By telling us all that we were here to discuss who, or what, Jack the Ripper was. By default, that means that in your book, we are not here to discuss the board school.
I understand that you feel the petition will be ineffective, but there's no harm in trying.
Anyhow, no point in arguing. I've signed it, and I hope they leave the building as it is. My interest in the case is probably 10% identity of the killer, and 90% the local history angle, (buildings, streets, photography, maps, the social effect of the crimes etc). So this sort of thing interests me greatly.
In September of '08 I went on a full solo tour of all the Ripper sites that took up one entire day. I would say that the Mary Kelly sites- former Miller's Court, "Mary's Corner" in front of the Ten Bells, and especially her grave at Leytonstone- were the most emotional for me. But a close second was the old Board School, being able to stand on the exact square yards where Polly Nichols' body was found, just as strewn with garbage now as it was back then and just so very sad. As I was shooting video of the place I narrated, "I think you'd have to agree this is a damn sad place to die." That's just what came to my mind to say in that moment. I know that time marches on, things change, a different house now stands where the one in which Sharon Tate and the others died in Helter Skelter, etc. etc. But it just seems wrong. I was one of a very many that took part in searching for the body of a murdered college girl in my local area in 2003 who was missing for five months, and as it turned out a friend of mine and I passed by 70 yards from where she was eventually found in a remote and undeveloped rural area. Well-wishers have left flowers and stuffed animals and such at the site ever since. If that land were ever to be developed into something, it would seem like a sacriledge. (Her name was Dru Sjodin for any who would care to research it.) So changes to any of the Ripper victim sites feels like building a hotel on the grounds of the Tower of London. I know time has to march on, but it seems to come down to whether or not the powers that be are going to consider noteworthy murders as important parts of history. I think all too often, they do not.
I am broadly in agreement with Good Michael on this one. Having said that, there is an argument for preserving the appearance of this particular building - its location in a word. Detriment to the local character and history of the area, perhaps. Its a Ripper-related argument - but one of heritage, nonetheless.
Another way to go might be to see if it can be listed by English Heritage. The best argument there would be for it's status as a former Board School. Whether this would be successful or not would depend on how many examples remain intact, and how altered the exterior/interior are now from the original scheme.
The proposals for change don't actually look that drastic, and unfortunately, they'll probably go ahead.
In addition to the proposed changes to the Board School building, there's a great deal of change in the area surrounding it. Crossrail work at Whitechapel station continues, and some pictures of this, including a few taken from the top of the school can be found here:
URGENT: OLD BOARD SCHOOL IN DURWARD STREET (BUCKS ROW) UNDER SERIOUS THREAT
Last year we informed you that the playground at the top of one of the only remaining landmarks from that famous Autumn/Fall of Terror in 1888, The Old Board School, (Trinity Hall) was under threat from the prospect of development. This development was to extend upwards on the top of the building with an entirely inappropriate modern extention. We encouraged you all to submit objections. You did, it worked. Thank you.
Unfortunately, the same proposals have been resubmitted for this extension to the board school playground to Tower Hamlets council planning department. We now ask you again to submit an objection. Submitting an objection is quick and easy, we will show you how below.
PLANNING APPLICATION: PA/11/02230
This application (PA/11/02230) was submitted on 23-8-2011 and is described thus: "Erection of a single storey extension at roof level of existing building to provide three new residential units comprising 1x1 bed and 2x2 bed and associated works."
SUBMITTING AN OBJECTION
*THIS MUST BE DONE BY THURSDAY (This Thursday!) 13th OCTOBER 2011*
- Visit the Tower Hamlets website at: www.towerhamlets.gov.uk
- In the search bar at the top right-hand of the home page put in the application number: PA/11/02230
- Then press 'enter'
- This will now give you three options. Pick the SECOND option: "Comment on Application - online planning register"
- Then fill in the form completing all the fields asked for and click on submit button.
- You have gone some way to save a piece of history for future generations! Well done.
Alternatively, you can email Tower Hamlets Planning department with your concerns, remembering to include the application number; PA/11/02230
Their e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or, you can write to them (be very quick!!!) at: Tower Hamlets Planning & Building Dept. Planning Office, Mulberry Place (AH), P.O. Box 55739, 5 Clove Crescent, London, E14 2BE