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History Lesson Follows in the Footsteps of Jack the Ripper

March 15th, 2019

Harrow Way Community School history students were given a grisly taste of London’s historic crime scene during a recent trip to the capital. Year 10 students followed in the footsteps of the serial killer Jack the Ripper, visited the Tower of London, notable for its famous and infamous prisoners, and explored life behind bars at the Clink Prison, which, dating back to 1144 is one of England’s oldest and most notorious prisons.

Commenting on the trip designed to give the students an insight into crime and punishment from 1000AD, Curriculum Leader for History Christina Brown said: “Thankfully London 2019 is very different to London 1144 and indeed the 19th Century when the Ripper was roaming the streets. Equally, the legal and prison system are also very different and visiting these famous locations, giving students a sense of the crimes carried out all those years ago and the means of punishment was captivating for our students and when we manage to do that, we find the learning truly comes alive!”

Not for the faint-hearted, the Jack the Ripper tour includes visiting Whitechapel and the East End of London with students discovering how the then geography of the Capital and the locations he operated in assisted the Ripper with his crimes. To add to the drama the tour took place in the evening through the dark streets of Whitechapel and the East End.

Earlier in the day at the Tower of London students discovered how this famous structure has changed over the years. They were able to explore the original White Tower, built following the Norman Invasion and walk the walls of the fortress investigating the changes it has seen over time.

Over at the Clink Prison students learned how methods of punishment have changed over time. They were able to handle the artefacts; notably holding the ‘scold’s bridal’ and seeing the horror of the ‘heretic’s fork.’

Mrs Brown concludes: “As we delve deeper into this aspect of our History curriculum students already have a sense and can visualise the backdrop to the types of crime prevalent at this time and the punishment which was then meted out. It’s the ideal way to give them a significant learning head start.”

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