Earlier this month I wrote a piece for the Guardian about a proposal from the GLA Tory group to open up the Met’s crime museum. After publication, a self-described “ripperologist” contacted the Guardian to say that the Tories’ proposal – and therefore my article – had confused two different letters allegedly from Jack the Ripper. I was happy to bow to his superior knowledge, but it did raise an intriguing question: does anyone know exactly what’s in the collection?
The museum’s website is notably short on details, so I submitted a freedom of information request to the Met asking for a full catalogue of the exhibits. The response that came to me today confirms that no such catalogue exists – astonishingly, there is no written record of the collection at all. It’s all in the head of a suitably shadowy figure known only as The Curator.
This is all pretty concerning if you have a personal, professional or academic interest in the history of crime and punishment, especially as the chances of you exploring the collection in person are slim to non-existent. The second part of my request asked who could access the museum and this was the response – directly from The Curator:
So that’s that, then.