How Jack the Ripper's five victims turned to prostitution after their marriages failed

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Over the last century they have passed into gruesome folklore, but Victorian census records on Jack the Ripper's victims cast new light on the lives of some of the murdered prostitutes.

An online genealogy website which trawled the 1881 census - taken seven years before their deaths - has pulled together information on the women that 'provides a small window onto the past' and dispels the myth that they had been teenage street walkers.

The five - Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly - were all brutally murdered in London's East End between August 31 and December 20, 1888. Their bodies were left horribly mutilated on the streets of Whitechapel. Their murderer was never caught.

Although prostitutes at the time of their violent murders, three of the five had previously been married, according to records taken on April 3, 1881.

The website discovered Stride was recorded as 37 at the time and living with her husband, a carpenter. She had moved to London from Sweden in 1866 where she had already worked as a prostitute. However, her luck changed and on March 7, 1869, she married John Thomas Stride, a carpenter 13 years her senior. He died in 1884...

... This information on the three women has been available online since the 1881 census records were published eight years ago - it is only now that they have been pulled together to provide an insight into the lives of the women in their latter years...

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