She was born Catherine Mylett in London on 8 December 1859 to Margaret Mylett (nee Haley) and Henry Mylett of no. 13, Thomas Street, Whitechapel, labourer in a starch works. This explains why she was alternatively known as ‘Catherine Millett’. Both of Catherine’s parents were originated from Ireland, Margaret from Ballinclaugh and Henry from Loughton. Catherine had two older siblings, Mary (5 years older) and William (3 years older), and one younger brother, John (3 years younger). Sadly, her father died on February 1882 at this home.
The name ‘Rose’, hitherto given to her by crime historians, is easily explained, as it was the alias which she used at the Bromley Infirmary, a fact verified on Christmas Day 1888 by the head nurse there. The Infirmary records show that she had been in and out of it at various times during the 1880s, the last between 20th January and 14th March 1888, always for the same and unspecified malady.
Rose had lived in various lodging houses over the years, ranging from the Limehouse/Poplar district and 18 George Street, to her mother’s lodgings in Pelham Street (north of Hanbury Street), Baker’s Row, Spitalfields.
Catherine Mylett seems to have had a different alias for every part of the East End. ‘Rose’ in Bromley-by-Bow, ‘Elizabeth Davis’ in Whitechapel, and Alice Downey/Downe in Poplar. Because of her proclivity to drink, friends and acquaintances in Whitechapel and Spitalfields knew Rose by the name of ‘Drunken Lizzie’ Davis, as well as Millett or Mellett. In Poplar she was known as 'Fair Alice’ Downey. Again, according to her mother (who identified the body), her true name was Catherine Mylett.