The 1888 Jack the Ripper murders are to be played out via Twitter.
Tweeting from the perspective of characters in Whitechapel at the time of the murders, The History Press hopes to retrace events as they unfolded, and put the killings in context.
Using hash tagged names of people involved in the hunt for the killer and by tweeting the sentiments of reporters and local people at the time, the Press hopes to dispel some of the myths which, 125 years later, surround the murders.
From tomorrow the Press team will send out tweets from @WChapelRealTime.
“The aim of this project is to challenge contemporary stereotypes and provoke debate on key issues such as social segregation and press sensationalism,” said a spokesperson.
“All the content from the Whitechapel Real Time project has been thoroughly researched using our expert knowledge and resources ensuring the project has been conducted in a dignified, respectful and historically focused manner.”
But concerns have been raised by the Museum of London’s Alex Werner, who told historyextra.com: “We had quite a bit of debate about how we would put on our first exhibition about the murders without glorifying violence against women.
“It’s a very difficult element because it is very gruesome and unpleasant.
“We engaged with prostitutes to try to put it into context.
“We are never going to have the sense of what it was like in that period. But revealing each murder as it happened, you won’t have all the other stuff that was happening at that time.
“For example, when putting together our exhibition we made use of newspaper reports. And we found that while the murders were big news, there was a lot of other big news also. Some papers didn’t even cover the murders.
“And who really knows which was the first murder? The Metropolitan Police in April 1888 were puzzled by some of the murders that were taking place.
“You could ask, why has the project not started on 7 August? [when according to newspaper reports a woman was found in George-yard, Whitechapel, stabbed to death].
“This is an interesting approach, but what would be really interesting is to have all the other ‘baggage’ of the period as well. You need to be careful about that.”
But historian Dr Stephen Halliday welcomed the Whitechapel project.
“If it keeps people harmlessly entertained well who am I to stop them?” he said.
“Why not? We have ghost tours. No one is going to be harmed by this – the victims certainly aren’t.
“The TV is full of programmes about murder in Tudor times and Henry VIII, and even the White Queen has quite a lot of blood spilt.
“One of the reasons the Ripper murders continue to fascinate is because no one was ever caught. If the murderer had been convicted, you and I would not be having this conversation.
“If it makes people interested in something other than X Factor, I’m all for it. Anything that arouses people’s interest in what is a fairly serious subject should be welcomed”.