Angry women unveil protest billboard in East End facing Jack the Ripper museum

Abbie Gillgan (left) and online petition organiser Becky Warnock who unveiled Women's Heritage billb

Abbie Gillgan (left) and online petition organiser Becky Warnock who unveiled Women's Heritage billbaord in Cable Street [photo: Chris Field] - Credit: 38 Degrees

Angry women fed-up with the “tacky” Jack the Ripper museum that opened in the East End—contravening its original ‘heritage’ planning permit—today unveiled a protest billboard virtually opposite the black-painted premises in Cable Street.

Abbie Gillgan (left) and online petition organiser Becky Warnock who unveiled Women's Heritage billb

Abbie Gillgan (left) and online petition organiser Becky Warnock who unveiled Women's Heritage billbaord in Cable Street [photo: Chris Field] - Credit: 38 Degrees

The billboard mocks the controversial “rip off” tourist attraction and aims to draw people to the alternative East End Women’s Heritage exhibition opening this Friday.

The East-End Women—The Real Story ‘pop-up museum’ is being staged at St George’s-in-the-East church nearby.

The Ripper museum owners originally applied to Tower Hamlets Council for planning permission to build “the only dedicated resource in the East End to women’s history”.

Abbie Gillgan (left) and online petition organiser Becky Warnock who unveiled Women's Heritage billb

Abbie Gillgan (left) and online petition organiser Becky Warnock who unveiled Women's Heritage billbaord in Cable Street [photo: Chris Field] - Credit: 38 Degrees

But instead, the permit was used last July to open a Ripper tourist attraction themed on the crimes of the Victorian serial killer.


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It led to a wave of protests and pickets outside the museum which included the Bishop of Stepney, Adrian Newman, and Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs.

This was followed by angry Becky Warnock starting a 38 Degrees petition to ‘celebrate Suffragettes not serial killers’—signed online by 13,000 people so far calling on the local council to revoke its planning permission.

Abbie Gillgan (left) and online petition organiser Becky Warnock who unveiled Women's Heritage billb

Abbie Gillgan (left) and online petition organiser Becky Warnock who unveiled Women's Heritage billbaord in Cable Street [photo: Chris Field] - Credit: 38 Degrees

Hundreds of 38 Degrees members then chipped in to fund a rival new pop-up museum at St George’s parish church in The Highway, Shadwell.

It has been created by the East End Women’s Collective which researched and curated stories of inspirational women like the Suffragettes who started their movement in the area a century ago.

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Becky and the collective’s co-ordinator Abbie Gillgan unveiled the billboard at noon to advertise “the alternative” museum of women’s hertitage.

Abbie Gillgan (left) and online petition organiser Becky Warnock who unveiled Women's Heritage billb

Abbie Gillgan (left) and online petition organiser Becky Warnock who unveiled Women's Heritage billbaord in Cable Street [photo: Chris Field] - Credit: 38 Degrees

“Violence towards women is not a series of mysterious events that happened 130 years ago,” Abbie told the East London Advertiser.

“It’s the ‘lived reality’ of many women throughout history and should not be reduced to entertainment for thrill-seekers.

“The history of East End women cannot be reduced to mere ‘victimhood’. We want to celebrate those who have stood up against violence throughout history.”

Now the East End finally gets the museum on Friday at St George’s church that it was promised when the Ripper museum owners first applied for planning permission two years ago—to “celebrate suffragettes, not serial killers”.

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