Edexcel GCSE History: Crime and punishment in Britain, c1000–present

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Crime and punishment in Britain, c1000–present

In this subject, students will gain an understanding of the development of crime and punishment in Britain from the medieval period right through to the 21st century. They’ll be able to an understanding of the nature and process of change, including patterns of change, trends and turning points, and the influence of factors inhibiting or encouraging change within periods and across the theme. The key factors examined are: attitudes in society; individuals and institutions (Church and government); and science and technology. Through this study, students will be able to synthesise particular developments with particular times and exemplify their learnings. This module consists of the following parts:

Part 1: c1000–c1500: Crime and punishment in medieval England

  • Crimes against the person, property and authority, including poaching as an example of ‘social’ crime.
  • Changing definitions of crime as a result of the Norman Conquest, including William I’s Forest Laws.
  • The role of the authorities and local communities in law enforcement in Anglo-Saxon, Norman and later medieval England, including tithings, the hue and cry, and the parish constable.
  • The emphasis on deterrence and retribution, the use of fines, corporal and capital punishment. The use and end of the Saxon Wergild.
  • Case study: The influence of the Church on crime and punishment in the early thirteenth century: the significance of Sanctuary and Benefit of Clergy; the use of trial by ordeal and reasons for its ending.

Part 2: c1500–c1700: Crime and punishment in early modern England

  • Continuity and change in the nature of crimes against the person, property and authority, including heresy and treason.
  • New definitions of crime in the sixteenth century: vagabondage and witchcraft.
  • The role of the authorities and local communities in law enforcement, including town watchmen.
  • The continued use of corporal and capital punishment; the introduction of transportation and the start of the Bloody Code.
  • Case studies: The Gunpowder Plotters, 1605: their crimes and punishment AND Matthew Hopkins and the witch-hunts of 1645–47.

Part 3: c1700–c1900: Crime and punishment in eighteenth- and nineteenth century

Britain

  • Continuity and change in the nature of crimes against the person, property and authority, including highway robbery, poaching and smuggling.
  • Changing definitions of crime exemplified in the ending of witchcraft prosecutions and treatment of the Tolpuddle Martyrs.
  • The role of the authorities and local communities in law enforcement, including the work of the Fielding brothers. The development of police forces and the beginning of CID.
  • Changing views on the purpose of punishment. The use and ending of transportation, public execution and the Bloody Code. Prison reform, including the influence of John Howard and Elizabeth Fry.
  • Case studies: Pentonville prison in the mid-nineteenth century: reasons for its construction; the strengths and weaknesses of the separate system in operation AND Robert Peel – his contribution to penal reform and to the development of the Metropolitan Police Force.

Part 4: c1900–present: Crime and punishment in modern Britain

  • Continuity and change in the nature of crimes against the person, property and authority, including new forms of theft and smuggling.
  • Changing definitions of crime, including driving offences, race crimes and drug crimes.
  • The role of the authorities and local communities in law enforcement, including the development of Neighbourhood Watch. Changes within the police force: increasing specialisation, use of science and technology and the move towards prevention.
  • The abolition of the death penalty; changes to prisons, including the development of open prisons and specialised treatment of young offenders; the development of non-custodial alternatives to prison.
  • Case studies: The treatment of conscientious objectors in the First and Second World Wars AND The Derek Bentley case: its significance for the abolition of the death penalty.

Historic Environment: Whitechapel, c1870–c1900: crime, policing and the inner city

  • The local context of Whitechapel. The problems of housing and overcrowding. Attempts to improve housing: the Peabody Estate. Provision for the poor in the Whitechapel workhouses. The lack of employment opportunities and level of poverty. Links between the environment and crime: the significance of Whitechapel as an inner-city area of poverty, discontent and crime.
  • The prevalence of lodging houses and pubs creating a fluctuating population without ties to the community. The tensions arising from the settlement of immigrants from Ireland and Eastern Europe. Pressures caused by the increase in Jewish immigration during the 1880s and the tendency towards segregation. The growth of socialism and anarchism in Whitechapel.
  • The organisation of policing in Whitechapel. The work of H division and the difficulties of policing the slum area of Whitechapel, the rookeries, alleys and courts. Problems caused by alcohol, prostitution, protection rackets, gangs, violent demonstrations and attacks on Jews. The Whitechapel Vigilance Committee.
  • Investigative policing in Whitechapel: developments in techniques of detective investigation, including the use of sketches, photographs and interviews; problems caused by the need for cooperation between the Metropolitan Police, the City of London Police and Scotland Yard. Dealing with the crimes of Jack the Ripper and the added problems caused by the media reporting of the ‘Ripper’ murders.
  • The national and regional context: the working of the Metropolitan Police, the quality of police recruits, the role of the ‘beat constable’. The development of CID, the role of the Home Secretary and of Sir Charles Warren, public attitudes towards the police.
  • Knowledge of local sources relevant to the period and issue, e.g. housing and employment records, council records and census returns, Charles Booth’s survey, workhouse records, local police records, coroners’ reports, photographs and London newspapers.
  • Knowledge of national sources relevant to the period and issue, e.g. national newspapers, records of crimes and police investigations, Old Bailey records of trials and Punch cartoons.
  • Recognition of the strengths and weaknesses of different types of source for specific enquiries.
  • Framing of questions relevant to the pursuit of a specific enquiry.
  • Selection of appropriate sources for specific investigations.

Resource Examples

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Historic Environment:

This module download also includes the following teaching resources:

  • Edexcel GCSE History Exam Booklets (zip)
  • L1 Crime Punishent And Law Enforcement In Anglo-Saxon England (pptx)
  • L1 Info Hunt Information (pptx)
  • L1 Info Hunt Information (pdf)
  • L1 Law And Order Chart (docx)
  • L1 Law And Order Chart (pdf)
  • L10 Changing Attitudes To Punishment Debate Information (pdf)
  • L10 Changing Attitudes To Punishment Debate Information (docx)
  • L10 Let S Debate Changing Attitudes To Punishments 1700-1900 (pptx)
  • L11 Exam Question Grid (docx)
  • L11 Exam Question Grid (pdf)
  • L11 Fielding And The Police Force (pptx)
  • L12 Pentonville (pptx)
  • L12 Pentonville Case Study Illustrations (pdf)
  • L12 Pentonville Case Study Information (pdf)
  • L13 Bernard Hogan-Howe On Sir Robert Peel (mp4)
  • L13 Peel Information (pdf)
  • L13 Peel S Reforms (pdf)
  • L13 Sir Robert Peel (pptx)
  • L14 Crime And Definitions Of Crime C1900-Present (pptx)
  • L14 Crimes Chart (pdf)
  • L14 Crimes Chart (docx)
  • L14 Crimes Keywords (docx)
  • L14 Crimes Keywords (pdf)
  • L15 Police Specialisms (docx)
  • L15 Police Specialisms (pdf)
  • L15 Specialisms Info Hunt (docx)
  • L15 Specialisms Info Hunt (pdf)
  • L15- Changing Attitudes Towards Punishment C (pptx)
  • L15- Law Enforcement C1900-Present (pptx)
  • L17 Conscientious Objectors In World War One (mp4)
  • L17 Conscientious Objectors In Wwi And Wwii (docx)
  • L17 Conscientious Objectors In Wwi And Wwii (pdf)
  • L18 Christopher Craig Derek Bentley Thames News (mp4)
  • L18 Derek Bentley (pptx)
  • L18 Derek Meets Chris In Let Him Have It (mp4)
  • L18 Let Him Have It (mp4)
  • L18 Why Was Capital Punishment Abolished (docx)
  • L18 Why Was Capital Punishment Abolished (pdf)
  • L19 Cid Information (pdf)
  • L19 Cid Information (docx)
  • L19 Policing The Nation (pptx)
  • L19 The Gala Ensemble A Policeman S Lot Is Not A Happy One (mp4)
  • L2 Categorisation Information (pptx)
  • L2 Categorisation Information (pdf)
  • L2 Changing Definitions Of Crime Under William (pptx)
  • L2 Information Sheets (pptx)
  • L2 Information Sheets (pdf)
  • L2 William S Forest Laws (pdf)
  • L2 William S Forest Laws (pptx)
  • L20 Local Context Of Whitechapel (pptx)
  • L20 Local Context Of Whitechapel Source Sheets (pdf)
  • L20 Local Context Of Whitechapel Source Sheets (pptx)
  • L20 What Was Whitechapel Like In 1888 (docx)
  • L20 What Was Whitechapel Like In 1888 (pdf)
  • L21 Editable Chart (pdf)
  • L21 Editable Chart (pptx)
  • L21 Immigrant Chart (pdf)
  • L21 Immigrant Information (docx)
  • L21 Immigrant Information (pdf)
  • L21 Jack The Ripper Tour Introduction (mp4)
  • L21 Jewish Information (pdf)
  • L21 Jewish Information (docx)
  • L22 Police Organisation In Whitechapel (docx)
  • L22 Police Organisation In Whitechapel (pdf)
  • L23 Dear Boss 1 (mp4)
  • L23 Dear Boss 2 (mp4)
  • L23 Dear Boss Fill In The Gaps (doc)
  • L23 Dear Boss Fill In The Gaps (pdf)
  • L23 Investigative Policing In Whitechapel (pptx)
  • L23 Jack The Ripper Starter (doc)
  • L23 Jack The Ripper Starter (pdf)
  • L23 Obstacles To Police Success (pdf)
  • L23 Obstacles To Police Success (doc)
  • L23 Ripper Victim Sheets (pptx)
  • L23 Ripper Victim Sheets (pdf)
  • L23 Victim Chart (docx)
  • L23 Victim Chart (pdf)
  • L3 Changing Nature Of Law And Order In The Middle Ages Chart (pdf)
  • L3 Changing Nature Of Law And Order In The Middle Ages Chart (docx)
  • L3 Role Of Authorities In Medieval England (pptx)
  • L4 Circle Of Voices Group Information (pdf)
  • L4 Circle Of Voices Group Information (docx)
  • L4 Did The Church Help Or Hinder Justice In The Later Middle Ages Chart (pdf)
  • L4 Did The Church Help Or Hinder Justice In The Later Middle Ages Chart (pptx)
  • L4 Did The Church Help Or Hinder Justice In The Later Middle Ages Wall Information (pptx)
  • L4 Did The Church Help Or Hinder Justice In The Later Middle Ages Wall Information (pdf)
  • L4 Role Of The Church In Medieval Law (pptx)
  • L4 Source Homeworks (pptx)
  • L4 Source Homeworks (pdf)
  • L5 Changing Nature Of Crime Heresy And Treason (pptx)
  • L6 Information For The Posters (pdf)
  • L6 Information For The Posters (pptx)
  • L6 The Nature Of Law And Order 1500-1700 (pptx)
  • L7 Gunpowder Plot (pptx)
  • L7 Gunpowder Plot Group Information (pptx)
  • L7 Gunpowder Plot Group Information (pdf)
  • L8 Trial And Punishments Of Witches Chart (pdf)
  • L8 Trial And Punishments Of Witches Chart (docx)
  • L8 Witchcraft (pptx)
  • L8 Witchcraft Categorisation Information Sheet (pdf)
  • L8 Witchcraft Categorisation Information Sheet (pptx)
  • L8 Witchcraft Chart Information (pptx)
  • L8 Witchcraft Chart Information (pdf)
  • L9 Changing Definitions Of Crime 1700-1900 (pdf)
  • L9 Changing Definitions Of Crime 1700-1900 (docx)
  • L9 Tolpuddle Martyrs (mp4)
  • L9 Tolpuddle Martyrs Timelines (mp4)