Saturday, December 28, 2013

'Jack Rags': a homeless man in Lewisham 1917

'Frederick Mark Burton, the renowned "out-door" resident of Lewisham, commonly known as 'Jack Rags' died January 30th 1917, aged 64 years'. Don't know any more about this character, but the photograph of seems to have been issued as a postcard which pops up from time to time on ebay. 'W F Lucas' was presumably the photographer.

 



7 comments:

Bill Ellson said...

Frederick Burton died 30 Jan 1917 aged 60 in the Greenwich Union Infirmary of chronic bronchitis. The middle name 'Mark' neither appears in the Infirmary's records or the death registration.

Transpontine said...

Thanks Bill, sounds like that's the same man (given the date of death). Was the Greenwich Union Infirmary what later became St Alfege's Hospital at bottom of Vanbrugh Hill?

Bill Ellson said...

Yes. See: http://ezitis.myzen.co.uk/greenwichdistrict.html

Kait Evans said...

When I saw this photograph, I immediately thought I recognised this man as the 'tramp' that lived around Deptford high street in the late 50s and early 60s. He was called Purdy (not sure of the spelling). He was rumoured to have been injured during the second World War, but no one that I knew had any other information about him. I might be completely wrong, but if I am not, the photograph is not that of 'Jack Rags' but Purdy. He was famous for living in Deptford high street. In addition, it looks to me like the photograph is not contemporaneous with pre 1917.

James McDaid said...

I lived in Deptford in the 50' and 60's and remember Purdy. I used to get his tea for him at the tea canteen outside Deptford Odeon, at the top of Church Street. The man in this photo is the spitting image of him. I was told that he lost his family during W W2, and some members of his family owned the fresh fish shop in Deptford High Street.

Anonymous said...

This is a picture of Purdy. His house was bombed and his wife and three children died. He never wanted to live in a house again, he felt guilty for surviving so he chose to live on the streets.
The funny thing is Purdy owned half the shops in the high street and word was Deptford market was also owned by him, he was a rich man but kind of lost his mind after losing his family. His brother's owned a couple of shops so they'd look out for him, feed him but he refused outside help to be rehoused and he'd give money to other homeless but no one really knew or found out his story or how wealthy he was until after he died.

Ron Ingram said...

This is not a photo of Purdy or as he was known locally "Charlie the Tramp" who lived in Deptford in 50s/60s. He used to live under the railway arch in Trundleys Road by the Surrey Canal. It was said that every so often (once a year?) he would be taken to New Cross Hospital where he was fumigated, deloused, scrubbed and whatevr and given new clothes, within a month he looked his old self.

Here is an excellent article:
https://www.londonnewsonline.co.uk/just-who-was-charlie-the-tramp/