By its very nature our Jack the Ripper tour is East End based since this was the district in which the infamous Whitechapel Murders occurred.
But, to be honest, East London had so much ore than the Jack the Ripper crimes to entice those who seek the streets, alleyways and buildings of an area that is still steeped in history and, to an extent, mystery as well.
There are, for example, these wonderful old houses around Fournier Street, built in the 18th century for the silk weavers to whom this area was then home. Each one of them still has the large attic windwos that admitted the light into the workshops wherein they carried on their craft.
Heading further to the East, along Whitechaepl Road and onto Mile End Road you come to Mile End Waste where you encounter a wonderful mural that shows many of the famous figures who, over the centuries have helped make this such a vibrant and fascinating district.
As you can see George Bernard Shaw holds his head in his hands; Captain Cook prepares for another voyage; General Booth prepares to preach to the masses; whilst Ronnie and Reggie Kray stride confidently in the background.
A little further along Mile End Road and you come to one of London’s old ghost signs, this one being an advert for Daren bread extolling its health giving properties.
Continuing your eastward journey along Mile End Road you might easily miss little turn that admits you to a preserved set of 19th century workers cottages that appear to exist in a time warp. They are, in fact, situated in Mile End Place, but only the most determined East End explorer is likely to find them because the covered street that leads to them doesn’t look that inviting.
But, if you allow your curiosity to get the better of you and make that turn, you find yourself blinking in disbelief at the curious little homes that stretch before you.
So, yes, Jack the Ripper is an important piece of East End history, but this part of London has so much more to offer. It is, therefore, such a pity, that many visitors to London confine their explorations to the well known tourist haunts to the West of the City of London, as they miss some of the truly historic and least changed parts of old London.
But then, if they all came traipsing out here the district would lose much of its mystique, so let them explore the West End to their hearts content and leave the East End to the true connoisseurs of hidden, secret and mysterious London!