31 August 2016
Jack the Ripper's first confirmed victim was murdered on 31 August 1888
On this day in history, 1888: Mary Ann Nichols is murdered. She is the first of Jack the Ripper's confirmed victims.
Mary Ann ‘Polly’ Nichols (née Walker; 26 August 1845-31 August 1888) was one of the Whitechapel murder victims. Her death has been attributed to the notorious unidentified serial killer Jack the Ripper, who is believed to have killed and mutilated at least five women in the Whitechapel area of London from late August to early November 1888.
The nature of the Whitechapel murders and of the victims (typically prostitutes who lived and worked in the East End slums) drew attention to the poor living conditions in London’s East End and galvanised public opinion against the overcrowded, unsanitary slums. In the two decades after the murders, the worst of the slums were cleared and demolished, but the streets and some buildings survive and the legend of the Ripper is still promoted by guided tours of the murder sites. In 2015, the Jack the Ripper Museum opened in east London.
Pictured: Mary Ann Nichols' grave at City of London Cemetery was marked with a plaque in 1996. Photograph by Matt Brown (CC BY 2.0).