Mitre Square is currently undergoing a massive transformation which has seen the demolition of the – it has to be said – somewhat bland office buildings that enclosed it on its northern and eastern sides.
For over a year now, the building crews have been in there day in and day out and the aforementioned sections of the square are little more than a building site.
THE MURDER SITE IS STILL THERE
Thankfully, for the time being at least, the flower bed that nestles in the square’s south west corner remains untouched and, since it stands on the site where the murder of Catherine Eddowes took place, participants on our nightly Jack the Ripper tour still get to stand on the site
JACK THE RIPPER’S LONDON THEN AND NOW
WATCH THE VIDEO
VISIT MITRE SQUARE PAST AND PRESENT
Our latest film on the Jack the Ripper Murder locations Then And Now has now gone live and viewers can see the square as it looked in 2013, prior to the commencement of the current construction work. The film is overlaid with evocative black and white images that show Mitre Square as it was at around the time of the Catherine Eddowes murder so you can make the comparison of the site as it was in 1888 and as it was in 2013.
I’LL FILM IT WHEN IT’S FINISHED
Once all the building has finished I’ll film it again and update it so you can see the site as it will be in the future.
However, I’ve been photographing the square for many years now and, as I was editing the film I started finding images that showed aspects of the square that I had forgotten about.
IMAGES OF MITRE SQUARE THEN AND NOW
For example, in the image showing the view in to the square from Duke’s Place you can see the cafe that stood on the right side of St James’s Place. Despite the fact I sank many a cup of coffee in this little cafe, I had forgotten all about it until I came across this image!
Entering the square itself you would have crossed over to the flower bed, and this is what it looks like today.
Were you to look towards the corner where the flower bed now stands in 1888, this is the sight that would have greeted you.
Had you stood on the murder site itself, with your back to the flower bed, and looked diagonally left across the square, towards its north east corner, then this is the site that you would have seen up until 2013. You can see the arched passage, which may well have been the escape route that Jack the Ripper took as he fled from the scene of the crime in 1888.
In 1888, the northern side of the square was dominated by the premises of Kearley and Tonge, you can see the lettering of their sign in the following photograph. You can also see the arched passage as it would have looked at the time of the murder of Catherine Eddowes.
One of my favourite photographs of the square is this one that was taken by Sean East in 2005. He took this in the very early hours of the morning, when Mitre Square and the surrounding streets were totally deserted and devoid of traffic, thus lending it an aura of mystery that his hard to beat.
The above view looks across Mitre Square from its Mitre Street side and on the opposite side is St James’s Passage which I mentioned at the start of this article. In 1888 the view of the corner would have looked like this.
So, there you have various images of a Jack the Ripper murder site as it was at the time of the crimes and as it appeared in 2013, before the builders moved in and began demolishing it.
Of course, on our night tour of the murder sites we visit Mitre Square and you get to peruse our images of what it was like at the time of Catherine Eddowes murder with our unique collection of East End Images.
Click here for full details of our guided walking tour of Jack the Ripper’s London.