|A Ripperologist Article|
|This article originally appeared in Ripperologist No. 66, April 2005. Ripperologist is the most respected Ripper periodical on the market and has garnered our highest recommendation for serious students of the case. For more information, view our Ripperologist page. Our thanks to the editor of Ripperologist for permission to reprint this article.|
At 1:00 in the morning of Sunday, 30 September 1888, Louis Diemschutz, the steward of the International Working Men’s Educational Club, was returning to the Club in a two-wheeled barrow pulled by a pony. He had spent the day, as he usually did on Saturdays, selling imitation jewellery at Westow Hill Market, near the Crystal Palace. He drove his pony down Commercial Road and turned south into Berner Street. The Club was further down the road. Light could be seen through its windows and the sounds of singing and laughter came from its meeting room on the first floor. As Diemschutz drove through the gates of Dutfield’s Yard and entered the dark passage running alongside the Club, his pony shied to the left. A woman was lying across the passage on the muddy ground. She was dead, but her body was still warm to the touch. Blood oozed thickly from a deep gash in her throat and ran down the gutter into a drain. Within a matter of days, she would be identified as Elizabeth Stride, a 44-year-old, Swedish-born prostitute, and go down in history as the third canonical victim of Jack the Ripper.
But that long, dreadful night was not yet over.
Three-quarters of a mile from Berner Street, within the confines of the City of London, lies Mitre Square. It is a small enclosed square delimited by Mitre Street, Creechurch Lane (formerly King Street), Duke’s Place (formerly Duke Street) and Aldgate. Between King Street and Mitre Square is St James’ Place, formerly known as the Orange Market. In 1888, the Great Synagogue and Kearly and Tonge’s Warehouse stood between Duke Street and the Square. Another warehouse belonging to Kearly and Tonge formed the northwest side of the Square along a house occupied by Police Constable Pearce. Between Aldgate and the Square, stood the Sir John Cass Foundation School. There were three entrances to Mitre Square: a broad passage from Mitre Street; Church Passage, a narrow, covered foot passage from Duke Street, south of the Synagogue; and a narrow foot passage from St James’ Place. On the right of the broad passage off Mitre Street were three unoccupied cottages forming a blind corner with a high fence sealing off the yard between the School and the Square.