The Former Bricklayers Arms

The former Bricklayers Arms stands at the junction of Fordham Street and Settles Street, in a charming enclave where, if it wasn’t for the cars, you could almost believe that you were walking the streets of the Victorian East End.


The pub was established around 1802, and, in 1888, the landlord was Walter Cook. At 11 pm

on the 29th of September, a few hours before her death in the early hours of the next morning, Elizabeth Stride was seen standing with a man in the doorway of the pub by two labourers named J. Best and John Gardner.

A photograph of the former Bricklayers Arms.
The Former Bricklayers Arms.


The man, so Best told The Evening News, was:- “about 5ft. 5in. in height. He was well dressed in a black morning suit with a morning coat.”

According to Best:-

“He had rather weak eyes. I mean he had sore eyes without any eyelashes. I should know the man again amongst a hundred. He had a thick black moustache and no beard. He wore a black billycock hat, was rather tall, and had on a collar.

The man was no foreigner; he was an Englishman right enough.”


“They had been served in the public house, and went out when me and my friends came in,” he continued.

“It was raining very fast, and they did not appear willing to go out.

He was hugging her and kissing her, and, as he seemed a respectably dressed man, we were rather astonished at the way he was going on with the woman, who was poorly dressed.

We ‘chipped” him, but he paid no attention.

As he stood in the doorway he always threw sidelong glances into the bar but would look nobody in the face. I said to him, “Why don’t you bring the woman in and treat her?”, but he made no answer.

If he had been a straight fellow he would have told us to mind our own business, or he would have gone away.

I was so certain that there was something up that I would have charged him if I could have seen a policeman.”


Best and Gardner couldn’t resist teasing the couple, “That’s Leather Apron getting round you”, they joshed.

“When the man could not stand the chaffing any longer,” Best later recounted, “he and the woman went off like a shot soon after eleven.


I have been to the mortuary, and am almost certain the woman there is the one we saw at the Bricklayers Arms.

She is the same slight woman, and seems the same height.

The face looks the same, but a little paler, and the bridge of the nose does not look so prominent.”


The Bricklayers Arms closed in the early 20th century and the premises was for many years a grocer’s store.

However, it has recently been converted into flats, and nothing now survives to suggest its former name or usage, nor is there anything to remember its connection with the Jack the Ripper story.