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Answer 60. Over a period of 10 weeks in the autumn of 1888, Jack the Ripper killed at least five prostitutes in London’s East End.

The murders were increasingly brutal, but all the work of the same man. The final murder of Mary Jane Kelly (see future post) was so demented that the Ripper is thought to have committed suicide afterwards, unable to live with the horror of what he had done.

The only question is whether Mary Ann Nichols was his first victim. Other women had recently been murdered, but there was doubt as to whether the killings were the Ripper’s handiwork or not.


No 10 Downing Street has been the official residence of Britain’s Prime Ministers since 1735, when Sir Robert Walpole moved in.


The front of the house faced Horse Guards Parade then, rather than Downing Street at the back. Walpole turned it round, moving the front door to Downing Street because that was closer to the House of Commons.

The house has often been at the centre of world events, never more so than on 4 August 1914, when Germany was given an ultimatum to provide a guarantee of Belgian neutrality by midnight or face the consequences.

As the deadline approached, Margot Asquith, the Prime Minister’s wife, joined him in the Cabinet Room (ground floor rear, overlooking the garden behind the wall):

‘The clock on the mantelpiece hammered out the hour and when the last beat of midnight struck it was as silent as dawn. We were at war. I left to go to bed, and, as I was passing at the foot of the staircase, I saw *******  ********* with a happy face striding towards the double doors of the Cabinet Room.’

HISTORIC LONDON: X MARKS THE SPOT. Question 61. Who was this irresponsible politician, so delighted at the prospect of a European war ?

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