A Jack the Ripper mural – are you serious? How the Eastenders hit backSeptember 30, 2020
They have a Jack the Clipper barber and a Jack the Chipper fish shop. But a mural of the murderer leering proved too much for some horrified residents of London’s East End – so they took action
A demented face leers through a hole in the wall, his blood-spattered fingers gripping the shattered brickwork as he stares at passersby on the pavement below. This enormous, utterly grim trompe-l’œil image appeared in London’s East End in March – just before lockdown – unsettling many Spitalfields locals. But when people realised that the mural, by street artist Zabou, was supposed to be a modern representation of Jack the Ripper, they were horrified.
I, too, had seen the bowler-hatted man – face covered in blood – on the side of the Duke of Wellington pub, just a few streets away from my flat near Brick Lane. But I failed to put two and two together. Yes, I lived in an area where people mercilessly exploit the “myth” of a brutal serial killer who eviscerated five women on the streets here and in Whitechapel in 1888. But surely, I thought, no one would seek to glorify him in the name of street art? I was wrong.