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The Best Jack the Ripper Tour in London
From James Martin,
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Capture the sights, sounds, and mayhem of London’s East End
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Late in the 19th century, a series of heinous murders committed in London’s foggy and impoverished East End captured the public imagination. The murderer, called Jack the Ripper, was never caught, but the fascination with the unsolved crimes of Jack the Ripper continues unabated; Jack the Ripper Tours are one of the major attractions in a city hosting many fine tourist pastimes.
Jack the Ripper – What Makes a Good Tour?
“Ripping” was fairly new in 1888 when the murders started, as was industrialism and the sexual prudery of Victorian London–a city which despite its puritan values had managed to spawn 1 brothel for every 60 houses by 1857, according to the journal Lancet. Still, Jack’s grisly carving up of prostitutes was as shocking to Londoners, as it is to us today.
What makes a “good” Jack the Ripper tour? Well, perhaps the question is best answered by understanding what makes a bad one. “Here is where victim number one was discovered as she lay bleeding from deep cuts to the throat and abdomen, over there is victim number two’s resting place,” is an example of the dry exposition that manages to tell you nothing of the atmosphere of the East End of London in the late 19th century. Facts are fine, but murders are committed in a social context; you need to know (and better yet smell and feel) the atmosphere of the East End at the time. If you’re not wallowing in the stench of poverty, the joy of having gin money, the overcrowding of the doss houses and the itch of wearing all your unwashed clothing at once, then you’re not getting the real picture of the mean streets plied by Jack the Ripper.
A Good Jack the Ripper Tour Guide is Essential
George points out a landmark on the Jack the Ripper Tour
James MartinThat’s where Philip, aka “George” comes in. He’s a Ripperologist–someone who’s spent a great deal of time studying the local conditions and criminal evidence in the Jack the Ripper case. He gives papers and even organizes Ripperologist conventions. He also leads Jack the Ripper tours. He’s is an actor who brings the atmosphere of Jack the Ripper’s London alive.
George appears on his tours in genuine costume of the era, with an attitude to match. He’s your link to Victorian London–and a very good one indeed. The best of the Ripper guides, in fact, of my experience.
Many Jack the Ripper tours are led by Blue Badge guides–meaning guides who have to take general guide courses which allow them to guide many different tours, from which many make a living. But George specializes in Jack the Ripper, which makes his tours unique and memorable. Have a theory about the murders? Try them out on George.
How to Make Sure You Get George To Guide Your Jack The Ripper Tour.
Here’s the sticky part. You see, it’s Philip you want to ask for, but Philip’s East End incarnation George will actually lead you on your tour. Philip/George works for Golden Tours, as one of their Jack the Ripper Tour Guides.
Here’s the word from George on how to book a tour with him:
“As far as I know, I have ALL the January dates except Monday 17th. The best thing your readers could do is ask Golden Tours a week before they take the tour (not too good if they book WAY in advance) to check the books to see if Philip or George is booked to lead the tour.”
Jack the Ripper tours are easily arranged online through Rail Europe’s Jack the Ripper page.
Golden Tours – Jack the Ripper Tour – Phone Goldentours helpline 1-800-548-7083 in the US to see when George is scheduled. For other countries, see Golden Tours Contact Information.
On Friday nights in the summer George leaves the mean streets of London to lead The Ghost Tour Of Guildford, from March to October, starting in Guildford town centre. It’s the only independent tourist attraction in the town.