Picture of Buck's Row Whitechapel in London's East End (now Durward St) - site of Jack the Ripper's first murder on 31 August 1888. Mary Ann "Polly" Nichols' body was discovered 3 metres back from the corner of the tall brick building.
Take a Ripper virtual tour from the first murder scene. Click on the map below to view all 5 murder scenes and other key locations in the hunt for the world's first recognised serial killer.
Jack the Ripper's London 1888
This link will take you to the key points in London where Jack the Ripper carried out his 5 murders
over 71 days from 31 August 1888 to 9 November 1888. You can use this map to make your own Jack the
Ripper walk around London or to trace the movements of the Whitechapel killer whose identity has
never been established.
in People, March 21, 2010
An article has been published querying whether new advancements in DNA profiling will be able to finally reveal the true identity of the notorious Jack The Ripper.
At the time of writing this article, it is 122 years since the terrible Jack the Ripper murders were committed in Whitechapel, in the East End of London.
The horrific murders were so violent and disturbing that the inhabitants and newspapers of London were morbidly fascinated, and thus the Jack the Ripper legend was born.
There were 11 unsolved murders that took place between the period of 1888 & 1891 (the reign of Jack the Ripper), but only 5 are believed to be the true work of Jack.
The unfortunate victims were:
Mary Ann Nichols murdered on 31st August 1888
Annie Chapman murdered 8th September 1888
Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes both murdered on 30th September 1888
Mary Jane Kelly murdered on 9th November 1888.
Despite London Metropolitan Police assigning their finest men to investigate the grisly murders, the crimes were never solved and the identity of the notorious Jack still remains a mystery to this day.
There have been speculations and theories as to the identity of Jack, but the prime suspects of the day were:
• Montague John Druitt
• Aaron Kosminski
• Dr Francis Tumblety
• Michael Ostrog
At the time that the murders were committed, there were no forensic scientists, DNA or psychological profilers that could assist the police with solving these terrible crimes.
Nowadays the science and technology applied to solving modern day murders has improved drastically, making it increasingly difficult for someone to get away with these types of terrible crimes.
And it is through these new advancements in technology, that will finally help to identify who Jack the Ripper really was.
A breakthrough in DNA profiling was discovered by Professor Ian Findlay, called Cell Track ID.
By using this method, Professor Findlay was able to extract the DNA fingerprint from a single cell or strand of hair up to 160 years old.
Letters believing to have been written by Jack the Ripper during his killing spree, were sent to Professor Findlay, of Queensland's Griffith University.
Professor Findlay had hoped to be able to extract DNA from saliva present on the stamps attached to the letters.
If the DNA had been successfully extracted, it was to be compared against the DNA of the descendants of the Ripper suspects, and thus reveal the true identity of Jack.
Unfortunately the DNA was too badly degraded, so a full profile could not be compiled (there were insufficient DNA markers present).
However, with further developments in DNA profiling it may be possible to discover new ways of enhancing degraded DNA or even to clone degraded DNA sufficiently to be able to compile a full profile of Jack the Ripper and finally reveal who he was.
However, even if the true identity of Jack is finally revealed within my lifetime through DNA cloning, I believe that the stories of Jack will continue to live on for many more years.
The Double Falsehood or the Distressed Lovers had long been written off as a clever fraud. But now Professor Brean Hammond, of the University of Nottingham, claims it was the Bard’s work after all.
Scholar Lewis Theobold claimed the play – first performed in 1727 was a lost drama by William Shakespeare.
Now Shakespeare publishers Arden concede he was right and are publishing the play with all the others.
Professor Hammond has spent 10 years trying to figure out what the truth was about the play – that the Bard probably worked with dramatist John Fletcher on.
The plot is certainly typical of Shakespeare’s work and that of other playwrights working at the time.
It contains beautiful women, both rich and poor, a posh villain, madness, a near rape and a marriage that gets interrupted.
Prof Hammond said: “Various people rubbished Theobald, one of them the poet Alexander Pope, who had a great deal of clout.
“The early consensus was that Theobald had either forged it or passed it off as written by Shakespeare when it clearly was not Shakespeare's work.”
He studied the play in detail and established it contained signature features that marked it out as Shakespeare’s.
Great literary hoaxes
Ossian poems. Ossian is the supposed author of a series of poems that around 1760 Scottish poet James Macpherson claimed to have translated from ancient sources of Scots Gaelic. At the time the works were very influential – even Napoleon was a fan. However, debate about their authenticity raged until fairly recently and it’s generally agreed that Macpherson collected folk tales to which he added his own invention.
Hitler diaries. In 1983 a German magazine published excerpts from what they claimed were the diaries of Adolf Hitler. Apparently handwriting analysis identified the writing as Hitler’s but very quickly doubts grew and they were proved to be written on modern paper.
Howard Hughes memoirs. In 1972 author Clifford Irving clamed he had co-written a biography of the reclusive film maker, aviator and philanthropist Howard Hughes. Hughes did not immediately refute the claims, fuelling speculation. However, Irving was later convicted of fraud.
Betjeman love letters. AN Wilson, biographer of Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman was fooled by the discovery of passionate love letters supposedly from the poet to a secret mistress. However, the hoax was unearthed when someone noticed that the first initial of each sentence spelled: “Wilson is a s**t.”
Ripper letters. Jack the Ripper who murdered at least five women in the Whitechapel area of London in 1988 inspired a hoaxer who fooled newspapers at the time. Letters signed by the Ripper arrived at various newspaper offices and some were published in the hope someone would recognise the writing. Later they were thought to be forgeries, even possibly by journalists wanting to sell more papers.
What's on TV this week.
Wednesday 10 March 2010
Jack the Ripper: Tabloid Killer - Revealed (FIVE, 20.00-21.00)
Do let the title put you off.
We doubt much will actually be 'revealed' in this look at the relationship between the notorious east-end killer and the press.
Based upon the true and compelling story of the 1888 murders in the East End, Blackburn College’s main hall will be transformed into a grim Victorian London for four nights only.
This production will showcase the very best musical talent that Blackburn College has to offer with staff and students’ working tirelessly to ensure the show goes on.
Performed by a cast of 13 drama students, the show links all of the College’s departments together with a cumulative effort from textiles, music, graphic design, production and the marketing departments.
Ian Clinton, Principal at Blackburn College, said: “This is set to be an excellent production and performance and has proven to be a very ‘hands on’ experience for all crew members involved.”
* Jack the Ripper is at Blackburn College from March 2 to 5. For tickets call Student Services on 01254 292929.
By Marilyn Bardsley
The Case of Jack the Ripper - Perennial Thriller
Jack the Ripper! Few names in history are as instantly recognizable. Fewer still evoke such vivid images: noisome courts and alleys, hansom cabs and gaslights, swirling fog, prostitutes decked out in the tawdriest of finery, the shrill cry of newsboys - and silent, cruel death personified in the cape-shrouded figure of a faceless prowler of the night, armed with a long knife and carrying a black Gladstone bag.
— Philip Sugden, The Complete History of Jack the Ripper
By today's standards of crime, Jack the Ripper would barely make the headlines, murdering a mere five prostitutes in a huge slum swarming with criminals: just one more violent creep satisfying his perverted needs on the dregs of society.
No one would be incensed as were the respectable families of the pretty college students that were Ted Bundy's victims, or the children tortured and mutilated by John Wayne Gacy. We have become a society numbed by horrible crimes inflicted upon many victims.
Why then, over a hundred years later, are there allegedly more books written on Jack than all of the American presidents combined? Why are there stories, songs, operas, movies and a never-ending stream of books on this one Victorian criminal? Why is this symbol of terror as popular a subject today as he was in Victorian London?
Because Jack the Ripper represents the classic whodunit. Not only is the case an enduring unsolved mystery that professional and amateur sleuths have tried to solve for over a hundred years, but the story has a terrifying, almost supernatural quality to it.
He comes from out of the fog, kills violently and quickly, and disappears without a trace. Then, for no apparent reason, he satisfies his blood lust with ever-increasing ferocity, culminating in the near destruction of his final victim, and then vanishes from the scene forever.
The perfect ingredients for the perennial thriller.
JACK THE RIPPER 1888
The Jack the Ripper murders occurred in the East End of London in 1888, and although Jack the ripper was only a threat to a very small section of the community in a relatively small part of London, the murders had a huge impact on society as a whole.
Despite the fact that no-one was ever brought to justice or charged with the Jack the Ripper crimes there have, over the years, been more than a hundred named suspects who may or may not have been Jack the Ripper. Some of those suspects are fascinating. Others are down right ridiculous.
Yet one thing is certain. No matter how unlikely the names of those that appear on the ever expanding list of Jack the Ripper suspects might be, the on going challenge of "nailing" the ripper has helped keep this series of crimes at the forefront of criminal and social history for almost 120 years.
But the Jack the Ripper murders also serve as a reminder of a not too distant past when a whole section of London society fought a daily battle against poverty and starvation. The Jack the Ripper site will look at the social history that lay behind the infamous Whitechapel Murders and also look at the police investigation into the killings and will provide valuable insights into the day to day lives of the men, women and children who lived through what has been termed The Autumn of Terror
Of course the murders were also the focus of a huge criminal investigation that saw the Victorian police pit there wits against a lone assassin who was perpetrating his crimes in one of London's most densely populated and crime ridden quarters.
As such the murders also provide a window through which we can watch that investigation as it unfolded. We will look at the methods the police used to try and track the killer and compare them with the methods that the police would use today. We will ask, and hopefully answer, the question why didn't the police catch Jack the Ripper?
But we will also discuss the restrictions that hampered the detectives who hunted the killer and discuss how their investigation was greatly hampered by the fact that criminology and forensics were very much in their infancy.
One of the more intriguing aspects of the Jack the Ripper murders is the amount of worldwide newspaper coverage that they generated. Journalists converged on the streets of the east End to report on the Jack the Ripper killings and were often appalled by the diabolical living conditions that they encountered.
But they also realised that these murders sold newspapers, and so they attempted to bring as much salacious detail as possible to the reading public. In so doing they turned five sordid East End murders into an international phenomena and catapulted the unknown miscreant responsible into the realm of legend.
So please enjoy the site and use it in any way that you see fit. It is our intention that the site will grow and increase as a valuable resource that can be used by teachers, students and anyone who is simply interested in either the Jack the Ripper murders or Victorian social history.
Do you have a theory on who Jack the Ripper really was?
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Sunday Sun, UK:
He stalked the streets of London’s East End in 1888, striking terror into the hearts of all.
Now new light is being shed on Jack the Ripper . . . including a Geordie connection.
Forensic expert and retired police inspector Norman Kirtlan has been profiling the notorious Victorian serial killer and uncovered new evidence including a possible Ripper murder in the Gateshead area.
Norman has compared Victorian police methods with those used by today’s cops and has come up with some startling results.
He said: “For the past four years I have been teaching forensics throughout the UK.
“It is apparent that the interest in the Whitechapel murders has not diminished since they were perpetrated in the 1880s.
“When one of my students gave me a book by Pat Cornwell, linking the murder with artist Walter Sickert, it occurred to me that many of the theories linking everyone from the Prince Regent to American psychopath doctors were based on primitive evidence gathering and faulty forensics at the time.”
Jack the Ripper is the popular name given to the monster who killed a number of prostitutes within a mile area in Whitechapel, Spitalfields, Aldgate, and the City of London.
Cornwell presented her theory that Sickert was responsible for the murders in a book in 2002.
She claimed she was able to scientifically prove DNA on a letter attributed to the Ripper and one written by Sickert belong to only one per cent of the population.
The world over people are fascinated with the murders. The Ripper wasn’t the first serial killer, but is one of the most famous.
He was never caught and, to this day, people puzzle over who he was.
In many movies he’s portrayed as a tall man with a black coat and top hat, stalking the mists of Old Whitechapel.
But Norman warned: “Once we adopt that image we can never look at the case with an open mind.
“We have to start with a clean piece of paper and look broadly at a case that, while it happened over a century ago, still provides opportunities for discovering new evidence.
“Using modern profiling methods and examining the evidence with a completely open mind, it seems obvious that there were many flaws in the case - and the many suspects put forward by authors over the years.”
His research has led him to a Ripper-style murder, here in the North East. A week before Ripper victim Mary Kelly was murdered in her squalid room, Jane Savage was found on Birtley Fell, Gateshead, with her intestines spilled out and her throat cut.
“The Metropolitan police were terrified of this escalating,” said Norman.
“Ripper detectives from London were very quickly at the scene and discounted the possibility that the Ripper was responsible. Her lover Willy Waddell was blamed and he was hanged.
“Perhaps an innocent man was sent to the gallows as a result of the Ripper’s handiwork being discounted.”
He added: “Serial killers, we now know, travel outside of their original killing zone. The railways were regular and reliable, and if we look at Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe - he, was mobile and at liberty to kill at will.
There were other Ripper-type murders around the country, and if the police had been wholly ethical back in 1888, we could accept that Jane Savage’s lover was the murderer. But we can’t rule out the London connection.”
Norman will be revealing more of his theories at a session called Jack the Ripper - The Truth at Gateshead Heritage@St Mary’s, at Oakwellgate, Gateshead, on March 10. It starts at 6.30pm and tickets are £2 from the box office 0191 433 6965.
He is also running a forensics course for the WEA at the Bridge Hotel, Newcastle, from September 8. For enquiries email: email@example.com