So Who Was Jack The Ripper?

Monday 23rd September 2013

One evening last week I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and not for the first time either. The evening plans were trashed, so what to do? In such circumstances the reptilean genes often kick off, and I was drawn to follow the herd who appeared to know what they were doing, and where they were going.

And so I found myself  in the East End of London, tagging along on the Jack The Ripper tour, and very interesting it was too, although rather horrific, especially the police post-mortem photographs.

So who was Jack The Ripper? Nobody knows, but millions have their opinions, and so do I. So here are my amateur speculations.

  • He was left-handed.
  • He was not a surgeon. No surgeon, even a demented one, would be so ham-fisted.
  • Nor would a butcher, for the same reason, as they have at least as much talent in their hands.
  • However he did have a good knowledge of anatomy. Speaking from personal experience as a surgeon it is not easy identifying organs at 2AM, and especially within seconds.
  • So my guess is that he was an unskilled worker, possibly a butcher’s assistant.

So what is the point of this little story? It is that the places we visited during the tour are on my doorstep. I walk past them every day, and until now have been blithely unaware of their shocking history. I looked but I did not see. I will never think about these places in the same way again. Now I have just a little knowledge of this part of London in 1888. The appalling poverty, ill-health, deprivation, and the madness that arose from this toxic mix. Sadly these ingredients still exist to this day, although thankfully on a far smaller scale.

What else have I missed on my doorstep? Loads, but I’m going to look a bit deeper now. I’m going to discover new things in familiar places, rather than flying to the other side of the world to discover new things in new places. It will be lot cheaper, a lot more carbon neutral, and probably a lot more fun too.

I made a good start yesterday with two new experiences, watching the World Cup of Pool in Bethnal Green, and The Lightning Child at the Globe Theatre. All for £5, including a free beer, but that’s another story.

What can you find on your doorstep? Let me know.

Have an exploring week, Steve