Victorian Serial Killer Fascination

DATED: 11.10.16

London is a beautiful city; with the Big Ben, double-decker buses, picturesque River Thames, and Buckingham Palace to boot; the city is truly a marvellous sight to behold.

But apart from all things beautiful, London has a dark and sordid history filled with poverty, plague, disease, prostitution, murder and execution.

If you are in London this Halloween and you have a fascination for serial killers, then you’re in for a treat!

From Jack the Ripper, the world-famous serial killer that got away with his heinous crimes through to William Thomas and Richard Dadd, these serial killers certainly had a trick up their sleeves.

Driven To Murder

This notorious killer of the Victorian era started out in life as a farmer. He always suffered from excruciating headaches, with them worsening as time went on, his behaviour becoming ever more erratic.

His mother had had enough and wanted to take things into her own hands. Her ideas was to admit her son into a mental institution, but when she revealed her decision to him, he took a kitchen knife and stabbed her until she died. It is said that the human body can only withstand a certain level of pain before we can take no more; it is believed that William Thomas was driven to murder out of pain, as well as rage.

He attempted to bury his mother’s corpse in the backyard, but a neighbour saw what he was up to, and called the police. Thomas was arrested and sentenced to prison. He was sent to Broadmoor, where he spent our the rest of his days, headaches and all.

Bewildered Artiste

The famous Victorian painter Richard Dadd created many masterpieces related to the depiction of supernatural objects, fairies, and mythology. Esteemed by the Royal Academy of Arts, he received a medal for his drawings in 1840 – quite the honour, indeed.

However, in December just two years later, while on an expedition in Egypt, he became delusional and violent, telling anyone who would listen that he had been possessed by the spirit of the Egyptian god Osiris.

Just a few months later, he murdered his father with a knife, believing him to be the devil reincarnated.

In an attempt to escape his fate, Dadd fled the country. Along the way, he attempted to murder a tourist but was caught unawares by the authorities, and admitted to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation.

The work of this troubled man can still be viewed, today.

Jack the Ripper

Perhaps the most well-known, mysterious, and horrific murders that took place in London during the Victorian era were committed by Jack the Ripper, an unidentified individual who was never caught.

He carried out his ghastly deeds throughout what is now known as the Autumn of Terror  in the East End of London; more than 11 murders were committed during this time, the majority of which were prostitutes which led the police to believe their murders were the work of one individual.

The first five murders to be linked are affectionately known as The Canonical Five. His victims were largely mutilated, but this killer never left behind any clues of value. The police fumbled with the clues that were left, allowing the killer to disappear into the night forever.

Our Halloween Jack the Ripper tour explores the murder sites, victims, the suspects and we question whether or not the killer would have gotten away with it all today.

For your place on our tour, please book in advance by clicking here.


 7 Days a Week

AT 5:00PM & 7:30PM

Tour Duration

1 hr 45 mins


The Jack the Ripper Casebook