Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Jack the Ripper – the victims

In 1888 five prostitutes were murdered in Whitechapel over an eleven week period. In JtR films the victims are usually played by beautiful young actresses in glamorous Victorian gowns.
On the tour Lesley pointed out that four of the prostitutes were in their forties and only the last victim was in her twenties. Most prostitutes at that time would have been in their 40s to 60s. They would have been filthy, riddled with sexually transmitted diseases, edentulous, pock marked, and most of them were homeless alcoholics – so far from the image portrayed in the media. They were poor and desperate. They would have charged 4d. for the full works, but would have settled for less. A single bed for the night in a doss house cost 4d. Most homeless people however, would pay 1d. to lean over a canvass hammock with several others in a doss house room.
Prostitutes often congregated around the area of St. Botolph’s church where they met their customers. They were easy targets for JtR.
(1) Mary Ann Nichols: died aged 43 on 31.8.1888. She had been married at 13 to a Fleet Street printer. She left her husband in 1888. On the night she died she had been in the area of the docks looking for doss money. She had a new bonnet which she had been showing off. Her mutilated body was found in Buck’s Row. Her throat had been slit
(2) Annie Chapman: aged 47 with three children. She was last seen alive 8th September 1888. Her body was found in a garden. Her throat had been slit and she had been disembowelled. Her ovaries, spleen and uterus had been taken away. People reported seeing her with a man who had dark hair and a moustache, 5’6” tall, aged 30 – 40, with a black frock coat. Someone thought he wore a deerstalker hat.
The police sent officers dressed as women to pose as prostitutes I the area, but they refused to shave off their moustaches and beards, so not surprisingly none of them got picked up by the ripper.
(3) Elizabeth Stride: she was tall – 5’6” and Swedish. ‘Long Lizzie’ was last seen alive on 30.9.1888. Her throat had been slit but she escaped the mutilation suffered by the other victims. It is thought the ripper was disturbed because he murdered again the same night.
(4) Catherine Eddowes: she was 46, and from Wolverhampton. She had been arrested that night for impersonating a fire engine. After being turned out of the police station she met her death in Mitre Square. A bloodstained apron was found on a stairway leading to 108-119 Wentworth Model dwellings, Goulston Street. A message was written in chalk on the wall above the apron ‘The Juwes are the men That Will not be Blamed for nothing’. Catherine’s throat had been slashed, she had been disembowelled and mutilated, and one of her kidneys had been taken away. V shaped marks had been cut into her face; parts of her nose and ear had been sliced off.
(5) Mary Jane Kelly: aged 25. This murder took place in the victim’s house. The ripper completely mutilated her over a period of hours. Her throat had been cut, and pieces of her body had been removed and placed ritualistically around her. A witness reported seeing a dark haired aristocratic sounding man in the vicinity.


Ewarwoowar said...

You're giving me nightmares with all these posts Sue!

Sue's Blog said...

Sorry Ewarwoowar – I’m doing Jack the Ripper at the moment and thought blog readers might find it interesting. I’ll try not to post anymore scary stuff – it is frightening me too!!

Fou said...

Frightening but very interesting none the less! I did not know the details before, and now I am very well informed!!!