One of the streets in the East End of London that looms large in the Jack the Ripper case is commercial Street. Today, as in 1888, it is a very busy London thoroughfare and the traffic often builds up along it. But, as the photograph below (which dates from around 1900) shows traffic jams – albeit then they consisted of hay wagons and horse drawn carriages – are not just the scourge of modern Commercial Street.
So, just a little description of what you can see in this photograph.
It was taken about half way up the street and is looking north .
On the top right hand side of the picture you can see a four storey building with what appears to be a concrete rail on its roof. This is the Ten Bells Pub, and it is still going strong today.
Across the road from it, to the left in the photo, you can see a long building with a line of pointed triangular gables stretching off into the distance.
This is Spitalfields Market, which had opened in 1887 – the year before the Jack the Ripper Murders.
In the foreground of the photo to the left you can see another pub. This is the Britannia, and it stands on the corner of Dorset Street.
Sadly, The Britannia has long since been demolished, as has the whole of Dorset Street.
It was a short distance from this pub, in Miller’s Court, that Mary Kelly, Jack the Ripper’s fifth and final victim was murdered on 9th November 1888.
Mary, along with the other Whitechapel Murder Victims, would have most certainly known this little area captured on the photograph.
What is intriguing is that you can still stand on the exact site from which the photograph was taken as we do on our nightly walking tour and recognise many of the landmarks, such as the Ten Bells and Spitalfields Market.