Jack the Ripper museum opening to be boycotted by Tower Hamlets mayor

PUBLISHED: 21:10 31 July 2015 | UPDATED: 21:10 31 July 2015

Tower Hamlets Town Hall and (inset) Mayor Biggs

Tower Hamlets Town Hall and (inset) Mayor Biggs


The launch of the controversial new Jack the Ripper museum opening near the Tower of London on Tuesday is being boycotted by the Mayor of Tower Hamlets because he says his local authority was “misled” in the original planning application.

Jack the Ripper 'museum' at 12 Cable Street Jack the Ripper 'museum' at 12 Cable Street

Mayor John Biggs is withdrawing from taking part in the launch of the project intended to be a women’s heritage museum in Cable Street, he said tonight.

His boycott follows a storm of public protest after the East London Advertiser uncovered exclusively earlier this week the museum’s true nature.

“The decision to open a ‘Jack the Ripper’ museum instead of one celebrating the history of women in the East End is extremely disappointing,” an angry Mayor Biggs said.

Whitechapel of the 1888s... High-st corner of Osborn-st Whitechapel of the 1888s... High-st corner of Osborn-st

“It has become clear that the council’s planning department was misled by the applicant.

“I have withdrawn from attending the opening of this museum as I feel the focus has significantly changed.

I will be seeking an explanation from the museum owners as to how this shift in the nature of the museum has come about.”

Location of seven attacks in Whitechapel in 1888 including six murders, five officially down to Jack the Ripper... but none near Cable Street [map: Crown Copyright] Location of seven attacks in Whitechapel in 1888 including six murders, five officially down to Jack the Ripper... but none near Cable Street [map: Crown Copyright]

Planning officers in the council are now to investigate whether the museum signboard in bold 2ft red letters on a black shopfront background with its skull-and-crossbones emblem contravenes the planning approval conditions, it has emerged.

Further enforcement may also be taken concerning the opening hours listed on the museum’s website “which are not in line with the original planning application”, the mayor added.

The museum’s theme is the blood-curdling Whitechapel Murders of 1888 when the Ripper stalked the East End butchering prostitutes in a three-month reign of terror in late summer.

George Yard (today's Gunthorpe St) where Martha Tabram was attacked... first of the 1888 Whitechapel Murders George Yard (today's Gunthorpe St) where Martha Tabram was attacked... first of the 1888 Whitechapel Murders

Yet there was no mention of Jack the Ripper in the planning application to the council by former Googgle website diversity director Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe.

It was to be “a Museum of Women’s History”, according to his application document submitted in July 2014, which would recognise heroines who have shaped social history like the suffragettes and those who led the matchmakers’ industrial strike, analysing “their social, political and domestic experience”.

Meanwhile, members of the Class War protest organisation plan to picket on Wednesday evening outside the museum, the day after its opening.

Protester Lisa Mckenzie, an LSE sociology lecturer who lives in the neighbourhood, told the Advertiser: “I have just seen your article about the Ripper Museum and I’m shocked. It’s just out of order.

“We are planning to picket this museum with at least 200 people to show the strength of feeling in the East End.”

Jack the Ripper could have killed as many as 11 women, according to some theorists.

The five ‘known’ victims of 1888 are only half the picture, recorded officially by Scotland Yard as being carried out by the Ripper—Polly Nichols, Annie Chapman, Lizzie Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Kelly, all between August and October that year.

But 11 recorded in Home Office files were linked to the Ripper over three years.

Documents on victims after 1888 were stamped ‘Whitechapel’ by police investigators of the day. It was more to allay public panic that prompted the authorities at the time to formally ascribe just five killings to Jack the Ripper.

But just before the five was the slaying of Martha Tabram, stabbed 39 times on Bank Holiday August 6 in George Yard Buildings, three weeks before Polly Nichols.

A seventh victim that year was Rose Mylett in Poplar, three miles from the Whitechapel murders—so she never made the headlines as one of the Ripper’s victims.

There were three more brutal slayings between 1889 and 1891 that some social historians say could have been down to the Ripper, all recorded in the ‘Whitechapel Murders’ file at the Home Office.

The coming of the telegraph made the Whitechapel Murders the first mass-reported crime around the world. The interest was global.

Latest East London News Stories

Yesterday, 08:00

Letters, contributions and comments sent in to the Advertiser this week.

Reports of the recent rise of violent crime in London have been deeply concerning.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

This year’s Virgin Money London Marathon follows the usual route from Greenwich Park to the Mall.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

High achievers from London and Essex were rewarded for their hard work with a lesson in rowing on the Royal Docks yesterday.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Wondering what the weather has in store for us this weekend? Watch our three-minute Met Office video forecast.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Richard Horwood is hoping the open election meeting he is chairing on Tuesday for candidates running for Tower Hamlets mayor doesn’t turn into a disaster where they can’t answer questions about the vital Isle of Dogs’ upcoming Neighbourhood Plan.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Two teenage girls who have been missing from a seaside village for a week could be in Tower Hamlets, police believe.

Friday, April 20, 2018

A four-day festival of baul and vaishnav music returns to Tower Hamlets.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists


Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now