Our walking tour of the Jack the Ripper Murder sites starts outside Aldgate East Underground Station and has done know since 1992.
Like other London walks we used to start at Tower Hill Underground Station (indeed ours was the first of the Jack the Ripper Walks to actually operate seven nights a week). But then we had a revelation. Tower Hill isn’t a very good place from which to start a Jack the Ripper Tour.
For a start the streets around it are far too modern and are totally lacking in atmosphere. Secondly, there’s hardly anything around Tower Hill that has anything to do with the Jack the Ripper case. Admittedly you can talk about the Tower of London and mention how it featured in the aftermath of the murder of Martha Tabram. But, that aside there is nothing around Tower Hill that is directly connected with the case.
Worse still, the first 45 minutes of a Jack the Ripper Walk from Tower Hill Station is spent walking through modern, well-lit streets lined by modern office blocks. Furthermore, it takes almost an hour before you even reach a Jack the Ripper murder site, namely Mitre Square where the body of Catherine Eddowes was discovered on 30th September 1888.
Since Catherine Eddowes was the fourth victim of Jack the Ripper it seemed a little confusing to go to her murder site first. It’s a bit like going to the theatre and finding that they’ve chosen to begin with scene four! It just doesn’t make sense.
So we opted to move, and we settled on Aldgate East Underground Station as our starting point.
Well, for one thing, it’s directly across from the spot from Emma Smith, the first victim whose name appears on the Whitechapel Murders file was pursued by a gang.
Within moments of setting off we’ve passed beneath an old arch and have entered a cobblestones street where many of the buildings have survived from 1888. This street, now Gunthorpe Street, was called George Yard in 1888, and at the top we pause at the spot where the body of Martha Tabram, who many people believe was the first of Jack the Ripper’s victims, was found on the 8th August.
And from there on in we go, more or less, chronologically, around the Jack the Ripper murder sites, seeing more buildings that were related to the case than on the London walks Jack the Ripper Walks that start at Tower Hill.
And, let’s be honest about it, that is what a good, quality Jack the Ripper Tour should be like. You should be taken immediately to places that have survived, and see places and sites that are actually related to the case.
You can see for yourself just how atmospheric and well laid out our route is by visiting our dedicated step by step guide to our walk.