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Two districts of east London had even higher rates.Such living conditions were due in part to the large rent increases in the East over the previous quarter century.
They are surrounded by the drunkenness, immorality and gambling of the East-End streets . It may have troubled some Irishmen to see that long hours, periods of unemployment, bad food, overcrowding, in fact, “all the conditions which ruin the Anglo-Saxon or Irish inhabitant of the East End seem to leave unhurt the moral and physical fibre of the Jew.” In addition to the supposed dislocation caused by the influx of foreigners into east London, social commentators recognized a large number of long-standing problems which needed to be solved — overcrowding, poor sanitation, excessive drinking, immorality, and poverty. Victorian social legislators had long adhered to the notion that improved living conditions in the East would lead to a decrease in the amount of vice and crime. poverty, rags, and dirt everywhere.” Overcrowding was a huge problem in east London.
There would be little change as long as there were “reeking courts, crowded public-houses, low lodging houses, and numerous brothels . In 1891, 55.5 percent of the people in Whitechapel lived with more than two persons per room in apartments with fewer than five rooms.
The name “Jack the Ripper” appeared on a number of letters mailed to the police and to various news agencies.
The publication of several of these letters, in the hope that someone would recognize the handwriting, vastly increased the killer’s fame.
Unlike most papers on this subject, I intend to avoid the issue of who committed these horrible crimes, but instead to examine the reactions of London, both West and East Ends, to the killings.
Jack the Ripper should be studied within the context of the 1880s, a period of economic uncertainty and heightened class tensions.
The Whitechapel murders provide a case study of sorts.
The reactions of the West End mirrored the debate over “Outcast London” and the fear of social revolution on the part of the poor of the East End.
By the mid-1880s, “the East End had become as potent a symbol of urban poverty . Yet, east London was too firmly fixed in most people’s minds as a symbol of decadence, immorality, criminality, and poverty to be replaced easily. must be resignedly tolerated because it is East London.” Many workers could only find intermittent employment, and those who had regular employment often did not fare better.
Such negative perceptions, in fact, migrated from West to East. Curshan Corner noted that people in the East were “coming to think that any discomforts or annoyances, any offensive innovations or dangerous nuisances . The sweating system, exemplified by overcrowded, unsanitary workshops, long hours, and low wages, was widely utilized.