As you make your way around the East End of London you encounter many locations that are still much as they were in 1888 at the time of the Jack the Ripper murders. These wonderful locations are almost a conduit that link our age with the Victorian age and they can often provide the curious wanderer, who takes the opportunity to absorb his or her surroundings as opposed to just hurry through them, with tantalising little glimpses of bygone Whitechapel and Spitalfields.
Sometimes, those atmospheric old locations are there pain to see but are not noticed by the cursory passer-by more concerned with getting to their location than pausing to take in the streets and buildings they are walking through and by.
Take Brick Lane, for example.
Wandering along it, the sight that most frequent assails your senses of sight and smell is that of the myriad of curry houses that line the thoroughfare. But, take a second glance and you start to spot things that are, in some cases, hiding there in plain sight.
THE FORMER FRYING PAN PUB
For example, at Brick Lane’s junction with Thrawl Street you will find The Shaad restaurant, an excellent curry house. But, what many visitors and strollers miss is the wonderful survivor that can be seen on its upper gable. Squinting skywards you will notice two crossed frying pans in brick relief and, on closer inspection, you might make out the words “Ye Frying Pan.” This was the former Frying Pan Pub, the place where Jack the Ripper’s first victim, Mary Nichols, was seen drinking on the very morning of her murder, August 31st 1888.
Here is that gable in close-up taken by photographer Sean East.
THE BREWERY CLOCK
A little further along Brick Lane you pass the fomer Truman Brewery which, in the 19th century, was a major provider of employment in the area.
Its clock, was the clock that Elizabeth Long set the time at which she had seen Annie Chapman on the morning of her murder on 8th September 1888, since she had past it just before she had turned into Hanbury Street where she saw Annie talking with a man outside number 29.
PITCHED BACK IN TIME
Turn of Brick Lane into the charming knot of old streets that nestle around Fournier Street and you well and truly find yourself pitched back to a bygone age. These streets are lined with sturdy old houses that date back to the 18th century, and many of them have changed very little, if they have changed at all since the autumn of 1888 when the Ripper prowled the streets around them. These streets are favourites with our guides as well as with the participants on our nightly Jack the Ripper CSI tour. You really can sense the history oozing from every tiny pore of the brickwork. Who knows what dark secrets their old walls are privy to.
So, there you have a round up of some of the old buildings that still exist around Brick Lane in the East End of London.
The best thing is that, all the properties featured here are within 10 minutes, if that, walk of one another and, having explored them, you can then stop off and enjoy a curry at one of Brick Lane’s many curry restaurants. How’s that for a night out?
Copyright Notice. All the images on this page were taken by photographer Sean East and they are and remain his full copyright.