Focus On: The Hidden Histories of Women in the East End Tour

Here at The Highbury Centre, we’re not just a guest house. We love to add value to our guests’ stay with us by signposting them to events and activities which will enrich their time in the capital. The Hidden History of Women in the East End tour was one of the Christian attractions we featured in our April blog and this month, we’re focusing on it a little more closely.

As the diarist Samuel Johnson famously said, “When a man [or woman] is tired of London, he [or she] is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” Google: “Things to do in London” and you’ll be overwhelmed by the range of activities and attractions. The so-called Ripper Tours are always very popular, but the Hidden Histories tour has taken a completely different slant on the murders and focuses entirely on the women themselves. With no salacious details, lots of fascinating social and emotional background on the victims and the perpetrator himself referred to as the unidentified murderer, this tour is respectful, compassionate and utterly fascinating.

The tour starts at St Botolph Without Aldgate. Its vicar, Laura Jørgensen, was tired of looking out of her window and seeing the traditional Ripper tours clustered on the church steps, agog at salacious details of murder and dismemberment. In partnership with Rebecca Branch, manager of local project Door of Hope (under the umbrella of Christian charity Beyond the Streets), and a local historian, they wrote the Hidden History of Women in the East End tour to focus on the bravery and strength of women who found themselves in impossible situations.

Beginning on the steps of the imposing 18th century church, the tour winds round the streets where the five women, Mary Ann, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary Jane, lived and worked. Many of the original closes and courts are long gone, but in a few cases, it’s possible to stand where these women would have stood and gaze at a city that wouldn’t be unfamiliar to them 130 years on. With photographs, maps and social history passed round on the tour, it’s intriguing to find that in many ways, nothing has changed for vulnerable women in the capital. The work done by Door of Hope, supporting women in their journey out of sexual exploitation, is inspiring and based on Christian principles of love and compassion.

To book a place on the tour, click here

It's easy to get to the church from The Highbury Centre, either by bus or train. The address is Aldgate Street EC3N 1AB. You can plan your journey by clicking on this link:

Tours start at 6.30 pm and last for around 90 minutes.


7th November 2019

Local attractions


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