Today we begin our video Jack the Ripper tour of London that features the site of each murder and shows it as it was in 1888 and as it appears today.
Our first video features Buck’s Row, which was the location of what is now widely believed to be the first Jack the Ripper murder, that of Mary Nichols on August 31st 1888.
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Buck’s Row is now called Durward Street and it is located directly behind Whitechapel Underground Station, just off Whitechapel Road.
We begin our walk at the East End of Durward Street, showing the line of modern houses that now line the left, or southern, side of Buck’s Row. This is the direction that Charles Cross and Robert Paul, the two men who first discovered the body of Mary Nichols walked in at around 3.40am on 31st August 1888.
The film then fades to show the line of cottages that occupied this same side of Buck’s Row at the time of the murder.
We then move to the northern side of the street, to show the one building that has survived from the time of the atrocity, the Board school that dominates the top end of this section of Durward Street and which, in 1888, looked down on the dark gateway where Mary Nichols was murdered by Jack the Ripper.
As we approach the murder site itself, the film fades to a press image that shows the location where the body was discovered before drifting into a black and white photograph of the site as it was at the time.
We then return to the Board School itself and show footage of it today which is then overlaid with another black and white Photograph of it as it was in the 19th century. Despite the fact that the school has now been converted to flats, most of the features seen on the Victorian image are still discernible in the modern film sequence.
Having lingered at the spot where the murder took place, we continue our walk along Durward Street passing the wall of the school before looking eastwards along the thoroughfare and then overlaying today’s view with another black and white image that shows the came vista as the Victorian residents would have known it at the time of the Whitechapel Murders.
We did consider recording an accompanying commentary to go with the video but, to be honest, the footage and the images tell the story adequately and the haunting soundtrack, composed and performed by Dan Gautreau, captures the ambience of the scene perfectly.
This is the first in our series of on line walks through the London of Jack the Ripper Then and Now, but we intend to create other short films at the sites of the other murders that, combined, will build up a detailed picture of the area as it was at the time of the Whitechapel Murders compared to what it is like today.