Jack the ripper takes over town hall

FILM crews descended on Hornsey Town Hall this week for the filming of a contemporary thriller – based on Jack the Ripper.

Charlotte Newton

FILM crews descended on Hornsey Town Hall this week for the filming of a contemporary thriller - based on Jack the Ripper.

Rupert Penry-Jones, Phil Davis and Steve Pemberton will star in the dark new ITV thriller, Whitechapel.

Set in modern-day Whitechapel, a series of bloody and brutal murders point to someone carrying out copycat Jack the Ripper murders.

The town hall features in the police station and mortuary scenes.

A spokeswoman for ITV said: "Whitechapel is a modern police force investigating a copycat killer from Victorian times, which is why the production team was drawn to Hornsey Town Hall for the police and mortuary scenes.

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"The beautiful building dates back to the 1930s, which makes it versatile enough to fit in with the juxtaposition of a modern-day thriller based on a story from Victorian times."

Jacob O'Callaghan, from the Hornsey Historical Society, said: "The town hall is a very valuable building and it's important that it is used - be it for the filming

of Jack the Ripper or some other purpose.

"I just hope the production team washes all the blood away."

Designed by architect Reginald Uren in 1933, the town hall was awarded a bronze medal by the Royal Institute of British Architects and is Grade II-listed.

The building was used by Hornsey Borough Council until 1965 when it became part of the London Borough of Haringey. Most of the administrative functions were relocated to Wood Green and the building fell into disrepair.

However, the council has recently pledged £6m to refurbish it in 2009.

Ambitious proposals for the historic building include a performance and community space, facilities for young people, new business area and an upgraded town hall square.

The project will be funded by a new retail and housing development, primarily at the rear and in the Broadway annexe and mews to the north of the town hall square.

The redevelopment site will be marketed separately, with the sale of that part of the site covering the council's funding of the town hall refurbishment.

Haringey councillor Charles Adje said: "Local people told us clearly that the town hall should be safeguarded for community use and that is what we are doing.

"The development will restore an important borough landmark and reinvigorate the town hall site - making it once again a hub of civic and social activity.

"We have a strong partnership in place with the Hornsey Town Hall Community Partnership Board and we have full confidence that we can move forward together to make this project a reality."

From May 15 to 18, curators and artists will exhibit their work at the Hornsey Town Hall Crouch End Open Studios (CEOS) event.

On show, alongside works by local CEOS artists, will be work by Jane Wildgoose and Damian Llambias as well as a series of minute-long artists' films curated by Kerry Baldry.

The filming of Whitechapel coincides with the 120th anniversary of the Jack the Ripper murders in London's East End. ITV has yet to release a date for when it will be screened.