Edexcel GCSE History: Whitechapel, c1870–c1900, crime, policing and the inner city

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10 Whitechapel, c1870–c1900, crime, policing and the inner city

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Through the study of Edexcel 1:10 Crime and Punishment in Britain, c.1000 to the present day, students will have gained a broad understanding of the development of the nature of and reaction to crime and punishment from the medieval period right through to the 21st century. Part of this study is a close examination of a historic environment. For this specification, the environment is Whitechapel in London c.1870-c1900. This period delves into the issues of overcrowding and slums, the terror of Jack the Ripper, as well as the evolution and development of modern policing.

This module consists of the following parts:

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.

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