The mystery surrounding Jack the Ripper haunted the streets of the East End, notably Whitechapel, for quite some time. However, now a fish and chip shop has taken paying their respects for the canonical five victims along with others supposed to have been murdered by this killer into their own hands.
According to London24, this particular chippy has welcomed a makeover and has been transformed into a memorial for the lives lost at the hand of the Ripper. The chip shop is situated in the very location where the Ripper wrote his sinister message in chalk.
Lindsay Siviter, a Scotland Yard historian, was called upon by the Whitechapel Society to be part of the opening ceremony, with a special request to reveal a plaque that has been put on the wall. The chip shop is named Happy Days and can be visited in the East End today.
Interestingly, this antiquated building is one of few to be still standing from the Victorian era. It is said to have been constructed atop what was previously an entry. This was also the exact location where the serial killer left behind an apron that belonged to a victim.
Lindsay commented: “This doorway is special – it’s where Jack the Ripper is known to have been after the murders.”
“This is where Constable Alfred Long, found a piece of apron in the doorway at 2.55am that night, which belonged to Catherine Eddowes, who was mutilated in Mitre Square nearby just an hour before – and it’s where he scrawled his message in white chalk.”
Despite its significance to the case, a Metropolitan Police Commissioner demanded it be washed away. It is thought this was to stop a riot breaking out over race, as the message is rumoured to have pointed the finger at the Jewish Community.
However, Lindsay has a very different view.
She commented: “A crime scene nowadays would be sealed off, but it was different in the pre-forensic world of 1888. It was a matter of public order; how sad that Sir Charles didn’t even wait for the photographer to arrive.”
“Just a few more minutes and we could have had an authentic photograph, of the handwriting that might have solved the murders. It could have been compared in detail to hundreds of letters sent to the police, including many hoaxes, but among them some genuine.”
“It was one of the biggest missed opportunities in police history.”
The makeover of the fish and chip restaurant incorporates a mock-up of the writing, produced in a similar style. Whilst critics have deemed this to be a bad idea based on the potential that the shop may be negatively associated with the murders, Michael Papastavrou said: “It’s in tribute to the victims. A lot of people told me when I was planning it, that it won’t be tasteful.”
“But there are no pictures of the Ripper or even the mutilation of his victims.”
If you’re interested in finding out more about the Ripper and his heinous crimes, join us on one of our Jack the Ripper walks! Our tour guides would be happy to show you around some of the significant spots in the East End while sparing no grisly details! Booking details are available on our site.