FEEL THE TERROR
RELIVE THE NIGHTMARE!
Richard Jones is one of the World's leading authorities on the Jack the Ripper murders.
He is the author of two best selling books on the case, Uncovering Jack the Ripper's London and Jack the Ripper:- The Casebook, both of which are available on amazon.
He also produced, wrote and directed the acclaimed drama/documentary Unmasking Jack the Ripper, and he has appeared as an expert interviewee on almost every Jack the Ripper television documentary over the last 20 years.
He can even be seen providing an experts analysis of the case on the DVD that accompanies the Johnny Depp film on the murders From Hell.
In short, he knows the story of the case, and the streets where the saga unfolded intimately. So, who better to escort you on a journey back in time to explore the locations and story of World's greatest murder mystery?
A JOURNEY INTO THE VICTORIAN ABYSS
Your tour can start at any location of your choice.
Richard will then escort you to the East End of London and, on the journey there, he will provide an introduction to the story.
He will set the scene by putting the murders into their historical and geographical context and will tell you how the area, even before the advent of Jack the Ripper, had become a byword for criminality, vice and villainy.
You will hear how many people were half expecting something quite horrible to happen in an area that polite society shunned on every level
This introductory narrative will provide you with a firm grounding in the background of the case so that all that follows will make perfect sense as the City of London falls behind us and the Victorian abyss draws ever closer.
Arriving in Whitechapel, the district of London in which the murders occurred, you will set out on foot to explore the very streets along which Jack and his victims would have walked.
And, to help build a picture of the streets through which you will be walking, Richard will bring along his unique collection of black and white Victorian photographs that will show the locations you will encounter just as they were at the time of the ripper crimes.
How's that for time travel?
One of them was actually discovered by Richard in a dusty old archive that he delved into whilst researching his book Uncovering Jack the Ripper's London and it shows a long ago street scene that really does capture the flavour of the Victorian East End.
JACK THE RIPPER'S HAUNTS
Collectively, the spate of murders that took place in the East End of London between 1888 and 1891 were officially known as the Whitechapel Murders, and so we begin our Victorian East End tour by seeing the place where the first official murder victim died in April 1888.
Across the road from it is the old Victorian building where the inquests into the deaths of several of the victims were held.
It is one of those locations that people pass on a daily basis without bothering to look up at its glorious façade. If they did so they would see, emblazoned on its upper storey, the name by which it was referred to in press coverage of the case.
Needles to say, Richard will ensure that you don't miss it!
Having taken in this direct link with the Whitechapel Murders, we duck into a warren of East End back streets to follow in the footsteps of Charles Cross, as he headed to work in the early hours of the 31st August 1888.
You will approach the dark corner where he noticed something on the ground, and you will hear his reaction as he gazed down upon the prone form of Mary Nichols, who many believe was the first of Jack the Ripper's victims.
Looming over this dark spot there still towers an old school building which, as you will see when Richard shows you the photograph of the crime scene, dominated its surroundings back then, just as it does now.
DEEPER INTO THE NIGHTMARE
The tour then plunges into a warren of backstreets where, having gained an insight into what these thoroughfares were like in 1888, you really will begin to feel the menace that was hanging heavy in the air in the wake of the murder of Mary Nichols.
As you walk, Richard will discuss the case with you.
He will tell you about the police officers who investigated it, explain the different policing methods that were used then compared to those that would be used today as, with every step taken, you will find yourself spirited further back in time as you sink further and further into a part of London which, in the latter half of the 19th century, was known, quite simply, as "the abyss".
Before long we will have arrived on Brick Lane where Richard will show you the former pub in which Mary Nichols had frittered away the few pennies that would have paid for a bed and kept her from the clutches of Jack the Ripper. It is now a restaurant, but if you look carefully - and Richard will ensure that you do - you can still see the original name carved into the very fabric of the building's upper gable.
SURPRISES AND HISTORICAL CHILLS
A real surprise then awaits you as we twist our way through a lovely sequence of streets where the sturdy houses that line our way date from the 18th century.
They are truly glorious survivors and, collectively, they are just as they were when, in 1888, they provided the backdrop against which the Jack the Ripper saga was played out.
Indeed, this little enclave, which in 1888 was part of the so-called "wicked quarter mile", is so reminiscent of bygone London that period dramas and movies are filmed here several times a year and you never know who you might bump into as you walk these old streets.
It was also here in one of these streets that the second murder, that of Annie Chapman, took place on 8th September 1888, and Richard will take you to the site of her murder, where he will deliver a breathless account of the events of that fateful long ago morning when the people of the area awoke to the realisation that they had a brutal serial killer loose in their midst.
THE JACK THE RIPPER PUB
Then it's out onto the busy Commercial Street where we will encounter the pub where Jack the Ripper's victims used to drink and, if you wish, we can even make a stop here to absorb the ambience and ponder the mystery over a tipple of your choosing, albeit the bar tab might be a tad more than it was in the days when places such as this could advertise "drunk for a penny, dead drunk for t'uppence, clean straw free"!
THE DOUBLE EVENT
We then head into the night of the 30th September or, as it is known by ripperologists the World over "the night of the double murder".
It was in the early hours of this morning that Elizabeth Stride was murdered in Berner Street and, just under an hour later, Catherine Eddowes was murdered in Mitre Square.
Richard will guide you step by step through the main events of that day as you follow the ripper's bloodstained trail of terror through the very streets into which he made his escape.
You will even see the doorway where a sinister message was found scrawled on the wall and where Whitechapel Murderer deposited the only clue that he left behind in his entire twelve week reign of terror and mayhem.
THE MURDERER GETS A NAME
The terror and panic that gripped the district in the wake of the "Double Event" saw an increase in police activity with the result that it became to dangerous for the killer to risk venturing out in search of another victim.
As a consequence, the whole of October went by with no further killings and, by the end of that month, the area as a whole had breathed a huge sigh of relief as it seemed to many that the nightmare had ended.
But the press frenzy that had helped create much of the panic had been fuelled further by the arrival, in late September, of a gloating letter that purported to have been written by the person responsible for the murders and which bore the chilling signature Jack the Ripper.
It was this missive which helped turn the case into an international phenomenon as the newspapers seized on the name to sensationalise the killings even more.
Richard will show you a facsimile of the letter, which you can hold and study as you walk around.
He will even explain who might have been responsible for composing it and, in so doing, for creating one of the most infamous and chilling names in history.
JACK THE RIPPER' SWANSONG
The final destination for your tour will be the location where the last victim of Jack the Ripper, Mary Kelly, was murdered on 9th November 1888.
You will stand within the reach of the ominous shadow of the church beneath which Mary Kelly was observed talking to a stranger in the early hours of the morning of her death.
You will follow in her footsteps as she crossed over to the place where she lived in a squalid room off one of the Victorian East End's most notorious thoroughfares.
Here, Richard will treat you to a blow by blow account of the events of that long ago morning.
He will tell of the two neighbours who were woken by a lone cry of "Murder!" echoing from the darkness. You will see a photograph of the arched passageway that once stood at the very spot where you will be standing, and hear how at 10.45am that morning, Thomas Bowyer walked through that very arch, stooped to look through a broken window pane, and saw a sight that was described at the time as being "more like the work of a devil than the work of a man".
GET TO KNOW THE FULL
JACK THE RIPPER STORY
As the tour draws to its conclusion, and the East End shadows close around us, you will find yourself with a far more in depth knowledge of the events behind the Jack the Ripper murders and you will, most certainly go away, wanting to know more about a mystery that has engaged the minds of professional and amateur detectives alike for over 125 years.
Your time capsule awaits!