Ripper ripoff

Tower Hamlets Council have for some reason failed to take effective action against the so-called museum which shamefully exploits the horrific killing on young working class women on the streets of East London by ‘Jack the Ripper’, the name given by the press to the ghoulish serial killer who unspeakably mutilated the bodies of his victims, almost certainly  Montague John Druitt who drowned himself in the River Thames in early December 1888. Some of the ‘evidence’ that has kept controversy alive since the murders was manufactured by newspapermen for what was the first huge crime story to receive sensational tabloid-like coverage. The police appear to have considered the case closed after Druitt’s death and there were no further murders.

Class War have kept up the pressure on the ‘museum’ with periodic protests, supported by London Fourth Wave Feminists, while others seem to have given up.

The came to the protest behind the ‘Womens Death Brigade’ banner, bearing plastic inflatable hammers with which they symbolically attacked the facade and metal shutters which the council have found to be illegal but have not managed to remove. They tried to walk into the shop, but made no attempt to force their way in when they were refused entry.

A few minutes later police arrived and tried to persuade them that they should protest not outside the shop but on the other side of the road or somewhere where their protest would be entirely ineffectual. Unsurprisingly they declined to move.

The 4th Wave Feminists had come with cat masks and posters, and gave the kind of details that the museum neglects about what we know about the lives of the murdered women and why they were on the streets late at night.  Members of some families of the victims are still alive and we were read a condemnation from one of them of the voyeuristic exploitation of her relation in the displays.

A few customers pushed past the protesters to visit the shop, and others were escorted in and out by police, some looking a little shamefaced, others defiant. A few others looked at the protest and then walked away. One couple who came out while the protest was taking place told the protesters how poor they thought the exhibit was, and that it clearly did not live up to the publicity material that had brought them there.

There were relatively few customers considering that this was a Saturday afternoon, and it seems unlikely that this business is managing to cover its costs and I wonder why it is still persisting.

A police officer removed one of the Class War stickers from the glass window on the door and warned the protesters that putting stickers on the shop was ‘criminal damage’, although as he had just demonstrated they were readily removed and left no permanent damage. There were quite a few other stickers elsewhere on the frontage.

After an hour or so the protesters decided they had made their point and left for a nearby pub. They would return for a further protest in a few weeks time.

Class War return to Ripper “Museum”


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