There were many difficulties and problems that faced the population in the East End of London towards the end of the 19th century. The main stimulant to most of the problems was that the East End of London was extremely over-crowded, enhanced by immigration of Jewish people. One of the main problems was poverty, affecting culture and society in a negative way. As a result of the majority of the population being in poverty there was a lack of education, health care, clean water and food. Poverty had a negative multiplied effect causing problems such as disease and lack of housing. Donald Rumbelow, a historian who is a specialist on the East End of London towards to the end of the 19th century (Ripperologist) said ‘‘The East End was London’s poor quarter. It was also the area most identified with social problems”.
There was no plumbing in the houses, so sanitation was a big problem causing the living conditions to be very poor, therefore diseases were spread such as cholera and typhoid fever. Other diseases were also spread as a result of prostitution, causing many deaths. Prostitution was a big risk for women as the streets and alleys were dark and were filled with drunken men and criminals. Unemployment rates were at a high so many women had to turn to prostitution to have a little bit of money. Housing was also a big issue that faced people in the East End of London as there would be people sharing rooms that they would rent over night in a building.
Although there were many people in poverty, there were people who were better off and were quite comfortable financially. These people would live in the upper class area where as the people that faced the problems would be living in the lower class areas. The lower class areas were like ‘slums’ where crime rates were incredibly high. The upper-middle class areas were very respectable and the majority of the people who lived there had good jobs and were law abiding.
The majority of people turned to alcohol to forget about their problems which I have previously mentioned and due to there being a lack of clean water it was safer to drink gin than water. Crime was also a major problem facing ‘East-Enders’ in the late 19th Century. Crime rates were exceedingly high as a result of poverty, lack of jobs and alcohol consumption. “Prostitution was rife and alcoholism fueled by cheap gin was common”, this quote is taken from and extract from an article on the Whitechapel area in the 1880’s, published in 2012. This article supports what I have said as it states that alcohol and prostitution was a problem. The environment was perfect for robberies and murders, as the alleys were not lit with any lamps and even where there were lamps, it was very dim. One of the biggest murder story in the late 19th Century was Jack The Ripper.
This was in Whitechapel in 1888, when Jack The Ripper murdered 5 women in a 10 week period. The police linked the murders together as they were all murdered in the early hours of the morning, he slashed their necks most of the time and after he murdered the women he would take a part of their body, normally an organ. He would disappear before the police could catch him at the scene at the crime, Jack The Ripper still remains a mystery as to who he actually was. The police suspected a number of people as they thought he was a doctor as he always knew where the part of the body was located. Also they thought he was a butcher as he left a butchers knife and leather apron at one of the crime scenes.