London is home to some of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Gleaming spires and glittering skyscrapers coupled with the shimmering Thames make one of the most stunning capital cities in the world. What’s more, London is also home to some of the best and brightest people too, with Her Majesty The Queen, David and Victoria Beckham, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Richard Branson all calling London their home. Aside from being hugely successful in their lines of work, many of London’s most famous people have also donated huge amounts to charities over the years, making them famous for their generosity as well as their talents.
Whilst London is undoubtedly home to some of the very best people in the world, it’s also been home to some of the very worst over the years. London’s past is full of infamous figures who’ve written their names into history books for the wrong reasons. Read on to find out who they are and why they’ve made our list of London’s most infamous people.
Jack The Ripper
With a name like that, how could this notorious villain not top our list? Jack The Ripper is just as famous for the fact he was never fully identified as he was for his gruesome murders. Lurking in the smog-filled shadows of 1800s London close to our modern day Montcalm hotels, The Ripper would wait outside pubs in London’s East End slums before choosing his unfortunate victims. Bodies would be found hideously mutilated in the pale morning light by the terrified public, and it was the viscerally brutal nature of the way that Jack killed his victims that earned himself his frightening moniker.
Although Jack only had five victims, which is relatively small compared to other small murderers, his killing style and mystique has meant that his memory lives on as one of the most infamous serial killers the world has ever known.
It’d be truly criminal not to include Guy Fawkes on our list. This notorious plotter failed in his famous attempt to blow up The House of Parliament in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Fawkes planned to assassinate King James I in order to restore a Catholic monarch to the throne and would have succeeded in his plot had it not been for an anonymous letter sent to the authorities.
Upon searching the undercroft of The House of Lords, guards found the hapless Fawkes next to an enormous pile of gunpowder that he was planning to use to blow up the reigning King. Fawkes was consequently tortured in gruesome medieval fashion before he finally admitted to his crimes, after which he died by breaking his neck when he fell from some scaffold where he was to be hanged.
Another infamous villain still renowned for his crimes today is the legendary highwaymen that are Dick Turpin. Turpin terrorised the roads that now homes the vast plethora of hotels near London city during the 1700s, and made travelling along London’s highways a potentially fatal risk for anyone carrying valuables. Turpin used the false name of John Palmer to hide from the law and was actually caught upon suspicion of horse theft, with his true identity not being revealed until a letter he sent to his brother found his way into the hands of the authorities. The infamous rogue was consequently executed on 7 April 1739.