A Brief History of Whitechapel and the Whitechapel Murders
Whitechapel is a town in East London that was named for a small chapel that was dedicated to St. Mary. It was the parish church starting in 1338 and was destroyed in World War II. Now it is a public garden. There are two main roads, Whitechapel High Street and Whitechapel Road. These two roads were originally part of the Roman road that separated London. It was considered the other half of London, the half outside the city walls. All of the more smelly businesses were in Whitechapel. The breweries, foundries, tanneries, and slaughterhouses were all built in Whitechapel. The foundry in Whitechapel is responsible for the Liberty Bell and Big Ben. By 1840 Whitechapel was transformed into Dickens London, with poverty and overcrowding. While Whitechapel Road wasn’t bad many of the offshoots were horrible including Dorset Street, which was once called the worst street in London. It is now a nice private alleyway.
Many important things happened in Whitechapel, some good and some not. William Booth started preaching in a tent in 1865 on one of the main streets in Whitechapel and in 1878 he and some others formed the Salvation Army. Severe poverty drove many women of the area to prostitution; October 1888 the police estimated 1200 prostitutes and 62 brothels in Whitechapel. George Bernard Shaw’s Fabian Society met in Whitechapel, Vladimir Lenin boarded and led rallies there during his exile from Russia, and Whitechapel is still home to Freedom Press, an anarchist publishing house. Another person associated with Whitechapel is Joseph Carey Merrick (the Elephant Man) was exhibited in Whitechapel before being helped at the Royal London Hospital which was right across the street from where he was being shown off. From 1888 to 1891 the Whitechapel Murders took place. Eleven prostitutes were brutally murdered. Some of them are attributed to Jack the Ripper but not all. One of the women was sexually assaulted and...
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