East End Women: The Real Story – About us
East End Women: The Real Story is an exhibition celebrating women's involvement and leadership in social and political change. The exhibition tells stories of just some of the amazing women who have shaped the history of the End East and beyond. Women like Sylvia Pankhurst, who led the East London Federation of Suffragettes; the Bow Matchwomen who went on strike in 1888 to demand better working conditions; and the unsung heroes who transformed living conditions for many within the East End through the introduction of early forms of social housing. Their stories, and many more like them, demonstrate the richness and diversity of the area.
We support the establishment of a permanent resource of women’s history in the East End, and are working with those from the East End Women’s Museum and hope that this exhibition is just the beginning of something that they will continue.
This exhibition is being set up and run by the East End Women's collective - a group of local women passionate about sharing women's stories, and celebrating their successes and struggles throughout history. We were angered by the broken promise of a women’s history museum which then opened as a Jack the Ripper museum, and alongside protesting with many others to see the Ripper Museum closed down, we wanted to do something positive in response. We are able to do so thanks to St. Georges-in-the-East church, which is housing this exhibition and supports our cause; and 38 Degrees members, who have funded it.
We came together in response to the Jack the Ripper museum, which promised to “recognise and celebrate the women of the East End”, but instead retells the stories of a misogynist murderer. On top of the anger felt locally about being misled, we are also outraged by the museum’s treatment of violence towards women. Such violence is not a series of mysterious events that happened 130 years ago; it’s the lived reality of many women throughout history and today, and should not be reduced to a form of entertainment for thrill seekers.
The history of East End women is a diverse and inspiring one, and cannot be reduced to one of victimhood. We want to respectfully remember women who have been and still are victims to violence, and celebrate those who have stood up against it throughout history: women to whom we have a lot to thank.
From May 2016 to October 2017 the exhibition had as its home St George-in-the-East, E1 0BH. It's a beautiful, iconic church in Shadwell, designed by the famous architect, Nicholas Hawksmoor.
During November 2017, to coincide with the Alternate Ripper tours (see the events page on this website), the exhibition will be on display at St Boltoph without Aldgate.
We are hoping that this exhibition will tour around the East End, and are always keen to hear of any of who has space to offer to house it. Please do get in touch if you're interested.