The ‘Needs to Know’
Distance: roughly 3 miles (4.8km)
Time to walk: Another great short walk that could take you the best part of a whole day as there’s so much to see & do
Difficulty: All on pavements & flat
Parking: We used London Transport – don’t try & bring a car here
Public toilets: Many pubs, cafes etc along the route
Map of the route: None available, but you won’t get lost
This walk is set in probably my favourite part of London, the East End, where there is so much history & tradition.
It explores parts of the city linked with Jack the Ripper in the 1880’s and visits the multi-cultural areas of Spitalfields & Whitechapel. Today, few of the original spots where the murders happened still exist, but this walk takes you to all the sites where they supposedly took place.
So…pull up your collar, pull down your hat & let’s move swiftly & quietly off.
ps: watch behind you……
Exit the station & turn left onto Bishopsgate – all around here there’s some amazing new buildings going up…
Wow….fancy this job??
Now turn right down Brushfield Street.
When we come to the junction with Commercial Street, turn left & enter Spitalfields Market.
On the right here though is the old London Fruit & Wool Exchange – lovely building & so much tradition.
2. We love Spitalfields & you can easily spend an hour or so browsing, especially on a Sunday when the full market’s on.
Spitalfields market first started in the 12th century & has always been a popular meeting place. It still is today. Here you can buy a Top Hat or a Bowler… so love this stall….
There’s several chain restaurants in Spitalfields, but why not grab something from one of the fast food outlets & sit in the communal area.
In Jack the Ripper’s day the East End of London was a slum with 1 million people crammed into single roomed properties with poor water & sewage facilities. In excess of half of all children died before the age of 5 & prostitution & alcoholism were everywhere.
3. Once you’ve exhausted the market, head back to Commercial Street & turn right
Pass Fashion Street & Lolesworth Close on the left. Many of the murder victims lived around here (3 in Lolesworth Close & 2 in Fashion Street).
4. Stop at the entrance to Thrawl Street.
Near here Jack’s 5th victim, Mary Jane Kelly was murdered on 9th November 1888 & was the only victim to be killed inside.
5. Now we cross over the road take the turning on the right into Wentworth Street. This the home of the world famous…
Ever Sunday London’s most famous street market is held here, but there’s always something going on down here so stay & explore a while – can you get a bargain?
Our first view of ‘The Gherkin’…it won’t be the last
6. Now turn left into Goulson Street – there were about 10 different ethnic street food stalls down here today – amazing sights & smells.
In the doorway of these flats on the left a piece of a blood stained apron was found – it matched that cut from the 4th victim, Catherine Eddowes. We’ll come to where her body was found shortly.
7. Turn right down New Goulston Street…there’s some interesting topical art work on the left down here
The one on the right refers to 2 other well know faces from the East End. We’ll come back to them later too…
8. At the end we cross Middlesex Street and go up Gravel Lane & follow it as it turns right & left into Stoney Lane.
9. At the end turn left along Houndsditch.
Enter the underpass at Exit 2 & come out at Exit 1. On the wall there’s a large red sign which reads St John Cass’s Foundation Primary School. The Sir John Cass Foundation is one of London’s oldest & largest education charities.
10. Now we turn right & walk into Mitre Square where Catherine Eddowes, the 4th victim (remember where a bit of her apron was found) was found on the pavement just near here. She was the second person to be murdered on 30th September 1888 & her body was terribly mutilated.
12. On the opposite side of the road is London’s oldest pub – The Hoop & Grapes
The pub was one of a few buildings to have survived the Great Fire of London in 1666. The fire stopped just short of the building which was a private house at the time. The Hoop & Grapes is now the only surviving 17th century timber-framed building in the City of London. The front of the pub, complete with the leaning door is the original.
13. We keep going along Aldgate High Street…
…which turns into Whitechapel High Street. Stop on the corner of Plumbers Row. Here we find The Whitechapel Bell Foundry Company a company who’ve cast some of the most famous bells in the world like The Liberty Bell in USA in 1752, & the Great Bell of Westminster in 1858 also known as ‘Big Ben’. Wow….we promised you history….& you can see the gib for the bells below…
14. Continue along Whitechapel Road passing the mosque on the right – the call to prayer was happening when we passed.
This is a fantastic diverse cultural area so keep walking until we come to The Royal London Hospital on the right…there’s a lot of work going on there at the moment.
The bizarre thing is you can normally just wander inside & walk around the very old corridors…you couldn’t today though.
Over the road’s a lovely little memorial
15. Now we’re going to move away from Jack for a short time & remember two of the East End’s most notorious criminals…
Keep heading down the left hand-side of the road & just before the crossroads we come to one of London’s most famous pubs…..The Blind Beggar.
On 9th March 1966 Ron Kray walked into the saloon bar of The Blind Beggar and shot George Cornell in the head. After getting a tip-off that Cornell was in the pub, Ron Kray arrived with another member of The Firm, ‘Scotch’ Ian Barrie. Cornell was seated at the bar, drinking a Gin and Tonic. On seeing Ronnie, Cornell mocked him further and in silence Ron took the gun from his pocket and shot George Cornell in the head. Ian Barrie fired some shots into the ceiling. They turned around and walked out as calmly as they had come in. The record playing on the jukebox (which also took a bullet), at the time was ‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore’ by the Walker Brothers.
16. Right….now we retrace our steps along Whitechapel Road on the same side as The Blind Beggar. The street market was on today (Tuesday)….fabulous sights, sounds & smells
17. We turn right down Court Street & stop at the junction with Durward Street.
The body of Jack’s first victim, Mary Ann Nichols was found here on 30th August 1888 in a gateway in Durward Street.
18. Now we turn right at Vallance Street, then first left along Old Montagu Street. It’s quite a long walk down here, but eventually we come to the junction with one of the East End’s most famous (& our favourite) streets Brick Lane
We’ll come back & have a closer look at Brick Lane in a moment, but for now we need to head up the Lane & then left into Hanbury Street.
Annie Chapman‘s body (the 2nd victim) was found at the back of 2 Hanbury Street, now part of the old Truman’s Brewery on 18th September 1888.
There’ also a great designer shoe shop on the left…you wouldn’t be missed in these!!
19. Now we head back to Brick Lane & let’s keep going up the road.
WOW!!!! we soooo love Brick Lane, especially on a Sunday when all the different cultural food stalls come out ….you can eat across the world here..plus it’s got some of the best curry houses in London.
20. We’ve already mentioned that Brick Lane is home to the old Truman Brewery, much of which has now been converted into an arts and media quarter, & is home to a hive of creative businesses as well as exclusively independent shops, galleries, markets, bars and restaurants – it’s well worth a look around.
21. Right it’s time for lunch & we just want a snack so there’s only one place to head for in Brick Lane…
Fabulous bagels as the length of the queue (including 20 Met Police in SWAT gear) inside shows. The shop produces 7000 bagels a night & there’s a variety of fillings, but there was only one we wanted…hot salt beef & mustard!! Plus in a brown paper bag please….oh the food police!!!
There another beigal shop next door & that was packed too.
22. Brick Lane continues further up, but this was as far as we went today. On a Sunday it’s worth keeping going to come to Columbia Road. On a Sunday this is turned into an incredible flower market – go towards the end of the day for some great bargains. Click on the link for full details.
23. Right let’s get this walk finished….head back down Brick Lane (maybe grab another beigal) & turn right down Fournier Street.
Fourier Street is one of the best preserved 18th century streets in London, the houses having been built in 1725.
24. At the end of Fournier Street on the right is The Ten Bells pub
The Ten Bells was established in 1753 & was often visited by many of Jack’s victims….Mary Jane Kelly drank here on the night she was killed.
Our walk is now completed by crossing back over into Brushfield Street (if you didn’t earlier then explore Spitalfields Market & grab a bite to eat or a drink) & at the end turn left along Bishopsgate back to Liverpool Street Station, our starting point.
So that’s the end of our first walk outside of Northamptonshire. No canals, no green fields, but the East End is an amazing area of London with an incredible history that we’ve only just touched on.
We guarantee that, although this is a short walk distance-wise it’ll take you longer than you think as there is so much to take in