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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  News Archive  /  May 2008  /  Jack the Ripper and the East End

Jack the Ripper and the East End

Dr Richard Dennis contributes to a new book on Jack the Ripper and the East End

Jack the Ripper and the East End

Richard Dennis is one of two UCL contributors (the other is Laura Vaughan from the Bartlett) to a new book published on 24th April in connection with a major exhibition on ‘Jack the Ripper and the East End’, opening at the Museum in Docklands on 15th May. As the blurb to the book recounts “It is not so much the crimes themselves that are under the microscope here but the intricate landscape of the East End.” Dr Dennis’s chapter, on 'Common lodgings and 'furnished rooms: housing in 1880s Whitechapel', shows how contemporary newspaper reports on the Ripper murders and other crimes can be used to reconstruct the everyday experience of public and private space in the East End. Dr Dennis also revisits one of his specialist interests – 19th-century ‘model dwellings’ – to show how these new dwellings actually made the situation worse for many of the East End’s poorest inhabitants. A major feature of the book is its lavish reproduction (often in colour) of the Museum of London’s original working copy of Charles Booth’s Poverty Map and of fire insurance maps for Spitalfields and Whitechapel.

Jack the Ripper and the East End, edited by Alex Werner and with an introduction by Peter Ackroyd, is published by Chatto & Windus. It also features as the latest ‘Editor’s Choice’ for the History Guild Book Club.

Richard Dennis will also be giving a lunchtime talk at the Museum in Docklands, 1.10 – 2.00pm on Thursday 12 June, on ‘Common lodgings and model dwellings: housing and the poor in the Victorian East End’.


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