Although our walking tour of Jack the Ripper’s London follows a chronological route and dives straight into the atmospheric, and rather sinister, thoroughfares where the ambience of the 1880’s still holds sway, there are other parts of the East End of London where you can pursue Jack the Ripper at your own pace.
Indeed, if you wished to undertake your own Jack the Ripper tour of London’s East End, you could make your way over to Whitechapel Underground Station. As you exit the station, directly opposite on the other side of the Whitechapel Road, you will see the Royal London Hospital.
It was here that Emma Smith, the first name to appear on the generic file that holds the names of the five acknowledged victims of Jack the Ripper, died in April 1888.
It was also where Dr Openshaw, the curator of the hospital’s Pathological Museum, was based. It was he who opined on the kidney that was enclosed with the From Hell Letter that Mr George Lusk received in October 1888.
At the back of the hospital you will find the museum, which contains information on Dr Openshaw, plus a transcript from the From Hell letter and copies of the drawings of Mitre Square, which were commissioned in the wake of the murder of Catherine Eddowes there on 30th September 1888.
Not directly linked to the Jack the Ripper murders, although relevant since he was suspected in some quarters of being the perpetrator of the crimes, is the display of memorabilia connected with Joseph Merrick, the so-called ‘Elephant Man”.
Having enjoyed this fascinating (and free) museum, you could return to Whitechapel Station where, to the right of its entrance, as you face it, if you look up, on the upper floors of a building a few doors along, you will see the words Working Lads Institute emblazoned on the façade. It was here that the inquests into the deaths of several of Jack the Ripper’s victims were held.
Next, if you head along Whitechapel Road and go left along Brady Street, then left along Durward Street, you will see a large red-brick building at the far end on the left, just before the street widens.
This was the former Board School and is the only building in the immediate vicinity to have survived from Jack the Ripper’s day.
In 1888 Durward Street was known as Buck’s Row and it was in a gateway, that used to stand where the parking space is located on the left after the line of houses, that the body of Mary Nichols, the first of Jack the Ripper’s victims, was discovered at 3.40am on August 31st 1888.
From here you can make you way back to Whitechapel Underground Station and then travel one stop to arrive at Aldgate East Station where our original Jack the Ripper Walking Tour around the majority of the other murder sites begins at 7pm.