Waugh Thisleton Architects express anger after practice’s museum for women of East End is rebranded

The architect behind a museum originally designed to celebrate the history of women in the East End of London has said he was “duped”, after the museum instead opened as a ‘Jack the Ripper’ museum.

Waugh Thisleton Architects’ founder and director Andrew Waugh criticised the project – owned by a former diversity boss at Google – after the scheme his practice designed to celebrate women became focussed on the life of the infamous Victorian murderer who preyed on female victims.

Waugh said: “It is salacious, misogynist rubbish. The local community was duped, we were duped. You do rely on the moral fibre of your client but you should also be able to rely on the planning system.

“They came to us and said they had no money but that this is a real heart-felt project. It is incredibly important to celebrate women in politics in the East End. We really ran with it.

“We did it at a bargain basement fee, at cost-price because we thought it was a great thing to do.

“We submitted it for planning and never heard another thing […] When we heard it was going to be turned into a Jack the Ripper museum we contacted the owner but got nothing back not a dickie bird.”

A planning team from Tower Hamlet’s Council has launched an investigation into whether the museum broke the planning laws after new of the Jack the Ripper theme made headlines world wide. A petition calling on Tower Hamlets to revoke consent for the scheme attracted over 1,800 signatures in just four days.

A Tower Hamlets council spokesperson said: “The council was advised at that time that the premises were intended to be used as a Women’s Museum and supporting information was submitted with the application to suggest that the vision of the museum was to tell the story of women of the East End of London. Ultimately, however, the council has no control in planning terms of the nature of the museum.”