2 September 1922
Special Correspondent of the Iowa City Press Citizen
London, September 2.
The Whitechapel district is London's ghetto. Its criminal history has inspired many volumes and the Jack the Ripper crimes there have no parallel in criminology. It has a wide, brooding thoroughfare with countless foreign born milling about.
Three bobbies stand at each corner. The pubs reek of cheap gin and whiskey and bleary eyes bummers clot in each doorway. I was told that I would be as safe there alone at night as in Grosvenor square. But I doubt it.
A stump legged fellow came out of a pub - called The Green Man - and lurched against me. "Hi, say Governor," he roared, "how about a tuppence?" I walked on and he followed me to the corner, commanding my soul to infernal regions and applying epithets that would shame New York's water front.
Three other vagrants stopped me. They can spot an American here instantly. None of them begged in the whining way of the beggar. It was more of a stern command and it is needless to say that I was badly frightened while trying to be calm.
There is nothing picturesque about Whitechapel as there is about our American ghettos. Perhaps the most interesting haunts are the wine and hot bun shops - imitations of the famous Birches where the barristers and court judges go near the law courts. These places sell a glass of wine and a hot bun for tuppence.
There are many missions along the street but all appeared empty, yet a sermon was being delivered in each. Saving Whitechapel, it would seem, is almost a hopeless task. The children are vicious, underfed and ragged. At one corner a crowd of them was torturing a cat and its plaintive meows only caused laughter.
Whitechapel is the rendezvous for a vicious ring of dope sellers. Nightly raids are made there. Drugs have gained a big army of addicts among London's underclasses. The government is making powerful efforts to eradicate the evil.