Tonight is a major protest outside the Jack the Ripper Museum (12 Cable St): 6 pm
Read why we are protesting.
The East End is under siege. Everywhere housing estates, markets and pubs are under threat as the property developers, aided by councils and housing associations, eye up the profits to be made by driving out the working class that have lived here for so long. The Blitz didn’t do it but the property developers, with a big thumbs up from this government, think they can.
East London is rapidly becoming the playground of the rich as luxury flats go up everywhere. Not content with this, they want to steal our history too and see the East End as a theme park peopled with the token Pearly King or Queen or the odd sanitised pie and mash shop if you’re lucky.
One glaring example of their attempt to take over our history is the new Ripper Museum in Cable Street. It was originally pitched to Tower Hamlets Council as a museum dealing with the history of women in the East End by the businessman Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe, former diversity officer with Google (joke!). Permission was granted in October 2014. However, there is evidence to suggest that he planned from the start to open a Jack the Ripper museum. As Guardian reporters discovered Palmer-Edgecumbe “first became interested in opening such an “attraction” in 2008, when he was involved in an exhibition about the serial killer at the Museum of London Docklands. He declared this on the museum’s website, although the page has now been taken down”. He has had a number of Jack the Ripper companies, the most recent one being Jack the Ripper Museum (London) Limited, founded in May 2014. We know that he started buying Ripper artefacts from the Police Museum in London quite early on. When the wraps came off in July local residents realised to their horror that the museum was now one devoted to a serial killer and mutilator of working class women.
The real history of the East End is a history of struggle. It’s the Match Girls strike, dockers’ strikes and tailors’ strikes. It’s a history of Rudolf Rocker and the Jewish anarchist movement, of Sylvia Pankhurst and her papers Women’s Dreadnought and then Worker’s Dreadnought. It’s the Battle of Cable Street where local people stopped Mosley’s Blackshirt fascists marching through a Jewish area. It’s about the mass squats of the 1960s and the fight against the National Front in the 1970s. It’s about self-organisation and direct action.
It’s not about a sordid glorification of a serial killer to make a fast buck. East Londoners will not accept this insult to our culture and heritage.
This museum must not be allowed to continue. Tower Hamlets Council now needs to throw-out the application and close the museum down or we will do it for them! If there is to be a museum on Cable Street, it should be one devoted to the rich social history of the East End, to women’s struggles or indeed the fight against fascism for which Cable Street became famous.
Tell Mark the Rip-Off to get lost and stand proud for our class and the East End.
London Anarchist Federation