The Whitechapel Murders Begin

We’re rapidly approaching the 125th anniversary of the start of the Whitechapel Murders.

Indeed, with the arrival of April the anniversary of the beginning of the most infamous killing spree in history is about to take place.

Although the Jack the Ripper murders are believed to have begin with the murder of Mary Nichols on August 31st 1888, the actual Whitechapel Murders, the generic title, for this particular crime spree, actually began on 4th April 1888.

It was on that morning that Emma Smith died.

In the early hours of 3rd April Emma had been walking along Whitechapel Road when she found that she was being followed by a gang. 

They continued to follow her as she turned along Osborne Street and then, when she reached its junction with Wentworth Street and Brick Lane, the gang attacked her.

Horrifically injured, She staggered back to her lodging house at 18 George Street, where her fellow lodgers were alarmed by her evident pain and distress and persuaded her to go to the London Hospital.

Here she told the doctor who treated her that she had been attacked by a gang of youths, the youngest of which had been aged around 18 years old.

Emma’s condition worsened during the day and she died of peritonitis at around 9am on 4th April 1888.

Although Emma almost certainly wasn’t a victim of the killer who would later become known as Jack the Ripper, her’s is the first name that appears on the generic file known as the Whitechapel Murders file.

Thus the Whitechapel Murders themselves actually began in April 1888 and so, on this day 125 years ago, although they couldn’t have known it, the people of the East End were about to witness a crime spree that would create the most notorious and infamous serial killer of all time  – Jack the Ripper.

Incidentally, the reason we begin our Jack the Ripper Tour outside Exit Four of Aldgate East Station is because this stands alongside the place where the gang began to follow Emma Smith. So, if you want a walk that follows the murder spree chronologically then be sure to join the original Aldgate East Jack the Ripper Tour.