Protest groups are to picket the opening night of a controversial museum in Tower Hamlets this evening.
The Cable Street attraction sparked outrage when it was revealed it would not be a celebration of historical women of the East End as promised, but a show focusing on the notorious East End murderer and rapist Jack the Ripper.
The museum’s website states the show looks at the history of women in the East End in the Victorian era and explores “why so many women had little choice in their lives other that to turn to prostitution.”
Critics say the show glorifies violence against women and silences the voices of the Ripper’s victims.
Tower Hamlets Council’s suggestion that they were ‘misled’ by the original planning application has provoked a tidal wave of anger in the local area.
The Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs has announced he will be boycotting the museum and a protest has been planned ahead of the opening.
Groups such as the National Assembly of Women, the Women’s Assembly Against Austerity and the Emily Wilding Davison Memorial Campaign plan to protest outside the museum dressed as suffragettes.
A petition calling on Tower Hamlets to revoke the museum’s planning permission, or force it to re-open as a women’s museum as originally promised has gathered over 3,000 signatures.
Becky Warnock, who started the petition, said that when she read about the museum “something clicked into action.” She told the East End Review: “I felt anger at the deceit involved, of the silencing of women’s voices in favour of a well trodden celebration of a famous murderer.”
“How can we expect to stop the violent crimes against women in today’s society if we continue to celebrate their killers and only remember women as victims? Let’s celebrate all the incredible women that have paved the path before for all of us!”
Warnock said accused the museum of being a cultural organisation that “glorifies the horrific violence the women were subjected to.”
“This victim blaming attitude is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated,” she added.
Tower Hamlets’ Mayor Biggs described the decision to open a Jack the Ripper museum instead of one celebrating the history of women in the borough as “extremely disappointing”.
“It has become clear that the council’s planning department was misled by the applicant. We completely understand the concerns of the local community and elsewhere,” he said.
The Jack the Ripper museum, founded by former Head of Diversity at Google Mark Palmer Edgecumbe, has not responded to the East End Review’s request for comment.
The telephone number on the museum’s website connects to the office of a stockbrokers in the city.