The original Hop on Hop off Bus Tour in London includes several guided tours as part of the purchase price. One of these is the Jack the Ripper Tour. The infamous Jack the Ripper murders are, without a doubt, horrific and barbaric. But it was very interesting to walk around the areas that over a hundred years ago, were so very different from how they are today…
The tour begins outside bus stop 15, beside the Tower of London at 4pm daily. Our tour guide, Jez, was incredibly knowledgeable about the East End of London in Victorian times and the Whitechapel Murders which began in 1888. His storytelling was captivating and extremely interesting to listen to. The 90 minute tour went by far too quickly for me and it left me feeling like I wanted to learn more …
At a time of extreme poverty, crime and violence was common in the East End of London. Many women became full or part time prostitutes to try to make ends meet. Prostitution was an extra way to earn money and pay 1d to sleep in an overcrowded doss house, ridden with disease, for the night. It is believed that all of Jack the Ripper’s victims were alcoholic prostitues.
Mary Ann Nichols was the first of Jack the Ripper’s victims, followed by Annie Chapman. These women had their throats cut from left to right and their bodies were mutilated. The third victim, Elizabeth Stride, also had her throat cut from left to right but without the other horrific injuries of the first two women. Later the same day, a fourth victim was discovered. This was believed to be a double murder. Possibly Jack the Ripper had been disturbed while murdering Elizabeth Stride. He had not mutilated her as he had the other women. This may have made him angry, leading to the particularly vicious attack in Mitre Square of Catherine Eddowes.
Mitre Square as it is today
Evidence was found in Goulston Street in relation to Catherine Eddowes. A piece of her blood soaked apron was found here. He may have used it to clean the blade of his knife.
The Ten Bells Pub
The Ten Bells Pub was a popular haunt and where Annie Chapman had been drinking the night she was murdered. She was found around the back of 29 Hanbury Street which was just around the corner from here.
The courtyard next to Christ Church was locally known as Itchy Park. It was an area where many homeless men slept and women prostituted themselves.
Wilkes Street – a street which remains relatively unchanged today and is popular with modern day fashion shoots.
The tour ends at Aldgate underground station. I thoroughly enjoyed this tour and I was not the only solo female doing it either. It was a mixed of ages, single people and couples. This is an excellent solo activity and Jez was a fantastic tour guide.