Friday, September 02, 2011

ripper tour

The tour was fantastic. Who knew that so many of the little alleyways in Whitechapel still retain the eerie, misty atmosphere of 1888.

(Year of murderous intent, Jack-style).

We set off with out guide - a bubbly little rotund Irishman who claims he's been studying Ripper since he was 12. Bless.

He had this little hand-held projector with images he'd project onto a wall - you know of victims with their bowels slung over their shoulders - and photoshopped pictures of what that particular building looked like back then.

He was very good.

The evening was ended with a Rogon Josh on Brick Lane. Just how all good evenings should end. With a fuck off curry and a vodka.

In the beginning, we immediately veered down a side alley where he told us about life in the East End back then. You didn't wanna be living there as a woman, trust me. Your prospects were most likely alcoholism and/or prostitution.

The original cobblestones. Jack the Ripper almost certainly walked on these exact stones. They haven't changed. If walls could talk, we'd know who he was.

This is an old remaining 'dors house.' It's the equivalent of a prostitute hostel. It was the cheapest place to sleep, in a wooden box for a few pence. For those who couldn't afford the box, they'd sleep standing up over a strung up piece of rope. No kidding. And I thought I had it bad when I was backpacking around Europe in my gap year with no tent or money.

The last bit of Thrawl Street, the rest was blitzed during the war and now new ugly buildings sit in its place. Some of the first murders happened near here, and its alleged that the Ripper lived on this street. It's just off Brick Lane.

Ye Olde Frying Pan was a drunk house pub that many of the victims and most likely Jack himself, used to frequent. It's now a curry house - obviously - as it's on Brick Lane.
The top gable, painted red, hasn't changed. The embossed bits are two frying pans, intertwined with the name "Ye Olde Frying Pan" in there somewhere.

A typical East End street. One side is modernised from the blitz (fugly), and other side is listed Victorian houses that can't be torn down. The original gas lamp posts remain, but are now electrified. These features are heavily preserved now.

The atmosphere is very eerie - as night fall comes, there's this mistiness and darkness around the lamps and dark streets that hasn't changed since the days the Ripper was around. We were freaked out, and I wouldn't walk down here on my own even today.

A victim was found here. Well, there was no parking lot there, but a row of houses with little back gardens. She was found disembowled pretty much where that shiny black Audi is parked.

Whitechapel and the East End was squalor and awfulness then. But now, original Victorian houses go for around £2 million pounds a pop. (Small, two bedroom, period features.) Whitechapel is colourful and trendy.

Another dors house. Women had to enter at the front door (with the sign), and their male 'visitors' around the back. It's now a student res. So still lots of shagging going on then.

Projecting images on the wall of an alleyway, leading onto Mitre Square, where another victim was found.

...and there she was found, at this exact spot. Ten out of ten for him redramatising the whole thing.

For those in London and interested, here is the link for the tour. And a short video to show you what he does. His name is Richard. It was excellent.


Bailey Schneider said...

I would fly to the UK to JUST do this tour! Totally fascinated!!
Thanks for sharing Peas!

Peas on Toast said...

Bailey you'd LOVE this. Your photos would also do the tour 8000 times more justice than my silly little phone camera :)