Discovery Tours Jack the Ripper Tour

Newer readers may not know that I'm really into true crime and have a specific interest in serial killers. (If this is the first post of mine you've read, I promise the rest of my content is a lot less morbid!) I can still remember when my interest was first piqued- I was nine years old, reading the Horrible Histories Vile Victorians book and came across the recount of Jack the Ripper. I was absolutely fascinated and that was the start of a lifelong interest in the crimes of this mysterious Victorian figure. Although I've read many books on the subject, I had never explored the exact locations of the infamous case and had been meaning to attend a tour for the longest time. Then Discovery Tours offered me a place on their Jack the Ripper Tour and I finally had my chance! Wilkes Street Spitalfields

Before the day of the tour, I was sent extremely detailed instructions on how to find the tour guide when I arrived at Aldgate East station. As there are, understandably, a lot of similar tours taking part in this area, I was glad that there were these measures in place to make sure I joined the correct one, which also included checking in against a register. At 7pm on the dot, our guide Lindsay led us through a cobbled passageway that still remains from the time of the Ripper and our tour began.
Victorian lamp post Spitalfields Market Ten Bells Pub
All of Discovery Tour's guides are experts who are researchers and authors on the case. Rather than relying on a drama student in a top hat, the tours are devoid of gimmicks and instead focus on the facts, both those that are well-publicised and others that are lesser known. Lindsay is an expert in crime who only bloody works at the Crime Museum (I'm not jealous...) and is actively working on publishing her own book which is based on her own research. Luckily for us, she wasn't cagey about her research and was very happy to share certain details of her finds with us, including information gained from interviewing family members of victims and previously unseen photographs that the family had shared. Lindsay had an extremely bright personality and was very personable. She didn't sensationalise the case but rather chose to give us a well-rounded understanding of both the murders and the social history that surrounded them. All of Lindsay's tour was focused on the women at the centre of the case- their circumstances, their families and the events that led them to their deaths. She explained how, far from the media's perception of the women, they were all respectable, married women who had suffered with alcoholism which caused them to leave their homes. Wherever possible, we were shown photographs of each woman as they were in life, not just the well-publicised mortuary photos. When the latter were shown, Lindsay would give us a warning so we could look away if we preferred. It was only at the very end of the tour that the information really focused on the killer which, like the rest of the tour, was given in a matter-of-fact manner without glamourising or romanticising him. In fact, while moving between locations, Lindsay had a conversation with another attendee about how Alfred Hitchcock is largely responsible for the familiar image of the shadow of a respectable gentleman moving through the thick London fog. I really appreciated the way she worked to challenge this misconception and present the realities of the case and what life was like for prostitutes in the late 1880s. 
Fournier Street Spitalfields
As the tour progressed, we stopped at not only the sites of the murders but also other landmarks that are relevant to the case, such as Christ Church Spitalfields where the poor could receive charity and Wilkes Street, which is the best-preserved examples of 1700s buildings still standing today (and looks exactly like Grimmauld Street!) I was particularly interested when I discovered we were standing next to the site of the long-demolished Dorset Street, renowned as The Worst Street in London and the topic of one of the books in my summer reading list
Silhouette crowd
The entire tour lasted just under two hours and I'm sure everyone came away with a huge amount of new information gained. I'm going to be keeping an eye out for Lindsay's book- I have no doubt that it will be just as great as her tour!

Tour provided by Discovery Tours for review but all opinions my own

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6 comments:

  1. I had no idea you have a fascination with serial killers - that's enough a reason to follow you more closely! No one gets my fascination with serial killers. This tour looks amazing! I'll definitely be adding it to my bucket list!

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  2. Gorgeous photos! I might be going to London next week! x

    Heather | Of Beauty & Nothingness

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  3. I've been saying for ages that I want to go on a Jack the Ripper tour, I will definitely be looking at booking one sooner rather than later!

    Janay Andre
    x

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  4. Ooh this sounds like such an interesting tour. I loved learning about Jack the Ripper and all that in school - that feels wrong to say haha. But yeah, this post just makes me want to learn more.

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  5. Oh my gosh, I NEED to go on this tour- it sounds fascinating X

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  6. This sounds like an amazing tour, I love the fact that it's not gimmicky and also that it actually focuses on the victims as opposed to treating them as footnotes in their own murders. I'll definitely be looking into this next time I go to London.

    Beth x
    www.adventureandanxiety.com

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