The Maybrick watch has long convinced me of James Maybrick being Jack the Ripper, more so than the diary ever has. You can find the compelling reasons that led me to my conclusions in this previous post called ‘The Inconvenient Truth of the Maybrick Watch’.

Now, through further research, I have found something else that I am sure those who also share an interest in the Maybrick watch, will find interesting.


Just a few weeks before Florence Maybrick went to trial for the murder of her husband, a house clearance auction was arranged for the contents of Battlecrease House. The full list of items put up for sale was published in the 8th of July 1889 edition of ‘The Liverpool Post’. Download the full list of possessions here. The following extract caught my attention.

Liverpool Daily Post (8th July 1889)


Is this the Maybrick watch presently in possession of Daisy Johnson, granddaughter of Albert Johnson, who purchased it from Stewart’s Jewellers in Wallasey back in July 1992? The short answer is it could be.

There are some compelling similarities. It was a gold watch. It was keyless. It was monogrammed. We don’t know what the monogram was on the auction watch. The watch also had an open-face dial. The watch Daisy owns also has all of these characteristics; the monogram on Daisy’s is the initials J.O.

The “Maybrick Watch” owned by Daisy Johnson, granddaughter of Albert Johnson


This means that the watch did not stay within Battlecrease House from 1889. Many critics would claim that this is evidence that electricians could not have found it under the floorboards on March 9, 1992, if it had been sold in 1889. That could well be true.


Shirley Harrison mentions the auction in her 1998 edition of “The Diary of Jack the Ripper”:

Why was this item held back? If it made the auction list, it strongly suggests it was intended to be sold. This was a “fire sale” initiated by Michael Maybrick. He wanted all of the items sold as quickly as possible. He did not need them; more importantly, they were not his possessions.

Did someone of influence with the family request the watch as a parting reminder of James?

That someone could have been George Ramsay Davidson. If you do not know about James Maybrick’s “most intimate friend”, you can read my blog post on him here.


There is a mark inside the case of the Maybrick watch, which reads H93. Some people mistake the long scratch between the 9 and 3 as /. It appears the 9 and 3 were placed on either side of a long straight scratch, to be in the same area as the marking 1275. This strongly suggests to me that they are both repair marks. This mark has been the subject of much debate.

What if it was a repair mark from 1893? What if George requested that he keep James’s pocket watch as a memento of his best friend’s obsession with time? What if he then decided to have it repaired in early 1893? What if, through this repair process, he was made aware of the scratches? What if he discovered that his best friend declared himself Jack the Ripper?

A possible likeness of George Ramsay Davidson (AI artist impression based on a composite of newspaper article descriptions)

George Davidson committed suicide around the 10th of February 1893. A watch was found under his pillow. His suicide was widely believed to be connected to some money problems he was having. The credit demand letters found in his jacket in his apartment would suggest that could be a strong possibility.

However, could he have left the watch under his pillow for a reason? Is it not a strange location to place a watch just before you decide to depart this mortal coil? Was he trying to let the rest of the world know there is something about the watch they should look into further?


Strange as it may seem, all of this still does continue to support my working theory that the watch and diary were planted in Battlecrease House at a later date, possibly post-1987. I believe the person who had the watch at that point knew it was not enough. There was also the risk that the naked eye might not pick up the scratches. The diary would push investigations in the right direction. Especially if both the diary and the watch were found in the former home of James Maybrick by the current owner Paul Dodd. History would now be declaring James Maybrick as Jack the Ripper if he had.

I do not buy Mike Barrett or Anne Graham’s stories of how the diary found its way to Tony Devereux and then into Mike’s hands. I certainly do not believe Mike hoaxed it, either. All the circumstantial evidence strongly suggests that it came from Battlecrease House. My hope is that we get that confirmed before the key players pass away.


Despite having suspicions about a specific candidate as the planter and diary writer, I must stress that this remains a working theory. I need much more information on that individual before I can share that publicly.

Is the Maybrick watch a ticking time-bomb?


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