Mary Nichols and Catherine Eddowes were the first and fourth victims of Jack the Ripper respectively.
They are both buried in the City of London Cemetery, Manor Park – albeit, just as is the case with the other victims, the sites of their graves have long since been re-used and there are now only memorial plaques to them in the cemetery itself.
The best way to reach the City of London Cemetery from Central London is to take an overground train from Liverpool Street Station to Manor Park Station.
On arrival, exit the station and turn right along Whitta Road.
Walk to its end and then turn left along Forest Drive.
Continue ahead over Capel Road and just keep walking until you reach the roundabout, on the other side of which you will see the stone gateway of the City of London Cemetery, Aldersbrook Rd, Manor Park, London E12 5DQ.
Cross over to it and enter the cemetery via the main gate.
Just past two black bollards on the right, turn right and begin walking along that path – you will see a sign and an arrow pointing to “Traditional Crematorium” and “Memorial Gardens” on the left side of the path.
DIRECTIONS TO THE MEMORIAL PLAQUES
Keep ahead along that path, and at the crossroads, turn right (the white cross on the grave of George Leslie Drewry will be to your right on the corner as you turn right).
Keep ahead along that asphalt roadway, and in a little while, away to your left, you will see the red tiled roof of the Traditional Crematorium. This is what you will be heading for, so look out for the left turn towards it – just after a red circled 10 speed limit sign – then walk to the Crematorium, proceed counter-clockwise around it, and then continue straight along the path on its other side.
You will pass a pond on your right, and then turn right along Memorial Gardens, Gardens Way and keep ahead, to pass the end of a hedge on your right, and, a little further along, you will pass the end of a wall, and a line of trees.
A little way along, flat on the grass on the right, you will find the memorial plaque to Mary Ann Nichols.
MARY ANN NICHOLS
It is generally accepted that Mary “Polly” Nichols was the first victim of Jack the Ripper. She was murdered in Buck’s Row, Whitechapel, on the 31st of August 1888.
Her funeral took place on the 6th September 1888, and a report about it appeared in the next day’s South Wales Echo:-
“The funeral of Mary Ann Nichols, who was murdered in Buck’s-row, early on Friday morning, took place yesterday.
The time at which the cortège was to start was kept secret, and a ruse was resorted to in order to get the body out of the mortuary, where it has lain since the day of the murder.
A pair-horsed closed hearse was observed making its way down Hanbury-street, and the crowds, which numbered some thousands, made way for it to go along Old Montague-street; but instead of so doing it passed on into Whitechapel-road, and doubling back it reached the mortuary by the back gate, which is situated in Chapman’s-court.
No person was near, other than the undertaker and his men, when the coffin, which bore a plate with the inscription, “Mary Ann Nichols, aged 42. Died August 31, 1888″, was removed to the hearse and driven off to Hanbury-street, there to await the mourners.
Meantime the news had spread that the body was in the hearse, and people flocked round to see the coffin.
At length the cortège started towards Ilford.
The mourners were Mr Edward Walker, the father of the deceased, and his grandson, together with two of the deceased’s children.
The procession proceeded along Baker’s-row, and past the corner of Buck’s-row, into the main road, where policemen were stationed every few yards.
The houses in the neighbourhood had the blinds drawn, and much sympathy was expressed for the relatives.”
THE PLAQUE TO CATHERINE EDDOWES
Keep going along the path, you will pass a white information board on your left, and, a little further along, again flat on the grass, this time on the left side of the path, you will find the memorial plaque to Catherine Eddowes, who is generally considered to have been the fourth victim of Jack the Ripper, and who was murdered on the 30th of September 1888.
THE FUNERAL OF CATHERINE EDDOWES
Her funeral took place on the afternoon of Monday the 8th of October 1888.
That evening The Nottingham Evening Post carried a brief report on the events of the day:-
“The funeral of Catherine Eddowes, the victim of the Mitre-square murder, took place this afternoon at Ilford, Essex, where the City of London Cemetery is situated.
The expenses of the funeral were borne entirely by a private citizen.
The corpse, decently laid in a plain coffin, with the name and age of deceased engraved thereon, was removed at half-past one from the Golden-lane Mortuary.
Thousands of people lined the streets in the vicinity of the cemetery, evincing much sympathy.
The remains were borne in an open hearse, followed by two carriage.
Several wreaths were on the coffin.
The crowds in the streets of the East End were so dense that a force of police had to direct the traffic.”
The following weekend, The Warminster and Westbury Journal, and Wilts County Advertiser, carried a report about the funeral in its edition of Saturday 13th of October 1888, which went into more detail about the behaviour of the crowd:-
“The funeral of Catherine Eddowes, the victim of the Mitre-square murder, took place on Monday afternoon.
“The body was removed from the City mortuary in Golden-lane at a quarter past one o’clock for interment in the City of London cemetery, at Ilford.
There were dense crowds in the vicinity of Golden-lane, and at the junctions of Osborn and Commercial streets the people were so numerous that a large force of police had to direct the traffic.
The body was conveyed in an open hearse, a wreath being placed on either side of the coffin.
Following the remains were two mourning coaches, and in the rear of these was a large waggon crowded with women, the majority of whom were attired in a style not at all befitting the occasion.”
OTHER GRAVES TO VISIT
Once you have viewed the two memorial plaques, you can backtrack to the main gate to exit the cemetery.
You can then either return to central London, by returning to Manor Park Station, or you can extend your visit, by visiting the graves of other victims.
If, on arrival at Manor Park Station, you continue past it along Whitta Road, you will come to the gates of Manor Park Cemetery. Enter the Cemetery, and, a very short distance along the path, you will see two trees on the left.
Go along the grass path that starts between these two trees and, as the modern graves give way to an older area of graves on the left, you will see the memorial plaque to Annie Chapman.
MARY KELLY’S GRAVE
Alternatively, turn right on exiting the main gate of the City of London Cemetery, keep ahead to pass a line of shops on the right, go over the crossing, head right on its other side, and you will find several bus stops along this road (I say several because, at the time of writing, the first bus stop was out of service; there is, however, another on a few minutes further along.
From these bus stops, take bus 101 to Wanstead Station (approximately 15 minutes bus ride).
Turn right off the bus, and Wanstead Underground Station is situated on the right side of the main road, just beyond the traffic lights.
From here you can take the Central Line to Leyton Underground Station, to visit St Patrick’s Cemetery and the grave of Mary Kelly.
You will find full directions in this article.
ELIZABETH STRIDE’S GRAVE
Having visited the grave of Mary Kelly, you could then take the 69 bus from outside Leyton Station, and head over to the East London Cemetery to visit the grave of Elizabeth Stride.