On Thursday morning, all the history students from year 10 went to the Museum of London Docklands. The day was packed full of activities surrounding our topic of Crime and Punishment, and more specifically Whitechapel, during the Victorian era and was overall a very successful and informative day for us all.
One of our sessions was a discussion with a ‘Victorian policeman’ about the Ripper murders. We were split into 2 groups but it still meant there were roughly 30 people sat in a dingy ‘tavern’ in a dark alley, set to recreate the slums and rookeries of Whitechapel. The large group in such a small room made it very cozy and set the atmosphere in advance for the story. The policeman performed some immersive theatre which helped to refresh our memories on what crime was like in 1888 while Jack the Ripper was walking the streets, while also giving us an insight into what the job of a policeman consisted of at that time. He also helped us to understand the emotions that citizens in that era would have felt, worrying that they could potentially be the next victim of Jack the Ripper.
After that, we continued on to do a workshop where we got to look at artefacts, see how often they were used and what their purpose was. This let us get a better grasp on what was available and how technology has changed over the course of time. One example was a bullseye lantern, which was an object that nightwatchers often had when patrolling the streets late at night, this allowed them to illuminate darkened areas to be on the lookout for Jack the Ripper, dead bodies or even potential victims which they could send to the workhouse. We then had to present our favourite item to our group and talk about how it affected crime and punishment at that time, this massively helped us to learn a lot more about Whitechapel.
After we had done this, we went to the gallery. Here we saw some more precious items and got to learn about many new interesting things, whilst also refreshing our memories on things we had previously learnt. There was also an opportunity to dress up in classic Victorian clothing which many decided to take.
Overall, the day was very successful and also very fun for all of us. We all learnt a variety of new things and it was a very enjoyable day. We would like to thank all of the teachers who took us there and for the museum for having us.
Nina & Mathilde 10C