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Find My Past: Jack the Ripper – 24th November 2011

Published on 25 Nov 2011 11:03 : find my past tv : 0 comments : 4149 views

This week Find My Past reunited three people whose ancestors were all linked in some way to Jack the Ripper. Jack the Ripper was the name given to the unknown serial killer who brutally murdered 5 prostitutes in the Whitechapel area of East London in 1888.

First of all we met Karen Miller. Karen soon learnt that her great-great-great Grandmother Catherine Eddowes was the Ripper's fourth victim. At the time she was living with Thomas Eddowes and their children, but they weren't married. Catherine was working as a charwoman and Thomas was a hawker, so life must have been very difficult for them. Karen was told that it was common for women to be prostitutes at that time. Quite often they did it just to be given a roof over their heads for the night.

We then met Oliver Massingham whose great Grandfather Henry William Massingham was a journalist. He wrote for a newspaper called the Star and ended up being their deputy editor. In his job at the Star Henry would have written about the murders. The newspaper did sensationalise them in order to sell more copies of the paper. This was the beginning of modern journalism as we know it. The paper also fell victim to hoaxers, receiving letters from people purporting to be the Ripper.

Finally we met Dan Neilson. His great-great Grandfather was Clement Hutt. Clement had a brother called George who was working as a police constable at the time of the murders in Whitechapel.

Catherine Eddowes was murdered in the early hours of the 30th September. That evening she was arrested for being drunk and was taken to the Bishopsgate Police station at about 8.30pm where George Hutt was on duty. He checked on her at 9.45 and left her in the cell. At 12.55am George Hutt let her go. Forty minutes later she was spotted at the entrance to Mitre Square where Jack the Ripper murdered her. George Hutt was the last person to speak to Catherine Eddowes before she died.

At the end of the show Karen, Dan and Oliver came together to explain the part their ancestors played in the Jack the Ripper story. This was a really interesting episode, as there were such close links between the ancestors. Not only that, but the story of Jack the Ripper is one that will intrigue us all for many years to come.

Find My Past - It's on every Thursday at 9pm on the YeSTERDAY channel - 12 on freeview, 537 on Sky and 203 on Virgin. You can also see it here too -