Jack The Ripper
Sunday, 19th April 2015

Mary Ann Nichols - Jack the Ripper victim


Mary Ann Nichols, or “Polly”, was the first of the Whitechapel murders attributed to the violent, horrific, unidentified killer known as Jack the Ripper. Her life is relatively well-documented, perhaps due to her status as an inmate of various “workhouses”, which were places of refuge for the most poor and destitute. Her body was discovered on Bucks Row, which has since been named Durward Street, in the Whitechapel district of London on August 31, 1888.

Polly was married and the mother of five children, but was separated from her husband and children at the time of her murder. Polly separated from her husband, William Nichols, more than seven years before her death. The cause of their separation is disputed; Polly insisted it was because of his infidelity, which William never denied. Her husband purported that their failing marriage was due to Polly’s alcoholism, and police reports confirm that Polly was frequently drunk. When she left her husband, she left him with their children. William was able to provide evidence that Polly was a prostitute, and therefore was not obligated to provide alimony for her support.

The night of Polly’s murder was chilly compared to typical August weather in London, and it was stormy. From what we know of Polly’s activities that night, she had been out searching for “doss money”, which meant that she was trying to earn money by prostituting herself to pay for her night’s lodgings. One of her acquaintances overheard her drunkenly say that she had earned her doss money three times that evening and had spent it each time.

If only Polly had returned home earlier in the evening, perhaps her fate would have been different. Instead, around 4:00 in the morning, two labourers found her body with several large, forceful cuts down her abdomen and on other parts of her body. She was laid to rest in a funeral paid for by her father, husband and eldest son, and remains at rest at the Manor Park Cemetery in a grave marked with a plaque.

Florence MaybrickThe story of Florence Maybrick’s murder trial, conviction, and release, captivated her supporters and critics on both sides of the audience throughout her fifteen-year saga. American-born Florence and her cotton-broker husband charmed Liverpool society, but their marriage was not as problem-free as it appeared. Florence was accused of poisoning her husband, James Maybrick, who was 23 years her senior. After his sudden death, stories of mutual infidelities, betrayal and murder ran rampant.

Florence’s life began in Mobile, Alabama, as she was born to Carrie E Holbrook-Chandler and William George Chandler, a banker.

Martha Tabram - victim of the Whitechapel MurdererMartha Tabram, a prostitute born in England, lived from May 1849 to August 1888, and was the second victim in the widely recognized Whitechapel murders. The Whitechapel district of London was a notoriously dangerous, violent area, filled with prostitutes, thieves, criminal gangs and vagrants. Martha’s murder has been debated by experts for more than a century, as many wonder if she was Jack the Ripper’s first victim.

The diary of Jack the RipperThe famous diary supposed to have been authored by James Maybrick certainly attracted a lot of attention when the manuscript was “discovered” in 1992. The story of the diary’s origin is also quite mysterious, as the parties involved have changes their stories numerous times since the diary was made public. Despite the fact that the details of the diary are still being debated by experts of all types, many people still cite the diary as primary evidence against James Maybrick's guilt in the Jack the Ripper murders.

Prince Albert Victor - Jack the Ripper Suspect ?Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward, or “Eddy”, lived from 8 January 1864 – 14 January 1892. He was born in Frogmore, Windsor, Berkshire, and was an heir to the throne of Britain. He would have become king had he outlived his father and grandmother. His father was the Prince of Wales and later became King Edward VII. Prince Albert Victor’s status as a Jack the Ripper suspect is one of the most dubious, yet rumors still swirl about his involvement in the murders.

Sir William Gull - Jack the Ripper suspect?Sir William Gull, who lived from 31 December 1816 – 29 January 1890, is an unlikely suspect for the Jack the Ripper killings, but his name has been suggested nonetheless. Sir William was a prominent 19th century physician, had links to the Royal Family and died within a year and a half of the last murders, all of which contribute to a complicated theory that he was Jack the Ripper. He is remembered because of his important contributions to medical science, and there are many historical records from which we can draw information.

A history of Newgate PrisonBefore its demolition in 1904, London’s famous Newgate prison was one of the oldest prisons in the world. It was originally built in 1188 based on a request from Henry II, but was enlarged and rebuilt several times over a time period spanning more than 700 years. The prison was typically used to house prisoners awaiting execution, and many historical and infamous people were incarcerated within its walls.

After the infamous Diary of Jack the Ripper was published in 1993, Michael and Anne Barrett found themselves the center of a whirlwind of media attention. More than twenty years later, experts still debate about the authenticity of the diary and how the couple found the aging manuscript.

The “Dear Boss” letter, anonymously sent to the London Central News Office, is a letter supposedly sent by the “Jack the Ripper” serial killer that was responsible for the 1888 Whitechapel murders. The authenticity of the letter has been in doubt since its receipt, as is the case with much of the evidence associated with the murders. The letter was received on 27th September 1888.

In Victorian times, insanity was considered to be nearly a criminal offense, and those suffering from it were typically locked away in asylums. A very well-known asylum, now known as Broadmoor Hospital, was originally named the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum. The name accurately described the feeling towards the mentally ill that was typical during that time period.

The "Canonical Five" Jack the Ripper victims have now been updated: Read our latest updates on Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly.

Welcome to our new Jack the Ripper site. Over the coming days and months we will be adding new articles, theories and facts about the events of 1888 in the East End of London.

George Chapman - Jack the Ripper suspect?Among the dozens of potential Jack the Ripper suspects exists a serial killer, George Chapman. He was born Severin Antoniovich Klosowski in 1865, though he changed his name after immigrating to England from his native Poland. We can learn a substantial amount about him based on records of police investigations and legal proceedings against him.

In the 1880’s, the Whitechapel district of London was considered a dangerous slum, and it was here that eleven women were murdered between 3 April 1888 and 13 February 1891. The Whitechapel murders are especially notable because five of the murders are suspected to be committed by the infamous Jack the Ripper. Though Emma Elizabeth Smith, a prostitute by trade, was murdered during this time, and is named among the list of Whitechapel murder victims, she is not generally considered to be a Jack the Ripper victim.

Aaron Kosminski - Jack the Ripper suspect?In the past 125 years, there have been more than 100 names mentioned as possible suspects – 100 different names that have been accused, at some point or another, of committing the heinous crimes of Jack the Ripper. One of the most well-known suspects is named Aaron Kosminski.

Lewis Carroll - Jack the Ripper Suspect ?After his death in 1898, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, more famous for his pen name “Lewis Carroll”, became the subject of a rumor that he was the mysterious and violent killer known as “Jack the Ripper”. Lewis Carroll is not commonly known for the suspicion that he was the killer. His name is very famous, however, for being the name behind Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, and several famous poems.

Detective Inspector Edmund ReidDetective Inspector Edmund Reid, born 1846 in Canterbury, Kent, was an eccentric character, not only because of his involvement in the still unsolved Jack the Ripper case. He was remarkably short, measuring only 5’6” tall and he was interested in balloon flight. Furthermore, he becomes an even more interesting historical figure when we realize he was the longest-serving member of the police force of his rank during his tenure, despite his background as a pastry cook and ship’s steward.

Montague John DruittMontague John Druitt, an upper-class, English-born schoolteacher and barrister, committed suicide only a few short months after the last Jack the Ripper victim was killed. Montague was the third child born to his parents, and while he lived a comfortable life, he did not inherit much money from his father’s estate. Only months before his suicide, Montague’s father passed away and his mother was committed to an insane asylum.

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