A LIFELONG INTEREST IN THE CASE
John Bennett is a former full-time secondary school teacher who has been working as a tour guide for nearly 6 years, but his interest in the Jack the Ripper case stretches as far back as the mid-1970s when, as a young boy living in East London, he saw a TV feature about the Ripper and was hooked by the creepiness of the story.
JOHN’S JACK THE RIPPER QUIZ
John has also devised a 10 question quiz for those who have joined him on his Jack the Ripper tour and who wish to see how many of the fascinating facts and observations they can remember.
EAST END FAMILY CONNECTIONS
His immediate family hails from the East End and, when researching his family genealogy, he was astonished to discover that his ancestors were living and working there as far back as the early 18th century in the neighbourhoods of Aldgate, Whitechapel, Spitalfields, Bethnal Green, Stepney and Shoreditch. One could almost say the East End of London is in his blood!
MANY YEARS STUDYING JACK THE RIPPER
By the mid-1980s he was regularly visiting the East End and conducting his own research into the history of the area at places like Tower Hamlets Archive and the old Whitechapel Library. Often he would photograph the streets of Whitechapel and Spitalfields and has seen many changes over the years. Since then he has developed his interests further and in 2008 became a major contributor to the Jack the Ripper: Casebook website’s Wiki page; this included new biographical information on many key witnesses and locations.
AUTHOR OF MANY BOOKS
His first book, the well-received E1 – A Journey Through Whitechapel and Spitalfields was published by Five Leaves in 2009 and since then he has been greatly involved in East End and Ripper research as both a writer and broadcaster.
In 2010, John co-wrote the Channel 5 documentary Jack the Ripper: The Definitive Story with eminent Ripper historian and author Paul Begg and this working partnership has since resulted in several books: Jack the Ripper: CSI Whitechapel (Andre Deutsch 2012), The Complete and Essential Jack the Ripper (Penguin 2013) and Jack the Ripper: The Forgotten Victims (Yale 2014). He also wrote Jack the Ripper: The Making of the Myth, published in 2011, an examination of the way the Ripper has become a popular icon of terror in the media and imagination of the public. John’s name also pops up in the acknowledgements of numerous books, including the “Bible of Ripper studies”, the Jack the Ripper A-Z.
ARTICLES IN RIPPER JOURNALS
Since 2006, John has had over 20 articles published in periodicals such as Ripper Notes, Ripperologist magazine and the Journal of the Whitechapel Society 1888, often concentrating on his work on the history of the parts of the East End made famous by the Whitechapel murders, as well as his occasional forays into photography.
JACK THE RIPPER CONFERENCES
He was also a guest speaker at the annual Jack the Ripper Conference for four years running from 2009, something of a record! He has also lectured on the Ripper and the East End at various institutions including the Whitechapel Idea Store, London Fortean Society, St Hilda’s Community Centre (Bethnal Green) and a rather memorable talk on board the historic HMS Victory in Portsmouth.
John has also appeared on numerous documentaries on the Ripper, including those made for German and Canadian television. Most recently he appeared in an episode of A Very British Murderwith Lucy Worsley’ which was broadcast on BBC4 and he was also a main interviewee on the ‘Fred Dinenage Murder Casebook’, for the Crime and Investigation Channel.