"Jack the Ripper didn’t kill sex workers: he killed women, some of whom sold sex sometimes. Jack killed flower sellers. Jack killed charwomen. He killed mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives. The case files that Ripper historians scrutinise for clues about his identity contain extraordinary details about these women’s ordinary and fascinating lives.
From these files, I learned about their friends, their lovers and their children; their love of drink, their quick tempers, and their favourite songs. I have seen pictures of their dead faces, and read coroners’ reports about the weight of their lungs, livers and hearts. These women are infinitely more interesting to me than the identity of their killer. Finding out about their poverty, their work and their experiences of injustice and inequality is far more important than their killer’s DNA. They are the real story of the Whitechapel murders. It is time for popular history to think more about them, and less about Jack."