We’re a public history project aiming to record, share, and celebrate women’s stories and voices from east London’s history.
Our ultimate goal is to open a museum in a permanent home, but in the meantime we are a 'kitchen table museum' without an office or a building. We put on events, exhibitions, and make resources for schools and researchers to use.
We are a registered nonprofit Community Interest Company, and our company number is 10481957.
Where the idea came from
When a proposed women's history museum on Cable Street in East London turned out to be an excuse to cash in on the popularity of a misogynist serial killer, we decided to make the missing museum a reality.
Crass Jack the Ripper tourism is nothing new, but the new museum on Cable Street represents a huge missed opportunity.
East London has an incredibly rich social, political, and cultural history and women were part of all of it although their voices are seldom heard. Those are the stories we want to tell; stories that illuminate the lives of East End women, not only their deaths.
- Research, record, and represent women’s histories from across east London.
- Challenge gender stereotypes and offer new role models for girls and young women, (especially those from marginalised groups).
- Build a long lasting resource for historians, schools, and community groups.
- Create opportunities for women and girls to gain new skills and the confidence to tell their own stories.
- Inspire and encourage civic participation, local activism, and community action.
- Support teachers, researchers, and other museums to uncover and include women's stories.
What we do
- Work towards opening a museum space with a permanent exhibition and changing temporary exhibitions.
- Create touring and pop-up exhibitions, as well as joint exhibitions with other organisations and groups.
- Put on engaging events, from public walks, tours, talks, study days, skills sessions, and performances to workshops with schools and community groups.
- Make accessible online resources, and highlight other collections and projects.
- Use interviews, reviews, articles, talks, workshops, and social media to promote women's history and share women's stories from east London.
We aim to present local women's histories in a way that’s accessible, relevant and interesting. We will plan for the future, to make sure that this resource stays available and updated.
We will make a space for women who experience different forms of discrimination to tell their stories. We will do our best to increase the visibility of women from traditionally marginalised or excluded groups. For example, women who are black, who are Asian, who are working class, who are older, who have disabilities, who are LGBTQIA (including trans women), who are from a migrant or an itinerant community, or who are working in the sex industry.
We want to showcase the histories of women from the East End so that they are relevant to life in the East End today. We will share what we learn, to help people in other places make women's museums of their own.
Who we are
The project was set up by two people – Sarah Jackson and Sara Huws - in 2015 and was run on a voluntary basis around their jobs for almost two years. Community heritage expert Judith Garfield joined the board of directors in 2016. Now we have a little bit of funding, so one of the founders (Sarah) works part time coordinating the project with the help of some volunteers.
Sarah Jackson organised the East London Suffragette Festival in 2014 and co-authored Voices from History: East London Suffragettes.
Sara Huws has been working in the museums sector for over a decade, as a curator, researcher and occasional costumed Tudor.
Judith Garfield MBE is Director of Eastside Community Heritage. ECH have worked with over 900 community groups, produced over 100 exhibitions, and created the East London Peoples Archive which contains over 3500 oral histories.
We are the ones working directly on the project, but it's all made possible by the countless individuals who have supported us from the start, by giving us their time, money, insight, skills, or expertise. We've listed a few of them here.
East End Women's Museum in the news
- Historians for History - Making a Missing Museum: Jack the Ripper and Women’s History
- History Workshop Online - Making a home for women’s history in London’s East End
- The Guardian - Statues of Mary Wollstonecraft and Sylvia Pankhurst should be just the start
- East End Citizen - Letter: Absence of women speaks volumes
- The Telegraph - Female historians want to build Britain's 'first women's museum' after Jack the Ripper stole it
- The Independent - Meet the women who are actually trying to open a museum about suffragettes
- NYT Women in the World - Beyond Jack the Ripper’s victims, here are 7 fascinating women who shaped East London’s history