A lot of people will be pouring into London this summer to see the Olympics. But I would rather have the thrill of time travel. I would rather walk in the footsteps of Jack the Ripper, see what he saw, visit the streets where he did his ghastly deeds, and, of course see if I can shed any new light on the identity of the world’s most famous serial killer. So, assuming I had a ticket to London, how would I start my time travel?
Well there are a number of “Ripper Walks” in London that guide you through the Whitechapel district in London’s east end. But I would go to the first and reputedly the best of these, guided by one of the most noted “Ripperologists”, Donald Rumbelow. Here is the tour operators own text from their website.
“Only by starting at Tower Hill can you unlock the truth about the Jack the Ripper murders.”
Donald Rumbelow, author of The Complete Jack the Ripper
This is the original – and complete – Jack the Ripper Walk.
It begins at Tower Hill, right on the boundary between Scotland Yard territory and City of London Police territory. Only by beginning there can you understand the conflict between the two London police forces and their leading personalities. A conflict which blurred the investigation and made it easier for the Ripper to slip through the police nets.
And please tread carefully and keep away from the shadows… for you are about to enter the abyss. Which is by way of saying, the setting itself couldn’t be more dramatic. Two minutes into the walk a back alley takes us into a hideaway where the grim old London Wall rears up directly before us. It’s a hideaway so dark and so still that you can hear people breathing, a place where the clock seems permanently turned back to 1888, back to the Autumn of Terror.