We are all familiar with the tale of Jack the Ripper, but many are unaware of how poor the living conditions in the East End actually were at this time. Though, of course, the Autumn of Terror has made its mark in history, are the killings as much of an anomaly as they appear? After all, crime was no stranger to this part of the capital…
Stricken with poverty, the East End became notorious for not just its high crime rates, but its overcrowded living conditions as well. The slums were overpopulated, and many families were forced to share no more than a single room to sleep and eat. In some cases, these rooms would be crammed with strangers who could not afford to live elsewhere.
Unfortunately, the backdrops of the shared accommodation were no better. A fair few were damp and infested with insects, and hygiene was low as the poor resorted to shared street water pumps while the homeless took shelter in doorways for nights on end.
Those who worked earned very little, sometimes for long, hard labour in dire settings, including bootmakers who whiled away the hours in dusty, poky rooms. Others occupied slaughterhouses while some stayed at home crafting brushes or matchboxes.
Alcohol became a huge part of life in the East End, particularly for the poor, and it is believed that Jack the Ripper frequented the pubs where his victims were regularly found.
Still, with these atrocious living conditions in the East End, the Ripper left behind an infamous legacy, one that still baffles Ripperologists and amateurs today. To find out more about the East End at this time and why Jack the Ripper was never caught, as well as the details surrounding his victims, join us on a Jack the Ripper walk today.