- STOP 1. 7th August 1888. THE DEATH OF MARTHA TABRAM
- Start your tour on Whitechapel High street in front of the Whitechapel Art gallery next to exit 3 of Aldgate East Station.
- Turning right proceed a few Yards until you see the White hart pub , beside which will be a narrow lane way called Gunthorpe Street.
The White Hart Pub Today (click to zoom)
- The White Hart pub was established in 1721, a popular venue which would be familiar to the Ripper and his victims.
- Enter Gunthorpe Street and proceed along its original cobble stoned path towards the end of the lane you will see Toynbee Hall on your left.
In August of 1888 the building that would have stood there was called George Yard Buildings, it had been there since 1875 and its entrance was marked with a pointed Archway leading to staircases which served the upper three floors. Each floor had a landing which after 11pm would be pitch dark due to the lights being turned off.
Gunthorpe Street (click to zoom)
- It was on the first floor landing around 4.45am on 7th August 1888 that a resident, Mr John Reeves discovered , lying in a pool of blood, the body of Martha Tabram. Martha Tabram was a common prostitute with a history of drunkenness. She had lived with a man for a few years but her lifestyle and heavy drinking had drove them apart. She was 39 years old, and was described as plump and 5 feet 3 inches in height.On the last night of her life, she was drinking with another prostitute, Mary Ann Connelly, aka “Pearly Poll,” in and around Whitechapel Road. According to Pearly Poll, they had met two soldiers and at about 11.45pm, the couples separated. Pearly Poll went up Angel Court with her companion and Martha Tabram and her partner disappeared up into George Yard. This sighting in the final moments of 6th August was the last time that Martha Tabram was seen alive.
- The injuries inflicted on Martha were extensive, brutal and motiveless. She had been stabbed some 39 times, with most of the wounds concentrated in the area of her neck, abdomen and pelvis.
Martha Tabram Postmortem ( click to zoom)
- A stabbing was quite common in the area but to be stabbed 39 times was very uncommon and bore all the hallmarks of something very different and brutal. Despite an ID parade and investigation, the police were unable to convict anyone for her murder.
- Her death sparked the media frenzy that became the Autumn of Terror, in which a faceless killer stalked the dark alleyways of London’s worst neighborhoods and preyed upon the weakest and most vulnerable of the great city’s forgotten people.
STOP 2. 31st August 1888. THE DEATH OF MARY ANN NICHOLS
- Turn around and walk back down Gunthorpe Street towards Whitechapel High Street and turn left.
- Walk for 10 minutes along the high street until you reach Court Street on your right hand side.
- Turn left into Court Street and walk until the end of the road. Turn right and you will be on Durward Street, which runs parallel along the back of Whitechapel Station. This street back in 1888 was named Bucks Row.
- On the right you will notice a large Victorian building which was once a boarding school, now converted into apartments. Go past the school house and stop at the end of the wall in a little parking area before the modern housing.
- It was here at 3.40am on the 31st August 1888, the body of Mary Ann Nichols was found.
Bucks Row (click to zoom)
- In the predawn darkness of 31st August, a cart driver named Charles Cross was making his way to work along Buck’s Row when he noticed something lying in a gateway across the road and stopped to investigate. At first glance, he thought that it might be a piece of tarpaulin which he might be able to use or sell. He crossed over the road and discovered that the “tarpaulin” was in fact the body of a woman lying on her back.
- The woman was clearly dead, with her eyes wide open and staring into the darkness. Blood oozed from two deep wounds in her throat, which had been slashed open all the way back to her spine.
Mary Ann Nichols Postmortem (click to zoom)
- The body was taken to Old Montague Street mortuary, just off Brick Lane. The building was tiny, little more than a shed, and once there, an examination was conducted by the duty inspector, John Spratling. When he lifted her dress, he discovered something that Dr Llewellyn’s initial examination had missed. The victim had been disemboweled.
- Identification of the deceased came when her petticoat was found to carry the markings of Lambeth Workhouse. When inquiries were made, the victim was quickly identified as Mary Ann Nichols, nicknamed Polly, a 43-year-old prostitute. She had been married by the age of 18 to a man named William Nichols, a printer by trade. They had five children, but their marriage fell apart due to Polly’s drinking. She had spent several years in Lambeth Workhouse and a few months as a servant before ending up in a doss house in Flower and Dean Street.
STOP 3. 8th September 1888. THE DEATH OF ANNIE CHAPMAN
- Turn around and backtrack past the old School house and go to the end of Durward Street.
- Cut down along Hanbury Street until you reach the famous Brick Lane (a good 5 min walk). Cross over Brick Lane into the next section of Hanbury Street.
Hanbury Street (click to zoom)
- In 1888 a row of houses would have stood here and half way along the street would have stood number 29 Hanbury Street.
- It was in the back yard of Number 29 that the body of Annie Chapman was discovered.
- Annie Chapman was like many other women who walked the streets of Whitechapel after dark. At 47 years of age, she was in failing health. Years of alcohol abuse and hard living took a toll on her stout 5 foot frame, and she paid for her habit by becoming a prostitute.
Annie Chapman (click to zoom)
- By the time of her fateful meeting with her murderer, Annie Chapman, known as Dark Annie to her friends, had fallen down to the deepest, darkest depths of Victorian society.
- Her throat had been cut twice from left to right with such force and depth that she was nearly decapitated. The muscles of her neck had been separated, suggesting to some that the killer may in fact have intended to remove her head.
STOP 4. 30th September 1888. THE NIGHT OF THE DOUBLE EVENT. THE DEATH OF ELIZABETH STRIDE
- Continue down to the End of Hanbury Street and turn left onto Commercial Road. This will be a longer walk around 20 minutes but along the way you will see the famous Ten Bells Pub on your left.
- It remains the East End Pub most associated with Jack the Ripper with some researchers having placed Annie Chapman and Mary Jane Kelly inside the pub on the night of their deaths, so is it possible the Ripper himself frequented the establishment.
- Beside the Ten Bells you will see Christ Church, it sits right in the heart of the Ripper’s killing ground and would have loomed over the area back in 1888. It has been featured in documentaries, plays and books such as the graphic novel “From Hell,” which was adapted into a movie of the same name starring Johnny Depp.
- Continue down Commercial street until the junction of Whitechapel high street . Cross over the road and turn left along the high street a few yards, then turn right into Commercial Road. Continue for a few hundred yards until you reach Henriques Street.
Berner Street (click to zoom)
- In 1888, Henriques Street was known as Berner Street and if you continue down along this street you will come to a school on the right hand side. The school Yard now sits on the site that would have been Dutfields Yard. (The Wagon Wheel mounted on the wall in the original photograph marks the entrance to Dutfields yard)
- It was here that the body of Elizabeth Stride was discovered, the first victim in what would be known as the “Double Event.”
Elizabeth Stride postmortem (click to zoom)
- At 1 AM on 30th September, 1888, Louis Diemshutz was returning home with his horse and cart. Diemshutz was a steward at the International Working Men’s Club in Berner Street. As he entered Dutfield’s Yard, his horse shied away from a bundle that was lying just inside the gateway. Diemshutz looked down and prodded the bundle with his whip, but he could not identify it in the dark.
- He tried to light a match, and in the moment before the wind blew the match out, Diemshutz saw the body of a woman lying on her side. She was lying 3 yards inside the gateway, facing the wall with her legs drawn up. Although her corpse was still warm, she was clearly dead – her throat had been slit open with one sweeping cut.
- There were no additional mutilations to the abdomen or any other part of the body, however. This fact, combined with the fact that the body was still warm when it was found, suggested that death had occurred only moments before the body was discovered, and that the killer was interrupted in the act of completing his gruesome ritual.
- As it was, however, the Ripper escaped the yard, but was forced to leave his most recent victim behind, his ritual incomplete. Desperate to satisfy his blood lust, he crossed in to the City of London, and very quickly, he set his vicious knife in motion on another victim.
STOP 5. 30th September 1888. THE DEATH OF CATHERINE EDDOWES
- Turn around and back track down Commercial Road until you reach the Whitechapel high street once again. Cross over at the lights, to the other side turn left and continue down the high street until you reach St. Botolphs Church (beside Aldgate Station).
- Cross over the road by the lights and turn right onto Dukes Place. Keep walking along past Sir John Cass School and turn left into St James Passage. You will enter a dark cobble stoned square, this is Mitre Square. Cross over the cobbles towards the flower bed on the opposite side.
- It was here that the body of Catherine Eddowes was discovered, the second victim on the night of the Double Event.
A forensics drawing of Catherine (click to zoom)
- Catherine was found drunk and hysterical in Mitre Square, so the police took her to the station and locked her in a cell to sober up. Just five minutes before Elizabeth Stride’s body was discovered, Catherine Eddowes was determined to be sober enough for release. She gave the duty officer her “name” – Mary Ann Kelly – and he let her go. She continued on to Aldgate and then walked in the direction of Mitre Square. Somewhere along the way, she had a fateful meeting with Jack the Ripper .
- Around 1:25 AM, PC Watkins walked through Mitre Square, shining his lantern into the corners as usual. Shining his lantern in to the darkest part of the Square, he made a grisly discovery – the torn and bleeding corpse of Catherine Eddowes. Horrified, he stared down at the body, which he would later testify was “ripped up like a pig in the market.” Eddowes was lying on her back, with her head turned to the left and her arms stretched away from her torso. Her throat had been slashed twice, both cuts reaching back to nick the cartilage of her spine and severing the muscles of her neck. Her dress had been lifted up, exposing the cuts made to the abdomen.
- The killer’s second victim had been meticulously and gruesomely slaughtered in less than 15 minutes and he had disappeared into the night without a trace. The City police, desperate to find a clue to the identity of the brutal villain who had strayed in to their jurisdiction, conducted door to door inquiries, stopped passers-by and questioned numerous men found to be in the area.
Victorian Whitechapel Newspaper Drawing (click to zoom)
- The Double Event, as it became known, caused a frenzy of speculative panic in the press. The self-titled Ripper was back, and had shown prowess, not only at “ripping,” but also at evading the police. He was skilled, meticulous and clever.
- However, there is no such thing as a perfect crime, and the double event is also famous as the source of a puzzling clue that continues to baffle Ripperologists and has led to one of the most intriguing conspiracy theories of the Whitechapel murder investigations.
STOP 6. 30th September 1888. THE CLUE AT GOULSTON STREET
- Turn around with your back to the flower bed and walk across the square , turning left into a small passageway called Mitre Passage.
- Turn right onto Creechurch Lane and cross over the road and continue walking straight.
- Turn Right into White Kennet Street then turn left into Gravel lane until you reach Middlesex Street (this was once the famous petty coat lane).
- You may note the black and white bollards which mark a dividing line between the City of London and the East End of London. As you cross over the road into New Goulston Street you have crossed from the City of London police territory into the Metropolitan police territory. You are now walking in the footsteps of Jack the Ripper.
- Continue along New Goulston Street until you reach the Junction of Goulston Street. Cross over the road. In front of you will be a huge building known as Merchant House.
- Upon reaching the building , turn left and stop outside the door way of the Happy Days Fish Restaurant.
- It was here at the entrance to 108 – 119 Wentworth Model Dwellings that the clue was found.
- It is now 2:55am, 1 hour after the body of Catherine Eddowes has been found.
- PC Alfred Long of the Metropolitan police was walking his beat along Goulsten Street. As he passed the Wentworth model dwellings, he shone his lantern into the staircase entrance of 108 – 119. In a corner, he found a piece of cloth covered in blood and feces. It later transpired that this piece of cloth was a portion of Catherine Eddowes’ apron which had been cut away by the killer and subsequently used to clean his hands and knife.
- For the first time, the police had found a clue to the killer’s identity. This cloth had been dropped in the middle of the East End. This implied that, instead of fleeing to the rarefied halls of a West End mansion or racing to the docks to flee aboard a merchant ship, the killer was, in fact, taking refuge in the dark passageways of the same neighborhood in which he committed his atrocious acts.
- This, at least, is easily conjectured from PC Long’s discovery. However, there is another piece of this puzzle which is far more befuddling. As the constable raised his lantern further up the wall, he discovered a message scrawled in chalk.
- It read, “The Juwes are the men that will not be blamed for nothing”. (Exact way the message was spelled)
- When PC Long reported the discovery of the apron scrap and the cryptic message, several city and metropolitan police went to see the scene for themselves. It quickly became clear that the message, regardless of who had left it, posed a serious problem. Goulsten Street was directly adjacent to the Petticoat Lane Market. Most of the traders there were Jewish, and there had already been problems in the area with anti-Semitic rioting and intimidation due to the Ripper case. Many believed that the Ripper might be Jewish, and violence against Jews around London had become a major public safety issue.
- Around 5:30 AM, Sir Charles Warren, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, arrived on the scene. This was his first visit to the East End since the investigation in to the Ripper’s killing spree had begun. Stepping down from his carriage, he entered the doorway and examined the scrawled message himself. To the consternation of the City Police on the scene, he then ordered that the writing be erased immediately.
Sir Charles Warren (click to zoom)
- One officer suggested that they simply rub out “the Juwes” and preserve the rest of the message for a photographer, who would have sufficient light for a photograph in less than thirty minutes. Warren was adamant, however, that the entire message was to be erased forthwith, and his orders were quickly carried out.
- With this one simple act, Sir Charles Warren may indeed have prevented another spate of anti-Jewish rioting, but he also sparked one of the most enduring conspiracy theories related to the Ripper saga.
- Why did he remove the message, counter to all protocols and, indeed, all common sense? We may never know the real answer, but the debate over Charles Warren’s actions on that day continues to rage among Ripperologists 120 years later.
STOP 7. 9th November 1888. THE DEATH OF MARY KELLY
A drawing of Mary Kelly (click to zoom)
- Continue walking down Goulston Street turning right on the corner of Wentworth Street. A few yards along take the first Left into Toynbee Street.
- A 3 minute walk will bring you to Whites Row car park . Walk along Commercial street to the unnamed road running between Whites Row car park and the London Fruit exchange building.
- Stop to note you are now back in the heart of Jack the Ripper’s London with the Ten Bells across the street and the looming figure of Christ Church, Spitalfields.
- The unnamed road on your left was once Dorset Street, a narrow road running between Commercial Street and Crispin Street with a notorious reputation. It was known simply as the worst street in London. Rumor has it that the police preferred not to go there in less than teams of four. The poorest doss houses, prostitutes and thieves, all had existed along this road.
- It was off this street, in a small court yard called Millers Court that the body of Mary Jane Kelly was discovered.
Dorset Street, 1888 (click to zoom)
- Mary Kelly remains the mystery victim in the Ripper case. The final sighting of Mary Kelly that night was at 2am, when George Hutchinson, a resident of the working man’s home was passing Flower and Dean Street. He met Mary and she immediately asked if he had any money he could spare her. Having already spent his money earlier he refused and Mary went on her way up Commercial Street.
- It is here that Hutchinson claimed to have seen a man approach Kelly. He put his hand on her shoulder and they both laughed. The couple then proceeded to walk back up Commercial Street towards Hutchinson and Millers Court. Here, Hutchinson was so intrigued by the man’s appearance; he stooped down as the couple passed, so he could see under the man’s hat to get a good look at his face. Later he would give a very detailed description to the police.
- According to Hutchinson, Kelly’s companion was described as , aged about 35. 5ft 6in., pale complexion with dark eyes and eye lashes. A small mustache with both ends slightly curled up, dark hair. Very Surly looking. He was wearing a long dark coat with astrakhan collar and cuffs, a light waistcoat, dark trousers, dark felt hat, button boots and gaiters with white buttons. He also had a thick gold chain, a horse shoe tie pin and black tie. According to Hutchinson the man was very respectable in appearance.
- The couple proceeded to walk into Dorset Street and disappeared into Millers Court. Hutchinson followed close by and waited outside for 45 minutes waiting for the man to re-emerge. Some theories suggest he may have been waiting to see if Mary would service him for free or, as some researchers have speculated, possibly he was hoping to rob the man of his gold watch.
- It was now 3am and Hutchinson decided to move on. Had he stayed a bit longer its possible he may have heard Kelly’s final words.
- At 4am, Elizabeth Prater who lived in a room above Kelly, was woken by the cry of “Oh Murder” but as these were quite common shouts in and around the area, she turned over and went back to sleep.
Christ Church, Whitechapel (click to zoom)
- At 10:45am on 9th November, the day of the Lord Mayor’s parade, landlord John McCarthy sent his assistant Thomas Bowyer to collect the rent from Miller’s court. Mary Kelly was six weeks behind, owing 29 shillings. Thomas Bowyer entered Millers Court and knocked twice on the door of number 13. He got no answer. Not to be outdone and sensing she may be trying to avoid him he went around to the window and the broken window pane. He pulled out the paper that was blocking the hole and he proceeded to put his hand in and pulled back the curtain. He stared into the room and the sight that stared back at him would haunt him until his dying day.
- There in her small room, on her bed, lay the remains of Mary Kelly. She had been butchered like an animal. Bowyer, in a scared panic, went immediately back to John McCarthy and the landlord himself went to gaze upon the horrific sight. He would later state:
- “The sight we saw I cannot drive from my mind. It looked more like the work of a devil than of a man. I had heard a great deal about the Whitechapel murders, but I declare to God I had never expected to see such a sight as this.”
- No police man who saw the body could ever forget it and many memoirs echoed one Inspector, Walter Dew, when he said, “As my thoughts go back to Millers Court…no savage could have been more barbaric. No wild animal could have done anything so horrifying.”
- A thorough search of the room revealed no clues to the Ripper’s identity. For some reason the killer had burned clothes in the grate, and it was later surmised that this was to provide enough light as he went about his ghastly work.
- The police investigation continued in the usual way, door to door inquires, suspects detained and questioned but nothing could be found. Unknown to the investigators at the time, this was to be the Rippers final atrocity and the beginning of a horrific Victorian legacy.