Whitechapel - Liverpool Street on the Ripper Trail
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'I am down on whores and I shan't quit ripping them till I do get buckled...'
(extract from letter written in red ink and dated 25th September 1888).
The brutal knifeman soon to be dubbed 'Jack the Ripper' caused widespread terror and worldwide sensation with a succession of gruesome murders of streetwalkers during a twelve-week period in London's East End in 1888. Between 1888 and 1891 there were eleven 'Whitechapel Murders'; seven victims had their throats cut and nine suffered abdominal mutilation. All these poor women's deaths were once ascribed to The Ripper, who was never caught and is still the subject of endless fascination. Many books have been written speculating on 'Jack's' identity, which however remains unproven.
The route of this walk visits the murder sites in chronological order, as closely as possible after more than a century of great change in the area. Sadly, for the purposes of this walk, some of the actual sites in the various dark and forbidding alleyways have been swept away in relentless waves of building still going on to keep pace with relentless waves of immigration; today the local populace is largely Asian. Walking along these streets and passages by night or in winter's gloom however, should still impart a certain frisson, as lurid imagination transports one back to Victorian gaslit London, to dense fogs and to cobblestones, hansom cabs, gin palaces... and a vicious serial murderer on the prowl... Dare you walk here after nightfall? If so, be sure to take a torch and some trusted companions.
On one level, this walk may be enjoyed simply for the juxtaposition of the old with the new. The colourful street markets and appetizing aromas from the oriental restaurants in Brick Lane and elsewhere, contrast with pubs catering to the business community amid soaring office buildings, where the City rubs shoulders with the East End.
England - South England - London - Town or city
Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Cafe, Church, Flowers, Industrial Archaeology, Mostly Flat, Museum, Pub, Public Transport, Restaurant, Toilets
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