About this Walk

This walk explores parts of London’s East End linked with Jack the Ripper in the 1880’s and takes you through some of the rich multi-cultural areas of Whitechapel and Spitalfields. Though few of the original locations associated with the murders still exist, the walk takes you to the sites where the crimes were supposedly committed.
Allow 3 hours.
This walk is best done during daylight hours as some of the areas are not particularly well lit or busy during evenings. If you want to also visit Spitalfields market, Sunday is probably the best day to do this walk.
Written in 2004 and updated in 2014

General Route

Start at Liverpool Street station – Spitalfields market – Thrawl Street – Middlesex Street – Houndsditch – Aldgate High Street – Whitechapel High Street – Whitechapel Road – London Hospital – Old Montague Street – Brick Lane – Hanbury Street – Fournier Street – Ten Bells – end at Liverpool Street station

Some of the directions in this walk may be out of date as the area is constantly under re-development. So though you should be able to follow the general route given in the walk details, please take a detailed map with you as you may need to refer to it.

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The walk starts and ends at Liverpool Street station. From Liverpool Street station, exit onto Bishopsgate. Turn left and then go right along Brushfield Street. You will see Spitalfields market, ahead of you (on the left).

Spitalfields Market

Spitalfields market has existed since the 12th century and has always been a place for public gatherings. During the Ripper’s time, it provided employment for many local residents.

It is still a place for the public to gather and this “right” has been strongly defended in recent years from City developers.

These days, the market is a great place for eating and shopping.

Did You Know?

Around the time of the murders, the East End of London was a slum into which one million people were crowded, most in single rooms in decaying houses that had neither adequate water or sewage facilities.

More than half of all children died before the age of five and prostitution and alcoholism were rife.

walk through Spitalfields Market to Commercial Street and turn right, passing Fashion Street and Lolesworth Close on the left. (Many of the victims lived around this area, three in Lolesworth Close and two in Fashion Street.) Stop at the entrance to Thrawl Street (on the left).

Mary Jane Kelly

Near this area, 25 year old Mary Jane Kelly became the ripper’s fifth (and generally accepted final) victim. She was murdered on 9th November 1888, and was the only victim to be killed indoors. For this murder there was a reliable witness.

George Hutchinson had been approached only a few moments earlier by the victim, trying to borrow money. Hutchinson saw Kelly pick up a client and followed the couple back to Miller’s Court, where the body was later found. However a description circulated to all police produced no suspects.

Did You Know?

Ironically, by the 1880’s London was considered to be the safest capital for life and property in the world. Statistics showed that crime in London was falling.

take the next turning right (Wentworth Street) and stop at the junction with Goulston Street.

Lost Evidence

In the doorway to these flats a fragment of a blood stained apron, matching that cut away from the fourth victim, Catherine Eddowes, was found. An anti-semetic message had been written on the back of it.

Rather than preserve this vital evidence, the police commissioner – despite pleadings from officers at the scene – removed the message, saying he was concerned it might inflame anti-jewish feelings.

No photograph or transcript was made of the message and hence there is much debate as to the actual text of it.

Did You Know?

During the 1800’s two common types of criminals were mudlarks (who scavenged in the Thames mud) and lightermen (who stole silk and other valuable cargo from barges).

go left down Goulston Street and right down New Goulston Street, cross Middlesex Street (which was known as Petticoat Lane until 1830) and go up Gravel Lane almost directly opposite. Follow it as it turns into Stoney Lane and at the end of Stoney Lane turn left along Houndsditch.

Cross Houndsditch, walk down St James’ Passage into Mitre Square.

Catherine Eddowes

The fourth victim was found on the pavement just inside Mitre Square. Catherine Eddowes was the second of the ripper’s victims murdered on 30th September 1888. Her body was discovered at 1.45 am and she had been terribly mutilated.

She had been released from police custody only 45 minutes earlier.

Did You Know?

There was no London wide police force until 1829 when the Metropolitan Police was established by Robert Peel.

Go through the square, then turn left into Mitre Street and walk along it to the end, turning left along Aldgate High Street. Walk along Aldgate High Street, passing St. Botolph’s Church on the left. Continue to the Hoop and Grapes pub, just before the junction with Mansell Street.

Hoop and Grapes – London’s oldest pub in the City

The Hoop and Grapes was one of the few buildings to have survived the Great Fire of London in 1666. The fire stopped just short of the building, which was actually a private house at the time.

The pub is now the only surviving 17th century timber framed building in the City of London. The front of the pub is original – notice how its front door leans to the left.

Did You Know?

Brick Lane acquired its name from a brickworks which was nearby in the sixteenth century.

It is renowned throughout London as the place to go for excellent Indian food.

continue along Aldgate High Street, which becomes Whitechapel High Street. Go along Whitechapel High Street and stop at the corner of Fieldgate Street.

The Whitechapel Bell Foundry Company

The company moved here in 1570 but was established in 1420. (The current buildings date from 1738). The foundry closed in 2017 after nearly 450 years of bell making.

Some of the most famous bells in the world were cast here, such as the original Liberty bell in America (1752) and the Great Bell of Westminster (1858) that gives Big Ben its distinctive sound.

Did You Know?

In addition to being famous for Jack the Ripper and the Kray Twins, the East End of London is associated with many modern icons including Alfred Hitchcock, David Bowie and Dudley Moore, being their birthplace or where they grew up.

continue along Whitechapel Road until you reach London Hospital, opposite Whitechapel tube station.

The Royal London Hospital

The Royal London Hospital has been on this site since 1757.

Dr Barnardo trained here in 1866 and John Merrick (the Elephant Man) was treated and died here. He was discovered living at 259 Whitechapel Road, directly opposite.

Did You Know?

By 1861, there were 80 hospitals in London but there was still little provision for the poor apart from workhouses, until a public hospital system was established in 1867. The first hospital opened under this system was only for paupers suffering from smallpox or scarlet fever.

walk along Whitechapel Road until you are directly in front of the main entrance to the hospital. Cross Whitechapel Road and turn left. Turn right on Vallance Road.

Mary Ann Nichols

The body of the first victim, Mary Ann Nichols, was discovered at 3 am on 30 August 1888 in a gateway a short distance down nearby Durward Street. The body was likely to have been there only 15 minutes or so, its throat had been cut twice and its abdomen had also been slashed.

Did You Know?

Due to a mistake in Sir Frederick Treves’ book, The Elephant Man and Other Reminiscences (1923), Merrick is sometimes known as John Merrick.

continue along Vallance Street, then turn left along Buxton Street. When you reach the junction with Brick Lane, turn left and then right at Hanbury Street.

Annie Chapman

The body of the second victim, Annie Chapman, was found in a small yard at the back of 29 Hanbury Street (now part of Truman’s Brewery) at approximately 6 am on Saturday 8th September 1888.

It is possible that the murderer could have been seen talking to the victim half an hour earlier. Witnesses reported seeing a man of about 40 years of age, dark, shabby and wearing a deerstalker.

Did You Know?

19th century London was a city of small workshops. In 1851, 86 % of industrial employers in London had less than 10 workers and only 17 employed more than 250 people.

During this period, some of London’s major industries such as the shipbuilding industry declined, mainly due to technology and the extension of free trade.

Return to Brick Lane and turn right, then along Brick Lane and turn right again down Fournier Street.

Fournier Street and the Great Fire of London

Fournier Street is probably one of the best preserved eighteenth century streets in London. The houses here were built in 1725 : note the fire protection badges (for example, at number 37).

Did You Know?

After the Great Fire of London in 1666, insurance companies started providing fire insurance and to manage their exposure, they also established their own fire fighting services. Policy holders put a badge on the front of their house to indicate to fire fighting teams which houses were under their protection.

Go to the end of Fournier Street and turn right, stopping in front of the Ten Bells pub.

The Ten Bells Pub

Established in 1753, the Ten Bells pub was frequently visited by many of the ripper victims as it was near to where they lived. Mary Jane Kelly, the ripper’s final victim, drank here on the night of her death.

The pub’s exterior was re-built in the late 1990’s, though up until 2002 the interior was still very much as it was during the days of the murders.

On the wall of the pub there used to be a wooden board listing the Ripper’s victims. However, you couldn’t read the text on it because it had been turned face to the wall and screwed down in that position.

Apparently, that was done as a result of complaints to the owner by various Women’s groups who objected on the grounds of it being demeaning to women.

Did You Know?

In the 1800’s, most Londoners lived in terrace houses.

you have now completed this walk. Continue ahead along Brushfield Street and turn left along Bishopsgate, back to Liverpool Street station