It was in a dark gateway in Durward Street, formerly Buck’s Row, where, on 31 August 1888, the body of Mary Ann Nichols was found. She had been savagely attacked and is generally thought to have been the first victim of Jack the Ripper. 


What happened in Buck’s Row in relation to the Jack the Ripper crimes?

At around 3.40am on 31 August 1888, a carter named Charles Cross was making his way along Buck’s Row in Whitechapel, when he noticed a dark bundle lying in a gateway on the left side of the street.

Initially, Cross could not make out what the bundle was, so he went over to inspect it further, only to find that it was, in fact, the body of a woman he believed to be either dead or drunk. Due to the insufficient street lighting, Cross had not noticed the dark pool of blood surrounding the woman.

A view looking along Durward Street where the body of Mary Nichols, the first victim of Jack the Ripper, was found.

As he stood looking down at the body, another cater, named Robert Paul, approached, and Cross beckoned him over. Having checked for any sign that she was breathing, the two men concluded that she was dead, and so, feeling there was nothing more they could do, they left the scene vowing to alert the first policeman they encountered to their find.

Shortly after Cross and Paul had left the scene, a police constable by the name of John Neil turned into Buck’s Row and also discovered the body.

He examined the woman with the benefit of his lamp and noticed there was blood oozing from a wound in the woman’s throat. In fact, the wound was so severe that, according to several newspaper reports, her head had almost been completely detached from her body.

Where is Durward Street?

E1 5BT

Durward Street is an uninspiring thoroughfare situated behind Whitechapel underground station, just off Whitechapel Road in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. If it were not for the area’s gruesome history and connection to London’s most infamous serial killer then you would not give Durward Street a second thought. The nearest tube station to Durward Street is Whitechapel, which is just a 1-minute walk away.

There’s a diverse range of attractions in and around Durward Street, with Genesis Cinema, East London’s oldest cinema built in 1885, Spitalfields City Farm and Brick Lane all just a short walk away.  

What is Buck’s Row in the present day?

Buck’s Row has been renamed Durward Street and although the site of the murder is difficult to access due to the development of a new Crossrail Station, the uninspiring alleyway is still very much in place.

How has Buck’s Row changed since 1888?

Looking along Duward Street as it was in 1986.

Although Buck’s Row, now Durward Street, still remains, much has changed in the immediate vicinity over the last 130 years. Many of the buildings have fallen victim to the march of time and there is now a line of modern houses on the south side of Durward Street where the cottages Charles Cross would have walked past once were. However, at the top of Durward Street, the imposing Old Board School building remains in place, although it has now been converted into flats.