Spitalfields is a former parish in the borough of Tower Hamlets, in the East End of London, near to the Liverpool Street station and Brick Lane. All of Jack the Ripper’s victims or presumed victims lived in Spitalfields and two were murdered there. In the Old Streets of Spitalfields all the houses look pretty the same as they did in 1888 and, thus, going there is like stepping back in time.
The name Spitalfields is a contraction of ‘hospital fields’, in reference to the open land which lay behind and to the east of ‘The New Hospital of St Mary without Bishopgate’ erected on the east side of the Bishopsgate thoroughfare in 1197. Before that time the area was apparently known as Lollesworth. Although all the sites where Jack the Ripper murdered his victims have been demolished and the area has witnessed a great deal of change since the so-called ‘autumn of terror’, several of the streets have survived almost unchanged.