Monday, 15 January 2018

The Whitechapel Murders

The year 2018 is the one hundred and thirtieth anniversary of the world famous Whitechapel Murders, a series of brutal killings committed by an unidentified killer with an infamous epithet. I am not going to use that name here, nor will I dwell upon his possible identity or motive.

The Whitechapel Murders took place in the East End of London, during the dizzy heights of the Victorian age and peak of the British Empire. Dependent upon source and opinion, the number of victims said to have been killed by the same man, will range from as few as four to as many as eleven.

Of those eleven victims, one of which remains unidentified, five are considered ‘canonical’ in that their tragic deaths share notable features, although the last murder may not have been by the same hand. It is to these five women that I dedicate this post.

In writing this, I do not wish to add to the lurid speculations often associated with the murders. Nor do I wish to proclaim any judgement on the choice of profession of the victims. That is relevant only to a police investigation and to subsequent researchers. It is not however, relevant to their memory.

It is very often the case that society will remember the name of the murderer rather than the victim, creating a name for the murderer if one is not known. In writing this post I wish to address that anomaly. I ask that we remember the victim and not the murderer.

Each victim of the eleven Whitechapel Murders was a woman, they were all someone’s daughter. Some of the victims were wives, mothers and sisters. They were real people that died in tragic circumstances. Remember them as people.

In producing this blog post I am forced due to lack of material to use the official mortuary photographs, which are themselves well known. These pictures serve to illustrate the brutality of violent death. All images are public domain. As a mark of respect for the victims and their living descendants, of which there are many, I have edited these pictures. This includes the cropping of the post mortem photograph of Catherine Eddowes.

Remember the women.

Mary Ann Nichols: 26 August 1845 - 31 August 1888 (aged 43).

Annie Chapman: circa 1841- 8 September 1888 (aged 47?).

Elizabeth Stride: 27 November 1843 - 30 September 1888 (aged 44).

Catherine Eddowes: 14 April 1842 - 30 September 1888 (aged 46)

Mary Jane Kelly: circa 1863 - 9 November 1888 (aged 25?)

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