School of History, Philosophy and Culture

  • Jack the Ripper
  • Jack the Ripper

    Jack the Ripper was a serial killer who allegedly stalked London’s East End in 1888 leaving a series of grisly murders in his wake. 2018 marks the 130 year anniversary of the notorious killings, but the identity of the murderer still remains a mystery.

    What we know

    1. Possible culprits range from Polish immigrant butcher Aaron Kosminski to Prince Albert, grandson of Queen Victoria.
    2. The name ‘Jack the Ripper’ was signed at the bottom of a letter written in red ink, to the Central News Agency, boasting about the crimes.
    3. All the victims of the killer were prostitutes and they were killed in Whitechapel, London.

    Professor Kilday on Jack the Ripper


    Anne-Marie Kilday , Britain’s only Professor of Criminal History and an expert on Jack the Ripper, teaches on the BA History course at Oxford Brookes University.

    The Ripper Walk

    Professor Kilday’s module Jack the Ripper and the Victorian Underworld explores the cultural climate associated with the Victorian underworld, and the cultural phenomenon of the Ripper murders. The annual ‘Ripper walk’ sees our History students visiting the infamous murder sites around London.

    This tour on Jack the Ripper has been really good at bringing it all to life. We hear about it in our lectures and seminars and now we're here and can see for ourselves.

    Anna Glaze, 2nd year History student

    Standing where the killings took place felt very eerie … It made it all so real.

    Alex Bartley, 2nd year History student

    Uncovering criminal history at Brookes

    The History of Crime , and particularly violent crime, is a research specialism at Brookes. We unite research on law, medicine and social history to bring the past to life and uncover why humans commit criminal acts - and their effects on others.

    The MA History module, Behaving Badly: Crime, Deviance and Civilization, examines how societies have sought to construct and regulate conceptions of “good behaviour” and includes topics such as the growth of law enforcement agencies, changes in the concept of punishment, forensics, “civilising” processes, family violence, homicide and violent death.

    Studying the history of crime