The Ripper State

In many ways Victorian society was a forge ahead society. There was a huge belief in people being self sufficient and making their own way in the world. The newly emerged middle class was, in many ways, justly proud of its and its countries achievements. Yet, that same society had spawned a huge dispossessed underclass which, by 1888, had begun to bare its teeth.

Throughout the 1880’s the poor of London, many of them from the East End, had begun to congregate in, and protest in, Trafalgar Square. May of the more right wing newspaper had been focussing on this aspect of Victorian society and the authorities, ever fearful that a revolution  might break out, had started to clamp down.

In November 1887 the then Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Charles Warren, had violently broken up a protest in Trafalgar Square on what became known as “Bloody Sunday.” Many of the wealthier middle and upper class citizens of London saw Warren’s actions as both decisive and necessary, and to the right wing press he became the hero of the hour.

But to the radical and liberal press his action served to make him very unpopular and, as a consequence, they turned against him and began taking an opportunity they could to attack him and undermine his reputation.

When, in August 18888, a little less than a year after the events of the notorious “Bloody Sunday” the Jack the Ripper murders began in the very heart of the area from where many of the protesters had come, the radical press found the perfect opportunity to avenge the events of the previous November and, almost from the start of the Whitechapel Murders Sir Charles Warren found himself facing open press hostility which, inevitably, filtered down through the ranks and affected the morale of all the police who were trying to bring Jack the Ripper to justice.

In a a way, the Whitechapel murderer came along at just the right time when the radical press needed a personification of their hostility towards Sir Charles Warren and the authorities in general.

So, the question could be asked, was Sir Charles Warren, in a way, another victim of Jack the Ripper?