You are here:: London - 1800s Whitechapel Murder Sites
 
 

Murder Sites

    Bucks Row

    Bucks Row, the site of the murder of Mary Ann ‘Polly’ Nichols, now generally accepted as the first of the Ripper‘s victims, lay parallel to the Whitechapel Road just behind Whitechapel Underground Station (opened on 6th October 1884, a mere four years before Polly’s death) and led from Brady Street (whose name had been changed from North Street on 7th May 1875) in the east, through to Baker’s Row (now Vallance Road) at the west. Originally this narrow road terminated at Thomas Street (later changed to Fulbourne Street) where it became White’s Row for the short distance to Baker’s Row - - - odd, as there was already a White’s Row a mere half mile away, just south of the notorious Dorset Street, and which is still there today. The only registered business in Bucks Row was Miss Louisa Wise, who was a dressmaker at No 26, presumably working from home. All the residential houses were on the south side of the street, the north being taken up with warehouses, which included Essex Wharf, at this time occupied by James Brown, Son and Blomfield, builders, and James Brown, brickmaker (no doubt related). Walter Purkiss, the manager of the Wharf, and his wife, who lived there, heard nothing at the time of Polly Nichols murder, which was committed directly opposite the wharf by a gateway to a yard beside New Cottage (No 2) where Mrs Emma Green lived with her family - two sons and a daughter. 
    The houses of both Bucks Row and Winthrop Street (previously known as Little North Street) have long since been demolished, though it is still possible to see the width of Winthrop Street (about ten feet of actual roadway) as the curbs still survive into 1996, but I fear, not for much longer as there is already a large block of post-modern dwellings, almost completed, which covers the ground between the two streets. The only building that still survives from the 1880's is the Board School at the west end of Winthrop Street, which links that street to Durward Street. It has been completely derelict for many years, but is currently surrounded by scaffolding, and is supposedly being converted into flats and a health centre, presumably to help ‘gentrify’ the area which has been built up during 1996.   Bucks Row and White’s Row were joined to become Durward Street on 25th October 1892 and Daniel Farson, in his book ‘Jack The Ripper’ (1972) tells a nice story of why this came about: when the respectable residents became disillusioned with living in such a ‘notorious’ street, where the postman’s macabre joke of knocking on a door and saying ‘Number ?? Killer’s Row, I believe’ became too much, they finally petitioned for the name to be changed - - - and it was! On the Northern side of the West end of Bucks Row, Kearley and Tonge, of Mitre Square, had another warehouse.

    29 Hanbury Street

    The site of the second of the Ripper‘s murders, that of Annie Chapman. Hanbury Street was also, and still is, parallel to Whitechapel Road but further north and more to the west. It started just a few yards up Baker’s Row  from Durward Street‘s west end, and travelled through to terminate at Commercial Street, just a little north of Hawksmoor‘s Christ Church, Spitalfields. No 29 stood on the northern side of what was previously Brown’s Lane, which ran from Commercial Street to Brick Lane, where it changed it’s name to Montague Street. It then became  Preston Street and again for the rest of the distance to Baker’s Row it was known as Church Street - odd, again, as the other Church Street (now renamed Fournier Street) beside Christ Church, was so close. These four streets were amalgamated into Hanbury Street on 31st March 1876. At No 23, the Black Swan pub was managed by a certain Thomas David Roberts, and at No 23A, reached through a passage to the left of the pub, were Joseph and Thomas Bayley, who were case packers - maybe they used cases made by Amelia Richardson, listed in the Post Office Street Directory as a packing-case maker of 29 Hanbury Street...  The site of these houses is now covered by a large and particularly ugly modern block owned by Truman’s Brewery, and built in the early 1970's. On 14th October 1896 a certain Robert Winthrop (a strange coincidence here) was born in this street, his (very large) family living just in from Commercial Road at No 12.  His father, Wolf, was a grocer and boot-finisher... an odd combination!  Although actually starting out in life with the name of Chaim Reuben Weintrop, Robert eventually became the much-loved comedian, singer and actor Bud Flanagan, partner of Chesney Allen and member of the famous Crazy Gang...

    Berner Street

    Was situated in the Parish of St George in the East and renamed Henriques Street in tribute to Basil Henriques, OBE (1948) who died on 2nd December 1961, and was the founder of the Bernhard Baron Oxford and St George Settlement, a youth club for lads in the area which he opened on 3rd March 1914, when he was 24. The street leads southwards from Commercial Road, not far east of its junction with Whitechapel Road, and was named Berner Street on 1st May 1868, being an amalgamation of Upper Berner Street, Lower Berner Street, and Batty Buildings. In the 1880's this street was regarded as ‘respectable’ and was inhabited by people who worked as dock labourers, carmen, shoe-makers - and there were also several tailors. There was a Public House called the George IV at No 68, on the corner of Boyd Street, which was managed by Edmund Farrow, and the Nelson Beer House, run by Louis Hagens at No 46, on the corner of Fairclough Street, was three doors away from the murder site of Liz Stride. Dotted down this residential street were a few retailers such as Edwin Sumner at No 2, just in from Commercial Road, with his greengrocers shop, and down the other end of the street at No 74, Jacob Lubin ran another grocers store on the corner of Everard Street. Henry Norris, at No 48, on the opposite corner to the Nelson, was a chandler, while the bakery on the corner of Boyd Street - No 70 - was run by Louis Friedman. Right down at the southern end, the last building housed the chemist shop run by John Simkin. Strangely, all these stores were on the western side of the street, which was also the side where the Ripper murdered his presumed third victim, Long Liz Stride. Her throat was deeply cut, but she was not otherwise mutilated, and because of this it is generally regarded that the Ripper was interrupted in his work... The actual site of the murder was inside a gateway leading to Dutfield’s Yard, between the third and fourth houses from the corner where the Nelson stood. The building on the north side of the yard (No 40) housed the International Working Mens Educational Club - a high-flown name for what was basically a well-known, and locally disliked, radical hangout. There were many witnesses called to testify from this street - from No 14 - Mrs Rosenfield and, possibly, her sister, Mrs Eva Harstein (though she may have lived in Dutfield’s Yard itself):  No 28 - Abraham Ashbrigh (or Heahbury as reported in the papers) (17):  No 30 - Charles Letchford (22):  No 36 - Mrs Fanny Mortimer (48): No 38 - Barnett Kentorrich:  No 44 - Matthew Packer (59), the general dealer who allegedly sold grapes to Long Liz sometime before her murder, and at No 64 - William Marshall (47). It is interesting to note that in 1891, living at No 70, is 28 year old master-baker, Maurice Kosminski...

    Dutfield’s Yard

    This is only known as such because of the main business carried on there by Arthur Dutfield, who was a cart and van manufacturer.  The people who actually lived in the yard were listed in the 1891 census as living at 40 Berner Street (in Stable Yard). This house, although listing several residents (whether they were living there permanently is not clear), was the headquarters of the I.W.M.E.C. - as noted above.

    Mitre Square

This was the site of the fourth in the Ripper‘s acknowledged series of five murders and was the turn of Catharine Eddowes. It is generally assumed that it was in total frustration at having been interrupted at the Berner Street site that the Ripper struck again so soon afterwards - a mere three quarters of an hour later.  Mitre Square was the only murder site not within the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan CID as it stood inside the boundaries of the City of London, and this led to more complications of delegation as the case was suddenly open to a whole new section of the police force. Mitre Square was a small enclosured area between Mitre Street on the west and Duke Street to the east, and could only be reached by three alleys - Church Passage, leading from Duke Street, an unnamed passage leading  northwards into St James Place and a twenty five foot roadway leading in from Mitre Street itself. The square was mainly surrounded by warehouses: the area between Church Passage and the unnamed passage, the north-eastern corner was covered by a large block owned by tea and coffee merchants Heseltine, Kearley and Tonge, then sandwiched between another Kearley and Tonge warehouse and a large block occupied by Walter Williams and Co. On the corner of Mitre Street, two old houses remained from an earlier era, one of which (No 3) was occupied by PC Richard Pearce (serving with the City of London Police Force) and his family.  After the entrance from Mitre Street, there was a row of four houses - all empty, though picture-frame maker C Taylor & Co had business premises at No 8/9 - No 9 being on the corner  leading into Mitre Square. A small passageway and yard separated the backs of these houses from the last large warehouse in the square belonging to Horner and Co. and it was in the corner behind the house next to Mr Taylor - No 8 Mitre Street - that Catharine Eddowes body was found by PC Edward Watkins. The square is still in place today, but all the surrounding buildings have been rebuilt in the last thirty, or so, years, and it is now a relatively ugly, but peaceful, backwater where office workers eat their luncheon sandwiches on sunny days, some sitting on the edge of the bed of flowers that now stands where Mr Taylor once framed his pictures...

    13 Millers Court

    The last murder site. And site of the only indoor killing.  Millers Court was a small enclosed area surrounded by small, mean houses, and with no other exit but the very narrow passageway leading between Nos 26 and 27 into the north side of Dorset Street, a narrow, sordid and dangerous back street exiting into the west side of Commercial Street, almost opposite the notorious Fashion Street.  It was in this small room, partitioned off from the front of No 26 and designated No 13, and which was only accessible through a door on the right-hand side of the passage to the court, that Mary Jane Kelly became the last accepted victim of Jack the Ripper in his most horrific crime, after which he completely disappeared. It is not clear whether John McCarthy (37 in 1888) actually owned No 27 (although he implies it in his original statement to the police after the discovery of Mary Kelly‘s body), but he certainly had lived there all through the 1880's with his wife Elizabeth, 36, and children, John Jr, 14, still at school, Margaret, 12 and Elizabeth  who was 9. His brother, Daniel, lived with them also, and later ran a grocers store in competition with his brother at No 36 Dorset Street. Over the decade of the ‘80's the occupants of No 26 dwindled from thirteen at the beginning, to a mere two at the turn into the ‘90's...

    Dorset Street

    Running west to east from Crispin Street to Commercial Street, exiting opposite ‘Itchy Park’ (the disused graveyard of Christ Church), this was said to be one of the most notorious and dangerous streets in the Whitechapel/Spitalfields area, where police officers, even in pairs, would only go if absolutely necessary. It was given its name on 22nd November 1867 and was a short, narrow and tawdry street, which, by the 1880's, was almost entirely taken up with lodgings and doss houses - in fact there were only two legitimate businesses listed in the Post Office Street Directory for 1888: Barnett Price had a grocery store at No 7, while further along the northern side the Blue Coat Boy public house was run by William James Turner at No 32. It was estimated that on any one night there were no fewer than 1200 men sleeping in the cramped and sordid quarters. The street also seems to be central to the Whitechapel Murders as many people connected to the case lived there or had some other connection with it. John Stedman has recently identified Crossingham‘s lodging house as being situated at No 15, on the south side of the street, right opposite the entrance to Millers Court and not, as has been previously assumed by most enthusiasts (myself included!), on the eastern corner of Little Paternoster Row at No 35. Millers Court led off the north side between Nos 26 and 27, about a third of the way down from the Britannia Beer House on the corner of Commercial Street which was managed at this time by Matilda Ringer, and was consequently known as ‘Mrs Ringers’, her husband having died in July 1881. At the other end of the street was another hostelry called the Horn of Plenty at No 5 Crispin Street which several authors have mistaken for the Britannia, and whose proprietor in 1888 was one Christopher Bowen. At this time Public Houses had to be licensed, but beer could be sold anywhere without the need for licensing. A tremendous photograph of this pub exists taken in about 1912 - but no one seems to have discovered it... The western end of Dorset Street was exactly opposite the Providence Row Night Refuge and Convent which stood at 50 Crispin Street, and was still carrying on its charitable work until recently.  Now it it under renovation and conversion (2002). Dorset Street was renamed Duval Street on 28th June 1904, but if it was changed because of the notoriety brought about by the famous murder of Mary Jane Kelly, the council certainly took their time to do so! The northern side of the street was demolished in 1928 to make room for enlargements to Spitalfields Market, with the southern side being cleared in the 1960's leaving what was once Dorset/Duval Street as merely an unnamed service road beside a multi-storey car park. An ignominious end for so notorious a street, but possibly well earned...

    26 Dorset Street

    This was the house in which Mary Kelly rented the partitioned-off back room designated 13 Millers Court.

    27 Dorset Street

    John McCarthy owned this house and had his chandlery shop there, although he was only listed for the first time in Kelly’s Post Office Trade Directory as a chandler in 1890.  He presumably owned or leased No 26, and possibly the houses actually in Millers Court as these were locally known as ‘McCarthy’s Rents’.

    30 Dorset Street

    The address at which Amelia Farmer (sometimes known as Palmer) lived for four years. She was Annie Chapman’s friend and gave evidence at her inquest. Annie herself had lived at this address in 1886 with a man called Jack Sivvey, or Siffey, by which name Annie was also sometimes known.

    35 Dorset Street

    This has always been thought to be the address of Crossingham’s Lodging House, but in 1997 John Stedman placed Crossingham’s at No 15 Dorset Street having done extensive research into the history of the street.  No 35 may very well have been an annexe or extension also owner or run by Crossingham, and was situated on the eastern corner of Paternoster Row, a small alley/street which ran northwards into Brushfield Street. The A-Z states that from about May 1888 Annie Chapman lived mainly at this address until she died. Pearly Poll, the friend of Martha Tabram, also lived here for a while, as did Elizabeth Allen and Eliza Cooper, both of whom gave evidence at Martha’s inquest.

    38 Dorset Street

    The press reported inaccurately that Michael Kidney had said he lived at with Elizabeth Stride at this address. Kidney in fact had said that they lived together at 35 Devonshire Street.