Last Thursday I was preparing an update for one of my books on Jack the Ripper and I decided to get some new photographs of some of the locations connected with Jack the Ripper in London.
Taking advantage of one of the very few dry spells (it lasted 2 hours!) that London has witnessed this summer, I headed for Chiswick Mall, one of the most picturesque streets in London, lined as it is with an eclectic mix of lovely old houses of all styles and ages.
It is also right by one of the most picturesque reaches of the River Thames and, if you’ve never been there, I would urge you to pay it a visit. You won’t be disappointed.
So what does Chiswick Mall have to do with Jack the Ripper?
Well, it was in the picturesque reach of the Thames that flows alongside it that the body of Jack the Ripper Suspect Montague John Druitt was discovered on the last day of December 1888.
So, armed with my trusty camera and camcorder, I took myself off to Turnham Green Station to make the short walk from there to Chiswick Mall.
As I stepped off the train the florist’s sign to the right caught my eye!
I just had to get a photo!
Once I’d sufficiently amused myself, and caught the attention of several bemused Italians, who were somewhat puzzled by my evident delight, I returned to the task in hand and made my way to Chiswick Mall.
Here, the sun, which had been much in evidence on the outward journey, suddenly decided it had done enough for that particular day and beat a hasty retreat behind an ominous bank of dark cloud.
With rain threatening, I proceeded to snap a photograph of the reach of the Thames where the body of Montague John Druitt had been discovered.
Druitt had committed suicide several weeks before following his dismissal from the boarding school in Blackheath, South London where he worked as a teacher.
His body had evidently been in the River Thames for some time, probably since the end of November, and his suicide, so soon after the murder of Jack the Ripper’s last victim, Mary Kelly, led several police officers at the time, and several researchers since, to conclude that he was Jack the Ripper. As Melville Macnaghten put it in 1894 “the murderer’s brain gave way altogether after his awful glut in Miller’s Court, and that he immediately committed suicide…”
This lovely and peaceful setting of Chiswick Mall seems far removed from the streets of the East End where the Jack the Ripper Murders occurred, and yet as I went about photographing the various locations connected with Druitt’s death I came across an intriguing co-incidence which, on reflection, may not have been a coincidence at all.
As they say in all great murder mysteries TO BE CONTINUED!