Former Ramsgate history teacher publishes tale of Jack the Ripper’s victims

Dr Robert Hume has published his book

A former head of history at Clarendon House Grammar School in Ramsgate has published a tale of Jack the Ripper’s victims.

Dr Robert Hume, now an author and freelance feature writer, has published The Hidden Lives of Jack the Ripper’s Victims with Pen and Sword books.

The tale brings to life the overlooked lives of Jack the Ripper’s victims. Previously simply labelled as prostitutes, this book focuses on lives of the victims long before they fell prey in the Ripper’s killing ground.

The book sets the victim’s stories in historical context, revealing a world coloured not only by Darwin and Dickens, but also by deep economic recession and popular protest.

Through the lives of the women, Hume paints a vivid portrait of Victorian London and the struggles that working women faced. Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly are inextricably linked in history. Their names might not be instantly recognisable, and the identity of their murderer may have eluded detectives and historians throughout the years, but there is no mistaking the infamy of Jack the Ripper.

For nine weeks during the autumn of 1888, the Whitechapel murderer brought terror to London’s East End, slashing women’s throats and disembowelling them. London’s most famous serial killer has been pored over time and again, yet his victims have been sorely neglected, reduced to the simple label: prostitute.

The lives of these women are rags-to-riches-to-rags stories of the most tragic kind. There was a time in each of their lives when these poor women had a job, money, a home and a family. Hardworking, determined and fiercely independent individuals, it was bad luck, or a wrong turn here or there, that left them wretched and destitute. Ignored by the press and overlooked by historians, it is time their stories were told.

The Hidden Lives of Jack the Ripper’s Victims cost £19.99 (hardback) and can be bought at Pen and Sword (20% off) here

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