JACK THE RIPPER WALK
BOOK EARLY TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT
CLICK HERE FOR OUR JACK THE RIPPER TOUR DATES OF OPERATION
OUR GUIDES ARE EXPERTS ON THE HISTORY OF THE JACK THE RIPPER MURDERS.
WE VISIT MORE OF THE ACTUAL MURDER SITES THAN ANY OTHER JACK THE RIPPER TOUR.
OURS IS THE ONLY JACK THE RIPPER TOUR THAT TAKES YOU STRAIGHT IN TO THE NARROW COBBLED ALLEYS THAT ARE JUST AS THEY WERE IN JACK THE RIPPER'S DAY.
WE ASK YOU TO BOOK TO ENABLE US TO LIMIT THE NUMBER OF TOUR PARTICIPANTS TO A SENSIBLE AND MANAGEABLE NUMBER. THOSE COMPANIES THAT TELL YOU TO JUST TURN UP WILL HERD YOU ROUND ON UNSIGHTLY CATTLE DRIVES THAT MIGHT NUMBER 200 - 300 PEOPLE. BY BOOKING IN ADVANCE YOU WILL ENJOY A FAR BETTER TOUR THAT GOES STRAIGHT INTO TRULY NARROW ALLEYWAYS THAT HAVE CHANGED LITTLE SINCE JACK THE RIPPER'S DAY AND ON WHICH YOU WILL BE ABLE TO HEAR EVERY WORD.
Welcome to London's leading tour of the Jack the Ripper murder sites. We have been operating our walk since 1982, which makes us one of the longest established ripper walks in London. We visit more of the Jack the Ripper murder sites than any other tour, and by starting at Aldgate East underground station we are able to take you straight into the old cobble-stoned alleyways that have hardly changed since Jack the Ripper stalked and walked them.
LONDON'S MOST POPULAR TOUR
The true story of Jack the Ripper is absolutely fascinating, and the best way to discover that story is to take a walk through the streets, alleyways and thoroughfares where the murders occurred. In so doing you begin to gain a valuable insight into what the area was like in the autumn of 1888 when terror roamed the shadows and the people of Whitechapel walked in daily fear.
A TRUE LIFE CRIME DRAMA
Our Jack the Ripper walk is truly unique in that it begins at the epicentre of the Whitechapel Murders. Every step that you take thereafter transports you back to the autumn of 1888 enabling you to literally join the Victorian police in their hunt for Jack the Ripper. As you will hear, the man who headed the on the ground investigation into the killings was Inspector Frederick George Abberline, a detective who had spent fourteen years pitting his wits against the criminals of the East End. His endeavours had been rewarded in 1887 with a promotion to the Metropolitan Police headquarters at Scotland Yard. But he had barely settled into his new office when a sinister miscreant began murdering prostitutes at the very heart of his old stomping ground. With the local police, apparently, unable to catch the killer it was decided that Inspector Abberline's experience and expertise was just what was needed, and so in early September he found himself back in the East End where he led a band of dedicated detectives who raced against time to catch an unknown killer in some of the Victorian Metropolis's poorest and most crime-ridden streets.
AND NOW YOU CAN FOLLOW IN HIS FOOTSTEPS!
Our tour takes you straight into the neighbourhood where those long ago detectives tried their best to bring the killer to justice. It begins outside the pub where the man whom Inspector Abberline himself appears to have thought was the murderer worked as a barber in 1890. His name was George Chapman and he was later hanged for murder. But why did Abberline think him such a likely contender for the mantle of Jack the Ripper? We discuss this important suspect before continuing on our way into a delightful cobble-stone alleyway that can have changed little since 1888. You really will feel that you've been transported back in time as you are asked to take an imaginary walk to a street called Bucks Row, which stood some distance away, that was not unlike the creepy backwater that you have found your way in to. Here you huddle in its shadows and suddenly it is 1888 and you are listening to the grisly account of how, in the early hours of August 31st, a carter named Charles Cross discovered the body of Mary Nichols, the first acknowledged victim of Jack the Ripper. Your guide will pass around a photograph of the murder site and of the victim herself. This is a truly chilling moment and, should you find yourself standing at the back of the group, you will most certainly begin casting nervous glances over your shoulder, wary of who, or what, might be watching from the ink-black darkness that surrounds you.
Moving along this sinister alleyway we arrive at the spot where the body of Martha Tabram was discovered in early August 1888. Some say that she was the first victim of Jack the Ripper, and when Inspector Abberline arrived in the district, a month or so after her murder, the police most certainly thought that the two killings (Martha Tabram and Mary Nichols) were linked. We discuss whether or not she was a victim of the killer who became known as Jack the Ripper, and present the arguments both for and against. That done, we move on into the streets of Spitalfields and Whitechapel, hot on the heels of Abberline and his fellow detectives.
THE FIRST SUSPECT IS HUNTED
We continue into Wentworth Street, where we pause to consider one of the police's earliest suspects. In early September 1888 the prostitutes of the area began to tell detectives of a sinister character known as 'Leather Apron' who had been threatening and generally abusing them. They said that he frequented the Princess Alice Pub on Commercial Street. That pub still survives and we pause outside it to discuss the effect the 'Leather Apron' scare had on the people of Whitechapel, and ultimately on the police investigation itself.
VISIT PLACES WHERE TIME STANDS STILL
From here we continue through the streets and alleyways around Brick Lane. This is a truly vibrant neighbourhood. But located off it are a series of alleyways and dark passageways that have hardly changed since 1888. Here the true reason for Jack the Ripper's ability to evade capture becomes startlingly apparent. Here too is a wonderful warren of 18th century streets, lined by properties that in 1888 were the Common Lodging Hoses and slum properties, typical of those in which the victims of Jack the Ripper lived, or to be more precise existed. The properties truly possess the ambience of that long ago and bygone age, providing a vivid impression of what the area looked like in 1888.
AND BECAUSE A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS
Of course, it is one thing to see the Jack the Ripper murder sites today - and no-one can deny that standing on the very places where the murders occurred is a chilling, not to say poignant, experience - but it is another thing altogether to see them as they were in 1888. For our Jack the Ripper Walk we have carefully combed the archives and dug out photographs of the area that were taken around the time of the killings. Thus when you walk around the streets with us you will not only hear the story of the Whitechapel Murders, but you will also be shown exactly what the murder sites looked like then. Very few tours actually do this, and people who have taken our walk have commented that it is this aspect of the tour that really does provide one of the most valuable and insightful inclusions of their evening. Let's be honest, it's one thing to stand alongside the car park, opposite which Mary Kelly, the last victim of Jack the Ripper, was murdered, and simply be told of her murder. It is something completely different to look at photographs of the spot where you are standing and seeing exactly what it looked like in 1888. Likewise, when you stand in Mitre Square and are told of the murder of Catherine Eddowes imagine what a difference it makes to actually be shown photographs of the square as it was then, when dark, imposing warehouse buildings towered over it. The truth is that all the Jack the Ripper murder sites disappeared long ago and so today you can often find yourself looking at a modern building that now stands on the site. But, by passing out photographs of the places visited as they were then we provide you with intriguing glimpses of the streets of the Victorian East End, enabling you to compare them to how they look today and, most importantly, to fix your position from landmarks, or street furnishings, that have survived.
FINALLY, IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THE QUALITY OF YOUR GUIDE
At the end of the day a tour is only as good as the guide conducting it. You can have the most atmospheric route in London, and photographs that show the streets of Whitechapel as they were in 1888. You can have a great story to tell, perhaps the greatest murder mystery of all time. But if your guide can't put the facts and information across in a dramatic and entertaining fashion your tour experience will be a genuine disappointment. That is why all our guides are chosen for their personality and dramatic approach to the subject. They know all the facts but are able to deliver those facts in a way that holds your attention and keeps you on edge all night long. Their storytelling abilities are such that they will keep you gripped from the moment you enter the sinister labyrinth of dark alleyways that much of the first hour of the tour is spent exploring, to the moment you step out of Mitre Square, the final destination of your evening. And by the time you board the tube to begin the journey home, you will have gained a real understanding of the full Jack the Ripper story having enjoyed two hours of dramatic and entertaining storytelling played out against the backdrop of some of the most atmospheric streets imaginable. But please be warned that the shadows will always be close by!
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