The short answer is no, the Ripper alone did not do that, but he certainly made it popular. The Jack The Ripper Tour investigate.
Before the whole Ripper fiasco unfolded, the East End was known only to the locals and those who visited it from surrounding cities. The Ripper saga brought the East End and Whitechapel to the world stage for all the wrong reasons. It became a place to avoid, thanks in large to the Ripper’s killing spree. The East End and Whitechapel became the talk of every town and the longer the killer remained elusive, the more intriguing the subject became, ultimately generating the cult-like following it has today.
Life In East End Before the Ripper Saga
The East End in the 1800s was comprised of mostly immigrants and Eastern Europeans. The quality of life was poor. The East End came into being as a result of villages situated in the East of London spreading and the fields between them were built upon during the late 18th and early 19th century. From the beginning, the East End was regarded as one of the poorest areas of London. Families worked 14 hour’s days in the factories and docks. Their children were left behind to look after themselves. It was a hard place to live in, and these were some really hard times for families. A rise in poverty and decline in economy and employment in the area paved the way for its high crime rate and prostitution. In a sense, the stage was being set for Jack the Ripper to take the world by fear and storm.
East End and Whitechapel During the Ripper Saga
As the Ripper murders continued, and the frequency of the attacks increased, it created an all-out panic in the community. Extra police constables were brought on to patrol the area in the late hours of the night to keep the peace. However, that did not stop the Ripper from committing his heinous crimes. The murders continued despite the increased police presence, and that made the residents very insecure and uncomfortable. It gave the East End and Whitechapel a bad reputation, categorising it as a place to avoid at all costs. Forget about field days, the press had field months during this period as the whole world came to know about the Ripper murders. The headline ‘Ripper Strikes Again’ became dreaded news, not just in Whitechapel but worldwide.
After The Ripper Saga
There were lots suspects, quite a few theories, and very little incriminating evidence. All of that did little to comfort the locals. The law enforcement authorities were under immense pressure to find the culprit, and they failed. To this day, the killer remains elusive which is the key reason the Ripper enjoys such fascination today. So much so that nowadays people take Jack the Ripper tours to learn about him and life in Whitechapel during that time.
Whenever people think of the East End, they immediately think of the Ripper. That name has been forever etched in history over these past 125 years and as long as the Ripper case remains unsolved, not much will change.
Richard Cobb – has written 207 posts on this site.
Richard Cobb is a industry expert on everything Jack The Ripper, he is also the founding partner of The Jack The Ripper Tour which has become extremely successful over the last 3 years.