The penny dreadful was a 19th-century popular and sensational publication.

Penny Dreadfuls were a common derogatory term used to describe cheap and popular Victorian publications.  They were vividly illustrated and often depicted gruesome crime stories such a Jack the Ripper and the Bradford Ripper.

The ‘penny dreadful’ publications seemed to satisfy a growing demand by Victorians to learn about dreadful crimes and horror stories.

They were cheap and highly illustrated stories of crime and horror stories. They carried various accounts of murderers and macabre crimes such as the Whitechapel murders and the John Gill murder.