Bishop of Stepney joins Tower Hamlets Mayor’s protest at Jack the Ripper Museum
PUBLISHED: 09:18 29 October 2015 | UPDATED: 12:29 29 October 2015
The outspoken Bishop of Stepney joined protesters this morning picketing east London’s infamous Jack the Ripper Museum over its “tacky tourist” promotion for Hallowe’en.
The Rt Rev Adrian Newman was one of the original faith and community leaders signing a petition in the summer to close the venue down after it got planning permission claiming to be a women’s heritage centre.
Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs led today’s demo after having boycotted the official opening back in August over the “misleading” planning application—first revealed online exclusively by the East London Advertiser in July.
The protest was staged by United East End umbrella organisation whose supporters carried a large banner proclaiming “One Tower Hamlets—No Place for Hate.”
It involved the East End’s church leaders like the Bishop as well as Tower Hamlets Interfaith chair Alan Green, vicar at St John on Bethnal Green.
The two leading church figures said in a statement:
“The Ripper museum has absolute disregard for victims of sexual violence both in the past and the present.
“The original planning submission was for a Museum of Women’s History in the East End, but it has resulted in a spectacle that exploits women and panders to the excesses of the Ripper myth.”
The building was closed and secured by heavy shutters when they turned up—after previous demos by other protest groups since July had resulted in a window being smashed and smoke canisters hurled at the premises.
Campaigners were furious that the museum opened in Shadwell’s Cable Street, near Tower Hill, turned the killing and mutilation of a women during the 1888 Whitechapel Murders in the guise of a “heritage education centre”.
The museum this week has been promoting tourist stunts for Hallowe’en to have ‘selfie’ portraits with an actor dressed as the infamous Victorian serial killer who stalked the streets of Whitechapel.
The original planning application to Tower Hamlets Council included pictures of suffragettes and 1970s Asian women campaigning against racist murders around Brick Lane.
It claimed the “museum” would recognise the women of the East End who had shaped history.
The document submitted by owner Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe cited the closure of Whitechapel’s Women’s Library in Old Castle Street in 2013 as its legacy to get planning permission.
But the converted building at 12 Cable Street opened, instead, with its black front shop and 2ft-high “Jack the Ripper Museum” letters in red, with a skull and crossbones, which bore no resemblance to the library.