Demonstrators, including local residents, campaigners from across London, trade unionists and historians, have gathered to oppose the opening of the new Jack the Ripper Museum. Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs announced he will be boycotting the museum and the council will be investigating it's planning permission.
'Instead of celebrating and educating about the rich history of working class women that helped to shape the social fabric of London, we now have a celebration of a male serial killer who viciously murdered women in London's East End from 1888 to 1891.' said Ruth Styles, Chair of the London district of the Communist Party.
In October last year, the museum gained planning permission as ‘the only dedicated resource in the East End to women’s history’. The museum has now been unveiled as a venue dedicated to the violent crimes of Jack the Ripper. Tower Hamlets Council gave its approval on an application which states: “The museum will recognise and celebrate the women of the East End who have shaped history, telling the story of how they have been instrumental in changing society. It will analyse the social, political and domestic experience from the Victorian period to the present day.”
Founder Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe, a former Head of Diversity at Google, claims the new museum “is not celebrating the crimes of Jack the Ripper but looking at why and how the women got in that situation in the first place”.
'This is blatantly sexist and victim-blaming; murdered women “got themselves into a situation”, obviously by selling sex and/or by simply being about on the street. He clearly believes it is okay to display the gruesome details of these women's deaths at the hands of a misogynist killer in a museum: after all, they were just prostitutes.' Ruth Styles
'There is no place for such sexism in London and I call on Tower Hamlets Council to act to shut this Museum down. Support the petition on 38 Degrees calling on the council to revoke planning permission for the new museum on Cable street or force it to close down and re-open as the women's history museum as was promised and call on all who oppose sexism to do so as well.'
Katherine Connelly, co-organiser of the protest at the museum and biographer of suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst, said: “The public were misled about the museum. The anger shows the enthusiasm there is for a museum that tells the stories of women’s struggles.”