and workshop for his occult rituals.

How does this sound?

*Even if they probably made arrangments for a better class of toffers to meet them there than would usually be found preying on the sailors.
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Old 01-17-2015, 11:55 AM   #163
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Default The State of Defences that the PCs Leave Behind and the Location of Police Stations

I've noted before that as far as the PCs of my campaign know, all four of the police stations of the H Division of the London Metropolitan Police may be within the area affected by the supernatural catastrophe that seperated a part of the East End from the rest of the world, forming our setting. It is also highly plausible that at least two of the City of London Police stations are within this area as well.

The four stations of the H Division of the London Metropolitan Police include:
76-78 Leman Street (Divisional HQ)
160 Commercial Street, Spitalfields
Arbour Square, Stepney
King David Lane, Shadwell

This is the result of my researches which begun by trying to work out whether any police stations were within the affected area . Three police stations are near enough to the area of activity of the PCs that it seems very unlikely that they will not become important in play.

I note that the weapons stored at each police station are not very impressive. After the Clerkenwell Outrage, a Fenian bombing of a prison meant to assist in an escape that ended up killing several innocent people, including a little girl, both the City of London Police and the London Metropolitan Police were issued Adams revolvers* borrowed form Tower of London stores. 661 revolvers were loaned to the Met, for just over 6,000 officers in 63 stations. Like cutlasses, it seems that ten of these revolvers were issued to each station and only ten rounds of ammunition were issued with each to a policeman who drew one from stores.

In 1883, the London Metropolitan Police replaced these with Webley M.P. loading-gate revolvers of the 'Constabulary' pattern, buying 931. These were intended for constables in the outlying stations, who could request them night patrols if they wished. It seems very likely that the 931 Webley M. P. .450 loading-gate revolvers would have been divided in a similar way as the London Met later divided their one thousand Webley & Scott self-loaders in the years leading up to WWI, with ten weapons issued to each divisional HQ station and three to six issued to smaller, sub-divisional stations.

We'll return to the City of London police stations at Bishopsgate and in Seething Lane next to Tower Street later. For now, let's tackle H Division of the London Metropolitan Police, because at least one police station is close enough to where the PCs have been adventuring that they have three times been in a position to make a short detour and see the condition of the station for themselves.

In all cases, however, the PCs did not dare delay even a minute from their self-appointed quests, as the players are uncomfortably aware that their GM does not believe in off-screen events moving at the speed of plot. Innocents will be sacrificed at the hour chosen by the villains, regardless of whether the PCs have gathered up enough forces to stage a last-moment rescue by that time or not. Flying columns of enemy raiders will attack friendly survivors in the absence of PCs, if they happen to be absent at the time the GM had estimated the enemy needed to organise them.

So the PCs don't dare to explore for the sake of exploring and spent the last few sessions desperately scrambling to raise a rescue force and also find enough arms for the survivor society they are setting up to be able to leave a strong defensive force under trusted friends of their PCs. Even so, they are aghast at leaving almost a thousand people at the mercy of whatever dark forces stalk them in the night**, even if within a few hours, the volunteer forces defending them will have enough ammunition to field some 200 men armed with longarms of varying effectiveness*** and to reload at least 30 revolvers for defenders as well.

These weapons are more numerous than survivors who are actually capable of acting sensibly in a combat situation. Certainly, some 200 men who have discharged a firearm before can be found, but even proficiency with a weapon does not a warrior make. The PCs, accordingly, have thought longingly about the fact that some one-in-five to one-in-four of police recruits are former military men (some reports claim that 50% of the London Metropolitan Police in 1888 come from the army or other services) and that police constables routinely encounter physical violence in the course of their professional duties, even if firefights are rare. Any significant reinforcement from the 600+ police of H Division of the London Metropolitan Police and the 900+ men of the City of London Police would be a welcome leavening of stout men.

It may be that all four of the H Division stations are within the affected area of the campaign setting. On the other hand, the Shadwell station at King David Lane and the Stepney station at Arbour Square are further east than any news the PCs have gotten. They have no reports, second-hand or otherwise, of anywhere east of the London Hospital.

Also, the PCs have as yet no confirmed reports of the Spitalfields Market, Bishopsgate Goods Yard or anything near Bethnal Green Road, which may indicate that the northern end of Commercial Street (starting from the old Red Lion Street), where the station at 160 Commercial Street stands, might be just outside the affected area and/or that something terrible is located between it and the home base of the survivors led by the PCs. It is certain that the densely populated alleys and narrow streets filled with doss houses and temporary lodging around 'Petticoat Lane'/Middlesex Street, Goulston Street and Flower and Dean Street are extremely dangerous to venture into. Dorset Street and the other small streets around the Spitalfields Market would certainly be no better.

On the other hand, the PCs do know for certain that the Leman Street HQ station at 76-78 Leman Street**** is within the affected area, as PCs have passed the north end of Leman Street, the south end of Leman Street and even gone through Tenter Street and walked Great Prescott Street***** on more than one occasion. They haven't seen the police station, not in the dark and foggy conditions that prevail, but they've been close enough to know that at least the street it was on is entirely part of this new and altered East End of London.

In the next post, I'll go into some questions and thoughts I have about the Leman Street station. Here, however, I have but one question:

Does anyone happen to have information on where the Section Houses****** for the H Division of the Metropolitan Police are located?

*The evidence suggests that these were the older pattern of 'Beamont-Adams' caplock revolvers converted to metallic cartride weapons, i.e. the Adams MkI.
**Not to mention the non-existent mercy of their GM, prone to posing impossible moral dilemmas where the players do not know the relative risks and having the consequences of almost any choice be some innocents dying because the powerful PC heroes were not there to defend them.
***There are around 20 more-or-less modern breechloading rifles, around a quarter each are Snider-Enfields or Martini-Henry rifles owned by members of the Tower Hamlet Volunteer Rifle Corps and the rest are sporting rifles comparable to those. Then there are 30 muzzleloading smoothbore trade guns, a scattering of other muzzleloaders and some 150 breechloading shotguns, the majority of them in 12-gauge, but with significant numbers in 16-gauge and a few 20-gauge or 10-gauge.
****Just a few houses away from where the new Leman Street station would be built in 1891.
*****Great Prescott Street is actually where three of the PCs, along with their thirty strong band of intrepid rescuers, are located at this point in time, after the events of session nine.
******Barracks-style housing for unmarried policemen.
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Old 01-17-2015, 01:42 PM   #164
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Default Exotic Influences, as per Advice in this Thread

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Originally Posted by davidtmoore View Post
Spice things up (pun very much intentional) with some exoticism. Mummies and Egyptian sorcerers,
As noted in the posts about the first two sessions, Dr. Stanley appeared to have learnt some Egyptian sorceries on his visits to that land as a military surgeon. After his death, he returned in a mummy-esque form, which vomited locusts as a form of attack and disgorged more locusts in place of blood when struck. There were also Egyptian-esque dog creatures.

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Originally Posted by davidtmoore View Post
golems and Hebrew magicians,
The PCs have formed an allegiance with the congretation of the Great Synagogue in Duke Street. Some of the PCs know the kosher butchers, drapers, costermongers, milliners, seamstresses, ironmongers and other tradesmen of the Jewish immigrant community around Aldgate.

Father MacManus is even friendly with a young rabbi among them, Moses Kogan. The Chief Rabbi, Nathan Marcus Adler, as well as his son and assistant Rabbi Herman Adler, and a few other older rabbis, however, are secreted away in the Great Synagogue, debating the religious significance of the supernatural events that have taken place. The PCs have so far not been able to speak with them.

It is, of course, far from impossible that there are some occult-minded people among the Jewish community; whether that be Sephardic Jews who have been there for centuries, wealthy Ashkenazim born of German or Dutch Jews who moved to England a generation or two ago or the recent Eastern European Ashkenazi immigrants. Those who know some supernatural lore might find that it is rather more useful in a world with powerful working magic than in a world more like ours, which the game world appears to have been before the supernatural event which started the game.

Several clay statues* of 9' to 12' tall warriors of various cultures that the PCs have spied among the villains that occupy the Royal Mint have fuelled speculation among the players that a renegade rabbi or qabbalist might be among the villains. Of course, it is not clear why such a person should elect to create statues/golems** that are built to resemble such warriors as a Malay pirate, a Japanese Samurai, a Chinese soldier in scale armour carrying an exotic polearm and an African spearman whose origin may lie in Ethiopia.

*The players are morally certain that these statues will move when it comes to violence between their PCs and the villains.
**Accepting, for the moment, the players' hypothetical as true.


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Originally Posted by davidtmoore View Post
Chinese wizards and horrors.
The PCs have now met a Chinese commander of armed Lascars and native-born dockside criminals named An Wei. He spoke of a Lord of Strange Deaths, who appeared to be at least as senior as the masked Agreus, the apparent commander-in-chief of the rag-tag army besieging the Tower of London. A mysterious Dutch-Chinese merchant prince of Singapore, by the name of Li Van Holt, also appeared to be familiar with the Lord of Strange Deaths and surprised indeed that Reggie Woodsworth knew that title.

All the PCs know of this mysterious Lord of Strange Deaths is that he is said to direct much of the opium trade and exotic criminal doings of the Chinese in Limehouse and the Lascars of the docks. There are those who say that London is the least of his concerns, that he controls a secret society or tong, as they call it in China, which extends secretive tendrils of influence into the very Forbidden City of Imperial China, as well as controlling the nefarious underworlds of dozens of South-East Asian port cities.

On the PC side, Georgie 'the Teapot' Frankton knows the proprietor of a curiosity shop down by the docks, on the old Ratcliffe Highway (now named St. George Street East). The name locals use for him is Chink Charlie and he acts as a receiver of stolen goods of exotic nature. In his shop, he sells many trinkets that purport to come from islands in the Indian Ocean, China or other Asian countries.

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Originally Posted by davidtmoore View Post
Cool! Then definitely throw a bit more of that in the mix. Ghuls, golems and penanggalen...
Only a few survivors managed to win clear of the horror that engulfed Aldgate station of the underground as the supernatural event that began the campaign occured. When the PCs were forced to go down there, they found what used to be human commuters had been transmuted into terrible blood-thirsty creatures with long talons in place of fingernails and grotesquely enlarged teeth adapted for tearing flesh and breaking bones to get at marrow.

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Originally Posted by Cornelius View Post
The Return of Cagliostro
A body hopping warlock, servant to some demonic power, which is looking for a better kind of immortality (Body hopping leave you very weak for days and gives you horrendous migraines)
Currently he's posing as a stage magician (The Amazing Ardini!), noted for his incredible "tricks" and "feats of magic". He is also known as a stauch enemy of mediums and seers, which he considers as fools, in the best case, or swindlers.
At present, there have been no encounters with anything suggestive of body-hopping warlocks.

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Originally Posted by Cornelius View Post
A dash of Mesmerism
A young boy is unwittingly a very powerful telepath. His dreams conditions people around him, sometimes for the good, sometimes for the worse, but usually in a very funny way. The problem is that his powers are devouring him. Can the players cure him and find a suitable teacher?
A lot of the supernatural phenomena that occured within Dr. Stanley's town house on Whitechapel High Street had connections to the works of Arthur Machen, who was kept as a prisoner in that house. Of course, that might just be because the secret society of occultists to which he tangentially belonged inspired his stories and they were really worshipping the Great God Pan.

Alternatively, it might be that Machen's imagination had given substance to certain powers. In that case, the fact that the PCs have left him behind with other survivors while they go do deal with an army of villains is quite unfortunate...

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Originally Posted by Cornelius View Post
BEDLAM!
The soul asylum of Bedlam was quite a terrible place. Now has become even really dangerous. The Genius Loci of the hospital has awakened and is spreading his madness in the city.
While London after the events that began the campaign resembles little so much as Bedlam, that old mental hospital is not in any way concerned.

Spirit Loci, however, might well be real in this world. The PCs have spoken with an entity that they suspect is an awakened mechanical telephone exchange.

The Spirit Loci of the Tower of London might be a very valuable ally to the PCs, if one could be contacted. Similarly, perverting it or the Spirit Loci of the London Stone might well be among the goals of the villains.

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Originally Posted by Cornelius View Post
London Exposed
While the victorian society ostended a virtuos image of itself, the truth is that London was home to a staggering numer of brothels for any kind of taste no matter how perverted and disgusting. Even the most important men of the nation gave way to their sordid desires there. But someone now is collecting evidences of their vices and he must be stopped.
The damsels in distress that the PCs have set out to rescue are mostly prostitutes from Whitechapel. One of the people they have disguised as maidens brought to the villains for a midnight sacrifice* is a teenage 'Molly Mandrake'** she-he, or a cross-dressing male prostitute.

*It's a long story, but the PCs are pretending to be criminals on the side of the villains, in return for a hefty payment from the Royal Mint and some of the royal jewels of the Tower of London.
**Fictional slang term, playing on the historical slang terms 'molly' (somewhat outdated at the time of play) and 'mandrake' (current at the time of play) for homosexuals and 'Molly Maguires' for a secret society of Irish labour activists.


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Originally Posted by Cornelius View Post
In Winter
A strange being has been seen on the roofs of the city. Some claim that it was an ape, and a monstrous one too. Others say that it's impossible, that an ape could not survive London' harsh winter. Or maybe it's fled from a private zoo, like the one own by a strange doctor, obsessed by primates.
A doctor which is researching, and a few whisper is also selling, a wondrous drug against old age. Funny, there also lot less beggars around, aren't they. Must have been the winter. They surely went south...
Among the villains is a Dr. Robert Taylor Leraux, who is a researcher in the field of Gregor Mendel. He has been very vocal on the subject of 'drawing forth the inner ape' from human subjects and has apparently carried out some experiments using human volunteers* and animal subjects from Jamrach's Animal Emporium down by the docks.

He spoke with great animation with Reggie Woodsworth about the recent stage adaptation of Robert Lewis Stevenson's 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde', which he found a fascinating example of an artist intuitively perceiving scientific realities to which the mainstream medical and scientific community remained willfully blind.

He had also had remarkable success with fusing together dead flesh and living, adding a great mass of muscles to living subjects and 'giving them the strength of three men'. As a consequence of the process which fused the flesh together, their flesh kept growing, even closing wounds made in their living or dead flesh with great rapidity. There were, however, some unfortunate side-effects, 'some apparent pain, irritation, a deal of mental unstability, loss of ordinary human facilities of speech and reasoning'.

*Or not-so-voluntary subjects.

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Originally Posted by Cornelius View Post
Something you like?
As noted, I like a wealth of ideas and influences.
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Old 01-17-2015, 09:04 PM   #165
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Default London Metropolitan Police, H Division - HQ at Leman Street Station

We've determined above that out of the London Metropolitan Police H Division police stations, only the headquarters at Leman Street Station are likely to matter in play anytime soon. They, in turn, are extremely likely to come up at a moment's notice, just as soon as the PCs have a few extra minutes to drop by at Leman Street in search of more stout men to recruit for their society of survivors at the Aldgate.

I've been watching the first few episodes of BBC One's Ripper Street as 'research' and in case I can't find a real-world source with an answer for something for H Division, I think I'll use information from the TV show, at least if it's not obviously faulty or stupid.

H Division Strength
To begin with, then, the strength of the H Division of the London Metropolitan Police at the start of play, excluding temporary reinforcements still drawing pay from other divisions and exclusing also any special constables, is 587 men divided into the following ranks:

1 Superintendent (Supt. Thomas Arnold)
1 Chief Inspector (CI John West)
11 1st class Inspectors
14 2nd class Inspectors
2 Sub Inspectors
19 1st class Sergeants
4 2nd class Sergeants
14 3rd class Sergeants
219 1st class PCs
114 2nd class PCs
173 3rd class PCs

and on CID -

1 Local Inspector (DI Edmund Reid)
1 1st class Sergeant
1 2nd class Sergeant
6 3rd class Sergeants
5 1st class Constables
1 2nd class Constable

TOTAL = 587 Police Officers

Station Commanders and Inspectors
From what I can gather, Chief Inspector John West, in addition to being the senior uniformed man in H Division under Superintendent Thomas Arnold, was in charge at Leman Street HQ, where he was assisted by an Inspector Charles Pinhorn. There will have been more Inspectors based at Leman Street, as well, as it was the CID HQ for the division and the administrative headquarters of all police work. In charge of the CID of Division H, based at the HQ in Leman Street, was Detective Inspector Edmund Reid.

In charge at Commercial Street station was Divisional Inspector Ernest Ellisdon, assisted by Inspector Walter Beck.

I can't find out why was in charge at King David Lane of the Shadwell station and at Arbour Square of the Stepney one. No doubt a uniformed Divisional Inspector (who would have been a 1st Class Inspector) had the job, probably assisted by another Inspector.

H Division had 14 first class uniformed Inspectors, after all, which is enough not to need to assign Sergeants as the senior officers at any station. There is a reference to a Divisional Inspector Pimley in a period newspaper, which might refer to the CO at either one of these police stations.*

CID Officers
The odds are that the 1st Class Detective Sergeant in H Division was DI Reid's second and the CID chief administrative officer, who had the responsibility for keeping the paperwork in order and administratively assigning plain-clothes officers to investigations. I have not been able to find conclusive proof who that man was in 1888, but it is likely that either Detective Sergeant William Thick, DS William Smith, DS Eli Caunter, DS Albert Pearce or DS Stephen Leach** was the 1st Class Sergeant and one of the others the 2nd Class one.

Unless I find evidence suggesting something else, I lean toward making DS Stephen Leach or DS Eli Caunter*** the 1st Class Sergeant of the CID in H Division, on the theory that the day-to-day running and administration of CID required at least one experienced officer not involved in the Ripper investigation and DS Pearce and DS Thick were clearly working closely with DI Reid on that case from the start.

DS Leach travelled some distance from Whitechapel to make an arrest at the time, which argues against him having an important administrative role, but on the other hand, he appears to have been senior to DS William Smith and DS White, at least.

DS Caunter and DS Thick were active investigators who spent quite a lot of time in front of magistrates and strolling the streets of Whitechapel, judging from period sources. This argues against them being the 1st Class Sergeants, as does the fact that neither made Inspector later on, while the 1st Class Sergeant role was usually considered a jumping-off point for that position.

Officers in Charge at Leman Street Station
The supernatural event that transformed a part of the East End into the campaign setting took place just after 3 o'clock on a Friday, the 2nd of November 1888. At that time, the day shift would be on duty, which means that just a part of the 25% of the manpower of H-Division assigned to day shift would be at the stations.

Senior officers are likely to have worked bankers' hours or as close to it as they could manage. Given the stress of the Ripper scare, that might not be all that close and it is certain that the officers directly assigned to the Ripper case, i.e. DCI Swanson (of Scotland Yard), DCI Moore (of Scotland Yard), DI Abberline (of Scotland Yard), DI Nairn (of Scotland Yard), DI Reid and DS Pearce, DS Thick, DS Godley (J-Division liason) and DS M'Carthy (unknown division) worked long hours.

As Superintendant Thomas Arnold lived with his wife next to the Stepney station at Arbour Square, however, I have decided that when no urgent business prevented him, he liked to make a circuit of his four stations on Fridays. Ending at Arbour Square allowed him to dine at home at 2 o'clock without needing to walk far to go back to work and then to go directly home from the Arbour Square station once the workday finished for him a few hours later.

This means that Supt. Arnold is not at Leman Street station and the most senior officer likely to be met there is Chief Inspector John West. It seems that the next most senior man at Leman Street would be Inspector Charles Pinhorn, who is almost certain to have ranked as Divisional Inspector for Leman Street station, and then an unknown number of Inspectors (1st Class) who may have held their rank longer than Detective Inspector Reid.

As both a practical and customary matter, however, DI Reid would have a very free hand how he ran his CID shop and on any matter touching on ongoing investigations or requests for support, reinforcement or assistance to the CID, DI Reid would outrank any ordinary uniformed Inspector who was not a Divisional Inspector of a police station. This makes him number three at Leman Street HQ in all practical terms.

In addition to these, the men from Scotland Yard assigned especially to the Ripper investigation are likely to have had working space at Leman Street station. This includes the on-the-ground commander of the investigation, Inspector Fred Aberline, and his subordinate DI Nairn, as well as any Detective Sergeants or ordinary Detective Constables that they might have brought along. Anyone from J Division or the City of London Police would also be likely to get offices at Leman Street.

I know John West joined the London Metropolitan Police in 1865 and in our reality, he retired in 1891. This suggests a man of advancing years, at least middle-aged and possibly more. I know literally nothing else about the man. This leads directly to my first question:

1) Does anyone have information about Chief Inspector John West, that I can use to flesh him out as an NPC in my campaign?

2) Does anyone have any information about Divisional Inspector Charles Pinhorn?

Leman Street Station had a section house attached, where single officers had lodging. This was run by a Section Sergeant, as would the other section houses, in particular the one at Mile End Road which did not have a police station attached. There would also be a Station Sergeant at each of the four stations.

3) Does anyone happen to know who would be the Station Sergeant at Leman Street and who would be the Section Sergeant?

4) Does anyone have information, intuition or an opinion on who ought to be 1st Class Detective Sergeant of the H Division CID?

By all means, if you have something to add, questions, suggestions or ideas related to the use of the Leman Street station of the H Division of the London Metropolitan Police, post away.

*Though, if so, it is odd that he was assigned to plain-clothes duty during the Ripper scare.
**The older men among the CID in H Division.
***Because I find both men to possess the requisite age and apparent experience and gravitas for such a position.
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