The Life And Death Of Martha Tabram

Today we bring you one of our in-depth videos that takes a closer look at the actual Whitechapel murders victims.

In this episode we take a look at the life and the death of Martha Tabram (1849 – 1888), whose body was found, at a little before 5am on Tuesday, 7th August, 1888,  on the dark, first-floor landing of George Yard Buildings, a tenement block that used to stand at the top of George Yard, a narrow thoroughfare that stretched from Whitechapel High Street at its south end, through to Wentworth Street at its north end.


Today, it has to be said, it is impossible to say whether or not Martha Tabram (1849 -1888) was a victim of Jack the Ripper.

Most experts on the case, today at least, dismiss her as a victim, and they point to the fact that her injuries were not constant with the modus operandi that was so brutally demonstrated in the cases of the so-called “canonical” victims, Mary Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Kelly.

However, it should also be noted that whoever it was that did kill Martha Tabram (or Martha Turner as she was known at the time of her death), most certainly did target her throat and lower abdomen, just as the ripper would do with his later victims.

However, it is now all but impossible today to solve the mystery as to whether or not Martha was murdered by the same hand that carried out the brutal murders of the canonical five, and so we can only speculate.


There were, however, most certainly similarities between her murder aside from the aforementioned similarity of the targeting of the injuries.

She was, almost certainly, a street prostitute. She was murdered in a dark backstreet in a hidden location, probably by a man whom she perceived to have been a client.

In addition, when her body was discovered by John Saunders Reeves, a resident of George Yard buildings who made the discovery as he headed out to work at a little before 5am, it was in an almost identical pose to the bodies of several of the canonical five.

It should also be remembered that the majority of the police officers who worked on the case at the time were of the opinion that she had been a victim of Jack the Ripper.


However, before her murder, Martha had led a life that was, in many ways, comparable to the lives of the other victims of the Whitechapel murderer.

A life that was blighted by alcoholism and hardship, which saw her resort to any means by which to earn the money to pay for a bed for the night, to buy food, and, of course, to buy drink.

This is a tragedy that was shared by so many of the women who inhabited the area in which the atrocities took place, and so in our video, we tell the story of her life and follow her through the highs and the lows that saw her gravitate from the streets of Southwark in south London, to the streets of the East End where she became one of the people of the abyss.

So, please enjoy the video, and be sure to join us on our Facebook page in order to discuss the case further.