One of the true discoveries, that many of those who take our Jack the Ripper Walk often comment on, is the moment when we reach the junction of Brick Lane and Thrawl Street.
By this time, despite the fact we are only 25 or so minutes into our walking tour, we have covered two of the Whitechapel Murders sites (the site of the murder of Martha Tabram and the site of the attack on Emma Smith).
At the junction of Brick Lane and Thrawl Street stands one of the many curry houses for which the area is, justifiably, famous – The Sheraz.
This is an excellent restaurant and it is the one that we recommend to our clients as, not only is the food and service excellent, but it also has a connection with the Jack the Ripper crimes.
London is a city to look up in. Many of the building façades at street level are modern and, in the majority of cases, unremarkable.
But, look up and you’ll see furnishings and adornments that have survived the march of time and progress.
The Sheraz is no exception.
We always get our tour participants to crane their necks and look up at the gable over the restaurant’s upper story. Suddenly their eyes fix on this:-
The old 19th century sign which shows how, like so many buildings in the area, this one has changed both its name and its usage.
In 1888 this was the Frying Pan Pub.
It was here that, in the early hours of August 31st 1888, Mary Nichols, who is widely believed to have been the first of Jack the Ripper’s victims, drank away her doss money.
She left this pub at around 2.30am and staggered off towards Whitechapel Road where she met her friend Emily Holland at its junction with Osborn Street.
Emily was somewhat concerned at Mary’s obvious drunken state and suggested she come back to sober up in the kitchen of the lodging house they were both staying at.
Mary refused, tating that she’d soon be back with enough money to pay for a bed, as opposed to just sitting in the kitchen, and, so-saying she staggered off into the night.
Just over an hour later he body would be found in Buck’s Row (less than 10 minutes walk away) and Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror was, well and truly, underway.