This week we’re trialling a new concept in bringing you detailed information on the Jack the Ripper crimes – a series of video tours of the murder sites.
On Monday (4th January 2016) I headed out with my trusty camcorder and did the first of a series of videos that will show you the streets of Whitechapel and Spitalfields as they are now, and as they were in 1888.
THE MARY NICHOLS MURDER VIDEO TOUR
NOT POLISHED BUT AUTHENTIC
The films themselves are displayed “as shot”, meaning you get the full atmosphere, both in audio and video, of the streets through which the camera glides. I decided against doing too much editing as I wanted to give the viewer an authentic walking tour experience that, hopefully, will make you feel as though you’re out on the byways of the East End. The sound can seem a little ropey in parts – there’s wind noise and traffic noise – but that’s the background noise as you would actually hear it were you to take a stroll through the streets that feature in the video.
IT BEGINS AT WHITECHAPEL STATION
This first part begins at Whitechapel Underground Station and takes in the Working Lads Institute (where the inquests into the deaths of several victims took place), the Royal London Hospital, and the busy, noisy and vibrant Whitechapel Road.
ON TO DURWARD STREET – FORMERLY BUCK’S ROW
It then heads for Durward Street, which was formerly Buck’s Row. It was here that the first victim of Jack the Ripper, Mary Nichols, was found at 3.40am on 31st August 1888 by a carter named Charles Cross, who was on his way to work when he stumbled upon her body, lying in a dark gateway.
The video tour follows in Cross’s footsteps and the footage is overlaid with 19th century images that snapshot the viewer back to the autumn of terror to show you what the surroundings were like at the time.
BACK TO WHITECHAPEL ROAD
Having looked at the murder site from the east, the camera then moved back along Whitechapel Road, pausing to speak with some very characterful locals, before stopping to admire an early 20th century drinking fountain that many people pass on a daily basis and don’t give a second glance to. That is such a pity for, as you will see on the video tour, the fountain has some truly amazing figures on it.
SEE THE MURDER SITE FROM THE WEST
We then make our way to the west end of Durward Street and look at the murder site from this angle.
THE AMAZING BOARD SCHOOL
One building has survived from the night of the murder, the looking bulk of the Victorian Board School, now converted into flats. It still looks down on the murder site, just as it did in August 1888 – a silent witness to that long ago morning when Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror began in this nondescript East End thoroughfare.
MORE VIDEO VISITS TO FOLLOW
This is, very much, an ongoing project and, over the coming weeks, more videos will appear that will tour the other murder sites, as well as the locations connected with them.
So, I hope you enjoy this first video tour and that it gives you a true insight into the location where Mary Nichols, the first victim of the killer who became known as Jack the Ripper, was murdered in the early hours of the 31st August 1888.