London has a dark and grimy side hidden beneath the cosmopolitan city and has played home to some of the most infamous criminals throughout history. A large number of these famous crime scenes are still standing and make a great place to visit for fans of the macabre. In this article I share with you the crime related attractions that I think it would criminal to miss!
The Kray Twins
I’m starting off in the infamous Whitechapel Road and ‘The Blind Beggar’ pub. No-one can accuse criminals of having no sense of irony as this was where famous gangster Ronnie Kray executed one of his many enemies, George Cornell in March 1966 by shooting him in the eye! It was also where Bulldog Wallis killed a man by pushing the tip of an umbrella tip through his eye. Strangely enough the pub was also the location of the first sermon by William Booth which led to the foundation of Christian organization The Salvation Army.
Jack the Ripper
Staying within the Whitechapel area, there are plenty of sights for those with an interest in Jack the Ripper – one of history’s most famous serial killers. There are a variety of walking tours on offer which will lead you around the locations of each of Jack the Ripper’s murders. You can also visit the home of prime suspect Aaron Kosminski who was named in 2006 as a likely culprit for the unsolved killing spree.
One of Britain’s most notorious murderers is Sweeney Todd aka ‘the demon barber of Fleet Street. At his barber’s shop Todd butchered at least 160 people while his lover Mrs. Lovett helped dispose of the remains in her meat pies. Today, 186 Fleet Street houses an office supplies store, but to the rear you will find Hen and Chicken Court is still fairly unchanged and it is not difficult to imagine Todd beckoning you in from the doorway.
The Gunpowder Plot
In November 1605 the famous ‘Gunpowder Plot’ was foiled under the House of Lords. The plan was to blow up the building while the King, lords and bishops were inside. Guy Fawkes was in charge of the 36 barrels of gunpowder that were sneaked into the basement, but following an anonymous letter he was discovered there and the plot was foiled. The failure is to this day marked by bonfires and fireworks on November 5th.
The Clockwork Orange Tour
Despite not being a ‘real’ crime scene, the underpass that features in Stanley Kubrick’s ultra violent movie A Clockwork Orange is still a great spot to visit on your crime scene tour. The iconic scene where an old tramp is brutally beaten takes place in an eerie underpass at Trinity Road in the Wandsworth area. There are also plenty of other locations from the movie to visit including Wandsworth Prison and Taggs (Karsino) Island on the River Thames.
The Tower of London
If there is one place in London which has a history of grisly death then it has to be the Tower of London. For almost 800 years, the tower was the site of gruesome executions, hangings and beheadings. It has seen royalty, noblemen and spies brutally tortured until they meet their grisly end.
Hopefully this has given you an idea of some of London’s darker tourist attractions. These are just some of my personal favourite’s but there are plenty of other famed crime scenes in the city waiting for you to discover them including Dr Crippen’s murder house and the place where train robber Buster Edwards hung himself. London has plenty to discover aside from the usual tourist attractions and it is sure to satisfy your interest in crime and history.
About The Author:Tim Baker is a travel writer with a passion for world travel. One of his best experiences was discovering coach travel in Europe. Of all the places Tim has visited, Paris and London are among his favourites cities.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons