Posts Tagged ‘Museum’

Class War Protest Jack The Ripper Opening

Friday, August 5th, 2022

Class War Protest Jack The Ripper Opening

Class War and others protested on Wednesday 5th August 2015 outside the newly opened Jack The Ripper “museum” in Cable St days after it first opened. Class War had called this protest as soon as the news became public, and others had organised another protest the previous evening which I had been unable to attend. Class War later organised further protests outside the museum which I also photographed.

Class War Protest Jack The Ripper Opening

Unfortunately the Jack the Ripper tourist attraction in Cable Street is still open, pandering to a popular taste, particularly among tourists to the city, for the sensational and to wallow in the grisly details of this brutal and horrific series of murders in London of five working-class women on the streets of Victorian London.

Class War Protest Jack The Ripper Opening

The museum was set up according to its planning application as the “first women’s museum in the UK” which “will 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.” A number of people gave advice or worked for free or at cost because they supported the project on this basis, and felt disgusted at how they were duped.

Class War Protest Jack The Ripper Opening

As I commented in 2015, ‘People who have seen the museum have been revolted at its sensational presentation of violent crimes against women. One of the politer comments was to call it “salacious, misogynist rubbish.“‘

I’ve only seen the shop through the doors and windows, and there does seem to be a lot of merchandise for sale. The on-line reviews of the place are extremely polarised. There are many positive, even fawning examples, though some do seem to follow a very similar pattern.

I think the window had been smashed earlier in the day

Others are damning. One comments “The museum is pretty small. It’s effectively 5 small rooms. You could whizz round it in 10 minutes easily. In no way does it represent good value for money. One of the rooms was pure conjecture too (What Jack the Ripper’s living room might have looked like…!?). It’s rather light on any kind of detail. For people with anything more than a superficial interest in the history etc, this is a waste of your time and money.”

Another states “I have no idea how it got so many positive reviews… It’s £12 per person and we’ve basically seen everything after 10 minutes. There’s nothing in this museum that isn’t already in the Google images.” Others are far more negative about the exploitation of the sadistic murders of women for profit.

So if you are someone who thinks we should celebrate the work of a serial killer who eviscerated five defenceless women – three of them mothers – on the streets of London and feel your holiday would not be complete without wallowing in more of the bloody details you may well enjoy this “museum”, even though it is in the wrong location and has little authentic content.

If you are not sure about the details of the killings and have a strong stomach you can read more, rather too much more, on Wikipedia; it isn’t pleasant reading. For once I’d advise you not to click on the link, or if you do to skip some parts of the entry.

Of course the whole Ripper industry is a tacky area, with many more imaginative and profitable books speculating on the identity of the deranged killer. Although the evidence is only circumstantial the most likely suspect remains Montague Druitt who committed suicide shortly after the last of the five murders, and was one of three named in a letter written five or six years later by a senior police officer who though not involved in the investigation will have had access to the officers and the – now largely destroyed – police records of the case.

More about the protest at Class War at Jack the Ripper ‘Museum’.

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Solstice 2006

Monday, December 21st, 2020

Today, 21 December 2020 is the Winter Solstice, when in London we have only 7 hours 49 minutes and 41 seconds (or 42 seconds) between sunrise at 8.03 am and sunset at 15.53 pm. It’s a depressing time of year for photographers who work outdoors, though we have now passed the earliest sunset which was on 12 December at 15.51pm. Sunrise continues to get later until almost the end of the month, but at 8.06am I’m usually still eating my breakfast rather than wanting to take pictures.

I had forgotten when I began this piece what it was that dragged me away from the fireside and out to take pictures on 21st December 2006, but I had been working on a set of pictures for the book by Cathy Ross, ‘The Romance of Bethnal Green‘. As my text below makes clear, although most of my pictures which feature in it (and I get a credit on the cover and title page) are from the 1980s and 90s, I think she had wanted a picture of the frieze on the Bethnal Green Museum (a double page black and white spread on p36-7) and I had gone up to take this, but I also took a short walk around the area and made a few more pictures.

You can see some of these in My London Diary, beginning towards the bottom of the page for December 2006 under the title Bethnal Green Solstice. In the colum to the left is the following text:

thursday was a cold dark day, the mercury hanging on zero and grey in the air, a fog which never quite cleared. i needed just one more picture for the project on bethnal green and emerged from the underground half an bour before the shortest day of the year officially turned to night. having done what i had to do, i kept walking as it got darker still, and more lights came on.

My London Diary then was a rather more tentative and arty production , even less polished than in later years, and I then eschewed capitalisation, writing in a rather less formal style.

There are 13 panels along the side of the museum facing the park, each depicting a rural pasttime, and I photographed thoroughly in the dying light in various combinations and some singly. I was working by then with a Nikon D200, with a much improved viewfinder over the D100 I’d started with and which gave 10Mp files. Later when I got home I chose the image above – with ‘Picking Apples’ and ‘Fishing’ – and converted it to black and white for publication, cropping it slightly at the right to fit the double page.

Having taken the necessary image, I walked north up Cambridge Heath Road to the canal, taking a few pictures as I went and on my way back, including a couple more of the museum. The light had been dim when I was photographing the frieze, but it was now definitely dark, with most of the lighting coming from the street lights. I was soon back on the train having spent around an hour on the streets taking pictures.

These pictures were all made at ISO 800, though on at least one the shutter speed was only 1/13s. Even at this relatively low speed some have a high degree of noise. They may have been underexposed but I think that comparing them to pictures taken with the D750 or D810 shows the great advance in sensor quality over the past decade or so. And I suspect re-editing the files in Lightroom now would show the improvements made in software too. The noise isn’t (at least to me) objectionable, any more than the grain in a black and white film image would be, but it is noticeable.

More in Bethnal Green Solstice.

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.