Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs called on the controversial Jack the Ripper museum to “cease operations”.
The mayor said at a council meeting it was a matter of principle, and implied the council had been misled on the museum during the planning stage. He added that he had been threatened with legal action.
But a spokesman for the museum’s owner hit back by saying the mayor had been ignoring their requests to meet and that no court action had been threatened.
Cllr Sabina Akhtar asked Mayor Biggs at the Tower Hamlets Council meeting on Wednesday, September 16: “Can the mayor provide an update on his work surrounding the Jack the Ripper Museum and outline any efforts to address the deplorable way the planning permission was sought?”
Mayor Biggs responded, telling the meeting: “The supporting document with the application was a vision that it would tell the stories of women from the East End.
“The council was made aware after [the application was approved] that it was opening as a Jack the Ripper Museum. Most people would find that disgraceful.
“But the rule with museums means you can set one up about tiddlywinks and turn it into one about dinosaurs if you like.
“We need to be emphatic in showing our disapproval about this. The owner has threatened legal action against me but this is an important matter of principle.
“We want it, by some means or other, to cease operations.”
A spokesman for the museum and its owner Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe maintained the museum tells the story of Jack the Ripper from the perspective of his victims.
“We sent two letters to the mayor,” he said. “We have contacted him several times by phone as well, but he just won’t respond to us.
“We said that we don’t appreciate the way he is behaving, but we have not threatened any court action.
“(The museum) is not the London Dungeon – it doesn’t have actors pretending to be prostitutes and blood everywhere.
“Jack the Ripper was a hook to get people in, but if the mayor came here, he would realise it is told from the side of the women who were involved in the murders and their lifestyles.”
He also argued the museum had “brought awareness to the feminist struggle” due to intense press coverage and debate around the museum.