37 monuments in 30 days, and what I learned along the way.
Tuesday 17 November 2015
Recently I wrote a post about occult sites in London, connected into a tour route by a fictional rendition of Jack the Ripper in Alan Moore’s graphic novel, From Hell. Well, this article will provide the non-fiction counterpoint.
There are dozens of different walking tours that lead participants around the famous Whitechapel murder sites. I’ve taken a few of these now, and it’s an interesting experience – though as often as not, I find myself more engrossed with watching the guides and tourists than with the destinations themselves. Some of these tours are highly informative; others feel mawkish and distasteful. In this section, I’ll review my best and worst experiences of Ripper Tours.
The Murder Sites
In addition to the walking tours, I’ve also made my own DIY tours of sites associated with Jack the Ripper. Visiting these locations by daylight gives a very different perspective on the places involved, and also invites more participation from contemporary street culture. Rather than exploring gloomy alleyways while listening to an over-theatrical guide, I want to spend a bit of time talking about the East End today – and about its blend of ethnicities and cultures, its street art, cafés and markets.
The Jack the Ripper Museum
Just recently there has been a lot of controversy in the British press around the opening of a new ‘Jack the Ripper Museum.’ Much of this surrounds the proprietors, who allegedly promised a museum dedicated to ‘the women of Victorian London’… and then instead opened a museum dedicated to Britain’s most infamous misogynist.
In order to get to the bottom of this rather awful faux pas, I visited the museum for myself – as well as meeting and interviewing the owners about their plans and ideas for the exhibition.
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