Skip to content

Evening Talk – Jack the Ripper

Categories: ,


Jack the Ripper: Chief Inspector Swanson and Scotland Yard’s Prime Suspect

The mystery of Jack the Ripper has never been officially solved, but did the police investigating the crimes know the identity of the killer? In their retirement, several officers claimed to know the truth: the murderer was an American named Francis Tumblety; he was poisoner George Chapman, or a barrister found drowned in the Thames on the last day of 1888. By contrast, Det. Chief Inspector Donald Swanson, the detective who had led the investigation from Scotland Yard and read every report, statement and scrap of evidence, remained tight-lipped. But in 1981, 57 years after his death, his grandson discovered handwritten annotations in a book which seemed to finally reveal the secret of what happened to Jack the Ripper. Join author Adam Wood as he looks at the discovery of the so-called Swanson marginalia and examines the case against the man many believe to be Scotland Yard’s prime suspect.

Date: 9th July
Time: Doors open at 5pm for you to explore the museum. Talk begins at 6.30pm
Tickets: £15 per person, refreshments included

Speaker Bio 

Adam Wood is the author of Swanson: The Life and Times of a Victorian Detective, a detailed biography of the detective who was in charge of the investigation into the Jack the Ripper murders from Scotland Yard, and Trial of Percy Lefroy Mapleton, an examination of the notorious 1881 railway murder of Frederick Gold on the London to Brighton express. His most recent books both look at crime in Coventry: The Watchmaker’s Revenge tells the incredible story of Oliver Style’s jealous rampage in May 1880, which saw him shoot six people, and its aftermath, and The Case of the Painted Bicycle Lamp, an in-depth examination of the unsolved double murder in the city’s Stoke Park area in 1906. Adam is also co-author with Police historian Neil Bell of Sir Howard Vincent’s Police Code, 1889, and a series of historic walking guidebooks with Blue Badge tour guide Richard Jones. Adam is Executive Editor of Ripperologist magazine, the leading publication dedicated to the serious study of the Whitechapel murders and their place in social history. From 2017 to 2020 he was Editor of the Journal of the Police History Society.