Posts Tagged ‘Museum’

Rip Down the Ripper Facade! – 2016

Wednesday, June 19th, 2024

Rip Down the Ripper Facade! On Sunday 19th June 2016 after the ‘Jack the Ripper Museum’ tourist attraction on Cable St had not yet complied with the planning decision against its facade and shutter, Class War and supporters, including London Fourth Wave Feminists in cat masks, protested outside with toy plastic hammers offering to take it down for them.

Rip Down the Ripper Facade!

The so-called museum is a tacky tourist attraction that glorifies the killing of working class women but got planning permission and attracted support for promising to provide a museum promoting the history of East End women.

Rip Down the Ripper Facade!

Before going to the protest I’d been to a temporary exhibition being held in nearby St George in the East church, which shows some of the real history of women in the area, and was rather more interesting than the gory speculation for prurient tourists in the shop.

Rip Down the Ripper Facade!

I photographed the Class War protesters, led by women carrying the Class War Womens Death Brigade banner as they marched to the shop. Several were carrying inflatable plastic hammers but the threat to remove the shutters was purely symbolic.

Rip Down the Ripper Facade!

They crowded around the facade with their banner and several stuck Class War Womens Death Brigade stickers on the facade where police were protecting the doorway and stopping them from entering.

Several black-clad protesters then arrived and the scene was enveloped in bright red smoke.

I moved back both because taking pictures inside the smoke seldom works very well and also the smoke was getting in my lungs and it didn’t feel good.

Unlike at previous protests there was no sign of the shop owner, but the two women staff he had employed to run the shop watched out of the windows. But one of the protesters was wearing a mask of his face.

London Fourth Wave Feminists were wearing cat masks but also held posters expressing their opposition to the shop and calling for an end to male violence against women.

There had been a billboard opposite the shop which advertising the real exhibition about the lives of East End women but this had been vandalised, perhaps by friends of the ‘museum’.

It wasn’t then clear when or how (or even if) Tower Hamlets council intended to enforce their planning decision, and their stated opposition to the grisly shop seems to have been rather half-hearted.

Although police had come to protect the shop against this protest, and had stopped any of the protesters from entering, they had largely stood and watched, and at times some officers appeared rather amused by what was happening. By the time the protest finished the windows were fairly well covered by stickers and egg had been thrown onto one of the signs the shop had been asked to remove.

More pictures on My London Diary at Rip Down the Ripper Facade!

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A Murky Solstice in Bethnal Green – 2006

Thursday, December 21st, 2023

A Murky Solstice in Bethnal Green – Quite a few years earlier I’d photographed some of the panels on the south side of the Museum of Childhood next to Museum Gardens on Cambridge Heath Road.

A Murky Solstice in Bethnal Green - 2006

The Grade II listed iron-framed building was originally part of the extensive museum complex in South Kensington built in South Kensington in 1856-7, but was taken down in 1865-7 when the V&A building there was extended and reassembled in Bethnal Green where it opened as Bethnal Green Museum in 1872.

A Murky Solstice in Bethnal Green - 2006

Since then it has gone through a number of identities as a museum, housing agricultural products and works of art, then an art museum with a growing children’s collection, and in 1974 it became the Museum of Childhood. Renovated and extended in 2005-6 it work on this was just finishing though it had reopend when I took these pictures. It closed again in 2019 to be transformed into ‘Young V&A’.

A Murky Solstice in Bethnal Green - 2006

My interest was in the mosaic panel in each bay facing the park illustrating agriculture and the arts and sciences which had been designed by F.W. Moody, the Instructor in Decorative Art at the National Art Training School and responsible for much decoration at the V&A and elsewhere in South Kensington and assembled by his female students in the South Kensington Museum mosaic class.

A Murky Solstice in Bethnal Green - 2006

I’d been asked to supply a picture of these mosaics to be used in the book ‘The Romance of Bethnal Green’ by Cathy Ross, ISBN 978-1-901992-74-8 along with some of my other pictures I’d taken on film in the 1980s and 90s, but I wasn’t happy with the quality of the film image.

So after lunch on Thursday 21st December 2006 I set out for Bethnal Green to make a replacement digital image using my Nikon D200. But I hadn’t really worked out how long it would take me to get there across London and that the sunset was at 15.53. Nor that it was a rather dull day with some slight fog in the city. By the time I was on site it was decidedly gloomy.

But there was enough light for me to made a decent job of it with the digital camera, taking the colour images in this post (and more) which I later converted to black and white for publication. And after taking these pictures I took a walk up Cambridge Heath Road to the Regents Canal and made a few more pictures around there before

Here’s the paragraph I wrote at the time:

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.

Bethnal Green Solstice

There are a few more pictures on My London Diary beginning here.

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All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall.
Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.

Asylum, Lorry Park, Works, Museum & Office Door

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2023

Continuing my walks in Peckham in March 1989. The previous post was Bird in Bush, Wood Dene, Asylum and a School.

Caroline Gardens, Licensed Victuallers’ Benevolent Institution, Asylum Rd, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3c-53
Caroline Gardens, Licensed Victuallers’ Benevolent Institution, Asylum Rd, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3c-53

I stepped a few feet inside the Caroline Gardens Estate to photograph No 79A, which was one of two identical lodges at the ends of the main site. This one is at the north end and the plaque above the doorway has been restored and can now easily be read, ‘THIS LODGE ERECTED 1849 HENRY ENGLAND CHAIRMAN’.

Caroline Gardens, Licensed Victuallers’ Benevolent Institution, Asylum Rd, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3c-54
Caroline Gardens, Licensed Victuallers’ Benevolent Institution, Asylum Rd, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3c-54

The corner of this lodge occupies most of the right half of the picture, looking down the rather uneven pavement with some vintage street lamps to more of the Asylum buildings. I didn’t go further into the estate as I think I felt this and the earlier pictures of it were enough. The buildings of the Licensed Victuallers’ Benevolent Institution (Caroline Gardens) in Asylum Rd are Grade II listed and as my previous post mentioned were acquired by Southwark Council in 1960.

Lorry Park, Asylum Road, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3c-55
Lorry Park, Asylum Rd, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3c-55

The lorry park on Asylum Road was something of a contrast to the elegance of the Asylum buildings, though I liked its selection of lines and blocks, the trailers, the fence, barrier and posts and wires.

I can’t see any trace of this now and but I think it was probably on the east side of the street where there is now a large car park for Lidl.

Wales Close, Asylum Rd, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3c-56
Wales Close, Asylum Rd, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3c-56

On the west side of Asylum Road was this dead end back street, not named on my map from the 1980s but was where Wales Close is now. The tall blocks in the background are on the Ledbury Estate on Commercial Way.

Streets such as this were very much a reminder of London as a city full of industry with many areas like this full of small manufacturing businesses of all trades, as well as larger companies and great industrial estates.

Livesey Museum, Old Kent Rd, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3c-43
Livesey Museum, Old Kent Rd, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3c-43

Asylum Road ends at the Old Kent Road and the Livesey Museum was at No 682, just a short walk towards central London. The Livesey Museum was commissioned by George Livesey, chairman of the South Metropolitan Gas Company, in 1890 as a library for workers of the local gasworks and later entrusted to the people of the old parish of Camberwell as a public library. It was damaged in wartime bombing but restored and opened as the the Livesey Museum for Children from 1974 to 2008.

Southwark Council wanted to sell the building off, but found that they were not the owners, as it was owned by a covenanted trust. It was squatted in 2010 but then became home to Treasure House, providing special education to vulnerable young adults in Southwark.

Offices, Malt St, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3c-32
Offices, Malt St, Peckham, Southwark, 1989 89-3c-32

I kept walking along the Old Kent Road towards Bermondsey, taking a few pictures including of Christ Church next to the museum and the murals on the North Peckham Civic Centre by Polish artist, Adam Kossowski. Plans for the demolition of this building were approved by Southwark Council in 2019, preserving the mural, listed in 2017.

I haven’t digitised my black and white picture as I thought I had taken better images in colour, but if so I’ve yet to digitise those either. The former North Peckham Civic Centre was the Twentieth Century Society’s Building of the Month for November 2020, and has been described as ” by far the finest 20th Century building on the Old Kent Road.” and was once described by Southwark Council as a building of ‘Architectural or Historic Interest’. But that seems not to be enough to save it, although it was still standing a few months ago.

The doorway to Offices I photographed at 500 Old Kent Road, on the side of the building in Malt Street has since disappeared, along with the row of late Victorian terrace housing in my next frame which I think were also on Malt Street. 500 Old Kent Road is now a part of the address of Asda Old Kent Road Superstore at 464-504, and Malt Street is considerably wider to give easier vehicle access to the Asda car park.

More on this walk in March 1989 to follow. The first post about this walk was Shops, Removals, Housing and the Pioneer Health Centre.

Ripper Selfies, Custody Deaths, Halloween Skate & Poor Yorick

Monday, October 31st, 2022

A varied set of events from seven years ago on Saturday 31st October 2015

Ripper ‘Selfies with Dead Women’ – Cable St, Sat 31 Oct 2015

The Fourth Wave: London Feminist Activists (LFA) protested at the Jack the Ripper ‘museum’ against Halloween event publicity inviting visitors to take ‘selfies’ with the body of one of his dead victims. They were joined by comedian Kate Smurthwaite, Class War and the Sisters of Perpetual Resistance.

LFA came in cat masks and the Sisters of Perpetual Resistance came in their curious triangular black hoods with a banner ‘What a Bloody Ripp-Off’ and a bucket ‘Dead Women Can’t Protest‘. Comedian Kate Smurthwaite was there holding a poster ‘Corpses ain’t Tourism‘ and a little late Class War arrived with their ‘Women’s Death Brigade‘ banner.

The LFA also brought a decidely unsexy blowup doll with a mask of Ripper shop owner Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe with a Fawcett Society t-shirt ‘This is what a feminist looks like’, the word feminist crossed out and replaced in red by the word ‘CAPITALIST’.

Among those who spoke as well as the event organiser were Kate Smurthwaite and Becky Warnock whose petition against the s-called museum had got over 12,000 signatures.

Ripper ‘Selfies with Dead Women’

UFFC Annual Remembrance Procession – Whitehall, Sat 31 Oct 2015

Families and friends of people killed by police or in prisons made their annual march at a funereal pace from Trafalgar Square to Downing St, to a rally with speakers including those from the families of Mark Duggan, Sean Rigg, Sheku Bayoh and others.

This procession has taken place each year since1999 and you can see my pictures from this year when it took place on 29th October 2022.

In 2015 the march, led by family members holding banners, made its way in silence down Whitehall before erupting into a noisy protest at Downing St.

Here there were speeches from family members including including Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson the uncle of Oscar Grant who was killed by a police officer in Los Angeles, Stephanie Lightfoot-Bennet whose twin brother Leon Patterson was killed by Manchester police in 1992, Kadisha Brown-Burrell, whose brother Kingsley Burrell died in police custody in 2011. Shaun Hall, the brother of Mark Duggan, shot by police in 2011 in Tottenham and Marcia Rigg whose brother Sean was killed in Brixton police station in 2008.

A small group of family members took a letter into Downing St while the rally continued. Although as t-shirts worn by many stated there have been ‘1518 deaths in police custody since 1990′ including many with clear evidence of beating and murder, not a single case has yet resulted in any justice. Police and authorities have prevented proper investigation of cases, committed perjury and obstructed the course of justice to protect the officers concerned.

More at UFFC Annual Remembrance Procession 2015.

Halloween Skate 2015 London – Hyde Park Corner, Sat 31 Oct 2015

On a very much lighter level I met with London Friday Night Skate at Hyde Park where they were to begin their annual Halloween skate in varied Halloween costumes.

I didn’t try to follow them after they left to skate their lengthy route through Mayfair, Soho, Covent Garden to an after-party at a pub near Kings Cross.

Halloween Skate 2015 London

UVW Hamlet-themed Barbican Flash-mob – Barbican Centre, Sat 31 Oct 2015

Alas Poor Yorick Got No Sick Pay‘ was the message on the skull held up by the Cleaners union United Voices of the World as they staged a protest on the last night of a season there of Hamlet.

The were protesting for full payment of the living wage and sick pay for the cleaners there and and an end to the use of workfare in the centre. The cleaners are not directly employed by the Barbican and get far worse conditions of service and treatment than directly employed workers from the outsourcing company which the Barbican has a contract with.

The Shakespearian theme was continued in posters such as ‘To Be or Not to Be… Paid a Living Wage‘ and ‘To Be or Not to Be… Paid Sick Pay‘ while those theatre-goers seeing the protest were urged to tweet photos and videos with hashtag #Hamlet.

Among the protesters were Green Party leader Natalie Bennett and Sandy Nicoll, currently suspended SOAS Branch Secretary, and there were banners ‘Boycott Workfare’ and from ‘Unite the Resistance’ as well the UVW banner. Several from Class War had also come to support the cleaners.

There had been a couple of police officers present when I arrived on time for the protest, but they had disappeared well before the UVW turned up around 20 minutes late. Barbican security staff made some attempts to move the protesters on, but I imagine they are also outsources on lousy terms and conditions and that their hearts were not really in it.

Eventually after a number of speeches and some noisy chanting the police returned and talked with the UVW General Secretary Petros Elia who was leading the protest. He told them that the protesters were about to leave before tonight’s Hamlet was due to start and continue the protest outside the main entrance, and they then did so.

Outside the Barbican we joined some of the cleaners who work in the Barbican who had stayed outside and the protest continued with a rally in the street.

UVW Hamlet-themed Barbican Flash-mob

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’.

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.