The controversial Jack the Ripper Museum in East London is up for sale, with the building and contents on offer. The museum was controversial as the planning permission to turn the building into a museum was for a “Museum of Women’s History”.
The application featured illustrations of suffragettes and equal pay campaigners, and made reference to the closure of Whitechapel’s Women’s Library in 2013, saying that this museum would be “the only dedicated resource in the East End to women’s history”.
The museum was to “recognise and celebrate the women of the East End who have shaped history, telling the story of how they have been instrumental in changing society. It will analyse the social, political and domestic experience from the Victorian period to the present day.”
However, it was only after the new frontage was uncovered that people realised it was now a Jack the Ripper museum, and about as far from the original plans as was possible to get.
Protests followed, but a museum of Jack the Ripper is still a museum, so baring some cosmetic changes that had to be removed, there wasn’t much that the council could do to change the displays inside.
Being as controversial as it was, few listings publications would promote it, and few tourists seeemed to wander down from the heart of Whitechapel and their many walking tour guides to this end of Shadwell for the museum.
Normally, when a museum closes down, it’s a very sad day. However, I doubt there will be many people mourning the passing of this grotesque attempt to cash in on the deaths of eleven women murdered between April 1888 and February 1891.
Although the museum is planning to reopen in May, the six-storey building is being sold with vacant possession andwill consider selling the museum artefacts as well. They note that the building might have the potential for redevelopment, although if anyone is planning another museum, the council, having been stung once is likely to be very careful about what the new owner’s plans are.
Following the protests, a new project was set up to create an actual East End Women’s Museum, which aims to open later this year.