More Illustrated Police News

In a previous blog we looked at the Whitechapel murders through the eyes of the reporters and artists from The Illustrated Police News who were tasked with conveying an impression of the scenes, the horror and the surroundings of the atrocities.

The Police News offices were located on Strand in London, and so the fact that the murders were occurring practically on their doorstep meant that they were able to dispatch one of their artists to the scene of a crime almost immediately upon news being received that it had taken place. Those illustrators would mill around with the crowds and take notice of the principal players in each little drama, from the witnesses who “may” have seen something, to the detectives who were trying to uncover clues and information that might lead to the apprehension of the suspects.

Consequently, in the pages of The Illustrated Police News, we are able to catch glimpses of the Jack the Ripper murder sites whilst the horror was still fresh and the people present were still trying to process what had taken place, in many cases, practically on their doorsteps. In short, these illustration capture for us frozen moments in time when the terror and revulsion are still fresh.

Our previous article looked at he coverage as far as the murder of Annie Chapman. on the 8th September 1888.

If you missed it you can read it here.


In the wake of Annie Chapman’s murder, there were reports that various suspects had been seen around the streets of London. It was also being discussed that the women of Whitechapel were arming themselves in readiness that they might be approached and attacked by the perpetrator of the crimes.

Illustrations concerning the murder of Annie Chapman.
22nd September 1888


Throughout September The Police News was bringing its readers the various facts about the murder of Annie Chapman that were coming to light at the inquest into her death and via various police and witness statements.

More mages on the murder of Annie Chapman.
29th September 1888


On 30th September the killer returned after an absence of several weeks and murdered Elizabeth Stride in Berner Street and Catherine Eddowes in Mitre Square.

Images howing the night of the double murder.
6th October 1888


Throughout October 1888 no further murders took place. Thus, on 13th October 1888, the paper was busily collating information for the artists to piece together the last moments of the victims so far and what was known of their last moments. This edition is of particular interest since it hones in on the general consensus of the conditions in the area and of the crimes themselves. Of particular poignancy is the, it must be said, somewhat crude drawing of the line of 6 coffins, intended to depict the coffins of the murder victims to that point – Emma Elizabeth Smith, Martha Tabram. Mary Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, and Catherine Eddowes.

What is also of interest are the two depictions of the “Berner Street Victim” and the “Mitre Square Victim”, suggesting that the artist from The Illustrated Police News had been granted access to the mortuaries to view the bodies of Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes.

Illustrations showing the reporting on the double murder in mid October 1888.
13th October 1888

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