These days, the East End of London is known for its diverse population and multi-culturalism as much as it is for being a working class tourist destination. With a history that is just as vivacious as the present-day with visible throwbacks to days gone by – those cobblestones, the borough has made leaps and bounds over the last century.
Rewind to the year 1888 and you’ll be presented with a very different depiction of London’s East End. Streets were rife with desperation and alcoholism, poverty and disease at every turn and employment rarely on the right side of the law.
In just a few months, a vicious killer will wreak havoc through the streets of Whitechapel and the surrounding areas, leaving a spate of murdered prostitutes in his wake. This killer was dubbed Jack the Ripper by the media and his crimes have remained unsolved for the last 128 years, despite the police having hundreds of suspects over the course of their investigations.
The area was over-populated, and living conditions were very poor. Many men and women were homeless, drinking to numb their sorrows. Women selling their bodies to make enough money to pay board for the night was not uncommon.
During the Ripper’s reign of terror, there was an almighty sense of panic and fear that spread throughout the East End, London, and the crimes were reported around the world. The area already had a questionable reputation and these murders only fuelled the flames.
Despite the efforts of the police investigation, the vast number of suspects and sparse amount of evidence, the Jack the Ripper killings have been left unsolved. The involvement of the media threw the East End into the world’s spotlight; would the area ever make a recovery?
In 2016, the East End is as vibrant as you would expect for a borough that has undergone major renovation and redevelopment. Spitalfields and Shoreditch are destinations not to be missed, with a plethora of restaurants, bars, and vintage shops drawing in the tourists and making a life for the locals much more enjoyable.
However, the Ripper mystery is still very much a part of the East End today. Our tour operates daily and gives you a chance to mull over the suspects, visit the infamous sites where the unfortunate victims were killed and share theories with experts and amateur sleuths alike.
Our Jack the Ripper tour is very popular with school tours and groups at this time of year, as well as students undertaking coursework for their degrees so we would advise you to book your tickets in advance. Please contact our team for more information!