Although we cannot know with any degree of certainty how many victims Jack the Ripper had – since we do not know who he (or she) was we cannot state with certainty the number of victims – there is a general consensus amongst those who study the case that there were five victims.
THE VICTIMS OF JACK THE RIPPER
Those five victims were, Mary Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Kelly, and their murders took place between August 31st, 1888, and the 9th of November, 1888.
Although an awful lot is known about their deaths, there has, in recent years, been a movement towards remembering them as people as opposed to as victims.
Obviously, the only reason these five women, out of all the murder victims of the 19th century, are universally remembered is because of the manner of their deaths, and because they were murdered by the unknown assailant that we now know as “Jack the Ripper.”
But, their lives should also be remembered, and so, to that end, we have created a video that looks at the lives of the five victims, and which also pays a visit to their graves, or, at least, as close to their graves as it is possible to get today.
WATCH THE VIDEO
SIMILAR DOWNWARD SPIRALS
One thing that does become tragically apparent as we tell the story of the lives of the five victims, is that they all followed similar patterns.
Alcoholism lay at the root of the problems that led them into lives of hardship and dire poverty that saw them gravitate to the East End of London, where they joined the thousands of transient poor whose lives centred on the notorious common lodging houses of the district.
These places would charge fourpence for a single bed, or eight pence for a double bed, and every night, hundreds of men and women would bed down in these places.
HOW THEY SURVIVED
Survival, in the days when there was no welfare state to catch those who had fallen through the net, was very much a case of doing what had to be done to survive.
Hawking on the streets of London was one way in which people tried to raise the money that would pay for a bite to eat and a bed for the night. In the case of Jack the Ripper’s victims, reading the inquest testimonies of those that knew them, casual prostitution was also a way in which they would get the money to pay for their beds.
Certainly, in the cases of Annie Chapman, Mary Nichols and Catherine Eddowes, they were trying to raise the money for a bed – a for drink – when they met their murderer.
Indeed, Annie Chapman’s murder, if nothing else, did alert people to the awful existences of the women who, for the simple necessity of raising fourpence for a bed, ended up, as one newspaper put it, “embracing their assassin.”
But, we should never lose focus on the fact that, before they came to the East End of London, they had lives and families.
So our video takes a look at how they ended up leading their transient existences in the common lodging houses of the Victorian East End.