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To feel uncomfortable about this school trip?

(156 Posts)
TheHallouminati Thu 10-Jan-19 19:45:11

My son who is 14 and in year 10, is going on a history school trip to Whitechapel to learn about Jack the ripper and take a tour of the area.

I get that there is opportunity for learning about the era in which these crimes took place, such as the an exploration into poverty, the newly formed police force etc etc. But something about this doesn't sit well with me.

I'm finding it hard to articulate, but for me, the big business made out of the murder and mutilation of the most vulnerable members of society by a (likely sexually motivated) sadist is really unpleasant. There are so many sordid tours and museums etc which glorify and focus on the "mysterious" figure of Jack the ripper that it just seems to undermine the truth - that vulnerable women were preyed upon because their only choice was to sell their bodies.


Ansumpasty Thu 10-Jan-19 19:46:42

YANBU, how odd

icelollycraving Thu 10-Jan-19 19:46:50

Actually I find it a bit grim. I had no idea it was a topic at school.

recently Thu 10-Jan-19 19:47:15

I agree with you. It depends on how it's presented though. If JtR is just a small part of say, history of the East end I would be ok with that.

Beeziekn33ze Thu 10-Jan-19 19:48:45

Agree with recently.

GraceMarks Thu 10-Jan-19 19:50:58

That's very odd. And the chances are, a bunch of 14 year old kids are just going to snigger at the gory details and not really consider the fact that they're learning about the sadistic dismemberment of impoverished women. What's the learning outcome supposed to be?

Drogosnextwife Thu 10-Jan-19 19:54:01

I would definitely not be happy about that. Plenty of other historical events that they could study that don't include the mutilation and murder of women.
There was a post on a thread not long ago from someone who said their 16 year old had studied the case of James Bulger for theor GCSE, I was horrified that they would be using something as horrific as that for teenagers to study.

alansleftfoot Thu 10-Jan-19 19:54:08

Is he doing the Crime and Punishment unit ? The Ripper case is studied as part of this as it leads to changes in policing and techniques. Also a good example for looking at the lives of women pre-welfare state. Why these women ended up on the streets, the lack of help available to vulnerable women, the attitudes to their Murders, how they were reported etc. Also a good example to use in studying the development of the press and reporting of crime. The Victorian 'penny dreadfuls' drummed up hysteria on the case, pointing the finger at the Jewish community for example. The 'Dear Boss' letters are thought to be the work of a journalist trying to sell more papers.

Cathymorganforeman Thu 10-Jan-19 19:55:42

If he’s doing EDEXCEL GCSE history then they look in detail at the crimes of Jack the Ripper and how his crimes were investigated, the social context etc as part of the Crime & Punishment module. My daughter did the same tour last year and it is is very sensitively done, not sensationalised.

myrtleWilson Thu 10-Jan-19 19:59:10

It will be part of the Crime and Punishment section of history GCSE - with a focus on inner city crime and punishment. I've seen some exam questions which ask students to think about links between women being "sold" into prostitution c1900 to human trafficking today etc. I think it could be very powerful but it would depend on how it is handled - is it the school doing it or are they using a "tour" company? Although I do have a vague recollection of reading of a very good Whitechapel local history tour...

BrieAndOatcakes Thu 10-Jan-19 20:06:42

It is a bit weird. In the future will people be touring Gloucester to learn about the Wests?

alansleftfoot Thu 10-Jan-19 20:17:33

The Ripper case is also the first time sniffer dogs - Bloodhounds - were used. It led to lots of changes in the investigation of murder cases.

greenpop21 Thu 10-Jan-19 20:18:45

I agree, I wouldn't have wanted my DDs to go on that.

Juells Thu 10-Jan-19 20:18:52

Horrible. I wouldn't be happy about that. At that age it would have preyed on my mind for months, I'd have been very disturbed by it.

Oysterbabe Thu 10-Jan-19 20:21:12

I think 14 is old enough to cope with this.

ForalltheSaints Thu 10-Jan-19 20:21:28

BrieAndOatcakes 25 Cromwell Street in Gloucester has been demolished, thankfully. I think that unless sensitively handled the OP has a valid concern- you don't necessarily need to tour the East End to be taught about Jack the Ripper's crimes.

Betty777 Thu 10-Jan-19 20:22:41

i do see you point, but I can also vaguely see how it could be educational in a sense (depending on what subject it's for)

I did a walking tour on it (20 years ago) and was surprised how cynical old me felt it come to life and it really highlighted how times have changed and how many people/women had to live. It felt a million miles away from modern whitechapel, but somehow also made it feel real and possible, which sort of has a point to it? Kids these days often seem to me to have far less knowledge of history than we had to when I was at school. (says the 40 year old) I hope it's done sensitively as a PP says though.

Funnily I now work about 10 metres from the Ten Bells pub where the JtR tour usually ends (and the prostitutes used to drink) and I think about them surprisingly often. In that sense i'm glad I did the tour to ensure they aren't forgotten

alansleftfoot Thu 10-Jan-19 20:23:36

Here's the spec, lots of social history.

TheHallouminati Thu 10-Jan-19 20:24:38

Glad it's not just me who finds it odd!

Spoken to Ds again and like you both say Kathy and Myrtle it is part of his Crime and Punishment topic. I remember talking to the teacher about history at his yr 9 options evening and saw that a module was Crime and Punishment in the 1800s but missed the bit about JtR.

I'm definitely relieved by your further explanations and realise there is quite a large scope to examine the subject from many angles. I just worry it won't be taken seriously the majority of the class.

Still haven't fully figured out how I feel about it.

When I did history GCSE, we studied the holocaust and visited Auschwitz Birkenau. We went through Berlin on the way back and so visited the check point Charlie museum too. It's an experience I'll never forget and I'm really glad I had that opportunity.

MarilynSlumroe Thu 10-Jan-19 20:25:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

UserMe18 Thu 10-Jan-19 20:28:25

I totally agree! For context I'm a history graduate working in the heritage sector, I went to the London dungeons years ago and I hated the way they glorified Jack the Ripper, gory wax corpses of women who had actually lived and been mutilated, I found it really distasteful and unnecessary. Imagine if future generations used similar methods to portray the terrorist attacks of our time? Yes we can (and should) tell these stories in an engaging way, but I think it's pretty grim the way they do it to tantalise. That said I probably wouldn't disallow the trip, but give it some moral context!!

TheTroutofNoCraic Thu 10-Jan-19 20:31:55

The content will be age appropriate and relevant to what he is studying. Unlikely to be any more graphic than what he'll have already encountered on Horrible Histories.

myrtleWilson Thu 10-Jan-19 20:31:57

We have no idea whether it is cheap exploitative tourist shit or a really well considered exploration of the themes set out in the syllabus to be fair Marilynn. The OP may glean more insight by asking the history teacher to set out more details on what the tour entails and how it will be undertaken and crucially as the OP says get reassurance that the students will not be titilated by it.

Angrybird345 Thu 10-Jan-19 20:34:14

I did the walking tour and it was crap .... before this huge blickbifcgkats was built, there was an alley where x y z happened... yawn.

Angrybird345 Thu 10-Jan-19 20:34:36

* block of flats!!!

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