The East End of London is renowned for being a hive of culture and multiculturalism today, but in days gone by, it was home to a much darker community of people. With a host of villains such as Jack the Ripper and the notorious Kray twins making a name for themselves in the infamous East End of London, it’s not surprising that fictional characters such as Sweeney Todd were present in Penny Dreadful publications in the 19th century.

An Urban Legend is Born

The gruesome and macabre acts of violence committed by real-life figures, such as the serial killer Jack the Ripper and gangster duo the Kray twins, have been told in pop culture as well as local and national history for a long time. So much so, that when the story of a fictional character like Sweeney Todd – a murderous barber who killed people beneath his Fleet Street salon to sell their flesh in meat pies – began to circulate, it became something of an urban legend.

Introducing: Sweeney Todd

With a story so believable that many people still believe it to be true, the demon barber of Fleet Street was introduced in the Penny Dreadful comic for an 18-part series ‘The String of Pearls’.  The sinister character lures people into his barber shop, before offing his customers in a basement beneath the shop.

His partner in crime, Mrs Lovett, owned a pie shop that was connected to the barber shop via an underground passage – allowing the pair to sell off his victims cooked into pies.

East End Tours – Villains at Every Turn

Whether real-life or fictitious, it appears that in the East End there have been villains at every turn. All of our East End tours have been designed to bring the darker side of London to life. For something a little different to the norm, why not join us on our walking tour as we seek out the hiding spots, murder sites and infamous story locations made famous thanks to a plethora of East End villains.

These are the stories you won’t see in guidebooks, and you won’t hear on bus tours – this is the (mostly) real life, darker past hidden in the shadows right here in London. This is our passion, so why not try out one of our tours?

Our expert-ran tours are world-class, bringing all the relevant locations to life through immersive storytelling and facts and figures that will blow you away. Discover the dark underbelly of London with our East End tours today.

For more information please drop us a line or book your tickets directly – we’ll see you there!