Buck's Row


Latitude: 51.519927600000
Longitude: -0.060924800000

Timeline of Events Associated with Buck's Row

Date Event Manage
Aug 1888 to Nov 1888

GHASTLY MURDER IN THE EAST END: Jack the Ripper terrorizes Whitechapel

One of the most famous serial killers in history, Jack the Ripper, a psuedonym used to sign several letters, is presumed to be responsible for at least a dozen murders between April 1888 and July 1889, but only five, all committed in Whitechapel in 1888, were linked to a single culprit by police. Dubbed "The Canonical Five," these victims were Mary Ann Nichols (August 31), Annie Chapman (September 8), Elizabeth Stride (September 30), Catherine (Kate) Eddowes (September 30), and Mary Jane Kelly (November 9). All of them were believed to be prostitutes, murdered while soliciting on the street, except for Kelly, who was found murdered in her own home. In all five cases, the victim's throat was cut, and the bodily was mutilated with a level of sophistication that suggested the killer knew their anatomy.

In her 2019 book, Hallie Rubenhold adamantly argued that only Kelly was a verifiable prostitute, and while Stride resorted to such on occasion, had not been at the time of her murder. She holds that "the notion that Jack the Ripper was a murderer of prostitutes was a consequence of the misogynistic and class-based prejudices characteristic of the Victorian era" (Jenkins). Alas, the entire case was handled poorly, perhaps contributing to why it went unsolved.

With the industrial revolution came bigger and better printing presses, and as holds true even today, new outlets will report anything to sell papers. After the body of Mary Ann Nichols is found, The Star reported on "Leather Apron," the name they gave the killer. In their write-up, they pointed blame to Jewish butchers, thus sparking more anti-semitism within the district. Throughout the investigation, three letters were sent to police and press, two signed "Jack the Ripper," and the last signed "FROM HELL".

The first, addressed to "The Boss, Central News Office, London, City," came the night of September 30th, 1888, following the murders of Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes. The Cental News Agency has received the letter on the 27th, but waited two days to send it to the Metropolitan Police. The entirety of the letter is the author gloating about how he has yet to be caught, the police and press are idiots, he's rearing to kill again, and, this time, he's going to clip his victim's ears and send them to the police. The next day, a double murder, and, sure enough, Catherine Eddowes was missing part of her ear, but they were still intact, suggesting that her killer was interrupted. The second letter, dubbed the "Saucy Jack" letter, as that is what the author refers to himself as, appeared at the Central News Agency, in similar handwriting to the first. Short and sweet, he continues to boast about getting away with his crimes, mentions how he could not get the ears, and thanks police for "holding on" to his previous letter. Though letters kept pouring in after these were released to the public, there's one that many consider to be the final, legitimate letter. Signed "From Hell," the letter was addressed to the head of the Mile End Vigilance Committee, Mr. George Lusk, and contained part of a kidney, the rest supposedly eaten by the author, per his own words. Conflicting opinions on whether or not the kidney was human, on top of horrific misreporting, makes authenticating the letter difficult. As far as I know, it was a prank by some college students. Alas, this only furthers the point that the mass media coverage may have impeded the investigation.

There has been no end to "possible" suspects, but there are three that are the most cited, and, in my opinion, do make the most sense. Those are: Montague Druitt, a barrister and teacher who was said to have an "interest in surgery", proclaimed insane, and was found dead some time after disappearing following the final murder; Michael Ostrog was a Russian criminal and physician who, apparently, displayed "homicidal tendencies," for which he was admitted to an asylum; and, finally, Aaron Kosminski, a Polish Jew who lived in the Whitechapel area, reportedly hated women (especially prostitutes), and was also admitted to a psychiatric hospital following the last murder.

Jenkins, John Philip. "Jack the Ripper". Encyclopedia Britannica, 5 Jan. 2023, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jack-the-Ripper. Accessed 25 April 2023.

Jones, Richard. “The Dear Boss Letter - Yours Truly Jack the Ripper.” The Dear Boss Jack The Ripper Letter., https://www.jack-the-ripper.org/dear-boss.htm.

Jones, Richard. “The from Hell Letter - Received by George Lusk.” The From Hell Catch Me When You Can Letter, https://www.jack-the-ripper.org/from-hell.htm.

Jones, Richard. “The Jack the Ripper Timeline.” The Timeline For The Jack The Ripper Murders, https://www.jack-the-ripper.org/timeline.htm.

Illustration of Jack the Ripper victim Illustration of Jack the Ripper victim