Where We Are with Bury

Had the Jack the Ripper murders taken place in 1988 and not 1888 then our response to them would have been markedly different. No one in 1988 would have doubted that the perpetrator was a sexual serial killer carrying out his own perverted agenda. Since 1888 we have learnt much about this type of killer, their damaged childhoods, misfit adulthoods and psychopathic alienation from the human race.

Bravo for Maybrick

Two men died of poisoning in the last quarter of the 19th century. Charles Delauney Turner Bravo, April 1876 and James Maybrick, May 1889. Both were professional men, Bravo a London barrister and Maybrick a much travelled cotton broker. Their deaths are shrouded in mystery and intrigue. The wife of one was charged and convicted of murder receiving a death sentence, which was subsequently changed to a life sentence, while the other wife, although suspected of murder, was not charged. Charles Bravo’s death was the subject of much speculation and even went to two inquests. We look at the lifestyle of both couples.

Reinvestigating Murder: The Mystery of the knife

Investigating murder sometimes resembles picking gnat’s droppings out of cow dung;- or to put it a little more salubriously, this will be a journey of exploration and whether you get to the end of it with me will depend on your perception of how logical the deductions are.

We begin on the night following the double murder of Liz Stride and Cathy Eddowes. Thirty minutes after midnight on Monday, October 1st, a warehouse operative named Thomas Coram was walking up Whitechapel road on the right-hand side going towards Aldgate when, near Great Garden street, he spied something white lying on the bottom step of number 252 on the other side of the road. Coram crossed over and found that the object was a long bladed knife with a handkerchief tied round the handle. Both the knife and the hankie were stained with dried blood.

Providence Row Night Refuge

The Night Refuge in Crispin Street will be well known to those with an interest in the Jack the Ripper case, and also in the history of the East End. Mary Kelly is, according to legend, believed to have sought sanctuary at Providence Row at some time. A small collection of original papers that are housed in London Metropolitan Archives (1) provide a fascinating first-hand glimpse into the all too real poverty that existed at that time, and the measures to alleviate it.

Charles Warren In Africa

The second part of my travels through darkest Africa led me to Natal and the sites of various Zulu and Boer War battlefields. After doing my bit for Queen and country and visiting Isandhwana and Rorkes Drift, (not a bloody spear in sight Michael!), I came upon a hill (or ‘Kop’) with a distinct connection to the events in Whitechapel just twelve years before its notoriety. The place is Spion Kop,* a hill some 1,500 ft high and overlooking the Tugela River on the approaches to Ladysmith. This was the route taken by the British Commander of Allied forces, Sir Redvers Buller, on his way to relieve the beleaguered inhabitants of said Ladysmith.

A Woman Alone in Whitechapel

This is a piece that appeared in the ‘Sunday Express’ newspaper on 22nd March 1925. It was written by the journalist Mrs. Cecil Chesterton who took it upon herself to tour the East End of the 1920’s to see for herself the quality of life – or lack of it, that the denizens of that neighbourhood endured. I am grateful to the author Nicholas Connell (‘The Man Who Hunted Jack the Ripper’), for finding this article and allowing us to reprint.

Jack The Ripper – A Life In Films

Few films concerning the Whitechapel murders concern themselves with the historic events of 1888. Jack is more often than not used as a “bogey man” figure or appears in a supporting role. Those films which attempt to stick to the facts invariably reach conclusions as outrageous as some of those in print. Jack the Ripper’s…

Spitalfields

SPITALFIELDS derives it’s name from a hospital known as St Mary Spital, originally founded as a priory in 1197.The City of London established its wholesale vegetable market in the area during the late 17th century (only relocated in 1989), at a time when the north and east of the City was still largely open countryside.…

East End Policing in the 19th Century

By the year 1820 it was estimated that in London, of a population of a million people, there were at least 30,000 thieves operating who annually stole property valued at two million pounds. Statistics revealed that crime had increased 41 per cent in seven years. Murder was becoming common place, in Shadwell alone in 1811…

Opium Dens

First published by the ‘The London Cottage Mission 1884’ A couple of opium-pipes lay beside him on the bed; bits of bamboo two feet long they were; one end being plugged up with a little piece 0f ivory, and the other, with no mouthpiece, being smoothed to touch the lips. Near the plugged end was…