Ripper Riots

The murders of Martha Tabram on 8th August 1888 and of Mary Nichols on 31st August 1888 had most certainly caused a general feeling of nervousness in Spitalfields and Whitechapel.

The fact that both women had been slain within a few feet of people sleeping peaceably in their beds had made quite an impression on those who lived in the neighbourhood and left some of them wary for their own safety and well-being.

By the 7th September 1888 some newspapers were reporting that the killer may well have been a member of the Jewish immigrant community and, as a result, decidedly anti-Semitic sentiments were starting to surface in the area.

Then, at 6am on 8th September 1888 the body of Annie Chapman was found in the backyard of 29 Hanbury Street. Some newspapers reported that she had been seen drinking in the Ten Bells Pub on Commercial Street, a few streets away from Hanbury Street, at 5.30am when a man of Hebrew appearance had peeped around the door and beckoned her outside. Although these reports were never corroborated, they helped whip the anti-Semitism into a frenzy and the general unrest that had been bubbling away finally gave way to full scale ant-Jewish unrest. Newspapers wrote of innocent Jews being barracked in the streets by angry gentile mobs.

The area as a whole moved towards riots and the authorities had little choice but to flood the area with uniformed police officers who managed to bring it under control. The other effect of the increased police presence was that the killer was restricted in his ability to carry out his crimes and so for a brief period the residents of the East End enjoyed a respite from their autumn of terror.

In the aftermath of the murder of Annie Chapman there were riots in the East End of London.
Riots In Spitalfields