The infamous Whitechapel murders of 1888 made Jack the Ripper one of the most notorious and illusive serial killers of all time. There ares books, there are films, and if you venture into London, there are walks and tours and live experiences. But what about the real thing? With the recent claims to the Ripper’s secret identity (Polish immigrant Aaron Kosminski, if you believe the evidence) and seeing as it’s nearly Halloween, Concrete takes a look at Jack the Ripper’s London…
This street used to be called Buck’s Row, but it was changed soon after the horrific discovery of the body of Mary Ann Nichols, Jack the Ripper’s first victim, to avoid unwanted attention. Nichols’ body was found on the south side of the street, and today you can still see the wall and Board School, the site of her death, unchanged since the Ripper’s time.
St Leonard’s Church
A simple memorial was put in place here in the 90s to mark the grave of Mary Kelly, who is widely believed to be the fifth and final victim – and the one who was killed and butchered most savagely. To this day, people leave flowers there in her memory.
Ten Bells Pub
At the corner of Commercial Street and Fournier Street stands the Ten Bells Pub, famous for its association with the Jack the Ripper legend. You can have a drink here, just as Ripper victims Annie Chapman and Mary Kelly did over a hundred years ago.
13 Brick Lane
If you feel like a refuel after all this wandering around, you can always stop off at the curry house at the corner of Thrawl Street. Formerly the site of the Frying Pan pub, this was where Mary Ann Nichols lived at the time of her shocking murder.
Yes, there might be some nice flowers and a few benches here now, but the south corner of the square is where Catherine Eddowes’ body was found in the early hours of 30th September, 1888. Armchair detective Russell Edwards claims to have used the blood-stained shawl she was wearing that fateful night to discover the identity of her killer. Whether you believe him or not, don’t rest in Mitre Square too long – you might run into Catherine.
In Spitalfields, in a street buslting with shops and flats, lies the site of Annie Chapman’s murder. She was found in the backyard of No.29, which has since been demolished and built over by the Old Truman Brewery. Lots of people visit it today for the fashionable weekly markets.
On the same night that Catherine Eddowes’ body was discovered, so was Elizabeth Stride’s, right here, in Dutfield’s Yard. The site of her murder is now a school building, making something of a grim education.
The Royal London Museum
Although it’s best known for its association with the ‘Elephant Man’, the Royal London Hospital is also where you can see forensic material relating to the Jack the Ripper murders.