Jack The Ripper

Yesterday evening I accompanied friends on a London Walk covering some of the areas of East London associated with Jack the Ripper. It seemed like an unusual way for Veronika to choose to celebrate her birthday, but hey, I thought I’d give it a look. And who better to lead the walk than self-proclaimed world expert on Jack the Ripper, Donald Rumbelow, author of “The Complete Jack the Ripper.”

I learned a few things along the way …

Mainly, I learned that there’s not a lot left to see of the original London as it was when JtR was doing his thing. We covered some familiar areas between Tower Hill and the multi-storey car park near Spitalfields where the tour ended. There were various stops along the way where our guide gave us the grisly details of whatever had happened to the prostitute that Jack had offed at that spot. The bits of the talk that weren’t autopsy-style graphic descriptions of mutilations tended to be of the form “This used to be …” and “Where this modern office building now stands, there used to be …”

We saw the doorway where Jack wrote his message about “Juwes” and we went past The Ten Bells pub which was allegedly a haunt of all Jack’s victims. It didn’t look like the kind of place I’d particularly want to visit. It is probably still frequented by the local prostitutes.

Jack managed five victims before getting bored and giving up. Or whatever actually happened. Unfortunately (for entertainment’s sake) nobody really knows anything about him. The talk was pretty inconclusive regarding his identity or his motives. A bit of discussion of Freemasonry was thrown in there just to spice things up.

It ended up being an interesting trip, even if we did spent just a little bit too much time looking at office buildings trying to imagine slums where prostitutes hung out. The graphic details of throats severed to the spine and much much worse were just a shade OTT, too.

If you’re really keen on that kind of thing there’s the only existing photograph of a Ripper victim in Donald’s book. It is the lady he spent the most time butchering and not recommended you look at if you’ve just had lunch! If you ask nicely, Donald will sell you a signed copy of his book for £9.99 at the end of the walk.

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