England, Europe, London

History of Londinium & Jack the Ripper Tour

On the end of the fifth day (January 1st), we did a Jack the Ripper Walking Tour that came with our Bus Tour with our London Pass.

We went to the Tower Hill subway station and hung out for a little bit waiting for the tour to start around 7:30 PM.

I didn’t actually take any pictures except for one of the old London Wall, so I’m going to talk about that first! To be honest, I don’t understand all of the details, but I’ll give you what I’ve got.

Londinium was a Roman port and nexus city along the River Thames that existed around the year AD 43 in part of the location of what is currently London until the fifth century.

Source: HeritageDaily
Source: Encyclopedia Brittanica, Inc.

The London Wall was a defensive wall built around Londinium, likely built as a defensive wall in the second or third century. Okay, so that’s a few brief details about the city and the wall; there’s so much more but a lot of information was thrown at me that night and there’s a lot online, so if you want to learn more, take a gander through the world wide web.

So, after we started our tour, we walked by a part of the London Wall that is still standing near the Tower Hill Tube Station. I took a picture of it up close (and also got to touch it, which is super cool touching something that’s nearly 2,000 years old) and also have a picture of it during the day and another picture found online (source in the caption).

Okay, onto learning a lot more about Jack the Ripper! I wish I had taken a few more photos but honestly there weren’t a ton of photo opps; it was pretty dark and was more informational, but we did see a few pretty significant sights. So, I guess I’ll just provide some cool information about Jack the Ripper that we learned. I’ll try to put details in a logical order, but who ever knows with me. Our tour guide was pretty cool and really knowledgeable so we learned a lot! I will have to look stuff up online because obviously my memory is a little fuzzy after two months.

  • On April 3rd, 1888, a prostitute, Emma Smith, was attacked and later died. This was the first of the Whitechapel Murders, which are sometimes attributed to Jack the Ripper, but most Ripperologists only consider the murders with the throats slashed (with one exception) to be his victims.
  • The next Whitechapel Murder victim was another prostitute, Martha Tabram, found stabbed to death in early August 1888.
  • On August 31, 1888, at 3:40 AM, Mary Ann Nichols was found murdered in Buck’s Row and is thought to be Jack the Ripper’s first victim.
  • On September 8th, 1888, at 6:00 AM, the second victim, Annie Chapman, was found murdered in the backyard of 29 Hanbury Street.
  • On September 27, 1888, the “Dear Boss” letter arrived at the Central News Agency, signed Jack the Ripper.
  • On September 30th, 1888, on 1:00 AM, Elizabeth Stride was found murdered on Berner Street.
  • Also on September 30th, at 1:45 AM, Catherine Eddowes was found in Mitre Square. The City of London Police joins in the investigate. At this time, there was a conflict between the two police forces; something that work to Jack the Ripper’s advantage.
  • On November 9th, 1888, at 10:45 AM, Mary Kelly was found dead in her room in Spitalfields. She is thought by many to be the last victim.
  • A victim named Rose Mylett was found strangled in December 1888; her death was added to the Whitechapel Murders but is not thought to be the work of Jack the Ripper.
  • In July 1889, Alice McKenzie was found murdered; some detectives believed she was a victim of Jack the Ripper.
  • Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Kelley are the five that are generally universally accepted as Jack the Ripper victims, with the other Whitechapel Murders being controversial.
Source: https://www.jack-the-ripper.org/

If you want to learn more, go to this website. It has a ton of information.

I reflected a lot on the socioeconomic issues involved in the Jack the Ripper murders. They were for the most part all done done in the East End, which was a slum in London at the time. It was also interesting doing the walking tour that we saw the actual difference walking between areas of the city and this area still remains a slum, impoverished area. Lots to think on.

Definitely interesting to be able to walk through the alleyways where the murders happened, stand on the site of one of them, see places where the victims were last seen, see bars and churches that the victims were in, and to visualize what the city would have been like in 1888. I know it’s a little tourist-y but honestly it was super interesting, and I’m glad we did it!

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