Dorset Street To Hanbury Street.

In January 2016, I took a video stroll from the opposite side of Commercial Street from what had been the entrance to Dorset Street.

At the time of the Jack the Ripper murders, there was a small arched and narrow passageway that led off Dorset Street that was known as Miller’s Court.

It was in her room at 13, Miller’s Court that the murder of Mary Jane Kelly took place at some stage on the morning of Friday the 9th of November 1888.

THE MURDER OF ANNIE CHAPMAN

However, Dorset Street was also the location of the lodging house at which Annie Chapman was residing at the time of her death, which took place in nearby Hanbury Street on the morning of Saturday the 8th of September 1888.

And this was the purpose of the filmed walkthrough that I was doing on my stroll back in January 2016.

At the time the area was in the process of undergoing a great deal of change.

The White’s Row Car Park and the service road that, more or less, followed the line of what had been Dorset Street were in the process of being demolished to make way for what is now (2023) a modern office block.

A view along Dorset Street in 2002.
Dorset Street, 2002

SENT AWAY FROM THE LODGING  HOUSE

In the early hours of the morning of the 8th of September, Annie had been ejected from the common lodging house at which she was staying because she didn’t have the required four pence that would have paid for her bed for the night.

As she left, she told a member of staff at the lodging house to ensure that her bed was kept because she would soon be back with the money.

HER MOVEMENTS ARE UNKNOWN

From that point on we know nothing of where she went or who she met with up to the point at which her body was discovered in the backyard of 29 Hanbury Street at 6 a.m. on the Saturday morning.

There were uncorroborated reports that she had been seen drinking in the Ten Bells pub just a few hours before her body was found.

At around 5.30 a.m. Mrs. Elizabeth Long claimed that she passed Annie who, so Mrs long said, was chatting with a man outside the front door of 29 Hanbury Street. Since there was nothing suspicious about the couple, Mrs. Long continued on her way.

HER BODY FOUND

Thirty minutes later, Annie’s body was found just outside the back door of number 29, by one of the lodgers when he went downstairs to use the outdoor latrine of the property.

THE ONLY CERTAINTY

So, the only certainty is that Annie made her way, by whatever route, from Dorset Street to Hanbury Street, hence the route taken by my video walkthrough.

ALL HAS CHANGED NOW

A lot of what is featured in the video has now changed completely, so what you see in the walkthrough is a record of what is no longer there.

But it is intriguing to have these little captures of what sections of the area were like.

So please enjoy the video, and please forgive the shaky camera work!