125 years ago, London was thrown into a state of fear and disorder as a blood-lusting killer skulked through the cobbled streets of Whitechapel; disemboweling prostitutes in the most horrific and violent way. The police were of no use, and the vigilantes merely capitalised the chaos to settle old scores.
Now, 125 years later, the ripples of these historic murders can still be experienced through the latest of many tours of Whitechapel, which I myself had the opportunity to go on.
The ‘Jack the Ripper Tour’ has to be booked online in advance. Costing a reasonable £9, the booking process was quite simple, but requires Paypal. A particularly nice feature was the ability to add your booked tour to Google Calendar, which is a simple feature more places should implement. Remember to bring your email confirmation with you, either printed or on a smartphone.
You are bringing the aforementioned email to Exit 3 of Aldgate East station, where you will be greeted by, in my instance at least, a man dressed in Victorian Policeman uniform. He will sign you in to the tour. At the scheduled time, you will set off with the group, following the Victorian policeman through Whitechapel. Our tour guide was named Greg, and he served to be a highly entertaining and knowledgable host for the evening, mixing in his own humour and opinions to those of what I presume is the official ‘script’. He was in control of Ripper-Vision™.
What is Ripper-Vision though? Below are two segments taken from the website:
“Ripper vision will practically bring you back to a time of gaslight and fog, a time of poverty, disease and silent footsteps in the shadows as the ripper hunted his victims.
RIPPER-VISION™ brings not only top class images but also film clips, moving images and overlapping pictures to leave you with an everlasting memorable experience.”
This is a highly exaggerated piece of marketing however. While the projectors were good for cementing the sheer horror and mutilation, I did not necessary feel pulled back through time. Additionally, on my tour there were no moving images and no film clips, only stills.
Like any public event, you are going to encounter members of the public. We passed many drunk people who felt their contributions were in some way appreciated, but instead served to make some females in our group visibly uncomfortable.
This walking tour was 2 hours long, and you will be on your feet for the whole time. Due to this, and the uneven nature of London streets, I personally couldn’t recommend this tour for those who are disabled or who have limited mobility.
This being said, if you do have even a passing interest in the murders of Jack the Ripper, and an evening free, this is a great way to spend your time. I would urge you to go with a friend, and dress appropriately, coats and comfortable shoes are a must!
Click here to book tickets. http://www.thejacktherippertour.com