Have you done a Jack the Ripper walking tour in London? A must-do event on the chance that you haven't.
I have, once, and I much enjoyed it. I tagged along one summer day when Judith Clute led Sydney's class on a walking tour of Whitechapel.
Sydney was teaching "Madness, Monsters and Murder," a class on the British Gothic, in the Alabama at Oxford program at Wadham College in summer 2004, so Judith emphasized not only sites associated with the historical murders but sites featured prominently in Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's graphic novel From Hell, which was on Sydney's syllabus.
The most notable of the latter was Nicholas Hawksmoor's Christ Church Spitalfields, a place of occult power in both From Hell and two books that greatly influenced it, Iain Sinclair's Lud Heat and Peter Ackroyd's Hawksmoor. The folks who keep the church going put on their website the least sinister photo of the place I've ever seen, and valiantly remind us through their good works that Christ Church is, after all, a church, albeit one of more architectural interest than most. But in truth, the thing does loom over its surroundings with a sort of geometric Wrongness, and it casts quite a shadow. (Catherine Wright offers a good short appraisal of Hawskmoor that takes the recent occult interest into account.)
An exceedingly interesting thing Judith did was start the tour at its most redeveloped, least Victorian spot -- an unrecognizably paved-over murder site, a few paces from the Whitechapel tube station and street market -- and lead us into progressively more "preserved" areas (which meant, of course, increasingly narrow streets, claustrophobic courts, etc.), so that in effect she led us from 2004 into 1888, and left us there. I admired that deeply.
Trent, I presume you've taken a Ripper tour yourself; tell us about it. I would love, when I'm next in London, to take the tour led by Donald Rumbelow, author of The Complete Jack the Ripper. That came out when I was 11, and was one of the books I checked repeatedly out of the Lexington County Public Library in Batesburg, S.C. My parents never objected, God bless them. (Rumbelow updated his book in 1990 as Jack the Ripper: The Complete Case Book, but I treasure my copy, acquired in adulthood, of the original.)