Catherine was the granddaughter of Thomas Eddowes (1782-1865) by his son George. Both men were tinplate workers.
George was the fourth of thirteen children born to Thomas and Mary (née Banks). He was baptised in Bilston, Wolverhampton in 1808 but his parents probably moved back to the centre of Wolverhampton shortly afterwards as that is where his younger siblings were baptised. In 1832 he married Catherine Evans and they went on to have twelve children.
Catherine Eddowes was their sixth child. She was born on 14 Apr 1842 at 20 Merridale Street, Wolverhampton. Soon after, her parents moved to Bermondsey in London which is where her six younger siblings were born between 1843 and 1854. Her mother died in 1855 from tuberculosis and her father is believed to have died in 1857 (although no record exists).
For a while, Catherine moved back to live and work with her relatives in Wolverhampton. Later, with ex-soldier Thomas Conway, she moved to Birmingham and then London, giving birth to his daughter and two sons but not marrying him. She took to drinking and left her family in 1880. By the following year she had joined up with John Kelly and was living in a lodging house in Flower and Dean Street, Spitalfields - known at the time as "perhaps the foulest and most dangerous street in the metropolis". She sometimes worked as a prostitute to pay the rent.
On the evening of 29 Sep 1888, Catherine was found lying drunk in the road on Aldgate High Street by a policeman. She was taken into custody and then to Bishopsgate police station where she was detained until she was sober enough to leave at 1 a.m. She was killed and mutilated in Mitre Square between 1:35 and 1:45 a.m. (on 30 Sep 1888). Her murder is considered to be one of the "canonical five" attributed to the serial killer known as Jack the Ripper.