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Snippets and anecdotes from our endeavours in the field feature in this informal reference.

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1888: The Golden Dawn and the Horror at Heaton Road

The Golden Dawn opened a new Temple, the Horus Temple (No. 5), in Bradford in October 1888. 1888 was the year of the Ripper murders in Whitechapel, London and the Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police, James Munro, investigated the possibility of these being Occult murders, perhaps for power as the murdered women, all prostitutes, represented fertility. Some members of the Golden Dawn also believed this to be the case. Dr William Wynn Westcott, one of the founders of the Golden Dawn movement, was also the London Coroner.

The Golden Dawn first met at the Alexandra Hotel in Great Horton Road, which later became the Alexandra Annexe, part of Bradford College, before it was pulled down in the late 20th Century and the area is now waste land and a car park.

Back in 1888, the Manager of the Alexandra Hotel, Carlos Faro (some reports state he was the owner) was also an initiated member of the Golden Dawn and the Theosophical Society, another Occult like group going strong to this day, also met weekly at the Alexandra Hotel.

Mr T Pattinson, a Watchmaker, whose registered address was Globe Chambers in Piccadilly, Bradford (apparently now no longer there) was a Theosophist who became the leader of the Bradford Horus Temple, which later moved to an attic in Godwin Street, Bradford.

Mr Cahills was a tailor and on Boxing Day, 1888, himself and his wife were invited to the Servant's Ball at the Alexandra hotel in Great Horton Road, Bradford. It is presumed they were both employed by non other than Carlos Faro as mentioned earlier. He knew they would be at the ball all night and was apparently the only person who did.

Alley in Heaton Road, Bradford

The Cahills' had recently rented a property in Heaton Road, Manningham, Bradford, and they kept the house key on a hook behind their outhouse door. As we found in our investigations, this is a rear terrace house, the alley to which is pictured above.

At 10.00am the next morning after attending the festivities at the Alexandra Hotel, the Cahills' arrived back at their home in Heaton Road. The key was exactly where they had left it. However when they went in to the house they got a horrible shock.

One of Mrs Cahills dresses was hung suspended by the neck from the ceiling and strips of torn women's clothing were all over the room. There was an open umbrella (not theirs) in the living room and another one in the scullery (symbols of bad luck) which did belong to them. On the table in front of the living room window were two crossed carving knives, (crossed knives can symbolise arguments) surrounded by a circle of matchboxes standing on end. There was also an enamel bowl of water which had been slopped on the table. A bottle of brandy had been taken and two glasses were left. A clock had been stopped at 0930 hours.

Then there was a card written in pencil with an inscription on one side the same as had been on a wall in Whitechapel that the police in London had had cleaned off quickly and that not many people could have seen at the time, supposedly left by the Ripper. It read:


On the reverse of the card was written:



Mr and Mrs Cahill refused to go near the house again.

The intruder at Heaton Road must have had some knowledge of the nearby Bradford Canal which was closed and filled in during 1922, its course not being far from the address, or of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal in Shipley with which the Bradford Canal joined.

Whoever wrote the card may have been trying to emulate the Freemasons symbol of a Set Square and Compass as the Golden Dawn movement originated from Freemasonry, by using the knives and creating a circle, or it may have had other ritualistic meanings. Certainly it was a chilling and perhaps inadvertently psychic message.

The strange twist is that the Yorkshire Ripper, captured for similar crimes as the original London Ripper in 1981, also lived in Heaton, West Bradford in a larger house not far from Heaton Road. He worked for T & W H Clark (Holdings) Ltd, of Canal Road, between Shipley and Bradford, again very near the path of the Bradford Canal which the road was named after.