This novel is about the crimes committed by Jack the Ripper, so it contains many historic facts.
The first woman who is murdered is Martha Tabram. She may have been the first victim of the still-unidentified Jack the Ripper. Although not one of the ‘canonical five’ Ripper victims that historians have broadly acknowledged, she is considered the next most likely candidate.At 3:30 a.m., resident Albert George Crow returned home after a night’s work as a cab driver and noticed Tabram’s body lying on a landing above the first flight of stairs. The landing was so dimly lit that he mistook her for a sleeping vagrant and it was not until just before 5:00 a.m. that a resident coming down the stairs on his way to work, dock labourer John Saunders Reeves, realized she was dead.
Martha was found in George Yard. In 1888 Gunthorpe Street was known as George Yard and had a reputation as one of the area’s most undesirable thoroughfares.
It is Cora, who sees Martha’s body, in the mortuary in Whitechapel.
The next victim is Polly Nichols. Mary Ann “Polly” Nichols (née Walker; 26 August 1845 – 31 August 1888) was one of the Whitechapel murder victims. At the time of her death, Nichols was living in a Whitechapel common lodging house in Spitalfields, where she shared a room with a woman named Emily “Nelly” Holland. I wonder if this Emma is based on this Emily. At about 23:00 on 30 August, Nichols was seen walking the Whitechapel Road; at 00:30 on 31 August she was seen to leave a pub in Brick Lane, Spitalfields. An hour later, she was turned out of 18 Thrawl Street as she was lacking the fourpence required for a bed, implying by her last recorded words that she would soon earn the money on the street with the help of a new bonnet she had acquired. She was last seen alive standing at the corner of Osborn Street and Whitechapel Road at approximately 02:30 (one hour before her death) by her roommate, Emily Holland. To Holland, Nichols claimed she had earned enough money to pay for her bed three times that evening, but had repeatedly spent the money on alcohol. At about 3:40, a cart driver named Charles Allen Lechmere (who also used the name Charles Cross) discovered Mary Ann Nichols lying on the ground in front of a gated stable entrance in Buck’s Row (since renamed Durward Street), Whitechapel.
The next victim is Annie Chapman. Annie Chapman (born Eliza Ann Smith, c. 1841 – 8 September 1888), was a victim of the notorious unidentified serial killer Jack the Ripper. Chapman’s body was discovered at just before 6:00 a.m. on the morning of 8 September 1888 by a resident of number 29, market porter John Davis. She was lying on the ground near a doorway in the back yard of Hanbury Street.
Another victim is Elizabeth Stride. Elizabeth “Long Liz” Stride (née Gustafsdotter) (27 November 1843 – 30 September 1888) is believed to be a victim of the notorious unidentified serial killer called Jack the Ripper, who killed and mutilated several women in the Whitechapel area of Londonfrom late August to early November 18. Stride’s body was discovered close to 1 a.m. on Sunday 30 September 1888 by Louis Diemschutz, the steward of the Workers’ Club, in the adjacent Dutfield’s Yard. Diemshutz drove into the yard with a pony and two-wheeled cart, when his horse shied.With blood still flowing from a wound in her neck, it appeared that she was killed just moments before he arrived. The crime was committed in Berner Steet.
That same night another prostitute was killed. Catherine “Kate” Eddowes (14 April 1842 – 30 September 1888) was one of the victims in the Whitechapel murders. She was the second person killed in the early hours of Sunday 30 September 1888, a night which already had seen the murder of Elizabeth Stride less than an hour earlier. These two murders are commonly referred to as the “double event”. At 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, 29 September, Eddowes was found lying drunk in the road on Aldgate High Street by PC Louis Robinson. She was taken into custody and then to Bishopsgate police station, where she was detained, giving the name “Nothing”, until she was sober enough to leave at 1 a.m. on the morning of 30 September.At 1:45 a.m., Eddowes’ mutilated body was found in the south-west corner of Mitre Square by the square’s beat policeman PC Edward Watkins.
The last and most horrible crime is Mary Jane Kelly’s. Mary Jane Kelly (c. 1863 – 9 November 1888), also known as Marie Jeanette Kelly, Fair Emma, Ginger, and Black Mary, is widely believed to be the final victim of the notorious unidentified serial killer Jack the Ripper, who killed and mutilated several women in the Whitechapel area of London from late August to early November 1888. She was about 25 years old, and living in poverty at the time of her death. According to Joseph Barnett, the man she had most recently lived with prior to her murder, Kelly had told him she was born in Limerick, Ireland in around 1863—although whether she referred to the city or the county is not known—and that her family moved to Wales when she was young. On the morning of 9 November 1888, the day of the annual Lord Mayor’s Day celebrations, Kelly’s landlord John McCarthy sent his assistant, ex-soldier Thomas Bowyer, to collect the rent. Kelly was six weeks behind on her payments, owing 29 shillings. Shortly after 10:45 a.m., Bowyer knocked on her door but received no response. He reached through the crack in the window, pushed aside a coat being used as a curtain and peered inside—discovering Kelly’s horribly mutilated corpse lying on the bed.
The police inspectors investigating the murders are only mentioned. One was Inspector Reid. Detective Inspector Edmund John James Reid (21 March 1846 in Canterbury, Kent – 5 December 1917 at Herne Bay, Kent) was the head of the CID in the Metropolitan Police‘s H Division at the time of the Whitechapel murders of Jack the Ripper in 1888.Reid was the officer in charge of the enquiries into the murders of Emma Elizabeth Smith in April 1888, and Martha Tabram in August 1888, before Inspector Frederick Abberline was sent from Scotland Yard to ‘H’ Division in Whitechapel to co-ordinate the hunt for the killer.
The other inspector was Abberline. Frederick George Abberline (8 January 1843 in Blandford Forum, Dorset – 10 December 1929) was a Chief Inspector, for the London Metropolitan Police and a prominent police figure in the investigation into the Jack the Ripper, serial killer murders of 1888. Following the murder of Mary Ann Nichols on 31 August 1888, Abberline was seconded back to Whitechapel due to his extensive experience in the area. He was placed in charge of the various detectives investigating the Ripper murders.
Apart from the places the women were murdered in, there are many references to landmarks in Whitechapel. One is Christ Church. Christ Church Spitalfields, is an Anglican church built between 1714 and 1729. Situated on Commercial Street, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, on the eastern border and facing the City of London, it was one of the first ) of the so-called “Commissioners’ Churches” built for the Commission for Building Fifty New Churches, which had been established by an Act of Parliament in 1711.
Alice joins the Whitechapel Women’s Mission in Lamb Street. At the Whitechapel Mission, the charity has been helping Londoners to help the homeless since 1876, meeting the specific needs of each man and woman who walks through its doors.
Thrawl Street was where Emma shared lodgings with Polly Nichols.
Emma and Cora go to the Pavilion Music Hall in Whitechapel Road.
Princess Alice was another pub Emma frequented. The original pub was built in 1850 following the construction of Commercial Street.
The police station was also in Commercial Road.
Britannia is the pub where Emma starts working, which is in Commercial Street. Despite the claims of other pubs (such as the Ten Bells), the Britannia was actually able to lay claim to several connections with the victims of the Whitechapel Murders. It was known locally as ‘the Ringer’s’ after the landlord Walter Ringer, although it is commonly noted that his wife Matilda spent more time behind the bar than her husband. The Britannia was demolished in 1928 along with the north side of Dorset Street to make way for extensions to Spitalfields Market.
The pub where Emma and Cora go the night when Mary Kelly is murdered is the Ten Bells. The Ten Bells is a public house at the corner of Commercial Street and Fournier Street in Spitalfields in the East End of London. It is sometimes cited as being notable for its association with two victims of Jack the Ripper; Annie Chapman and Mary Kelly.
Highbury is where Alice is from. The street where she lives is Grosvenor Avenue.
In Alice’s world there are some references to the socialite world. For example, Lucasta makes reference to Lady Randolph Churchill and her tattoo. Jeanette, Lady Randolph Churchill (née Jerome; 9 January 1854 – 29 June 1921) was an American-born British socialite, the wife of Lord Randolph Churchill and the mother of British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill.
Lord Brennan mentions the Rational Dress Society. Victorian dress reform was an objective of the Victorian dress reform movement (also known as the rational dress movement) of the middle and late Victorian era, comprising various reformers who proposed, designed, and wore clothing considered more practical and comfortable than the fashions of the time.