For today’s blog I thought I’d reminisce about some of the great photos we’ve gained of the East End of London throughout 2015.
It’s been a funny year as far as the various Jack the Ripper locations go.
Take the former Dorset Street, for example. It was in Miller’s Court, just off Dorset Street, that Mary Kelly was murdered on the 9th November 1888.
This is what the site of the archway that led into Miller’s Court looked like at the end of 2014.
Just by way of a reminder, this is how the same view looked at the time of the East End Murders in 1888.
Across from it stood the White’s Row Car Park, which always made an ideal vantage point from which to get a good view along the line of the former Dorset Street, looking towards Commercial Street.
But, in July 2015, the bulldozers moved in and whole-scale demolition demolition began. Luckily, Andrew Firth – whose photographic records of the East End of London in general, and the Jack the Ripper murder sites in particular are second to none – was on hand as demolition got underlay and he captured this image as the car park came tumbling down and the streets line began to vanish beneath a mound of rubble.
With demolition going at a rapid pace Philip Hutchinson was on hand to snap this view of the proceedings as he passed it whilst walking along Commercial Street.
As 2015 drew to a close, little of the surroundings was left standing.
John Bennett was able to capture this forlorn image as he made his way past it on his Jack the Ripper tour in early December 2015. Where the diggers are is where the car park stood and the former entrance to Miller’s Court has now disappeared, leaving just the ghostly façade of the old Fruit and Wool Exchange as testimony to what had been on this site until progress deemed it necessary to plough the vicinity and its surroundings into the earth of East London.
And, just for a little balance, I thought I’d end this blog with the original view of Dorset Street itself as it was at the time of the Whitechapel Murders. This is looking in the same direction as the very first image taken from the top floor of the White’s Row Car Park.
Soon, a gleaming new building will rise on the site and the view will change yet again. But, as always happens, little pockets of the past will be left behind, often hidden from view awaiting discovery by the curious few who have the wherewithal to look and see.