Londonist's Back Passage

By M@ Last edited 145 months ago
Londonist's Back Passage

A tribute to the capital’s alleys, ginnels and snickleways


24. Artillery Passage

Where? Surviving bastion of the Ripper's London in the heart of Spitalfields.

What? The sickly lighting only adds to the troubling atmosphere of Artillery Passage. The short passage has changed little since the days of Jack the Ripper. His final victim, Mary Kelly was dissected just yards from the eastern end of Artillery Passage, where today a multistorey car park stands. Appropriately, someone had daubed a lifesize image of the Ripper on a nearby wall - through that glowing opening to the left. Which has a macabre roundness about it, considering Jack was no stranger to graffiti himself.

Artillery passage and the nearby Lane take their names from, predictably, an old military training ground. The artillery field was established by Henry VIII after nicking the land from the nearby St Mary Spital priory (remains of which can now be seen in the new Spitalfields development). The street was layed out in the 1680s. Today it mostly contains eateries of one stripe or another, cashing in on the tourist trade.

Why use? You'll certainly pass this way if you're on one of the many Ripper tours. If you've never been here before it's worth making a trip over to see a genuine, untouched bit of old London. It's also a convenient route if you're heading to Brick Lane from Liverpool Street.

See each and every one of our back passages mapped here

Last Updated 16 February 2007