Jack the Ripper as A Threat to Outcast England

jack the ripper

Jack the Ripper was a notorious, and probably one of the most infamous serial killers of Victorian London, if not in the world. 

But how many murders did Jack the Ripper actually commit? He’s known for taking the lives of five women during the Autumn of 1888 in Whitechapel, London, and that’s just in the space of 12 weeks.  

Jack the Ripper

Also known as The Whitechapel Murderer, the actual identification of Jack the Ripper has never come to light, even to this day it remains unknown. He was never caught for his horrendous crimes against five women and all anyone was able to guess was that his occupation was either a butcher or surgeon due to the weapons he used on each victim.

The Jack the Ripper dates took place between August and November 1888, in the little space of twelve weeks he murdered five prostitutes. 

Jack the Ripper Neighbourhood

The London district associated with Jack the Ripper was Whitechapel. This period of time was also referred to as the Whitechapel murders. The neighbourhood was in the East End of London and the area was well known for its high crime and poverty rate.  

During 1888, Whitechapel was one of the busiest areas in East London, but this didn’t always bring positives with it. Whitechapel’s high population meant that it was an epicentre for high crime rates, poverty, prostitution and violence. Walking through Whitechapel in 1888, you’d find a district full of disease and dense pollution. It was a difficult place to live, with many people living from bed to bed in houses that were barely habitable. Fresh food was minimal, and the stale scent of sewage swarmed through the streets thanks to its poor drainage system. 

The murders in Whitechapel helped to bring a large amount of press to the area, opening the eyes of the wealthier areas in London such as Chelsea, Kensington, Mayfair and Knightsbridge. With the richer parts being unaware of the living conditions in the East End, it really helped to open the eyes of the rich and bring their attention to the disastrous effects of poverty. 

Jack the Ripper Murder Locations 

There were five murders committed by Jack the Ripper, with each one taking place in a different part of Whitechapel. These locations were Bucks Row, Hanbury Street, Berners Street, Mitre Square and Millers Court. 

  • Bucks Row – Redeveloped in the modern age, Bucks Row is now commonly known as Dunward Street. It would have had a cobbled street that Jack the Ripper’s first victim would have walked across before meeting her untimely death. The only building remaining from this period of history is the Old School Block which still towers over Dunward Street to this day. The first victim’s body was found by a gate to the left of the school building. 
  • Hanbury Street – Found in Spitalfields, this is where the slums would have been their very worst in 1888. Jack the Ripper’s second victim would have been drinking at Hanbury Street’s Ten Bells pub before she met her end. Her body was discovered at the back of 29 Hanbury Street, which was close to The Ten Bells. 
  • Berners Street – Now renamed as Henriques Street, the third murder occurred at Dutfield’s Yard. The yard has since become a school playground and all original housing has been knocked down. 
  • Mitre Square – Found in Aldgate, Mitre Square was the fourth location for the Ripper murders. The fourth murder took place outside of Whitechapel, although it was still close to the area. You’ll still find the same cobbles at Mitre Square today, although you’ll find nearly all buildings have been knocked down. 
  • Millers Court – Now known as Dorset Street was a rough area in Whitechapel that was home to many vagabonds and prostitutes. The fifth and final victim was found in her room and horrifically mutilated. Millers Court has since been redeveloped with no signs of the Victorian Era left. 

Whitechapel Murderer

There were many theories on Jack the Ripper and who the notorious Ripper actually was. Three suspects from the police were Montague Druitt, both a barrister and teacher with a keen interest in surgery. Michael Ostrog, a Russian criminal and physician and Aaron Kosminski who was a Polish immigrant.

After the final murders, Druitt disappeared and was then found dead. Ostrog had been placed in an asylum due to homicidal concerns and Kosminski was hospitalized after the last murder. No suspect has ever been found guilty and the identification of Jack the Ripper has never been proven. Because of this, there is also no Jack the Ripper description or an idea of where Jack the Ripper did live.

Jack the Ripper Kill Count

As previously mentioned, there were five murders of Jack the Ripper. The victims were: 

  • Mary Nichols 
  • Annie Chapman 
  • Elizabeth Stride
  • Catherine Eddows
  • Mary Kelly 

All victims were known to be prostitutes and it was after the second murder of Annie Chapman that an unease began to stir in Whitechapel. 

Jack the Ripper Case

There were a huge 25 officers assigned to the monster ripper case. As there was no forensic evidence during the Victorian period, it meant to catch a killer they either had to be caught in the act or confess. 

Police were able to take photos of the victims, make crime scene drawings and carry out autopsies to help further their investigation. There was also evidence purposely left by the killer such as a message written in chalk stating ‘The Juwes are men That Will not be blamed for nothing’. 

Not only this, but the ripper even sent the police his own letters on September 25th and then a postcard on October 1st. In the middle of October, the ripper sent a letter along with half a kidney which belonged to the victim Catherine Eddows, however, there was still not enough evidence to identify the killer. 

The Jack the Ripper case is one that has puzzled both police and the public for over a hundred years. Murders weren’t uncommon in the Victorian era, but what made these killings noticeable was the sheer bloodiness of them, with each victim being cut by throat and pieces of anatomy removed. There being no forensic evidence during the 1800s, it made it extremely difficult to catch the killer, enabling him to kill again and again. Nobody knows why Jack the Ripper suddenly stopped on his killing spree, whether he was hospitalized or maybe even met his untimely death. 

References

BBC – History – Historic Figures: Jack the Ripper (?). (2011, July 4). https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/ripper_jack_the.shtml 

Casebook: Jack the Ripper – Introduction to the Case. (n.d-a). https://www.casebook.org/intro.html 

Inspiringcity. (2021). Where to Find Jack the Ripper Murder Sites in Whitechapel, Aldgate and Spitalfields. Inspiring City. https://inspiringcity.com/2014/01/04/jack-the-ripper-locations-in-whitechapel-aldgate-and-spitalfields/ 

Jones, R (n.d). Jack the Ripper Victims. https://www.jack-the-ripper-tour.com/the-victims  

Jones, R (n.d.). The East End of London in 1888. https://www.jack-the-ripper.org/east-end.htm 

Team, R. (2021, October 28). What was it like?| Whitechapel | Jack the Ripper Tour. JackTheRipper. https://thejacktherippertour.com/blog/what-was-it-really-like-to-live-in-whitechapel-london-in-1888/ 

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. (1998, July 20). East End | district, London, United Kingdom. Encyclopaedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/place/East-End 

 

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Marc Gray is the founder of the Odyssey College Prep program. As the director of education, he helps parents and students simplify college planning. His enterprise aims to give parents who are overwhelmed by the endless decisions of college planning a stress-free and comprehensive solution. Marc also helps students discover and enhance their talents through advanced aptitude testing, ensuring that they can develop them into practical skills to use while building their dream careers.
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