I realized recently that I’d never written about the Jack the Ripper walking tour that I did while I studied in London and since it’s October, I wanted to rectify that ASAP. Not only did I go on A Jack the Ripper walking tour, but I went on the BEST Jack the Ripper walking tour in London.
When I studied abroad in London in 2007, I went on a bunch of walking tours. I did the Beatles walking tour and a tour of my new neighborhood (Kensington), but before that I went on an evening Jack the Ripper walking tour. It was led by a well known historian named Donald Rumbelow.
Because it was 2007, my photos are grainy and not great but I thought they deserved their own post because it’s October after all.
Thank goodness I have two scrapbooks from that summer otherwise I would have no idea what tour we went on, but you’re in luck because I scrapbook the hell out of that summer, including the details of that tour.
As I mentioned before, the tour was guided by Jack the Ripper expert Donald Rumbelow, a renowned Jack the Ripper expert who’s written a book about the killer and everything.
Meeting Point for the Best Jack the Ripper Walking Tour in London
We met outside the Tower Hill underground station at 6:45pm, as the sun was setting, and the city was shutting down around us. Don gave us a brief background on Jack the Ripper before we began our walk at 7:30pm.
We started off by walking to a nearby courtyard where a piece of the wall that surrounded the old city of London still stands. There are apparently multiple places to find these remnants (click here for photos), but I’m pretty sure we ended up at the part near All Hallows Church.
Some Background on Jack the Ripper
If you don’t know much about Jack the Ripper, allow me to explain. He was the anonymous killer who murdered 5 prostitutes in the Whitechaple district in London during 10 terrifying weeks between August 31st and November 9th in 1888. He was never caught and just abruptly stopped his murders after the fifth one.
All 5 of his victims were prostitutes who’d had a little too much to drink in London’s East End. Their names were Mary Ann Nichols (August 31), Annie Chapman (September 8), Catherine Eddowes (September 30), Elizabeth Stride (September 30), and Mary Jane Kelly (November 9).
Each victim’s throat was slashed and their bodies were mutilated in a way that indicated that the killer had some knowledge of anatomy. Trails of their blood were found but those trails led nowhere.
Stops on the Best Jack the Ripper Walking Tour:
These are the ones I remember because of my photographs at least.
St. Botolph’s Church, aka The Prostitute’s Church: Back in the 1880’s, the police roamed the streets looking to pick up and arrest prostitutes. St. Botolph’s Church got the nickname of The Prostitute’s Church because, the avoid being arrested, prostitutes would go around the back of St. Botolph’s Church if they saw a police officer near by and then once they were gone, they’d return to their spot on the street near the church.
Mitre Square: One of the first stops on any Jack the Ripper tour and certainly this one was Mitre Square. While writing this, I learned one of his victims, Catherine Eddowes, was born on the same day as me, though quite a few years earlier: April 14. Her body was found in Mitre Square. It was Jack the Ripper’s second murder of that night.
A Doorway on Goulston Street: The next spot we were led to was around the corner from Mitre Square. We were shown the spot where Catherine Eddowes’ bloodied apron was found in a doorway on Goulston Street by a police constable named Alfred Long.
The Narrow Streets of 19th Century London: As a sort of aside, our tour guide made a point to lead us through the narrow streets as dusk fell over London. He made a point to take us down these streets because he wanted us to see how narrow and claustrophobic they were.
He told us there wasn’t electricity so if the streetlights were out, it was absolutely pitch black. This sent a chill down our spine, as he mentioned Jack the Ripper’s other victims.
The Ten Bells Pub: As he got into the stories of his other victims, we rounded the corner onto Commercial Street where The Ten Bells Pub was located.
Our guide explained to us the theories about Jack the Ripper being a regular here, or he was suspected of being a regular here, because all five of the prostitutes that he murdered had been regulars at The Ten Bells.
Protip: He also made a point to tell us that if ever went in to have a pint that we shouldn’t mention Jack the Ripper because the bartender would throw us out.
I never tested that theory.
Where Jack the Ripper’s Other Victims Were Found:
We were likely shown all of these locations but sadly, I don’t have photos and this was 13 years ago so my memory is a little foggy. But thanks to Google, I was able to identify where his other victims were found:
Near The Corner of Brick Lane and Thrawl Street: It was in house #18 that Mary Nichols was ejected from on August 31, 1888 because she didn’t have money for a bed. Shortly after, she was found a quarter mile away at Buck’s Row, her throat slashed and her abdomen disemboweled.
Turn Left onto Hansbury Street From Brick Lane: At house #30, this is approximately where house #29 was located and this is – approximately -where Annie Chapman was discovered at 6am on September 8, 1888. Annie Chapman had also been spotted drinking at the Ten Bells Pub at 5am on the morning of her murder. Did she leave the pub with Jack the Ripper that night? If only there were security cameras in the 19th Century!
Dutfield’s Yard: Nearby, at 1am on September 30, 1888, Elizabeth Stride’s body was found by a Louis Diemschutz who was working at a nearby Men’s Club.
Her blood was still wet from the wound on her neck but unlike the Ripper’s other victims, Stride was not mutilated. For this reason, some people don’t believe that Stride was a victim of Jack the Ripper’s at all.
White’s Row Car Park: This was once Dorset Street and back in the 19th century, a boarding house called Miller’s Court was located here. It was where Mary Kelly stayed and was found murdered as the Ripper’s final victim on November 9, 1888. She was almost entirely skinned.
The End of the Best Jack the Ripper Tour in London
I hope these tales help to get you in the spirit of Halloween. Next time I go back to London, I’m taking both another Jack the Ripper tour AND a ghosts of London tour. Have you ever taken either one of these tours? Let me know what you thought in the comments!
- New Orleans Ghost Tour
- St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 in New Orleans
- Self-Guided Ghost Tour in Greenwich Village, NYC
- The 200-Year Old Haunted Well in SoHo, NYC
- Nightly Spirits Ghost Tour Review in Denver, Colorado
- Macabre Krakow Walking Tour in Krakow, Poland
- History and Hauntings of Salem, MA Walking Tour
- Filming Locations From the Movie Hocus Pocus in Salem, MA