Anyone who has taken our tour in the last months may have noticed that strange creatures have begun appearing all over the streets of Whitechapel and Spitalfields.
Indeed, should you happen to look up as you make your way along Hanbury Street – where Jack the Ripper’s second victim, Annie Chapman, was murdered – you will catch a glimpse of these critters on a wall towards the Commercial Street end.
If you then dare to venture along the next street on the right, and look up, you will even catch a glimpse of this handsome chap scowling down at you.
What does it all mean?
Well, the area around Spitalfields and Shoreditch is now one of London’s coolest neighbourhoods. It has changed beyond recognition since I started my Jack the Ripper Tour in 1982.
I remember how, towards the end of the 1980’s, artists began to move into the area attracted by the low rents on the premises.
Then, throughout the 1990’s, the area began to change. Properties that were once slum dwellings became sought after residences and now sell for millions of pounds.
And, as part of this new lease of life, street art is springing up everywhere.
In Wilkes Street, for example, you pass a doorway on which both Her Majesty the Queen and Charles Dickens have appeared.
Perhaps Her Maj is keeping an eye on the fact that one of her ancestors was a ripper suspect?
Next to her is a portrait of Charles Dickens, no doubt relieved at the fact that he died in 1870 before anyone could link him to the Jack the Ripper crimes!
Meanwhile, if you stroll along Brick Lane, and glance right as you pass Princelet Street, you’ll encounter this huge bird on the wall.
On the opposite side of the road this little piggy appears on the wall.
This is the beauty of the area that we explore on our Jack the Ripper Tour. It’s an area that is constantly evolving as well as being an area that is brimmed full with surprises.
So, if you’ve got a bit of free time before taking our tour, why not take a walk along Brick Lane and delve into the side streets to seek out some of the vibrant street art that you’ll find there? If you haven’t got any free time then, don’t worry, you’ll pass all these artworks as you make your way around the route on our tour.